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How To Get Better at Sketching

by Luke Shen

At some point, I’m sure you’ve seen some artist pick up a pencil and paper, and 5 minutes later, a drawing is there! How? 

Drawing is the fundamental skill in art. Being able to put together lines and curves in a certain fashion allows for the illusion of form on a 2d plane. That is a skill that requires a lot more practice than you may think! Reportedly, it takes 5 sketches a day for over 5 years to get “good” at sketching. To put into perspective, let’s say each sketchbook is 0.75 inches thick. That is around 5.6 ft of pages full of sketches, or the average height of 1 person! Now, obviously, not all sketches will fill 1 page, and some days you may not be able to sketch, but regardless, drawing is a skill that is refined over time. So how does one acquire it?

For time’s sake ( so that you can get right to sketching), there are three fundamentals that all artists practice regardless of their experience.

First off, is the use of lines. Proper line quality is essential in conveying form and depth in a drawing. If you draw a very squiggly, inconsistent line,  it is more difficult to convey any ideas that you are trying to show. Many artists will  practice the quality of their line.  This Means drawing straight lines, curved lines,  changing the thicknesses,  and the way the lines are executed. Mastering the execution of lines  with conciseness and precision, drawing becomes much easier!

Secondly, artists will practice perspective. In order to make something look like it’s farther away or closer to an audience, it is important that proper perspective is used.  There are many methods practicing perspective,  but the main methods include drawing different squares at different angles and then bringing them back to 1 Point. This is called one point perspective. Other perspectives included two point and three point perspectives. Both of these perspectives utilize extra points to convey extra information in depth. These are just as important as the one-point perspective.

Finally and most importantly, is diligence. The 2 practices  listed above are actual things that you need to practice, but the most important thing,both throughout life and drawing is diligence. For example, if you only did 1 sketch per day,  after 5 years you’d barely get 20% of the original requirement to supposedly get “good” at sketching.  Even 1 sketch per day is good, as long as you are practicing. By not sketching whatsoever,  you will not develop the muscle memory needed to properly execute drawings. So keep at it! Not all drawings have to look good. It’s truly about the process and learning the proper foundations, in order to progress towards better drawings. 

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