The Secret to Learning How To Draw

Sometime back, I looked for tips on The Net, hoping to find the secret to learning how to draw.

In retrospect, I’m pretty sure I found what I was looking for, but it took me over a year to realize that.

You may think this is way too obvious, because the “big” secret is that you need to draw some, draw some more, and then draw even some more.
Eventually, you will begin to see some improvement, you may even get worse at it first. Why worse? Because something is changing and this takes its toll on the set of tricks you’ve been depending on until now, and also worse because you’re improving your own skill at critiquing drawings.
The real secret to drawing something impressive lies in you learning how to see right. Not just to see with your eyes, but also your heart and mind, you cannot learn this on youtube or from any book, you need to practice it. For hours and hours. Days and days. Months and months.

There were a few more secrets, but I won’t go into them much, just let you know, which ones really work for me:

  • use a sketchbook, take it with you and draw in it and go places especially to draw
  • draw from life as often as possible
  • draw on anything that is available (envelopes, letters, cards, boxes, bags)
  • copy from the Great Masters (or anybody who is already dead and whose drawings are still being displayed)
  • don’t care about the tool, but consider using ink over pencil (no erasing possible)
  • spend 10 minutes each day just practicing drawing straight lines, ellipses and circles
  • look into gesture drawing, even if you don’t want to draw many people later
  • draw lots of quick poses, faces, hands (e.g. from photos on (support that site!))
  • look at your best attempts for a bit, but …
  • throw as many away as possible

Tonight I drew over one hundred faces, each one in 30 seconds and it got pretty tedious towards the end, but this is what I’m talking about. Draw, draw, draw. Everyday, I must keep reminding myself that these hours and hours of practice are necessary to get anywhere with this skill. And the hours of practice can be fun!

There are no shortcuts.


12 thoughts on “The Secret to Learning How To Draw

  1. Ruby Opaltones Oct 21, 2016 / 12:45 am

    What a great post. So down to earth, and yet so optimistic and encouraging. I love your sheet of faces. Now that is something!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ed Mostly Oct 22, 2016 / 7:29 pm

    Spot on, get better at drawing by drawing. The 100 faces are lovely, the same female face reappears often…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stu-ttg-art Oct 23, 2016 / 6:26 pm

      Ed, thanks for the comment! My wife says the same about the female faces. Triggered by your comment, I’ve been thinking about why this is the case, but I have no better “excuse” than that female models and the photos of such are very much chosen and modelled around a male idealistic image of female beauty. Additionally, I am obviously not innocent of having the exact same male brain programming and the simplifications I chose to make while doing my 30 second exercises are based on a pattern of female beauty which has obviously impressed itself upon me. I’m going to try and see if I can “force” something more out of the female models … but I’m not going to try too hard. Greetings from Germany! Stuart


  3. Lynn Cohen Como Oct 24, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    Absolutely you got that right! Drawing right along with you every day and loving it! Great page!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stu-ttg-art Oct 24, 2016 / 10:04 pm

      Welcome to my blog, Lynn! Love from Germany, Stu


  4. Cassandra Oct 25, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    Nice post Stuart. Especially the part about things getting worse before they get better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stu-ttg-art Oct 28, 2016 / 10:54 pm

      Thanks, Cassandra! They get worse all the time for me … I have to keep coming back here to read up on my tips again and again …


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