If you can scribble on a piece of paper, you can learn how to sketch! If you are already an artist, these tips could be a refresher for you to improve your sketch drawing. You might even learn something new.
Choose the right pencil
When it comes to sketching, using the wrong pencil can discourage you. If you notice letters on the side of the pencil, know that they stand for the hardness of the graphite. For example, pencils that are marked with an “H” are harder. Whereas those marked with a “B” are softer.
More importantly, you should learn how to mix traditional pencils with mechanical ones. To illustrate:
- Mechanical pencil is useful when you are trying to create precise details in your sketches.
- Traditional pencil is better to use for large texture areas.
Smudging is something that can easily occur when you are sketching. In order to avoid that from happening, always use an extra piece of paper and place it underneath your hand. This will prevent the heat from your hand and natural oils from smudging your pencil lines.
Make sure to use a drawing table of the right size to avoid unnecessary clutter.
This tip works for everyone, but it is especially important for left-handed artists. Indeed, people who draw with their right hand might smudge their work if the piece is big enough that you have to reach across it. However, left-handed people are more often to reach at an angle that sets their hand over their strokes. Do you know this artist can draw with both hands?
Hold your pencil properly
Next, bear in mind that you will need to switch between different hand positions and grips throughout your drawing process. Most of the time, you need to position your hand further away from the tip of your pencil. You also want to move your entire arm as you draw and not only your wrist.
Try to relax and draw loosely! If you are too tense, warm up by drawing different types of lines and shapes. There is absolutely nothing to be nervous about. Especially if you start out with light lines that you can easily erase. Always start lightly, and move on to darker values as you refine your sketch drawing. To learn more about values, check out this article.
Use a blending stick to smooth shading
It is possible to create smooth, blended effects using pencils. For example, to capture a sky. Sometimes it is preferable for your shading to be less sketchy and more smooth and subtle.
To avoid your initial scribbles showing through in your sketch drawing, use spare paper to doodle a big swatch of soft graphite or charcoal pencil. Then, use a large blending stick to pick up the soft dust to use for your image. Keep using the blending stick and adding more scribbles as you need more graphite. You can then build up darker areas to create definition.
Apply the 70/30 rule in your sketch drawing
Less can be more! The 70/30 rule helps you to create effective compositions for your sketch drawing.
The idea is that 30% of your sketch is filled with the main focus and detail. Subsequently, the remaining 70% is filler. This less interesting area helps direct attention towards the main subject of your sketch drawing. See below for example.
Mix line and mark-making method
Plenty of illustrators will tell you not all lines are identical. This means that you have to use varied lines to make the best out of your sketch drawing. When you fiddle with darkness and width, you are more likely to create an interesting drawing.
However, before you can actually put all those varied lines to good use, you will have to control the kind of mark you put on paper. To get better at this, experiment using different pencil grades. Hold them in different ways to understand how they work.
Do you know? These are the things every artist should know.
Control your edges
Edges create interest in a drawing. Once you learn more about edging techniques, you will begin to understand how you can combine them to get interesting borders. Afterwards, you can use undefined, lost, hard, and thin edges. But only after you have explored all four will you be able to adapt them to your drawing style.
Thin and hard edges give objects solid borders. Lost edges occur when the object and background values start to blend together. So the edge is implied rather than defined. Undefined edges need to be deciphered by the viewer themselves. This is a perfect example by an artist who manages the edges so well that creates highly realistic drawings with only ball pen.
Practice Makes Perfect
After all, the golden rule is that practice makes perfect. Share with us your artwork on Facebook or Instagram with hashtag #artroom22. Last but not least, if you are considering whether to frame your final sketch drawing, this article “Should I Frame My Artwork?” is helpful for you.
Share your tips with us in the comment box below!