When you are starting out developing your creative skills – the fear of the white sketchbook page can be overwhelming to the point of making you give up before you have even started. Does this sound familiar? THat’s one of the reasons I love teaching creative drawing techniques for beginners.
Some of my favourite drawing techniques are ideal for beginners because they are fun, they take the pressure off, they are quick, so no time to procrastinate, and they have some very interesting results (students who have done these drawing techniques with me often say they prefer the results to when they try more traditional routes to drawing.)
So how do you start if you think you can’t draw? The first thing I want to say is that there are several ways to draw, and part of developing your creative skill set is finding the ones that you enjoy. It’s always good to try different types of media to test, so if pencils are not your favourite, try chunky wax crayons, or pro markers.
I have 4 very easy exercises that I still use when I am starting my drawing practice. They are great for beginners but also really useful to return back to when you start getting that inner voice chattering away telling you that your drawings are rubbish (yes I have that inner voice too some days).
What should I draw? Well I like to start with things that are easy to find, so fruit, vegetables, kitchen utensils or perhaps a favourite toy.
Technique 1 – Continuous Line Drawing
This is where you draw but never take your pen or pencil off the page. You should spend more time looking at the object you are drawing than the paper. The good thing about this is it forces you to really look at what you are drawing. I recommend repeating drawing the same object a few times, as this way you get to know its shape and qualities.
Technique 2 – Long Arm Drawing
Attach your drawing tool (pen, pencil) to a long stick with some masking tape, and try drawing your object. This is a great way of making you draw more loosely. Often we get really tight in our drawings and often scale down, by extending your drawing tool you have to draw more from your shoulder rather than your fingers or wrist, and this forces you to create looser and often larger scale drawings. Matisse was a big fan of this – I have a picture on my studio wall of him doing it to remind me that it’s a technique used by the masters!
Technique 3 – Draw with your non-dominant hand
So if you are right-handed you would draw with your left and vice versa. Again this is a great way of loosening up. It takes the pressure away from creating something perfect because you are using your non-dominant hand. Yes they will possibly be wibbly and wobbly lines but this can add real character to your drawings. It will force you to create something slightly different.
Technique 4 – Drawing with Scissors
How do you draw with scissors you ask? Again this was a favourite technique of Matisse (I’m a bit of a fan). With this technique focus on the outline of the object – think silhouettes. Using scissors and papers (could be plain or ones you have collected or painted) You will have to simplify and probably scale up too. If you cut carefully in one go, you will also get the negative space left behind which can be just as interesting as a result, sometimes more so.
If you’d like to learn more and see demonstrations of these simple creative drawing techniques for beginners, I have an online art class called Start to Draw – it’s ideal for beginners, or aspiring creatives looking for new methods of drawing. Find out more here