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Are you a beginner artist looking to start to sketch on a consistent basis? Do you have a sketchbook or two (or three) laying around, but find that you rarely use them either because you can't find the time or are scared of "ruining" them? Would you like to get past the initial stage of "awkwardness" as quickly as possible, so that you can actually start ENJOYING your sketching process?
In past blog posts and YouTube videos, I've talked about how I consider drawing to be the basis for all kinds of art. It doesn't really matter what kind of visual artist someone is setting out to become, or what level of skill has already been attained, artists must make sketching a habit and continue with this practice throughout their journeys.
In today's post, I will be sharing the top five tips I wish I knew when I first started sketching. By understanding and practicing these points, you'll be able to progress a lot faster, start enjoying your studies and explorations a lot more, and start filling out entire sketchbooks in no time.
Before moving forward, I want to get a very important message across. I believe that smaller sketches and studies are JUST AS IMPORTANT as larger, more polished pieces that may take days (or even weeks) to complete. Learning how to get ideas down on paper in a quicker, rougher way, is extremely valuable as an artist.
It was precisely these kinds of smaller, quicker studies that allowed me to progress artistically while holding on to demanding full-time jobs and going through major life changes.
Few of us are fortunate to know, since a very young age, that we want to dedicate our lives to art and become professional artists some day. And an even less percentage of those people who DO know, are lucky enough to have the funds necessary to live, while solely working on developing their artistic skills. If you're one of those lucky people and you have the money/time to explore both smaller and larger pieces simultaneously, by all means go for it!
However, if you have kids, full-time jobs, a house to keep, and other responsibilities, rest assured that these smaller studies ARE moving you forward, as long as you're making it a point to stay CONSISTENT. Five to six smaller sketches and/or studies a week are going to get you WAY FURTHER than setting out to create one large masterpiece every five to six months, with no activity in between.
I highly recommend checking out my Drawing for the Total Beginner Mini-Course which you can get access to immediately after joining my insider group HERE. This mini-course is made up of three 10-15 minute classes that contain specific drawing exercises for you to complete, as well as direct links to resources that will help you keep developing your skills once you have completed the lessons.
1. Know your tools
As with any other art-related practices, it's ultimately going to be up to you to explore different supplies/techniques so you can arrive at your personal favorites. However, what you should know is that you can go far with limited and inexpensive supplies. So don't get overwhelmed with the large variety of papers, pencils, erasers, etc. out there, and go for the basics.
For my quicker sketches, I usually like to prepare the following:
a) Three different pencil grades (usually HB, 2B, and 6-8B) *I rarely use the H variety at all!
b) Drawing/sketching paper or sketchbook
c) Soft rubber graphite eraser
d) Basic metallic sharpener
e) Tombow Mono Zero eraser *This has been my favorite eraser to be able to get into smaller areas
These are optional, but useful if you want to start drawing more realistically:
f) Blending stumps or tortillions
g) Kneaded eraser
In terms of paper, it's useful to start noticing how different thicknesses and textures affect your process, as well as the outcome of your drawings.
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