Aside from practice, any tips on how to improve my sketching skills?

I love to draw and stuff, and I’m getting steadily better with practise, but I still have alot of trouble with human anatomy and stuff. Any got any tips on getting the human body looking right, or sketching realistic shadows etc?

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  • Vince M

    First, be SURE you are serious with your practice. I’ve seen people write that they practice by making a drawing every day. The thing is, REAL practice means making dozens of sketches every day. And the best practice is drawing from real life. Yes, I mean live models, but I also mean tables, chairs, hallways, houses, trees, flowers, clouds, mountains, cars, birds, dogs, cats, zoo animals, boats, airplanes, flat parkland, creeks, rivers, fire hydrants. In fact, practice by trying to realistically capture an image of anything you can see.

    Even artists who pride themselves that they draw well from memory, or out of their imagination, would not have been able to do that without a LOT of practice from real life.

    Practice means a series of QUICK sketches, maybe less than ten seconds in which one tried to capture the essence of the subject., sometimes it’s just. Pose. It could be a gesture. Maybe just the outline of the clothing. The thing is, that it’s not the quality of those quick sketches, it’s the learning. You are teaching the eyes to see, the brain to observe and the hand to place the mark where needed. Every sketch does NOT have to be a masterpiece. One has to be ready to make mistakes and learn from them. Quick sketches don’t have to be good. But if this practice is done with the right discipline and attitude, next weeks drawings will be noticeably better than this week’s. And the following week’s even better.

    Even finished detailed drawings begin with a quick sketch. It is this foundation on wich the entire composition is built. Quick sketches are the foundation on which the artist’s skills are built.

  • Albert

    Always start with the eyes, draw them well and people will forgive 90% of any other technical errors..

  • Tim D

    By looking at what you are drawing; comparing measurements, so if you know the width between the eyes, use that to compare with other things, like the length of a forearm for example. One way to do that is to hold a pencil at arm’s length (always at arm’s length otherwise the measurements will not be accurate) and use your thumb to mark the distance then apply that.

    Shadows too are a case of proper close observation, try drawing an egg, look where the shadows are on the egg, look at where the shadow hits the table, observe how it changes in intensity from near to far, add a coloured cloth under the egg, note how the colour affect the shadow on the egg.

    An egg is just a basic shape to start with.

  • crumbbum14

    Practice drawing one figure over and over again until you get it right. Then compare one drawing with the previous one, then correct what you find wrong with another sketch.

    Tracing photographs helps too, practice.

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