• It's not 'Pose to Pose' it's 'Feeling to Feeling.'

5 Ways to Improve Your Drawing

Five Ways to Improve Your Drawing Skill

Whether you’re a 3D animator, stop motion, traditional 2D, or anything in between, having a certain comfort level with a pencil in hand is extremely valuable as an artist. Here are five opportunities to raise that skill level and vanquish the fear of an overwhelming blank white page!

#5 Don’t Draw One Thing

So many people find something they like to draw and never go any further. For animators, it’s very often a certain style or single cartoon. The problem with this approach is that when you lose interest in that single cartoon or style (which will inevitably happen, no matter how passionate you are at this very moment) you have nothing to fall back on. You haven’t built drawing skills, you’ve built copying skills. So even though it’s hard (and can often be frustrating) practice a great variety of styles and subjects. You’ll be much better off in the long run!

#4 Watch a Master at Work

Thanks to the Internet it’s now possible to sit and watch a great master while they are drawing. While studying their final works can invoke strong desire to “be that good,” by actually watching in real-time (not a sped-up video please!) you will gain insights into HOW they create their masterpieces. You may see that they erase lines constantly, searching for that perfect placement. Maybe they use shorter strokes than you would have assumed. Who knows what you’ll discover?

Watch a master at work

On top of that, while watching videos is very helpful, watching LIVE drawing- in person- can be truly inspiring. So never pass up the opportunity to sit and watch a master at work!

#3 Confidence

This is a tricky one to practice, but it’s something you should keep in the back of your mind. A shaky, timid line will never look as beautiful as one from an artist with a command of his or her tools. Tell yourself that you can draw and you’ll be halfway there. Flip the switch in your brain from “Meek” to “Masterful” and the quality of your work will shoot through the roof. Just remember to keep humble outside of the drawings. It can be easy to over inflate your ego when you’re so sure of yourself with pencil in hand!

#2 Try a Different Medium

Being proficient with a pencil always comes in handy, but did you know that switching to a medium you’ve never tried can improve your all-around skill in ways mastering one tool never will? Maybe you’re a bit shy when placing a line, worried you won’t “get it right.” Grab a thick black Sharpie marker and you’ll have no choice but to go for every stroke! Who says you have to draw on paper? Grab some scrap wood and see what the texture will produce from your art. The best part of this option is that you never know when you might discover something you love that you never tried before. (I personally learned that I ADORE a nice, soft, super-black charcoal like this one on sketchbook paper. If it wasn’t so messy, I’d draw like that all day every day!)

Become Great at Drawing

#1 DRAW MORE

Yes, it’s the obvious one and everyone tells you it’s true: Drawing more produces better drawing. Much like a pro baseball player has to hit ten million baseballs before his swing is something special, you need pencil mileage if you want to excel. The bad news is there’s no shortcut here. The good news is you can do this right now and tomorrow (or even ten minutes from now) you will have improved! So don’t waste time saying you’ll practice or thinking about digging out those fancy pencils you got last Christmas, just grab the closest tool and scrap of paper and get to it! It’s worth your effort.

What are some things that you’ve found most helpful to improve your drawing? Leave a comment below and we’ll add them to the list!

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16 comments

  1. Olubunmi john says:

    Everything has been helpful,but im a victim of #5…i do life drawings which i believe its detailed art…so i guess im not just a cartoon artist….so what should we say about cartoonist?..are they going to loose interest of drawing cartoons?

    • Well it’s also a matter of adapting to different styles (and there is more than one cartoon style). Professional projects tend to have their very own style and if the artist can only draw in one style he disqualifies himself for this job. This also goes for your style of animation. If you only do cartoony squash and stretch it can’t hurt to widen your horizon every once in a while and do some subtle shots. Of course there are some lucky ones who get hired because of their style, but thats rare.
      Generally, I think it might be easier to learn drawing cartoon style when you are already good in realistic drawing than vice versa, because you already got an eye for spotting whats important in reality.
      It’s always good to move on to new challenges, because that’s what can really spark passion and never seen depths. Routine work is nice, but if it’s always the same it can just become boring.
      Take Picasso for instance… at a very young age he could draw super-realistic. But instead of doing that for the rest of his life (and potentially being bored to death by that) he turned to other styles that gave him the challenge he was looking for. Real artist step out of their comfort zone! Even when you fail you have learned a lot and you can do it better next time ;)

  2. Sabina K says:

    Great tips! :)

  3. Eyeobeholder says:

    Good tips.

  4. Olubunmi john says:

    Thanks mr.ferdinand….i like the part of ‘moving out of your comfort zone’…i think im being lazy ever since…but im gonna try to attempt realistic art now…

  5. TMeilleur says:

    One of my tips would be to draw bigger. I found some of my drawing more appealing and precise when I draw bigger.

    I uses to draw on small sheet of papers, the 1/8 of the page to do many drawing on it… But When I try on a full, big sheet of paper, appeal cranked up and creativity as well

    • J.K. Riki says:

      That’s a terrific one! I used to fall victim to drawing too small as well. Once you get your whole arm into the game it really loosens things up and you get way more appeal. Good call, T!

  6. jackson says:

    these tips help all of us by adding a lot of special examples XD

  7. Nor Tex says:

    I tried drawing with just dipping my hands in paint once. It was a total messy disaster but I feel like I was laughing and goofing around so much it made me stop worrying so much while I was drawing. So!

  8. Zee D. says:

    Another tip that has always helped me is to not look at the paper for a few drawings when you start. Then you can just warm up with out thinking about if it is right or wrong. I think they call it Blind Drawings.

  9. Birkmin says:

    Really helpful tips. I am going to use them all thanks.

  10. michael edmund says:

    Hi, I think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it ;) I am going to revisit soon.

  11. Maria says:

    This was really helpful, thank you.

  12. grandmaster p says:

    The way to improve your drawing is to do more drawing. Period. End of story. It’s stupid to think there are other ways because there are not. EVER. People think they can just learn about it from websites and books but you can’t you have to GO FING DRAW.

    • Chris W. says:

      Yah but you have to practice drawing well otherwise no “just drawing” will help you. Some people draw nothing but anime or bad doodles for years and they will never get any better. So the information in books is really helpful because it can show you how to draw and what to draw instead of you trying to reinvent the wheel and blindly run into the field no knowing what you’re doing. It wasn’t until I bought several books on creating comics that my drawing started getting much better because then I could practice drawing a certain way and it was easier because it broke everything down into shapes instead of trying to draw perfect final drawings from the very start.

  13. rich says:

    Great tips, thanks! I need to apply all of them asap.

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