08-06-2019   |   by Dehradun College of Art   |   Workshop

10 Tips for Beginners to Improve their Sketching Skills

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

“Sketching is almost everything. It is the painter's identity, his style, his conviction, and then colour is just a gift to the drawing.”

-Fernando Botero

When you are a beginner to sketching, you might not feel comfortable with the pencil or the paper, but only practising can make you better at it. Many artists would advise to always keep a sketchbook at hand, but only filling the pages with doodles is not enough(although it is good for boosting your imagination and creative thinking) you also need to practise your skill and techniques.

Some Tips which are sure to help in improving your sketching skills:

  • Knowing what type of pencil to choose for a sketch is a basic skill for all artists. Their Hardness(H) or Blackness(B) is written on the top to signify the darkness of their colour. Pencil with harder core will lighter and vice versa. Hence a pencil a with higher number next to H will mean it harder and thus lighter but for B the higher number means it is darker and hence softer. And F means that it sharpens to a fine point.

Pencil's Hardness and Blackness

  • Choosing the right pencil to shade is necessary, start with the basic shape and then draws lightly and shade in places which require more detail accordingly.
  • Do not smudge by placing a sheet under your hand when shading. Always use your other side to shade like Right-handed artists should use to shade it from left to right and same for the left-handed artists, They should do the opposite.
  • Avoid using your finger to even the shading. The natural oils of your skin can make it difficult to run graphite in that area later on.
  • You can use a blending stump to mix the shades. Make small circular motions for even shading to give it a more natural look.
  • Always move from light to dark shades. Otherwise, the dark shade could get stuck on your blending stick and mix with your lighter areas. You can also add some texture by using other mediums like watercolour pencils. This can grace your sketch.
  • Hold the pencil from the end to have more control on the direction of shading.
  • Again I'm repeating to practice every day. Don’t give in to the fear, whatever you’re struggling with, practice every day to get out of your struggle. This practice will definitely make your sketching better.
  • For 3D objects, you need to pay close attention to the shadows, highlights and transitions between them.
  • Only draw what you can see, the shapes and the shades of the object and keep the edges light to make it more realistic, there are too many minute details in the real world, which can’t be reproduced exactly or even seen, so no need to stress too much over every little detail.

It is not important what you are making but to do your best in whatever you do, no one can be perfect, and that is okay, keep practising and you will be better than before.
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