Drawing, Inspiration, Sketching

Sketching Ideas for New Artists

June 5, 2014

By Alina Bradford

eep guy screaming COLOREDMaking a habit of sketching every day builds good drawing skills, so sketching is doubly important to new artists. There are a couple ways that artists can practice their sketching skills while learning important techniques that will be useful as painting studies and drawing references.

Gesture Drawing

Sketching can take the fear out of drawing because it is not meant to be a precise and exact representation of the object.  It is simply a way of capturing the essence of a scene.

Gesture drawing is a perfect example of this. This type of sketching is basically capturing the movement of the subject quickly before the moment is gone. This can mean drawing the subjects as simply as possible, avoiding any details and just laying down the simple shapes.

The first example drawing at the end of this article (click on it to enlarge it) shows a gesture drawing by Rembrandt. The master artist quickly drew some loose shapes to note the position of the subjects.

The new artist can do gesture drawings by finding subjects that are in the middle of doing something, then attempt to draw, not the subject, but the shape the subject makes, as shown in the second example drawing, below.  The very simplest of form is used to show the placement of the body and limbs as a child runs. Later, the artist can go back and “flesh out” the skeleton form, but for now, this sketch captures the movement of the subject.

It will take some practice for a new artist to resist the urge to draw details, but eventually, the gestural drawings will get easier.

Sketching Simple Shapes

Simple shapes make up everything an artist may ever want to sketch, so it is important to be able to draw simple, 3-dimensional shapes such as cylinders, cubes, balls and pyramids, well. For example, the third illustration at the bottom of the article shows how a gestural drawing can be done by using shapes. To learn more about drawing 3-dimensional shapes see How to Draw 3-Dimensional Shapes and How to Draw 3-Dimensional Buildings.

Here are some ideas for making this type of sketching interesting:

  • Sketch an egg, which a 3-dimensional oval
  • Practice drawing buildings, which are cube shapes
  • Try a cylinder shape like a soda can
  • Doodle pens and pencils, which are cylinders shapes

Starting with these sketching ideas, new artists can build their skill and will be able to sketch more complicated subjects later on. For more advanced sketching ideas see: 31 Creative Drawing Ideas

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