What Are the Best Ways to Learn to Draw?

G. Wiesen

There are many different ways in which a person can learn to draw, and some methods have been shown to work well for a wide array of people. Practice is, ultimately, the best way to learn to do many things, and drawing is no exception. Beyond such practice, however, art students can consider specific types of practice such as re-creating existing images to better understand the techniques used in the original and drawing images upside down. Someone who wants to learn to draw should also consider art classes in which a teacher can help him or her develop his or her abilities.

Professional artists and illustrators spend years learning and practicing their art.
Professional artists and illustrators spend years learning and practicing their art.

Perhaps the most important thing for someone to do who wants to learn to draw is to practice drawing as much as possible. Professional artists have typically spent decades drawing every chance they had, refining their abilities and learning how to draw new things. Even a professional artist typically continues to practice, especially when faced with a new task or drawing an item that he or she may not otherwise be able to draw. An artist who focuses on drawing buildings and vehicles may still need to learn to draw a horse or other animal, and require further practice to do so.

Graphite pencils may be used to draw.
Graphite pencils may be used to draw.

There are some common techniques used by those who want to learn to draw, usually as variants to basic types of practicing. Much like other art forms, much can be learned about drawing by someone who studies the works of other artists. Someone can look at illustrations and drawings created by another artist, and then try to re-create those to better understand how the original image was created, and to develop those techniques and skills for himself or herself. A person who wants to learn to draw should also consider other learning activities, such as drawing an image upside down to better develop an eye for shape and form rather than seeing objects.

Anyone who truly wants to learn to draw should also consider taking a class in drawing or art from a teacher. This can help expose the student to new techniques and artists he or she may not be familiar with, expanding the student’s understanding of the artistic world. Such classes can help a student learn to draw by helping the student learn about different types of pencils and pens, various erasers used in drawing, and even how to properly hold a pencil while drawing. While students can learn about these things through books or the Internet, a teacher can often make such lessons easier to understand.

Start with basic techniques like learning to draw the human body.
Start with basic techniques like learning to draw the human body.

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Discussion Comments


@Fa5t3r - That's a good example of the fact that you can draw anything, at any time. I just bring a little notebook along with me whenever I know I'm going to be in a waiting room or on a train and sketch everything I can see around me.

I had to get over the idea that I should make a big deal over every single drawing. It's difficult to get in enough practice if every sketch takes three hours to get right.


@Iluviaporos - One of the techniques they used with us in art school was to get us to make a mural out of a bunch of pictures cut from magazines and then draw it onto big sheets of brown paper as realistically as we could manage but about three times the size.

It was a lot of fun and it was also great for playing with textures and making sure that you are drawing what is actually there instead of what you think is there. If you think the fish is in the middle but it's actually to the side you mess up the whole composition and either have to start over or get busy with an eraser.


Remember that even professional artists will use models for their work. I was always disappointed that I couldn't draw extremely realistic objects or people without an example sitting in front of me for reference. But very few people can and there's no shame in it.

And it can be extremely good for your skills to have to study an object closely and try to draw it as exactly as possible. Life size if you can.

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