Can’t Draw? Take Your First Steps Right Now!

Beginner Drawings: Your Pencil, Your Paper & Your Stance

Learning how to draw, beginners? It is as simple as popping open your sketchbook to the first page and getting started with learning how to hold your pencil, how to position your paper, how to stand, and discovering things to draw for beginners.

#1. Beginner Drawings — Your pencil grip. Gripping your pencil for writing allows you to create tight, controlled marks, ideal for when you want to add details to a drawing or are working in a small area.

An overhand grip, with the pencil held between thumb and index finger, with the middle finger supporting, and the rest of the fingers resting on your paper, allows for a broader range of strokes that are lighter and wider if you are using the side of the pencil; darker and thinner if you are using the tip of the pencil.

Beginner drawings: pencil grip determines the kind of stroke you make.

Beginner Drawings Tip. Your pencil grip determines the kind of stroke you make. Here, an overhand grip toward the end of the pencil assures light strokes that can move easily over the page. (Photo by William Foley)

You can have your paper on a horizontal surface, ideal for the writer’s grip, or vertical or on a slight incline when using the overhand grip.

#2. Beginner Drawings — Your stance. Standing or sitting, you always want to have good posture and your weight evenly distributed on each leg. If you are sitting, have your feet flat on the floor. The one and only rule is: always try to draw from the shoulder. Isolating the wrist works well for adding detail to a drawing, but for the beginning strokes you want to lock your wrist and draw with your whole arm — all the way to your shoulder.

#3. Beginner Drawings — Things to draw for beginners. Start by pantomiming the marks you want to draw on your paper. Then, once you feel the rhythm, apply your pencil to your sketchbook paper and make all kinds of strokes — horizontals, verticals, circles, diagonals, and ovals. Fill several pages with these sketches.

Then select an object — a flower or a vase or figurine. Don’t think about proportion or accuracy, you just want to look at the big overall shapes. No details! Instead, you want to capture the overall gesture of the object — where its parts are pointing and where the biggest and smallest areas are. Just react and flow.

Beginner Drawings — Next Steps. Now take your same object and do a blind contour drawing of it. This means you don’t look at your paper as you draw. Instead, let your eye guide your hand as you observe the minute details of your object and trace out the contour.

Gasp! You’ve done it. Your first drawing session is done and you’ve accomplished a lot! Repeat these exercises until you feel completely comfortable with them, then take on more complex objects if you want to challenge yourself.

And if you are ready to take the next step now, download your free eBook on Learning How to Draw now — with 26 beginner drawing exercises you can start doing in your sketchbook immediately!

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