How To Sketch

Easily Drawing What You See

Girl drawing

Sketching looks a lot harder than it really is. If you're not going for a masterpiece, but you do desire something recognizable, follow these simple steps.

  1. Copy an image from a print or photo. First draw a grid over the image with 1cm (1/2 inch) squares. These should be drawn as lightly as possible so they can be earesed easily later on in the process. Then, on a separate sheet of paper, very lightly draw a grid that matches the grid you drew over the image, but corresponds to the size you want for final image to be. For example, if you want your finished piece to be twice the size of the original, then draw your squares twice the size of the ones on the image. Just be sure the second grid has the same number of squares along the top and sides.
  2. Begin to draw the image. Begin with any of the major lines and shapes in the image. It is easiest to start drawing all the straightest and longest lines as these will serve a refernce points for the rest of the shapes in the image. Look at what box they are in and then go to the corresponding box on your paper. For exampl, if the line goes through the middle of the the left side of a certain box, then do this on the same spot on drawing paper as well, readjusting for any size change you have made.

    Once you have drawn all major lines, do the same for any more detailed shapes and then carefully erase the grid lines. You are now able to used the major shapes in your drawing as a reference to where smaller shapes should be positioned. It is much easier to draw what you see in a 1cm box than in the entire image.

  3. Add depth with shadow. Now that you have all the shapes you need, start to add depth by adding the shadows you see. As long as you remember to draw what you see and not what what you think you should see your proportions will be good. Always begin with the darkest shadows and blend them out into lighter areas. For dark areas, either press harder or use a softer pencil (4B, 6B or 8B) and for lighter areas, press lightly or use a harder pencil (F, 2H or 4H). Once the shadow is created, blend it with some folded paper towels or a paper stump stick found at most art stores.
  4. Copy a scene from real life. Make a grid system on your paper like in the above step, then cut out two pieces of cardboard in a picture-frame style. Glue thread or yarn on one peice, creating an even grid in the center. Glue the other piece on top of this. Now hold the grid up and look through it to see the sections of the scene you want to draw. Sketch the scene one box at a time. Again drawing in small sections makes it much easier.

You can use a similar technique to sketch faces, draw trees or depict hair.

The ability to sketch is quintessential to many art forms. To perfect your sketching skills you may want to consider taking courses through an online art and design school, which would give you an opportunity to learn more advanced techniques and possibly move on to other kinds of art as well. 


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It is a good method for learning to sketch for beginners, However, I prefer to sketch without the grid to get a professional touch.... Practice makes perfect--at first I do get messy sketches, but as I practice I improve...thanks.

By Waheedullah Aleko