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A Pocket Artist's Guide on How To Draw

Mon Apr 15, 2013, 7:09 PM by Purouty

        A common struggle an artist stumbles upon on his way to a triumphant drawing style is when he is just beginning to draw. That is something I, a 14-year old writer learned after a year of practicing illustration, a field that is quite new for someone who uses a pen to write prose, poems, and stories, and not to draw.

      Probably like some of you here, I started drawing after seeing characters on the television and tried to imitate them. At first, I found any drawing I made so wonderful, brilliant, great, etcetera, etcetera… [Oh well..] until a passerby badmouthed my works. At first it was hard to believe that my highly treasured works were actually that bad.

       But when I looked again on my drawings, I realized that there is a lot more I can do to make things better than they were. Yet my interpretation of getting better was quite different. I bought lots of books on anatomy, perspective, shading, even “How to Draw Manga” series, art mags, and a Complete Idiots Guide to Drawing, too.  There were tons of it, but even how long or how devoted I was in reading all those books, nothing happened to my drawing. There are lots of things I did that did not help at all for me to improve. That gave me a painful realization that I was doing it in a wrong way. Just how should I start?

       Let’s cut this “true story” conversation we are having this time and let us see quotes which will also tell you several facts I learned and want to share to you in this article.

“… talent is like electricity. We don’t understand it. We use it”. –Maya Angelou

     Some of us tried to learn on books when we are just beginning drawing, but one thing that struck my mind is that it would be difficult for most if not for everyone to learn on complicated anatomy or perspective books. We must focus more on using our talent rather than simply reading about it. This is not discouraging people to learn from books, but when learning, focus more on application. 

      Its more like when a child learns to ride a bicycle. Is it possible, for a child to be proficient in pedaling, by simply reading about how wheel and axle works, or how can turning the steer can affect the direction, or just why wheels are circular in nature? Of course not! Maybe that child will be a potential genius. Yes, a potential genius with the inability to ride a bicycle as a weakness. Children attains countless wounds in his path to learn biking just like how a successful painter attains countless imperfections before even achieving the success they seek. You can mold yourself to success through experience and perseverance.

“A career is born in public – talent in privacy” – Unknown

     We should give ourselves time to work on peace while enhancing our talent. It would be definitely hard to draw beside a construction site along with the bulldozers and forklifts out there, don’t you think? Yet is is more than just that. A study was done once to show how can relaxation affect human mind in relation to their performance. Two sets of volunteers were asked to answer a test in two different conditions: the first set answering it while death metal music is played, another while listening to a peaceful song. Guess what? The second set of volunteers,  listening on calm music got higher results on average. 


“I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can do. In fact, that’s good taste”. – Lucille Ball

       Now, take a look on your sketches and see what is wrong, exact, or great, and try to enhance it to make the wrong parts exact, to make the exact parts great, and to transform great parts to brilliant. When an artist lacks motivation to improve and always sees what is good in his drawing, ignoring the flaws, his work and style will remain the same forever and won’t improve. However, a relentless pursuit of an aspiring artist to improve can actually make them rise to the top. 


If a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns somehow to use the whole of it, he has...won a satisfaction and a triumph few men ever know.” – Thomas Wolfe

Make the most of everything. Everyone has the ability to draw, right? What is the difference of successful people to those ones still under the ladder? It is the hard work they have given just to nurture their art, no matter how great it is already. Have fun. 


‘The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers” – Arthur Koestler

      Sometimes we think that we must only imitate a drawing style just to be a great artist, but having an original style will make your work stand out. Of course, you can learn a lot from other artists, but don’t you think simply incorporating what you have learned to your drawing style would be enough rather than totally imitating everything? Besides, isn't it more fulfilling when you are noticed just because you can imitate drawing styles perfectly, but instead because of the originality and dexterity of your own style? That’s wonderful too if people can see new faces in the art community, right?


      Here are some more tips for beginning artists like me.


  •   Start at the beginning.

