Tackle the Blank Page: Drawing Tips for Beginners

Tackle the Blank Page: Drawing Tips for Beginners

Dear Elaine,
Any suggestions for folks who want to try painting/sketching for the first time but are too afraid to try? - Karen L.

"Don't be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try." - Michael Jordan. (Lol the cheesiest quote ever but it came to mind 😂)

It's normal at the beginning of your art journey to feel unsure of where to begin!
 I've been there too! Starting on a blank page can be intimidating but it's all about having the right mindset and embracing the learning process! Let go of the pressure for perfection and remember that your sketchbook is a safe space for growth and exploration. 🌱

colored pencil artwork

Here are some practical steps to help you get started when you're not sure of what to draw:

First, Get Inspired!

Start by picking something simple to draw, like flowers or household objects.

Here are some ways I find inspiration:

〰️Pinterest: Create boards and collect pins of things to draw. Cozy interiors, still life, flat lays, flowers—pin whatever catches your eye! Here's one of my boards I save for days I feel uninspired. 
〰️Tutorial Videos: There are countless tutorials available on the interwebs! Find one that interests you and follow along. I have guides and videos on drawing flowers that you can check out too!
〰️Your Own Photos: Scroll through your personal photo collection! Is there something interesting or inspiring that you could draw? Maybe it's a photo of something you ate or a memorable moment captured.

Now print out or keep the chosen image on your device handy!

colored pencil sketch of a charming corner building

Let's Do Some Warm-Up Exercises!

Before diving into your drawing, warm up your fingers with some quick sketches.

Here's a simple warm-up exercise you can try:
Materials needed: Inspiration photo, a few colored pencils or a pen/pencil, a piece of paper or sketchbook

1. Keep the inspiration photo nearby and study it for a minute. Notice the details, composition, highlights, and shadows.
2. Set a timer for 10 seconds and quickly sketch the image on a piece of paper with a pencil or pen. Time's up!
3. Repeat the process, increasing the time to 20 seconds, then 45 seconds.
4. These quick sketches aren't meant to be perfect—they're meant to loosen up your fingers and help you see your inspiration with a fresh perspective. Look for interesting marks and details that might inspire your final drawing.

Dive into Drawing

As a beginner, starting small can be helpful. Consider using a pocket-sized sketchbook. This way, you can finish your drawings in one sitting, which helps avoid feeling discouraged when time is limited. Aim for 15-30 minutes per page. Remember, you can always add paint or work on it more later if you want!

Here are a few of my pocket-sized sketchbooks, if you're looking for a sketchbook then check out my "Must-try Sketchbooks" blog post.

pocket sized sketchbook artwork

Enjoy the Process

For me, art is therapeutic—a way to calm my mind and focus on the task at hand. Use your drawing time as an opportunity to escape the chaos and noise of the outside world. Embrace the process and enjoy the quietness of creating.

Don't be too critical of yourself if your results don't match your vision. We all start somewhere, and we all have good and bad days. Keep those sketchbook pages, as they can serve as a reminder of your progress over time.

Lastly, Reflection (Optional)

Look back at your illustration and reflect on how you can improve. Did you face any challenges? Take advantage of the abundance of tutorials and free resources available online. Study other artists' styles and approaches to similar subjects—you might discover a new way to draw.

P.S. For my visual learners, I'll be releasing more YouTube tutorials and art classes soon. Stay tuned and sign up for my mailing list to be the first to know!

Happy creating!

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