Awesome article! I drew constantly up until my sophomore year in college, for personal enjoyment and other projects, and then one day I just let it go. You've inspired me to pick up my pencils and prismacolor pens again!
Most of us drew pictures as children—and loved it! But now that we don’t have art assignments from a teacher or crayons stashed in our desks, we’ve left our drawing days back in elementary school. And for some reason, we’ve even started saying that we can’t draw.
But I believe that everyone can draw. It’s not about your perceived artistic ability—it’s about learning how to see. Trust me, if you can draw basic shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles, you can draw. It doesn’t even have to be realistic—hey, it worked for Picasso.
I also believe that drawing is a hobby worth revisiting. It’s a great way to express your feelings, have fun, and be creative. What’s more—it just might help your career: Putting pen to paper and doodling can actually help you think more creatively, process large amounts of information, and solve problems. If you’re ready to retry your hand at drawing, here’s everything you need to know about unleashing your inner artist.
What You Need
Start by picking up a sketchbook. Choose the best size for you, whether that be a little one to tuck in your purse for quick sketches or a larger one for more detailed work. (I personally like to have both options.)
If you don’t know anything about drawing materials, choose a kit that contains a few different types of pencils, charcoals, or inks. I prefer charcoal pencils since they are less messy, but experiment until you find something that you like.
How To Learn
The beauty of drawing is how easy it is to get started. Just pick up your sketchbook, find a comfy spot, and get going! But if you’re really looking to hone your technique, there are plenty of resources out there:
Take a Class
If you love learning in a classroom environment, ask your local art store to connect you with resources for budding artists, like classes and meet-up groups. Also check out nearby colleges and universities—most have continuing education offerings in drawing, painting, and other art forms. You can also find drawing classes from schools from around the country available on iTunesU.
Pick Up a Book
The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides
If you want to get serious about drawing, you like structure, and you have some time to devote to the craft, this is your go-to. It’s often regarded as the best how-to guide on drawing, but it’s not for the faint of heart: The author advises three hours of drawing a day for a year to see the best results.
The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards
This classic provides a variety of exercises for a more liberal approach to drawing. Though this method also requires some practice, it’s not quite as intense as The Natural Way to Draw. But the results aren’t instantaneous, either—they usually take around six months.
If you’re looking to enhance your creativity and problem solving skills, with learning to draw as an added benefit, this is the book for you. The simple, step-by-step exercises that anyone can do will teach your brain how to think in a more creative way.
How to Draw What You See by Rudy De Reyna
Check this book out if you’re most interested in drawing realistically. De Reyna explains how to use what you know to become a better artist by learning to “see” basic shapes in everyday objects.
If you’re more excited about indulging your creative side than staying true-to-form, this option encourages you to simply go wild, have fun, and create.
Check Out the Web
Want to just squeeze some lessons in here and there? There are countless resources on the web. A great first stop is Drawspace—it offers over 200 free, downloadable drawing lessons ranging from beginning to intermediate level—everything from shading techniques to sketching cartoons to penning your own self portrait.
You can also gain tips and ideas by getting connected to the online artist community. Check out the work of the people participating in the Art Every Day challenge (read more about the challenge on Leah Piken Kolidas’ website) or the blog Doodlers Anonymous. I also love checking out other artist’s websites for inspiration—a few of my favorites are Karma Hallmark, Danny Gregory, Stella Chang, and Hugh MacLeod.
If you’re nostalgic for the days when you could make hours go by with just some pencils and paper, why not give drawing a try again? I think you’ll enjoy it just as much as you used to—and maybe even more.