Where to Start When Learning How to Draw

Where to Start When Learning How to Draw

August 19, 2021

By Jedida Okonkwo

You probably think drawing is hard or that it would demand a lot of effort before you can become as good as you hope. And you are right. Drawing is challenging, but you can solve even the most difficult tasks ONE STEP AT A TIME. This post explains the basic steps you must take when learning to draw. 

Taking the first step towards becoming better at drawing depends on some factors. Chiefly the type of drawing. 

Types of drawing 

Like most art expressions, it is almost impossible to fit drawings into categories. When you class them based on drawing styles, several drawings fall into more than one category. It is easier to classify them based on the medium of expression, whether digital drawings, pencil, charcoal, or watercolor drawing. But these categories can become challenging since most beginners can barely spot the difference between charcoal and pencil drawings. The best way for a beginner to recognize drawings is by their forms, and here are the basic classes:


These are typically called rough drawings. They are simple representations of the artist’s ideas and do not exactly follow rules or form. Most people without drawing expertise already try out doodles, caricatures, and graffiti. The more professional attempts are fashion sketches and cartoons. Sketches can also be expressed in several mediums, and digital sketches are already as popular as traditional handmade ones.


This term covers a wide range of drawings, but it also represents a specific form. Geometric Drawings are expressed in lines, patterns, and shapes. The ideas have to be measured and in scale before they are considered geometric. Line drawings are great examples of this. Architecture and perspective drawings can also be called geometric drawings.

Life Drawings

Life Drawings express the artist’s perception of objects and living things. The drawing displays the object or living beings and how they interact with the artist or the world around them. Life drawing covers areas like Figure drawings, Still Life drawings, Photorealism, Pointillism, and even Anamorphic drawing. Like sketches, the Life artist can choose to neglect conventional forms and rules.


These drawings display the layouts of items. They contain details and basic characteristics of the object they are revealing. Illustrations are technical and, like Geometric drawing, thrive on measurements and scales. You can put drawings of project outlines, experiment details, or even human anatomy in this category.

Knowledge of the type of drawing will set you off as you begin your learning experience. The question of starting is easier when you know what type of drawing you are working on. The next step would be how to start your drawing experience.

Basic Processes For Beginners

Every master artist once had a not-so-impressive beginning, and this is the start of your learning curve. Before advancing to the bolder areas, it is best to start with the basics, simple concepts like drawing lines and shapes. The following are some artistic and mental processes that are crucial for beginners. 


This is one of the most popular steps for beginners. It is not a very original approach, but it gets the job done. Tracing involves placing your paper under a drawing and redrawing the lines till they reflect on your paper. Drawing out the traced lines on your paper helps you start with an idea of how you should draw lines and shapes. As helpful as this step is, you should attempt it cautiously since too much tracing could smear the original drawing.

Copy Sketching

Even beginners have a fair idea of how to copy other people’s works, it may not be as wonderful as you want it to be, but I bet you have tried copy sketching. It involves you trying to make your best copy of another person’s drawing by just looking at it. Most beginners often create a fairly different image. Still, you should be able to create a good replica after some practice. This process is highly recommended since it helps you get a good idea of how other artists create their pieces.

Mental Processes

One thing that sets the good artists aside from the best artists is their frame of mind. Asides from being able to move your hands, choose shades and colors, it is also crucial that your mind is primed and ready to deliver. As a budding artist, you should take time to meditate, find your happy place, create a mental haven where you can retreat to self-reflect and find your artistic self. When you do this, channel your zen into making artistic magic. Your physical skills and mental alertness combine to create a comfort zone that helps you develop and mature as an artist. 

What not to do when Starting to draw 

Learning to draw is not about what you do but also about some things that you should not do. The following are a couple of things you should avoid on your journey to becoming a master of the drawing arts. 

Expecting Perfection

It is a terrible idea to start learning to draw with an expectation of perfection. Let your expectations be focused on progress rather than on becoming perfect with this art. People considered masters today spent a lot of time before reaching their current level, and you would need a similar commitment if you want to get better at it.

Infrequent Practice

No matter how natural it looks, drawing is still a skill, and getting better at it requires practice. Your skill would only be as good as the commitment you put into it. Taking some days off practice is not very helpful if you are expecting progress. 

Show off your drawing

Showing your work is one of the bliss of being an artist, but there are limitations. Especially if you are just starting, resist the urge to show your work to everyone around you; you might not like the response you get. Feedbacks help you get better, but criticisms are not so helpful. If you have to show your drawing to anyone, start with your drawing instructors or someone you are sure would encourage rather than judge you.

Critique Your Drawing

Judging your drawing is almost as bad as having other people criticize your craft. People tend to be too harsh on themselves, and others overestimate their abilities. It is necessary to be your cheerleader, but you would not be helping yourself if you assume progress where there have not been many changes. It is better to let your drawing become better over time without any criticism. If you must assess it at all, let a qualified instructor give you their progressive assessment.

Give up

This is one point you must not let yourself consider. Giving up on your drawing is the easiest way to not become better at it. It is alright not to be as good as you expect; drawing, like other skills, takes time. Please give it a rest when you need one, get a better perspective, and learn to draw better. But never give up!

Why you should learn to draw

 Now you know the dos and don’ts. If you’re still uncertain why to draw, the following are some reasons to point you in the right direction. 

Get Better at Expressing Yourself

Drawing is an effective (and neglected) medium of communication. It is one of the easiest ways to communicate ideas and illustrate concepts even better than words can. Using drawing helps you express yourself better than you can with words. Anyone can look at your drawing and have a fairly decent idea of what you are communicating without any other hints from you. 

Improve Your Cognitive Processes

Beyond their ability to aid expressions, drawings also help thinking processes. Most beginners claim to have improved appreciation of concepts and better perception of themselves and the world around them when they commit to drawing. This expression has helped people deal with burnout, stress, and identity conflicts. It is even a recommended calming exercise. It helps you put things into perspective and create your ideas rather than being at their mercy.

It’s about time you got a new Hobby

When ranked among hobbies, drawing is one of the least destructive choices you can make. Its therapeutic capacity is good for your mind, and its expressive nature helps your communication. You can’t go wrong with a hobby that deals with communication and at the same time alleviates stress.

How about a chance at a new career?

If you are looking for a financial benefit from drawing, how about career opportunities? Graphic Artists and Digital Illustrators are gaining mileage in Digital Marketing and Product Development. Improve your skill well enough, and you could become one of them.

In conclusion

Drawing is not necessarily easy or hard. It is just drawing, an expression of your imagination, and it is what you make it to be. Take bold steps as you start out drawing. We can’t wait to see what you create.