First, you should choose which of which category in this broad world of art you are going to take on first. Are you up for doing comics about a super pillow and his sushi companion fighting against the ultimate melon? Or probably you might take drawing cartoon or comical figures as a challenge? Is it your passion to draw in realism? Caricatures, yes? No, you won’t be bound in that category forever; it’s just that you must have your starting media much like as how a racer needs a race track to start a race. It’s hard to draw nothing, too. I mean, even just seeing nothing is troublesome…


TRAINING by Crysalia777

  •  Learn from Life, Other Artists, and, the Community

Lookie here, just turn around five times, haven’t you seen all those people walking on the streets, or maybe a friend drawing beside you? There are also groups here on dA willing to educate you. Learn from people out there and learn from life. You can easily see proportions by drawing real people only if you would focus, even without books but by pure instincts. And if you somehow got your OC’s feet six toes that looks like a hand, maybe you should ask a fellow deviant what’s wrong? Or browse through tuts on dA and try fixing the drawing yourself. There are lots of ways to learn how to draw these days, only motivation is needed and in no time you can draw great.

  •  Quit the Symbol Method.

I've read a lot of books concerning the left brain and the right brain, its relation to human creativity and other stuff. To sum it all up, the left brain takes care of the memorization tasks and symbols, while the right side is assigned to stimulate creativity. Well, you need not to understand it scientifically just to know how can you squeeze out some more colorful, creative juices on your mind. Look, to draw, according to the good, ol' dictionary, is "to produce a likeness or representation of by making lines on a surface". Which means its all about the lines, not the symbols.You should draw with lines in mind instead of a lingual representation of the object. That way, you would be able to make your drawing more innovative than how it really is. Symbols serves as a bounding box of creativity, and the only way to get free from that box is to let go of the symbols. Can you actually make a house, if you have a cup in mind? You can make something the best way when you use something meant to create what you desire. This case, lines for drawings, right?

Schoolwork-  Marowak Typography by OddPenguin

  •  Accept Feedback.

      I can feel you when sometimes people see worse than how we expect things are going to be awesome. But most of the time what they are saying is true. It also hurts for them that they are doing this to you, but it is for your own sake. Try participating on groups or forums on deviantArt who gives constructive comments  for you to be able to fix things. Sometimes they can tell things that you might be unable to notice just by looking on your own art.

:comment: by ScreamingGerbil

  •  Give Feedback as well.

No, not to avenge your works. Give others constructive feedback as well. Tell something about the colors, the strokes, the shapes, the mood, sometimes the tips you are giving can also teach you something that you can do to improve your art. Something like this can be found, “I find the colors of this image too bright”, or maybe “Don’t you think the colors are quite pale? I like it but I would love it even more if the color is more vibrant..”. Then you might realize that your colors are saturated or pale, too. Or maybe you should tweak the colors a little or something.

Y U NO COMMENT? by V4nill4    Think before comment stamp by HappyStamp  Plz Comment Stamp by Phaiyle

  •  Practice, Practice, Practice.

      This is the most effective tip I can tell in my entire life. Practice. Giving time for your talent can give you a very bountiful reward. You might discover new techniques by practicing.

Training day with Sensei by Leox90

  •  Take art classes.

       You think you are good enough and want some more? Try art classes. Sometimes a real, squishy, and breathing mentor can teach you something that would impact your drawing style a lot. But if it’s not in the budget, there are good video tutorials on Youtube as well.

Art Class by greggbrain

  •  Take risks.

The greatest risk one could ever have is to not take risks. It won’t hurt if you would try to enhance your coloring, make it more pale, vibrant, saturated, or a good mix of those three might be nice, too. Try using a different style or a different medium next time; why not try using pixel or raster illustration once in a while when you are a vector artist? Maybe try doing a vexel? Difference is the key. Anyway, not everyone gets things right at the first try, even the greatest artists do trial and error sometimes.

Risk your Life by DusterAmaranth

  • Never, ever Give Up.

Noooo. Never. Not because you can’t draw a hand well means you must give up, things might get difficult at first but trying and working hard will make it easier for you.

.:Never Give Up:. by emkimimaro45

  • Learn something new.

A digital painter, eh?  Why not study new techniques to enhance your colors such as the curves and adjustments?

learning to draw by moussee

  • Keep moving forward.

Now that you are improving there is no other way but to move forward. I always hear that and that is true, just improve in every way you can and you will see the magic.


Walking on Sunshine by Pinkie-Perfect

  • Have Fun!

