Start the Year Right With These Drawing Ideas and Tips

Start the new year with the resolution to do a drawing a day! Drawing in and of itself is a beautiful skill but also provides a strong foundation for hand/eye coordination for painting. Your daily drawings can be defined by a time limit to keep them fresh. There are many different possibilities for your drawing a day process. For example, you could draw simple still lifes for a month, or draw the same subject in as many different interpretations as you can imagine.

Watercolor portrait painting by Jean Pederson

“Pin” Paper Rose (watercolor on paper, 16×20) by Jean Pederson, author of Drawing Expressive Portraits, to your art board on Pinterest.

Here are some other drawing ideas for you to try in your series:

1. Look for shapes within common values.

Set up an apple with a strong light directed on one side. You will be able to see a light hot spot on the lit side. As the apple curves and recesses from the light, the values will shift, becoming darker. Can you divide the value shifts into three, five or seven shapes? The more value shapes that you draw, the greater the illusion of volume. Drawing ideas from Jean Pederson

2. Think about quality of line.

Is your line thick, thin or scratchy? By holding the drawing tool in different ways or changing the pressure you exert on your pencil, you can influence the quality of your lines.

3. Line can convey attitude.

Think of an attitude or feeling and try to convey that idea through line. Can you express peace, anger, boredom or arrogance, for example? By implying an attitude to your marks, you’ll influence how the viewer will interpret your drawing.

4. Simple contour drawings can speak volumes.

Contour drawings are useful in communicating simple symbols to the viewer. As exemplified by a silhouette of a person or the outline of a stop sign, artists are able to communicate a lot with very little detail. Think of ways that you can use simple lines to provide iconography within your drawing.

5. Try different drawing tools.

Your choice of drawing tool will influence your marks and end product. For example, you might choose a charcoal stick, pastel, Conté or a pencil. Your choice will dictate the range of values possible within your drawing, the colors available for drawing, the width of marks, the ability to blend and so on.

These drawing ideas should get you started and I’m sure that you’ll come up with some great inspiration of your own. I encourage you to share your ideas and to inspire others in their drawing challenge! Happy New Year!

Learn more from Mixed Media Artist Jean Pederson

New DVDs!
Watercolor Techniques: Wet Glazing
Acrylic Painting: Mixed Media Flowers
Acrylic Painting: Mixed Media Portraits

Mixed Media Painting Workshop: Explore Mediums, Techniques, and the Personal Artistic Journey (book or download)
Expressive Portraits: Watercolor and Mixed Media Techniques (paperback)
Wet Glazing Watercolor Portrait (DVD)
Watercolor Artist, August 2011: Create the illusion of depth in your paintings with these simple tips and helpful illustrations of linear and aerial perspective. (article)
• See her work at

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