Tips for Drawing: One Bite At a Time

If you’re like I once was, practicing drawing can be a pain in the butt. You want to be better at it NOW, not after years and years of practice. So maybe you steel yourself to achieve greatness by sitting down and toiling at a drawing for hours and hours, until it’s perfect. Except, again if you’re like me, perfection never seems to find its invitation to the party. Fear not, one simple tip will get things rolling.

There’s an old saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Old sayings are a lot of fun when you really look at what they mean. And this one means that trying to solve a problem (in this case, lack of drawing ability) by tackling it all at once is going to kill you. You have to take it in reasonable, manageable pieces. One bite at a time.

Secret to Practicing: One Bite at a Time

For drawing this means start small. Do NOT sit down and do a 2 hour life-drawing piece. If or when it turns out less than you imagined, you will feel terrible. Start instead by doing ten 30 second gesture drawings. If you’re not 100% sure what a gesture drawing is (or why and how to do them) check out the details here.

Ten 30 second gesture drawings equals 5 minutes of drawing. That’s IT. Five minutes to get better at drawing. Who can’t manage that? It’s the same amount of time it might take you to microwave a frozen dinner or pick out what you’re going to wear in the morning. It’s next to no time at all for right now, but it will make a giant difference over the course of a week, or a month, or a year because it adds up.

You don’t have to commit to a 4 hour life drawing session. In fact, don’t. One day, absolutely do that. However that should happen when you ENJOY drawing. And that day will come. When you get to that day, you won’t be able to sit still for being so excited about a four hour drawing session. Sound crazy? I know, I was there once too. But it will happen if you don’t give up. Give yourself the best chance by not trying to eat the “drawing elephant” in one big bite.

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I think this stuff is really important for younger artists to keep in mind, especially with today’s online world. When you look at work online you see some amazing stuff but you don’t get to look at the hundreds of pages full of the drawings it takes to get there to those great works. Everyone starts somewhere and struggles. Even after you’ve been in the industry for decades sometimes you struggle.

Annie L.

I like the drawing of the elephant at the bottom. 🙂


Thankyou very much!, I’m so relieved not being the only one with this feeling.


Good tips!