Come on. It looks so easy but sometimes we become too much stressed that we forget to enjoy what we are doing. We are not doing this just to please others but also to fill our hunger for improvement. Just enjoy and have fun!


If It's Not Fun by sweeter-than-reality

  • Remain Motivated.

    That says it all. 

Motivation by MrBadger

   And here goes some more tips. Now in relation to some technical aspects.

    •  Sketching Tip.

    Always have soft and light stroke when sketching traditionally. It is very useful. Hair is best in one sweep.

    • A Line Tip

    Well. Observe when you are sketching. Just where are you looking at? At the tip of your pen? Do you think a person crossing a road would not have his life at risk when he is looking on his feet, not in the path ahead of him?  Is pretty much the same as drawing, look ahead the line you are constructing and precisely define where you want the line to end, of course, do not forget looking at your pen, too, but do not stare at the tip forever.


    That’s all for now with TwistedCappuccino here at your service. Have a happy time sketching!







    Add a Comment:
    l3rainy Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
    Thank you so much for this journal, it's really awesome! I loved the points on 'where to start' and the analogies really made this an innovative work of literature ha ha c: I also really enjoyed the quotes you added, a nice touch. ^^ 
    ShinpanX Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
    This is a really great how-to! It really goes into what steps to take to improve your drawing and I can relate on the books, going through all them different books but still
    being confused and overwhelmed by the end of it. You really understand what is needed to be a better drawer and I congratulate you!Clap Clap :happybounce: 
    La-Tachuela Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Great How-toClap 
    epicmangageek Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Yea I remember when i first realized my talent for drawing was in 4th grade. I was fasinated with anime and manga, specifically pokemon, and bakugan. I then discovered dA thanks to a friend and was motivated to draw because of my favorite fanarts. I then went to the book store, bought a random manga (it happened to be skipbeat btw)and started to draw random scenes. At first, I will admit I fucking sucked!! The facial anatomy and perspective was terrible now that I looked back. There was another person in my class that could draw very well. She gave me tips from her own style. Soon those tips helped me develop my own style. I kept practicing and then comments of how awesome my drawings are and how to improve them started to flow in. Recently I heard and noticed that the anatomy in my drawings were waaaaay off. Because of that I'm starting to improve my anatomy and my drawings. Going though dA, I realized that I should also aquire some skills in photoshop. I just started last week and I'm already starting to see improvement. Why? Because of lack of things to do, I started to draw and color things on PS for like 7 hours a day. You don't need that much practice to improve, but what I'm trying to say is that if you put time in something, you will see improvement. Another thing. If I didn't have any motivation or any fun I probably want to get those 7 hours over with and I wouldn't be doing my best, thus won't be improving. Practice makes perfect. You can't practice something properly if you don't have any motivation of have any fun when practicing. There is an inner artist in each and everyone in this world. Practice is what awakens it. :D
    Armonah Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013
    That was long, but well worth the read. Good job putting all of this together, =Purouty, I hope you'll write more for #projecteducate in the future if it's gonna be of this kind of quality :heart:
    Purouty Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
    Thanks! I will! Hahaha! :hug:
    lintu47 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
      Great article :heart:
    Purouty Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
    :hug:. Thanks. :heart:
    BlakkFox Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
    ‘The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers” – Arthur Koestler
    Sometimes we think that we must only imitate a drawing style just to be a great artist, but having an original style will make your work stand out. Of course, you can learn a lot from other artists, but don’t you think simply incorporating what you have learned to your drawing style would be enough rather than totally imitating everything? Besides, isn't it more fulfilling when you are noticed just because you can imitate drawing styles perfectly, but instead because of the originality and dexterity of your own style? That’s wonderful too if people can see new faces in the art community, right?

    While it has good intent, I believe the more important thing to take from this quote is to be different in certain aspects.
    If you look at storytelling and art objectively, there really is nothing new. Nothing completely original.
    It can be a real road block if all you're doing is to push yourself to make something completely unique or original; to the point of where it hinders your art.
    Most studios and companies WANT you to imitate a style and duplicate it many times over. And most of the time, it probably won't be YOUR style.

