Artists are always searching for new ways to improve what they do, and how they are doing it. Whatever the medium may be, insight and experience tend to be the strongest teachers, and that’s where these tips come in. With these four exercises and ideas, you can learn a lot about your own style of drawing as it currently stands, and areas where you may need to make improvements.
- Get a figure. Whether it’s something that you’ve moulded yourself from clay, or a 12” drawing mannequin, these figures have a lot of importance even if they do have the most basic of forms. The first quality is that you can see how light actually falls on or off of them at certain points. With your mannequin, this could be a great combination with your anatomy drawings to create more realistically shaded areas in poses that you’re interested in depicting. Action shots, even those already photographed, can be improved through the use of a mannequin as well. Moulding your own figure can take time, but be well worth it if you have the clay, and works out well if you want to draw something that isn’t the humanoid shape that a mannequin is.
- Get electronic. You may have already sketched or painted a piece, but if you have the opportunity to do so, don’t be afraid to give it another look through an electronic medium, such as through a photo editing program. With the right software and understanding of how to use it, you can not only make changes to a piece to conceptualize how it would look in real life, but you can even look at finer points of detail, including which colors are primarily used in which regions. You can mirror the drawing as well, which can help you to see mistakes otherwise missed.
- Get smaller (or larger). Lowering or raising the dimensions of the figure or concept can actually change how you approach adding certain details. In larger dimensions, you may struggle to exactly signify a certain view and its shading, while on smaller scales that may only be a swipe or stroke with a pencil. The differences in detail and technique at different dimension sizes can illustrate some universal qualities between them, and the differences that come out as you get larger, and require more detail in turn.
- Get organized. Don’t throw your old sketches away; even if you’re just a hobbyist, collect your work into a small portfolio. You can use this as a reference to see where you’ve gotten better, and what skills you may be ignoring that you should be using now. These portfolios are a great way to stay motivated to improve your skills, and a roadmap on where you should go next to make them even better.
If you haven’t already read our other article on easy drawing tips, be sure to read it for even more ideas to give your skillset a boost.