• How To Sketch? 20 Essential Sketching Tips For Beginners.

    • 18th August 2022
    • Posted byNitin Kaku

    Are you someone who wants to sketch but can’t?

    You may have tried but you might have just left it in between considering the slow progress and not so satisfactory results of the art.

    Well, we can promise you that you are not alone. Anything you start to do or have been doing gets better with practice and that’s a fact that no one can deny.

    At WhataPortrait we believe that art shouldn’t be confined but rather its knowledge and skills should be spread. That’s the only reason that one of our services includes converting your photographs into a handmade sketch by our competent artists.

    Don’t fret and just read these tips to make sure that you excel in sketching like a boss.

    1. Basic it up

    Basic it up

    We know you can’t wait to sketch your first masterpiece but take this, every good thing takes a long time.

    While starting on your sketching journey make sure that you start with the basic shapes such as circles, trapezoid,s etc. Don’t even attempt to add details at this stage. Take up your pencil and just start perfecting these basic shapes.

    Once you’re familiar with the shapes and can identify the shapes in a sketch then go to the shading stage, which gives your drawn shapes a bit of a perspective.

    2. Hold the Pencil Correctly

     Hold the Pencil Correctly

    This is something that most people don’t look upon considering that this is a thing that is sort of self-explanatory.

    But holding the pencil for sketching isn’t the same as holding the pencil for writing. You don’t have to worry about neatness here, in fact, you’re rooting for imperfection here so that your sketch looks more realistic and expressional.

    Hold your pencil near the tip for better control in the case you’re drawing something minute and small. On the other hand, if you’re just generally stroking the pencil for a better shade then keep your hand light and throw the stiffness out of the room.

    3. Know Your Pencils

    Know Your Pencils

    Pencils are for sketching what the internet is to a smartphone. One is necessary for the other to exist.
    Knowing your pencil is an essential skill for your sketch to be detailed and impressive. It is imperative for you to identify the pencil and where and when it has to be used. The markings on the side of the pencil define the hardness or softness of the graphite.

    A pencil with a ‘B’ marking is considered to be soft whereas a pencil with an ‘H’ marking is usually harder. Make sure you use a pencil which sits perfectly for your requirement.

    4. Doodling


    Yes, exercise. Exercising and repeating anything obviously makes you better at it. Going to the gym regularly makes your muscles stronger, similarly exercising and working on your sketching skills are going to make it better.

    Start with normal doodling on a piece of paper. Set your hand free and let the pencil move in the direction in which it wants to move in. Make sure you enclose the shape you’ve drawn. After this, decorate the shape which you have drawn in a manner that you feel is best suited. This is called ‘noodling’.

    5. Erase and start again

    Erase and start again

    Its generally seen that the newer artists are usually afraid to erase anything they have drawn. This is because they’re running for gaining perfection in their art form and want to create a masterpiece in one go.

    Don’t fall into that trap. It’s only going to make your skills narrower and streamlined. Make sure that you make mistakes, erase them, learn from your failure and then move ahead better and more confident.

    6. Use a blending stick

    Use a blending stick

    Don’t start blending your art with your fingers. The oils from your fingers are only going to make it worse. Make sure that you use a blending stick to fulfill the purpose of blending.

    Make sure that you use the stick to blend in a circular motion which spreads the graphite evenly to give a nice look.

    7. Keep the Tools Handy

    Keep the Tools Handy

    Sketching is no joke. It requires precision, skills, observation, and but obviously, numerous tools apart from a pencil. Make sure you have these tools handy while you’re creating your sketch.
    A set of pencils varying from B to H hardness levels
    Drawing/Sketching paper or a simple Sketchbook
    Blending sticks or stumps (mentioned above)
    Basic Sharpener

    These are the basic tools that might help you in perfecting your sketch. Although, the blending sticks are optional but can turn out to be extremely useful in giving your sketch the necessary blend effect.

    8. Vary the Line Width

    Vary the Line Width

    Our hands can’t provide the perfect set of lines or drawing that we want. That’s a fact.
    This means that a line that you draw might have a varied length, width, shade, texture, and darkness.

    It is considered to be a good thing keeping in mind the fact that an imperfect line, eventually, provides you with a perfect sketch.

    The varied width of lines gives the image a more interesting outlook. Try to experiment with a varied grade of pencils while drawing and try holding the pencil at different angles.

    9. Make a Sketchbook & Carry it Everywhere

    Make a Sketchbook & Carry it Everywhere

    Sketching is an art form that requires spontaneity and keen observation ṣkills. Make sure that you buy a sketchbook which is good for you and is handy enough for you to carry wherever you go.

    Making this a habit can benefit you in two ways. Firstly, it’ll increase your sketching time considering you’ll see more and would want to try and sketch more. Secondly, it’s going to make your observational skills better for you’ll be looking at different shapes and sizes which will sharpen your skills of drawing spontaneously.

    If carrying a sketchbook seems tedious to you, then go to your local art shop and buy a pocket sketchbook.

    10. Avoid Smudging

    Avoid Smudging

    Many artists advise using a sheet of paper while smudging your sketch. Smudging can be a two-edged sword for a sketch.