    And that's to say nothing about developing your own style. That's a whole 'nother ballpark.
    For the longest time, I struggled with being original. I could replicate anything, but I couldn't make my own style.
    But one of my professors, an ex Disney animator, told me that style just happens.
    When you learn what you do in college, along with drawing so much, your style just automatically appears.
    Your inspirations, your admired artists, all of that just starts to show in your work.
    For me, some of it was conscious, in this way- I search for art that I really like, and I pinpoint why I liked it: for example, the line work.
    I dissect it and find out how they do it. And then I try it myself.
    And then I combine that with other styles of line work that I like. In this way, I narrow down the kind of art I want to create.
    Most of it though, I just drew different subjects and tried to represent it the best I could.
    You must know how to realistically depict it before you stylize anything.
    That's the basis for good art.
    caminante0 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student Interface Designer
    I'm studying Graphic Design in a school with artistic profile, so I have drawing classes.
    And I feel I'm not learning anything :shakefist:
    I have always have a thing for drawing, I love it. When I was a child I used to do it ALL the time. Then... I lost confidence on my skills for some reason and stop practicing and therefore improving.
    Everytime I grab a pencil and sit in front of a blank paper, I give up before even starting. I feel I can't draw what I have in my head, no matter how much I try it will turn out awful.

    In school is not different, I do the minimal effort. I'm actually repeating that class :facepalm:
    So, I feel that if I can learn something and improve somehow I might get my confidence back and get motivated again. I'm starting to search for tips, tutorials and stuff...
    Thus, thank you for sharing this, it was really enjoyable to read :hug:
    BlakkFox Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
    I would suggest not worrying at all about how it will turn out.
    Most of the time, the process is much more important than the end product.
    It took me a very long time; five years previous and six years in college before my work actually looked good to me.

    Just work towards getting better and always seek out more knowledge.
    Here's a bunch of tutorials I've found on DA: [link]
    Hope they help.~
    caminante0 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Student Interface Designer
    That's a long time! :stinkeye:
    Thanks so much for the words and the tutorials :tighthug:
    Missvirginia Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013
    I used to feel upset about not being able to draw what's in my head, but then I realized that I needed to know what my idea was "made out of". If I wanted to draw a standing pose, I had to first learn how the body looked and acted while standing, what muscles were being used, all those details. And once that was practiced, I could gather up the particulars and make what I wanted. Actually, that's happened recently. I'm in a portrait drawing class, and all we draw is the models that come in; at times I was a little bored, but one day I wanted/needed to draw a portrait and it came out in 30 minutes--something that would usually take me around an hour or more. All that information my teacher was telling us about eye sockets, jaws, light, shadow, all just came together.
    In short, I think it would help to learn those particulars, and once those are mastered, bring them together. And even if it doesn't turn out right, try again, I can show you books full of bad art I drew before something started looking decent. :D
    caminante0 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Student Interface Designer
    Hmm, I guess I should start with real models/objects before sitting alone with the paper and try to come up with something new.
    I can't really do anything if I don't have a reference, 'cause I can't draw what I haven't seen :hmm:
    Thanks for the advice, it really helps :hug:
    Missvirginia Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013
    Yep, that's what I mean in learning particulars. :D No problem.
    Purouty Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013
    Aww. That also inspires me to do my best, too! :hug:. Lets do our best, okay?
    caminante0 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Student Interface Designer
    Okay :tighthug:
    Kamenashi-Kazuya Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013
    Really helpful article!
    Purouty Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013
    :hug:. Thanks!
    Pix3M Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013   Digital Artist
    "Also remember that boxes, no matter how you view it [above, below, slightly from the right etc..], the lines opposite to one another are always parallel."

    ... What? :? I learned something about vanishing points which is very, very contrary to what was just suggested. If you were making game tiles then yes, a 'correct' box is perfectly parallel but this is only correct for artificial perspectives that use parallel projection. Otherwise, these lines are actually not parallell, but if you were to extend them then they will meet at a vanishing point.
    Purouty Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
    Waah. Cubes. I mean. Thanks for pointing that out. I will remove it and make a separate tut for that. ;). It was also discussed beforehand that a separate tutorial be made for that one due to possible confusions. Thanks for noticing! :hug:
    PizzaPotatoNBacon Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Student General Artist
    Really awesome!
    Purouty Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
    Thanksies! :hug:
    SimplySilent Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
    Awesome job on the article! :heart:
    Purouty Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
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