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How to Sketch: Sketching Tips for Beginners

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A sketch is a rough drawing, often used as the skeleton of a more elaborate and polished piece of work. Sketching is a quick way to get ideas and concepts on to paper and is an essential skill in many creative industries.

Whether you’re relatively new to drawing or you’re an artist who’s trying to be more creative, learning how to sketch effectively has many benefits. It can help you relax, spark new ideas and improve your drawing abilities.

Here are 5 sketching tips to help you get started.

Choose the right equipment

As with any other art form, you’ll struggle to see the benefits of sketching if you’re not using the right equipment to begin with. Luckily, sketching doesn’t need to be an expensive hobby. It’s worth investing in a mixture of graphite pencils – use H pencils for hard, defined lines and B pencils for soft, blurry lines.

Choosing suitable paper is important too. Fine art paper is great for sketching because it has the right thickness and texture for pencil work. If you want to sketch on the go whenever inspiration strikes, stick with a smaller sketchbook you can keep in your bag. Go for a more sizeable sketchbook if you prefer to create bigger drawings – it’s really up to you. Check out these tips on how to use a sketchbook.

Observe your subject

If you’re drawing from life, spend a few minutes observing your subject before putting pencil to paper. Focus on the fundamental shapes, light and textures and the relationship between them. Breaking it down into these components will help you create simple sketches and train your mind to notice little details that can enrich your work.

Draw the basic shapes first

Break the subject or concept down into its primary shapes, using light, loose lines. It doesn’t need to be perfect – focus on the proportions, composition and planes and capture how these interact with each other.

Add detail later

When you’ve got the basics in place, you can then add more detail. Use different pencils to create harder lines, add shading effects and include more definition. Bear in mind that it still doesn’t need to be a masterpiece, it’s just a fleshed out version of your initial sketch.

Don’t overthink

Sketching isn’t about creating a flawless piece of work.  It’s just the bare bones of an idea or something you’ve observed. The whole point is to focus on whatever’s in your mind or in front of you and getting it down on paper. Obsessing over detail at this stage is counterproductive.

Want to learn how to draw animals? Use these handy resources.

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