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10 Tips to Improve Your Drawing Skills

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How To Improve Your Drawing Skills


Drawing by itself is a pleasurable and profitable form of art, but learning to draw well can also lead to better work in other mediums.

Improving your drawing skills will boost your artwork to a new level, and who knows, you may find that drawing becomes your new favorite form of art.

Below are 10 tips to improve your drawing skills that took me from unrecognizable stick men to selling my first drawing in a few years.

You can also check out my post on the Best Graphite Drawing Paper.


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graphite drawing of girl with green eyes
Green Eyes by MarilynO @TrembelingArt

10 Drawing Tips



Practicing your drawing consistently is the number one thing that will improve your skill.

Draw something every day. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just draw whatever comes to mind or what ever you see.

You can draw repetitive patterns, doodles, interlocking circles, pictures from magazines, anything that keeps your pencil moving.


2. Trace

Print off a picture of something you would like to draw and then trace over it numerous times. 

This helps to build a muscle memory for curves and angles on the subject you want to draw and will help to quickly improve your drawing skills.

Also, you can use tracing paper to trace the subject and then transfer it to drawing paper. This will give you a more accurate line drawing to start with. 

3. Use Reference Photos

Often we just draw whatever is in our imagination, but sometimes we have a specific thing that we want to draw.

It’s hard to get an accurate drawing of a specific object if we aren’t looking at it.

Using reference photos to see angles and shadows will make the drawing easier to render.

If you intend to exhibit or sell your drawings, be careful to only use reference photos that are not copyrighted.

Just taking any picture you find on google without checking to see if it is free to use can end up getting you sued.

To learn more and find several good sites to get free photos, read my post on Reference Photos.


white pencils and paper


4. Paper

The quality of paper you use can make a big difference in how your drawing turns out. Regular printer paper is rough and will not give you a smooth blend of graphite for shading.

It is fine to start off learning to make marks on printer paper, but good quality paper designed for drawing will be much more satisfying.

Check out my post about the best types of paper for drawing. Most art supply stores carry drawing paper and sketch books.

Try out several different ones to find your preference for your drawing style.



graphite drawing of a child's hand on an adult hand
Hands by MarilynO @TrembelingArt


5. Values

Value refers to the darkness or lightness of an object. Learning to see the values in an object will greatly improve your drawings and give them depth and movement.

An apple, for example, would not have the same value on the top, near the light source, as it would at the bottom.

Study different objects in different light sources to see the gradual changes in value.

I use this grey scale and value finder to help with determining the right value.


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6. Shapes

Focus on drawing shapes at the beginning of a drawing, rather than outlines.

For example, if you are drawing a dog, draw a circle for the head, an oval for the body and rectangles for the legs. Then go from there, connecting the shapes and adding details.

Keep your initial shapes light so you can erase unnecessary lines as you go.


drawing of a hand with pencils below



7. Stay Loose

Most people learning to draw hold their pencil close to the bottom and draw by moving their wrist. This constricts the range of motion and makes the drawing tight.

By holding the pencil a little closer to the top and drawing with your shoulder, you will make the drawing looser and flow more.

It is also easier to control the pressure you put on the pencil so your marks don’t become too heavy and damage the tooth of the paper.

This takes a little practice to get used to but you will be happier with the improvement to your drawing skills.


8. Avoid Smudges

You finally get a drawing that you are proud of. You step back to admire your work and see various smudges of graphite or charcoal all over the page.

Graphite and charcoal are soft and can be easily smudged and transferred to your hand and thus to the paper. You can avoid this by putting something under your hand to protect the drawing.

Some people use regular printer paper, I prefer to use tracing paper because I have found that regular printer paper can sometimes smudge.

Also, since I am right handed, I like to start a drawing from the top left corner to minimize the chances of smudges.


yellow pencil on a drawing pad




9. Learn Drawing Skills

I have just given you a few starting tips, but for in depth instruction taking a drawing class may be a good idea for you.

If there are no classes available near you or you don’t have the time to attend one, there are literally hundreds of places to get drawing lessons and tutorials on the internet.




10. Practice

I know I’m repeating myself, but it bears repeating. Practice!

Drawing classes won’t help unless you practice what you learn. Draw every day. Get yourself a good portable sketchbook and carry it with you.

Practice what you learn and don’t be too critical. Mistakes are often the best teacher. 


I hope these tips will help get you started on your drawing journey. If you can’t think of something you would like to draw, check out 101 Drawing and Sketching Ideas from Art Tutor.

Be sure to check out my new Facebook group for more tips. Trembeling Art Creative Corner

If you like what you have learned here, please share. Happy drawing. ๐Ÿ™‚


Thanks for reading.

Digital signature Marilyn with butterfly







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10 thoughts on “10 Tips to Improve Your Drawing Skills”

    1. Thankyou these are some great tips. You seem like a very positive person. Keep up yor pma (Positive mental attitiude) ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Pingback: How To Express Emotions In Your Drawing - Trembeling Art

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