Pencil Drawing as a Hobby
Getting Started Drawing
A few years ago, I took to drawing. It was an adventure for me that I took on late in life, and I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. You can read more about it, on another of my articles, called I Wish I Could Draw.
One of the things that's motivated me, and kept my interest has been writing drawing lessons online. It's something I've enjoyed since joining, and I plan to continue doing it for as long as I possibly can. The one thing I always tried to imply in all of these lessons is that anyone can draw.
Along with that, I try to imply that all it takes is the will, and pencil and paper, and that really is true. But there are a few more things people who draw frequently know. And I'd like to share some of it here.
Draw Things More Than Once
Take a look at the picture to the right. It's a scribble sheet that I used to create my logo. I spent a good amount of time, I didn't get discouraged, and I continued until I had what I wanted.
The thing is, repetition is a good way to learn things. It may seem like it's boring, but when learning something new sometimes it really is the only way. And every picture drawn is a new picture.
I also feel like it's a good idea to take a few stabs at drawing something because it takes the pressure off getting it right the first time. I'm not obsessing over each little thing, and I can afford to be more experimental.
In fact, the picture to the right wasn't the first one I thought to place here. I found a number of them in my folders that I scribbled on repeatedly, trying to get the drawing right. I found that I go anywhere from three-to-ten times before I stop on one I like, but more often than not, three seems to be the number.
I think on my first pass, I'm really just feeling things out, trying to figure out exactly what I want. Then on the second pass, I'll actually nail down the proportions. And the third time, I have a good idea of what I'm doing, so depending upon the complexity of the drawing, I'll get it that time.
Add Nuance to Lines
Take a look at the two arm drawings to the right. It should be fairly obvious that they are both arms, but the one at the top is kind of straight and lacks any kind of definition. It's the kind of arm that Shaggy on Scooby-Doo might be drawn with. There isn't much there.
Now, take a look at the second arm. When I drew both arms, I began with the exact same framework, but the bottom arm, I continued to nuance until it looked like it had muscle depth. I didn't want to stop at the bare minimum of an arm. I wanted to make sure I pushed the lines as far as I could.
Gentle curves can indicate something very different to the eyes. It's all in the nuance.
Use Simple Shapes
Often times, artists will begin by blocking out a drawing with simple shapes, rather than trying to tackle the complex collection all at once. This can be an extremely beneficial process when accompanied by nuances to lines, as you go.
This is a step that's about developing an artist's eye. It's about seeing things and breaking them down into simple ovals, circles, rectangles or lines. It's not always easy, but in the end, it's worth the trouble to take an image in smaller chunks.
The cat to the right is part of a lesson on How to Draw a Cat. It's the beginning stages of the drawing, which displays the head and body as nothing more than circles and ovals. This makes it much easier to handle the entire drawing step-by-step.
Use a Number of Pencils
One thing many artists do, is they use more than one pencil. This is a great technique that offers a number of benefits.
The first thing is, whenever you draw, you want to begin with a light sketch, so I personally always start with either my F or HB pencils. The F and HB demonstrate the hardness of the pencil. These two are very hard, so they write very light on paper. They're perfect for blocking out a sketch. Then, once I've established which lines I want, and my drawing is pretty much there, I'll move up to the 2B or 4B, which are softer pencils, and write darker.
Drawing with darker pencils intensifies the drawing. The sketch lines will literally begin to disappear as you use the darker pencils. This is great, especially if the sketch was loaded with lines going all over the place you may not have wanted. Once the darkened lines are established, you can still drop back down to lighter pencils to add some shadowing to the drawing. It's fun to switch between two or three pencils and see what kind of effects that can offer.
Don't Stop Until It Pops
The final step in drawing is about popping the picture off of the paper. It's about taking the simple lines and adding light, shadow, and depth.
If you want something to look really good, never stop at the final drawing. Keep going until you've become tired of it. Use both hands to smudge, erase and re-pencil areas until it begins to really jump from the paper. This stage can take much longer than any of the previous stages, and it can really resemble sculpting, more than drawing.
It's my favorite part, and it can be interesting to see what effects you can get from introducing different levels of light and dark.
Don't Go For the Finish
I think one mistake many people make is they're drawing to achieve a completed drawing. They're rushing to the end, and they forget to enjoy the process of drawing, which is really the point.
This can be tough because it's always fun to see what you'll end up with. So often, everyone is excited to see if they can accomplish the drawing. But to really accomplish it, you need to stick with it and move through without feeling the deadline, or any feeling of, I must complete this. Just try to enjoy the draw.