Hi Tombow friends! It’s Grace from Grace Anne Studio! Let’s talk drawing. Staring with a blank page or canvas can be intimidating for even a seasoned artist, but I’m here to give you 5 simple tips to improve your drawing and help you find the confidence you need to create your best work! So, grab your favorite art supplies and let’s get started!
- Tombow MONO Drawing Pencil Set
- Tombow MONO Drawing Pen Set
- Tombow Fuednosuke Brush Pen, Hard Tip
- Tombow MONO Light Eraser
- Tombow MONO Zero Eraser
Tip #1: Use the Rule of Thirds
The first decision you make about your drawing happens before you ever draw a line. I am talking about page placement. Having a subject right in the middle of a page may seem like the most logical choice, however it isn’t the most natural way for a viewer to look at the art. The “Rule of Thirds” is a rule to help make a composition more interesting and balanced. It splits the drawing surface into nine sections, using four intersecting lines. (See below.) To abide by the rule of thirds use the four intersections to place the most important subjects. Use the remaining lines to balance the rest of the composition.
For example, a portrait will be more interesting if the eyes are placed on one of the intersections. A landscape seems more natural with the horizon line either 1/3 or 2/3 up the page, instead of straight across the middle.
Tip #2: Use Gesture Drawing to Practice Forms and Motion
It’s easy for a drawing to look stagnant, however many of the best portraits evoke a feeling of motion and emotion. Use gesture drawing to practice forms and figures without worrying about the end result. Gesture drawing is quick, loose sketches that capture a figure’s form and express movement. Practice makes progress! Practicing with gesture drawing can make a huge difference in conveying movement, tension, and even emotion.
Tip #3: Use Dots for Proportion
My favorite tip for beginning a portrait is to use small dots to block out the proportions. The dots melt into the composition later and allow for a lot more flexibility when forming the figure. Once I have the dots aligned properly, I like to draw a faint line to keep key proportions in check (like the eye-line).
Tip #4: Use 3 Values to Give Shape
One question I get asked a lot is “How do I make my drawing look 3D?” My answer is always the same: add depth by using three values. Values are the lightness or darkness of a color. To create depth, use at least three values in a composition: light, mid-tone, and dark.
For pencil and pen, your light will be highlights using white or negative space, your main drawing will be your mid-tone, and your dark will be a dark gray or black for the shadows. For monochromatic art, you’ll have a light, mid-tone, and dark of one color. For multicolor artwork, you can get very creative with value! If you are unsure of your color choice’s value in multicolor art, simply take a black and white photo. If you choose well, the value of your tones should show as light, medium, and dark!
Tip#5: Ground Your Artwork
My last simple tip to improve your drawing is to ground your artwork. At the most basic level, “figure to ground” theory is about distinguishing your figure from the background. This can be achieved by defining the foreground and background by using a light background with a dark figure or a dark background with a light figure. Similarly, if you draw a full figure, adding a few lines below the feet will help to define the foreground and background of the drawing. This simple addition will make the figure feel rooted in the space.
For more drawing tips, check out Katie’s post 5 Tips for Drawing with Brush Pens or Adrienne’s How to Draw a Peony. If you create something using these tips, be sure to tag @tombowusa and @graceannestudio so we can cheer you on!