How to improve drawing skills 

Drawing is a very important base to start from. If you can’t draw well, that usually means that you lack the ability to observe things, which in any form of art is incredibly important. The more you see, the more you can achieve. Take the time to learn how to see and manipulate light and dark, it really is worth your while!

Everything has basic shapes, it doesn’t matter if it’s a steam train, a cup, a car or a basket of fruit. That’s where the beginning starts. The basic shapes are squares, rectangles, circles and triangles.

Take for instance a cup and saucer try and see the basic shapes in the object you are drawing. First draw the basic shapes, so you know, more or less, if you have everything where you want it. Then it’s time to carve the basic shapes into what will eventually become something realistic and finish up as a wonderful and satisfying drawing.

Art materials for drawing

A whole assorted range of pencils from 8H to 8B or you can start off with a 3B and 6H pencil.

Da Vinci Professional Drawing Sketching Pencil Set – 12 Pieces Drawing Pencils 10B, 8B, 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, 2H, 4H, 6H Graphite Pencils for Beginners & Pro Artists

A Doezelaar, as they are called in Dutch, a stump in American or Torchon in French. These are just rolled up pieces of paper which are used to smudge the graphite on your paper instead of using your fingers.

Norocme 12 PCS Blending Stumps and Tortillions Paper Art Blenders with Sandpaper Pencil Sharpener Pointer for Student Artist Charcoal Sketch Drawing Tools

A hard-plastic eraser and a putty eraser

Large Kneaded Eraser (2 Eraser Pack)

Tombow 57304 Mono Sand Eraser, 1-Pack. Silica Eraser Designed to Remove Colored Pencil and Ink Markings

Some Tissues

Smooth paper of good quality. (cold pressed). You can also use coloured paper. Gray, black or off white, tan or brown paper. These can cause some very interest effects when used with white or sepia  pencils for instance.

Kingreal 11″ x 14″ Cold Pressed Sketch Pad, Total 100 Sheets, 4 Pads of Assorted Cover Cold Pressed Drawing Book, 100g/68lb Acid Free Cold Pressed Paper, Glue Bound Practice Sketch Book

There are many ways of making drawing marks on paper with many different types of tools and nibs, but for now we will be concentrating on pencils.

Like the makers of paint, each manufacturer has their own recipe. Trying out the many sorts of pencils, is the only way to decide on which one is good for you.

Pencils in the middle of the range are numbered HB.

On each side of the H.B pencil there are softer and harder pencils which either make lighter of darker marks on the paper. The harder the pencil on the H side the lighter the marks on the paper. The softer the pencil on the B side the more graphite it contains and the blacker and darker the mark. When a pencil needs sharpening the soft pencils must be sharpened with a craft knife, as the turning motion of a pencil sharpener will break the soft leads all the way through the pencil.

When starting to draw, don’t press hard with your pencil, soft marks are all that is necessary. Pressing too hard on your paper produces a deep ridge, which is very difficult to disguise.

Light and dark have the same abilities, they can either pull things towards you or push things away from you. With a combination of these two phenomena, you can with practice and learning to look and see, produce some wonderful and breath-taking effects, just with a couple of pencils. With different strokes and pressures, erasers and diffusion of lead in the form of doezelaars or tissues, much can be achieved.

Graphite powder can also be used for shading larger areas, which can be smoothed out with a tissue or soft cloth. Depending on the surface used, depends on the end result.


You can take a photograph of your chosen subject and with a grid or Passepartout take a portion of your picture and either scale it up or down, making it larger or smaller. This often tends to exaggerate, excite and enhance things.


Usually a drawing is shaded from the top to the bottom. This not always being possible, a sheet of paper should always be kept under your hand to avoid unnecessary smudging.


When a drawing is finished it should be fixed with a spray fixative. Make sure the surrounding edges are clean before fixing your finished piece. Sometimes, depending on how much graphite you have used, it may need two coats of fixative.