I Want To Draw.... For the Absolute Beginner

I Want To Draw. . . So Here is Your Chance For the Absolute Beginner

Two Girls at Art College Learning how to paint
Girls Art College Painting at The Easel. Getty Images

If you struggle with creating simple circles, straight lines or even joining two points, then you might need to know these basic drawing skills listed here.

Most of these skills are ignored when you are at the point of learning how to draw the first time. For someone who is drawing a lot, these skills become second nature like writing.

However, if you are just messing around without practicing, do not follow some of the basic rules, then you can call yourself “a hobbyist,” not an artist. Here are some easy-to-do techniques you can start with. 

I want to draw a straight line (how many times had you heard that or even said it?

Straight lines are not real in the art world. They only exist as vector joining two points. You can try to use a ruler, however, that would be cheating, right? And denying your hand control the opportunity of learning how to create a straight line. If you are finding it hard to create long lines, start with short lines and you hand can easily get adapted like holding a knife and fork. Drawing should be fun, not a chore. 

For technical drawing, which mainly entails perfect circles and straight lines, you need a lot of concentration. This requires drawing lines exactly as they are. Technical drawing is not the time for creativity--we'll get to that later in this series!

Drawing is all about staying focused on the result while keeping your hand relaxed and your mind in tune with what you are drawing. If you want to keep your hand relaxed, sketch freely and fast. Here are a few useful tips to use:

  • Long lines should be divided into shorter ones
  • If there are more curves, keep the lines shorter in order to keep it smooth
  • Do not press too hard on the pencil, touch the paper lightly but vary the pressure and speed
  • Keep practicing
  • Work with your style of drawing
  • Now practice some more 

You might feel you can only draw what others’ have already created. This means your drawings are never really yours. Sure, copy another artist style but trash it when mastered. You know you can draw straight lines and circles, it’s easy, right? However, this is not enough. This will be good for repeating, but your creativity will be left in the dust behind. If you draw a copy exactly the way it is, with repeating those lines and circles--then the copy is not yours! 

You can start with a few basic shapes like a cube, a cone, an oval or a circle. You can feel as if your hand is shaking sometimes, ignore. It is getting your arm and hand in coordination with each other. However, do not give up, repeat until your hand and arm is relaxed, and you will be able to create shapes and forms.

Now start with a human head, draw several at the same time. You will realize all your heads look slightly different from each other. Since you are learning how to draw, you will realize eventually that they will start looking fairly similar as you enhance your skills. For practice, use the following points; 

  • Look around and try drawing things from your immediate environment. Use careful and bold lines, some soft-others hard. In other words, vary them. Do not think too much about your results and, in my opinion, do not show your drawings to your family at this early stage.
  • Sketch as much as you can and try and get 15 minutes every day. This is how you build confidence and develop your skills. Your result is not important at this point. It is your hand and arm coordinates practicing its natural movement. You do NOT hold your pencil as you would writing a letter e.g. with your middle finger and thumb holding your pencil.
  • Remain creative as you go and do not have fixed ideas about “how things should look.”  Change shapes, lengths and distances, see and feel what you achieve in your drawings.”
  • Measure the proportions carefully, as this is a skill you develop as you travel up to a professional level. Take time with this getting your forms and proportion exactly right.

One of the main problems people have is that their proportions look out of whack. I know you cannot get it right first time. By judging mass areas (forms like the chest area of a figure) and comparing the negative shapes between the forms—you’ll feel you can draw a given spatial distances without using geometrical tools—like a pantograph. If you are an aspiring artist, then incorrect proportions that you can’t see can be a big huge problem. 

You first need to understand what proportions are. In simple terms, proportions are not measured with any units. They simply define an element when compared to others. For example, if you want to draw a cup two times bigger than the original, then you need to double all the distances. 

The best way to measure proportion is to use your pencil. Position the top part of the form you are drawing with the tip of your pencil, then place your thumb at the bottom of the form. There you have your measurement. Now put a mark on your paper where the tip (top part) and the bottom (the thumb). Now repeat that with measuring your forms horizontally. This is a fast way to get an accurate drawing!

Practice drawing several proportions of the same object. Use simple shapes within your space such as a cup, a bottle, and a plate. It is all about training your vision and coordinating with your hand and arm to create the expected proportion. To achieve great proportions, here are some pointers.

  • Check the different proportions around you, to be able to be able to differentiate the forms. Look at your fingers and compare them to your palms. Now look at your hand and see it in proportion to your arm. This is something that you can do during your spare time. It will help to increase your observational skills. With time, your eyes and mind will achieve that level of differentiation and your drawings will become quite accurate.
  • If recreating sizes is giving you problems, go through the above paragraphs and keep on practicing. It will come right but practice will make all the difference. Practice drawing circles and try to make them look identical, although they are different sizes. You should learn this basic skill, since it forms the core of any drawing.
  • There are sample images available on the internet where you can see forms that are made up from circles. Use these for practicing, as they will help to build your confidence. You cannot build anything strong on a weak base get to know the rules and once you know them, you can throw them away, Therefore, these skills are important to master—so practice often,

You will find it hard to draw parallel lines Your second line always seems to be following the wrong direction.This indicates you are holding your pencil too tightly Also the problem might be that you are trying too hard. You are trying perfection, and as a result, you draw carefully and slowly. However, doing this is only giving your hand a chance to make more mistakes. Remember to use your whole hand, wrist and arm, sit with your back straight and, if you are indoors make sure you have adequate light.

One of the greatest and complex training you can undertake is drawing snakes. With snakes, you can plan lengths, practice proportions, change angles and sizes and more importantly, you train your hand how to move gracefully. Snakes are not uniform; they are thick on some parts while thin in others. 

Try this: starting with a row of circles and making each smaller than the previous, then connecting their diameters, you have a simple snake. For better practice, draw many snakes, each time varying the size and positioning of the circles. Draw a series of waves and parallel lines fast as possible.


If you find it hard to draw from imagination, and you can only follow a certain tutorial, then this problem is not as hard as it seems. Practice with several different shapes and you will master the art of drawing in little time. Although drawing practices might seem boring, it is essential to learn to do it right so get in the basic rules first. When you perfect your skills and learn to relax your hand during drawing, you will be amazed to discover the endless world of creativity.