How To Improve Drawing Skills (With Practical Tips)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 3 January 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Drawing skills help create attractive and compelling visual images, designs and products. Businesses require professionals with strong drawing and design skills to create memorable visuals and experiences that customers can associate with their brand or products. If you are considering a career in a design-related field, learning about the importance of drawing skills and how to improve them can be beneficial. In this article, we explain how to improve drawing skills, share some practical tips and discuss some popular career options that require strong drawing skills.

What Are Drawing Skills?

Drawing skills are the ability to sketch or illustrate an object or shape using lines. These skills also include the ability to work with different mediums like paints, charcoal and colours. While most people consider drawing skills to be an innate talent, you can learn how to draw better by practicing and learning new techniques. Even seemingly trivial tasks, like learning how to hold a pen or pencil correctly, can help you become a better artist.

Related: What Is Creative Design? Skills And Popular Careers

How To Improve Drawing Skills?

Follow these steps if you are not sure how to improve drawing skills:

1. Warm-up

Before you begin drawing, consider performing some warm-up exercises. Creating this routine can help prepare your hands and fingers and help in improving your speed and accuracy. You can start by clenching and unclenching your fingers, shaking your hands or doing stretches. These exercises can help your muscles relax when you draw.

2. Draw straight lines and curves on a piece of paper

Start by sketching small lines and curves on a piece of paper. This is a great way to get started and learn the basics of how to control the drawing instrument. Use a pen or paper to draw straight lines on a piece of paper, then move on to drawing curves. This helps in building more control while drawing. Start from the corner of the page and keep drawing as you proceed. At the end of this exercise, notice the symmetry and patterns you create and identify how to improve them.

3. Set a timer

Once you get comfortable in free form drawing and sketching, start timing yourself. You can set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes to sketch anything of your choice. Make sure you complete your drawing within the specified time. With time, you can try to draw more complicated visuals and challenge yourself.

4. Sketch with different line qualities

Sketch shapes in different thicknesses to improve your drawing skills. For example, start by drawing a simple design like a flower. Next, sketch the shape repeatedly on paper. Start with thin lines, then change the type of pencil or brush by making it thicker. This can help you identify the style which suits you the best.

Related: 13 Essential Fine Artist Skills (With Tips To Improve Them)

5. Add shading

The next step is to add shading to your sketches. This helps give depth to your drawings and makes them more realistic. Improving your shading skills can also help make you draw bigger pictures with more details. You can start by adding lines to a small area. See where you think the light hits the image or creates shadows. Now, add shading by holding your drawing instrument with a loose hand.

6. Make continuous strokes

When you become more confident, start making continuous lines. Make a simple drawing, and use unbroken lines to draw the shapes. This helps in improving your ability to draw smooth sketches. You can draw anything from your imagination without worrying about how realistic it looks. Getting better at using continuous lines can improve your speed and create a smooth visual.

7. Use different mediums

Try using different mediums, like a pen, pencil or charcoal, to bring different textures to your drawings. This can help you find and develop your unique drawing and visual style. Draw different shapes, curves, still object and lines to see which one you prefer. You can also experiment with different types of paper.

Related: 12 Types Of Drawing Tools Essential For Artistic Careers

Tip To Improve Drawing Skills

Here are some tips that can help improve your drawing skills:

Keep a sketchbook

Keeping a sketchbook where you can practice drawing every day is a great outlet for your creative energy and can help in improving your drawing skills. By sketching regularly, your drawing skills and your ideas can improve incrementally every day. Carry your sketchbook with you wherever you go for drawing purposes.

Use stick figures

When you initially start drawing, you can begin by drawing stick figures and other two-dimensional objects. This is an excellent way to improve symmetry and control a drawing instrument better. Stick figures can provide a good basis for line figure drawings, and with time, you can use stick figures to make more complex drawings.

Trace outlines

You can print a picture of something that interests you. Then trace it over on a different paper or canvas and add details. This helps build muscle memory and makes drawing lines, curves and angles easier. Doing this can also help you experiment with different forms and objects.

Use reference photos and objects

Sometimes it is difficult to draw with your imagination. When you experience a blockage in your creativity or imagination, you can use a reference photo or object to gather inspiration and get ideas for your drawing. If you are drawing for a commercial project, make sure that any image you use is available under the Creative Commons licence.

Schedule time to draw

One of the easiest ways to improve your drawing skills is to set a specific time each day for practising. To become an accomplished artist, it is essential to practice every day. So set aside some time every day and make it a daily habit to sketch. With time, you can make this a part of your daily routine and draw every day instinctively.

Top Careers Requiring Drawing Skills

Here are some popular careers that require professionals to have strong drawing skills:

1. Graphic Designer

National average salary: ₹18,611 per month

Primary duties: Graphic designers create visual communication material, including illustrations, marketing content, reports, presentations and publications. They usually help the company's marketing team create engaging visual content and help coordinate with web designers, printers, writers or editors. Knowledge of design principles and expertise in using specialised design software helps graphic designers produce effective visual material, like social media posts.

Related: What Is A Graphic Designer? And How You Can Become One

2. Artist

National average salary: ₹23,487 per month

Primary duties: Artists create different forms and styles of visual art pieces and paintings for galleries and clients. They usually work with curators and art galleries to work on commissioned projects and artworks. Extensive experience in different drawing styles, sketching and painting can be essential for artists to create compelling art. Artists can also take up educational roles like teachers or professors to teach this art form to others.

3. Product Designer

National average salary: ₹21,910 per month

Primary duties: Product designers are responsible for designing 3D products like packaging and exteriors of devices. Digital product designers usually work on the user experience and interface of products like websites and applications. They typically create designs as per the latest market and customer trends, work with clients, coordinate with the production and delivery teams and work with senior leaders or designers to ensure superior product experiences for customers.

Related: What Is A Product Designer? (Duties And Skills)

4. Fashion Designer

National average salary: ₹20,165 per month

Primary duties: Fashion designers work with clothing companies and brands to create innovative and popular apparel and accessory designs. There are different types of fashion designers, including apparel designers, footwear designers, costume designers and jewellery designers. They also usually require knowledge of digital design software and systems. Fashion designers can also work at large fashion brands on niche clothing products or start their own clothing enterprise.

Related: What Is A Fashion Designer? Qualification, Salary And Skills

5. UI Designer

National average salary: ₹23,625 per month

Primary duties: User interface or UI designers are responsible for the overall aesthetics and functionality of the interface of digital systems to ensure an engaging interface and experience for users. They usually work with developers and product managers to understand the user requirements, create user personas, conduct research and optimise the interface for maximum engagement. UI designers create sitemaps, storyboards and models to ensure consistent design language across the product.

6. Architect

National average salary: ₹23,657 per month

Primary duties: Architects help design houses, buildings and public infrastructure. They usually work at architectural companies and work with different clients to oversee construction projects from conception to completion. They are also typically responsible for creating and presenting proposals, preparing blueprints, getting approvals, conducting feasibility reports, complying with the local regulation and adhering to the project budget and timeline. Architects also collaborate with other construction professionals to ensure timely delivery of construction projects while adhering to the project budget. They require strong drawing skills to create maps and construction layouts.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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