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Drawing Basics

Drawing basics come in handy when you tackle something complex as drawing. It is really easy to get lost into the details and forget basic principles.

We decided to create this page was to remember our readers that drawing and painting, like all arts, are based on simple drawing basic principles, that trained artist eyes apply without even thinking but that are often disregarded by students and beginners.

While creating the tutorials on this site we found ourselves more and more referring to these principles and we thought it could have been useful to give them a proper space and the importance they deserve.

To start with, five very drawing basics to apply to your artistic path in general, not just drawing or painting:

Ok, it’s time to look at these principles:

Drawing basics rule n. 1 – Simplify

This is one of the most importand drawing basics. Whenever you can. It is always and I mean always possible to simplify even the most complex picture into basic shapes and forms.

Basic shapes and forms (like circles, quadrangles, triangles, ellipses etc) are easier to visualize and understand and they are easy to draw. So whenever you are looking at someone else drawing to try and studying it or if you are drawing something for yourself always simplify.

If you are copying an image try to reduce it to a composition of basic shapes and start reconstructing the image from them.

If you are creating a complex image for yourself start setting up the basic shapes that make up the picture in your mind (..you must have some sort of picture in your mind if you started drawing); lay them down and do not focus on details but try to work on the general composition of the drawing.

In the following picture I have created an example of the power of simplification. You can see how even the most complex image can be broken down to basic drawings that are easy to understand and reproduce.

Finally, simplifying will train your eye tremendously and after a bit of training you’ll find you need it less frequently.

Do not forget, even Giotto started with a circle!

drawing basics

2. Step back

Step back means stop frequently while drawing to evaluate what you are doing and to check if you are happy with it. It is easy to get caught up in drawing while drawing.

It is so rewarding just the primordial gesture of marking that piece of paper that it’s easy to get lost into it and loose the control of what you are doing.

Get into the habit of stopping frequently and asses how the drawing is proceeding will save you headaches later on. You are going to make mistakes. There is no escape. Even if you were the most talented on the earth.

Assessing frequently your work gives you control and control is everything in drawing.

3.  Flip your drawing

We are human beings, we are biased. We do not see reality but what we think reality is. Our drawing will look beautiful to us. It will look fantastic and that’s because we are proud of what we are doing and our brain will fill that picture with pride and make it look amazing to us. Do not believe me?

Try to flip it horizontally.

There are two ways of doing it, with a scan and a computer or by holding the drawing in front of a mirror.

99% of the time mistakes will pop like mushrooms after a rainy day. Flipping your drawing or painting will give you a fresh, new perspective on it and allow you to readily and more thoroughly asses it. If it looks good after the flipping test, you are on your way to realize an amazing drawing.

Drawing basics

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