    Smudging if done in a proper manner can bring out the best in a sketch, but overdoing it might spoil the sketch and no one wants that. Instead of using your hand, use tissue paper to give a smudged effect to your sketch.

    If you’re right-handed then start shading and smudging from left to right and if you’re a left-handed person then go from right to left.

    11. ‘Tone’ it up

    Tone  it up

    Tone refers to the difference in the lightness, texture, and darkness in a drawing. The tone in a drawing if and when varies and tends to show and express the artwork better. Its main function is to give a three-dimensional object a sense of depth and give it a real presence.

    The use of tone can be evident in artwork to show an object under light or to present an object nearer or further to the artist. If an object is under the sun then it is toned up in a lighter shade and if it is in shade or dark then it is toned in a darker shade.
    Similarly, light and dark shades are used for further and nearer objects respectively in a drawing.

    12. Symmetry


    We can’t stress much about the fact that a drawing doesn’t have to be perfect. While drawing, make sure that you throw perfection out of the window.

    Symmetry is important, there’s no doubt about that but a perfectly symmetrical drawing will just bring boredom and monotony to a sketch. Hence, while ensuring symmetry make sure you also avoid a complete mirror image.

    13. Bring in the toned paper

    Bring in the toned paper

    Most the beginners start with a pencil and white paper to sketch on. As you advance in your sketching skills make sure you upgrade your paper as well.

    Using dark or mid-toned paper blue or tan will allow you to be more precise. In the dark-toned paper, you can use chalks, crayons, and pencils to give different aspects of the painting such as shadow, shine, and dark or low-toned shades a better perspective to the viewer.

    Using a dark-toned sheet moreover makes a sketch more lively and precise up to a mark.

    14. Learn to build human forms

    Learn to build human forms

    This is one of the most important and effective techniques of art and drawing. This is important in the sense that once you perfect drawing a human figure you’ll realize how each and every project around you mostly comprises of simple shapes which are then given a life afterward.

    For making a human figure start with a skeleton figure, and then flesh it up using different textures, details and textures.

    For a human body, a trapezoid shape, with the wide part at the top, works well to suggest the upper body of a human being ranging from the shoulder to the trunk. When the same trapezoid is turned upside down it can be used to represent the crotch of a human being. The head is usually an oval which is roughly drawn.

    15. Take Notes

    Take Notes

    It might seem weird, to take notes in drawing something, isn’t it?

    Well taking notes in a drawing doesn’t exactly;y means taking notes. It's meant for when you spot something and don’t have enough time to perfect the sketch in a go. So taking notes makes sure that you don’t miss out on something.

    Make sure that you include the important parts of the drawings in the notes, the parts which cannot be remembered easily and are extremely detailed. Take notes in writing for the surroundings and the smaller details.

    This technique will help you sharpen your memory skills, your observation, and your habit of sketching.

    16. Throw in some colours

    Throw in some colours

    Throwing in some colors in your pencil sketch might give it a better look and the extra pomp it may need, but before using colours in a drawing make sure you ask yourself the question of why exactly you need to use colours in the drawing.

    Start with a light pencil sketch and upgrade your way to layers of colours. Start with lighter shades at the base of the drawing and move your way up by slowly layering up the sketch with darker hues. You can use watercolours along with pencil colours.

    17. Imperfect is Perfect

    Imperfect is Perfect

    A bit of smudge here, a bit of curves here, and these small imperfections make it perfect in the end.

    Stressing on the fact enough that imperfections bring in the authenticity in your sketch you shouldn’t ignore the minute imperfections. The imperfect lines and details make your drawings express better and even create the reader’s interest in the drawing.

    18. Create a Contrast

    Create a Contrast

    Creating contrast in a painting or a drawing to be specific shows the neat spots and magnifies the details involved.

    Make sure that you add contrast in a drawing and not only in a form of light and dark shades but in other forms such as hue, saturation, contrast, shape, textures, edges, and proportions.

    Although contrast can be a useful tool at times, make sure that you don’t use contrast too much or in unnecessary places. It will only spoil the painting and make it jump out of its natural and realistic structure.

    19. Make it a habit

    Make it a habit

    Practice makes a man or a woman perfect. Yup, can’t deny that.

    Make sure that you sketch or draw every day. Most of us are habitual of complaining and whining about not having enough time but taking a few minutes out every day isn’t a herculean task to achieve.

    Take your pocket sketchbook (Point #9) with you wherever you move around. While you’re on your daily commute to school, college or the office just put in your headphones and start sketching casually.

    Giving at least 15-20 minutes a day for around a month might do wonders for your sketching skills in the long run.

    What are you waiting for? Grab your sketchbook and get going!

    20. Be confident

    Be confident

    If you’ve decided to learn to sketch or draw then the only person that’s going to stop you going to be you. Start with this attitude and trust us, you’ll learn the skill in a fairly better and more effective manner.

    Be confident in yourself, make mistakes, learn from them and do better. Done? Now repeat this till you’re confident. That’s the entire process.

    While you learn how to draw and sketch and become an expert we’re here to have your back. We at Whataportrait, provide you with authentic handmade sketches of your photographs. All you’ve got to do is -

    Send us your photograph which you want to convert into a photograph.
    Specify your details and specifications
    Let us know the type of sketch you want
    Sit back and relax

    Happy Portrait to you!

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