“Everything you can imagine is real.” - Pablo Picasso
Comics are very popular with both children and adults. They’re a blend of art and literature that many people enjoy.
So how can aspiring artists or illustrators learn to draw?
Here are some exercises to get you started.
Draw Still Life
Still life is one of the first activities that aspiring artists will do in their art classes. Whether it’s with charcoal, pens, pencils, or crayons, drawing inanimate objects is good practice.
Still life involves creating compositions with objects and then drawing them. You can use flowers, fruits, vegetables, or even just a photo you found online to make up a still life.
It’s much harder to draw a still life than to copy a photo, though. Drawing a still life is about representing 3D objects on a 2D medium. That said, copying a photo isn’t a completely useless endeavour as it can teach you about proportion, light and shadow, and help you to train your eye.
Those learning to draw often will practise drawing faces and portraits. Portraits can teach artists several useful skills that they can use for other pieces.
Faces generally follow a few rules that start with an oval or egg shape. The artist can then place the facial features on this oval while replicating any defining features that their subject may have. Generally, it’s a good idea to start with the eyes and go from there.
Most professional artists will follow the rules for drawing faces regardless of the direction the subject is facing. After all, the orientation of the head can drastically change how you have to draw. This is why regular practice can help artists to learn these rules and commonalities.
Draw a House
Perspective is one of the fundamentals of drawing. Perspective is a way to represent 3D objects on a 2D medium. To do this, you need to consider vanishing points and perspective lines to create depth. Houses and buildings are great examples for practising how to represent perspective.
You can also draw lines emanating from a point on the page to guide you. This is particularly useful for straight edges moving away from the observer. From there, you can draw the facades of the building.
Houses, buildings, and entire streets are great objects for a better understanding of perspective. Try doing this regularly to improve your drawings.
Drawing landscapes are another way to improve your drawing. A lot of famous painters and artists such as van Gogh and Monet would regularly draw landscapes and nature.
Landscapes are great for improving your observation, which is a large part of learning to draw and there’s no better way to practise this than looking around you.
Not only are landscapes nice to look at, but they’re also great to draw. Sit somewhere with a view you like and start drawing what you can see. You’ll soon realise that it’s not as easy drawing everything in its proper place and you need a lot of patience to get the details right.
Sketching on the go is a great way to improve your drawing skills. A bit like drawing landscapes, this type of sketching is about drawing what you can see. However, you don’t necessarily have to be surrounded by a stunning panorama. You can draw people as they go by, for example.
It’s also a great way to learn how to quickly capture the defining characteristics of your subject whether they’re plant, animal, or mineral. It’ll force you to observe what you’re drawing and quickly replicate it on paper. Of course, you won’t be left with a finished drawing, but you’ll have something you can always develop at home.
Unlike drawing landscapes where you’ll spend a long time focusing on the finest details, sketching is more about getting the ideas on the page. It’s also a fun way to let go and a good challenge for artists wanting to improve.
A lot of kids like drawing animals. Whether you draw a horse, cat, owl, or fish, you’ll learn more about the forms, anatomy, and movement.
Drawing animals is far from child’s play, though, and a lot of adults can improve their art by drawing animals. Start with the general form of the animal before you move onto more scientific drawings of animals. Look at examples of scientific illustrations. Everything from the fur to the colours and movement are perfectly reproduced.
The techniques you use to draw animals can also be used in your other drawings and it also gives you an excuse to draw your favourite animals.
Drawing people naked is a very common practice in the world of art. Life drawing, as it’s commonly known, can help artists understand human anatomy. It’s not for everyone, though, and some artists don’t feel comfortable sitting in a room drawing somebody with no clothes on.
There are books on human anatomy you can use instead of life drawing if you feel it isn’t for you where they show you step-by-step how to draw the human body.
Copy Other Artists’ Works
Reproducing other works is a useful way to learn how to draw. You can learn a lot from the world’s greatest artists. You can find their work in books, museums, and online.
There are also social networks like Instagram and Pinterest that are full of newer artists. Take a drawing or piece you like and try to replicate it. This can teach you new techniques or help you to work on certain aspects of your work.
Sketch at Home
Much like the sketching we mentioned earlier, you can always just practise drawing whenever you have the chance. Most drawings will start with a sketch anyway.
Novices often try and bite off more than they can chew by jumping straight into an ambitious project without planning anything. Sketches allow you to plan out your drawings.
Sketching is a quick way to prepare and work on your ideas. If your sketches are good, the final piece is likely to also be good
Carry a Sketchbook
Make sure you always have a sketchbook on you and you’ll be able to draw anything interesting you see or think of including buildings, landscapes, people, or animals. It’s also a good way to regularly practise drawing.
Don’t panic! You can still regularly use a sketchbook if you don’t go anywhere that interesting. You can fill up your sketchbook with drawings you do at home or in your local area. Draw parts of your town, your street, or even the inside of your house as if you were a visitor.
What would you like to draw?
Consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced tutors on the Superprof website. There are tutors for almost every academic subject and skills and hobbies like drawing, too. You can get face-to-face, online, and group tuition and since each type of tutoring comes with its pros and cons, you'll need to think carefully about which is best for you and your budget.
Group tutoring is a great option for those on a tight budget as you can share the cost of the tutor's time and expertise with the other members of the class. Of course, this does mean that your tutor won't dedicate all their time to teaching you, but you have the bonus that you have other students there for support and guidance as you learn.
Face-to-face tutoring is just between you and your tutor and every minute of the session can be tailored to what you want to learn and how you learn best. While this type of tutoring is usually the most expensive per hour, it's also the most cost-effective as every minute is spent focusing on your learning.
If you can't find any suitable tutors in your local area, you can always turn to the internet and look for online private tutoring. As long as you have a webcam and a decent internet connection, you can enjoy tutoring from tutors all over the world. As they don't have to travel to their students' homes, they have fewer outgoings and tend to charge less than face-to-face tutoring as a result.
Don't forget that many of the tutors on Superprof also offer the first hour of tutoring for free so you can try several different tutors out before deciding upon which one is right for you.