8 Tips for Sketching for Beginners

Mar 29, 2021 | 4 comments

This post will be about tips and tricks on learning how to improve sketching for beginners. If you want to learn more about it, then keep on reading!

Drawing and sketching may seem difficult especially when you haven’t picked up a pencil and tried it for yourself. However, with guidance and constant practice, we guarantee you that it is very much like a skill that you can develop over time. For most, drawing is an emotional outlet. That’s why you feel something when you look at an artist’s work.

Ultimately, whether it’s sports, acting, painting, or drawing, you get better every time you practice. Without constant practice, the things you learned will be forgotten, and you won’t improve without experiencing mistakes as you go along the way. If you think that you’re not good at drawing, we are here to help, guide, and teach you that with dedication, practice, and some clever tips, you’ll definitely improve. The first step you just have to do is try.

Tips for Sketching for Beginners

To get you started, here are eight (8) helpful tips and tricks in sketching for beginners.

Know your drawing tools

When you start out with your artistic journey, you experiment with art supplies and tools. As a beginner, of course, you’ll be adamant to shell out a few bucks to purchase the most expensive stuff, but what you should know is that you can go just as further with the inexpensive tools. Don’t get overwhelmed with the variety of papers, pencils, and other paraphernalia, and just start with the basic tools.

drawing tools

For quick sketches, these are my go-to:

  • Three different pencil grades (usually HB, 2B, and 6-8B)
  • Drawing/sketching paper or sketchbook
  • Soft rubber graphite eraser
  • Basic pencil sharpener
  • Tombow Mono Zero eraser – for getting the smaller areas

As you go along your drawing journey, observe how the different thicknesses and textures of the papers you are using affect your sketches. This will also help you deduce what paper you like using best.

Master the simple shapes first

When you start out drawing, you always have the endpoint set off at the top of your head. You want to get the details right so that what you see in your head comes to life. You spend hours or even days working on your drawing only to find out that the result is far from what you have imagined.

It’s important that you learn how to visualize your subject, whether it’s a person, an animal, an object, or a landscape, into combinations of simple shapes. Cubes, circles, triangles, cylinders, cones, etc.

Learn how to disregard the smaller details and focus first on the bigger and simpler shapes. Sketch out a solid outline first before adding in your details such as textures and shading.

Once you have mastered creating basic outline drawings, only then should you go into working out the smaller details that will complete your drawing.

Learn to hold and control your pencil properly for drawing

For beginner artists, it may take a while to get comfortable in holding a pencil properly for drawing and sketching. Holding a pen to write is different from how you hold a pencil to draw. In writing, you focus on how to legibly and neatly write out your letters. In drawing, you focus on laying down imperfect lines to create the ideal shape and then just use an eraser to refine it later on.


There are different ways of holding a pencil for sketching and each way is not better than the other. It really just depends on what you find most comfortable and on what works best for you as you practice.

In general practice, you’d want to position your hand further away from the tip of your pencil, and you’ll want to move your entire arm as opposed to just moving your wrist when you are writing.

Relax when you are drawing. If you are too tense, you’ll need to warm up so that you’ll have a better sketch.

When sketching, always start lightly. You can then gradually move on to the darker values of your drawing as you refine your sketch.

As we have been advocating on this website, art is not perfection. So it’s perfectly fine to mess up and make mistakes, this will only improve your drawing skills more.

Explore different marking techniques

There are many marking techniques in sketching to help you achieve different styles and effects.

Some examples are shown above that demonstrate different ways on how to create depth and form. Practice and experiment on what method works best for your style.

Avoid smudging your sketch

When you practice shading, it’s important that you use an extra piece of paper under your drawing hand to minimize the smudging. If you are right-handed, shade from left to right, and vice versa if you are left-handed.

For smooth shading, you can use a blending stick.

Practice sketching different textures

You need to experiment and practice different texture techniques to show a variation of texture in your drawing. Textures make your drawing come to life and practicing different techniques will improve your skills. Each technique has unique properties and can elevate your drawings.

Build your shades properly and learn how to put into your drawing the light source, depth of color, and so on.

Vary your drawing subjects

When you practice your sketching, try to have a variety of subjects. Don’t just stick to one or two of what you are comfortable with. Sketch subjects that you don’t usually draw. Try out odd shapes, try drawing exotic birds, or draw a person. It’s good to have different drawing subjects, this will keep you on your toes as you learn something new on your art journey.

Practice sketching every day

Make sketching a habit and practice constantly. Sketching every day will improve your skills over time. Always have a sketchpad with you, so that when you have spare time, you can start drawing wherever you are. Don’t mind the end result too much, the important thing here is your consistency.

When you want to get better at something, you will always have the time and the drive to do activities related to it. As for drawing, if creating art matters to you, then set aside time to practice sketching every day and it will make all the difference. 

Drawing is just as much a skill as it is a talent. To develop and go further on your art journey, consistency is key. These helpful tips will guide you through the process and will refine your drawing skills over time. Keep practicing, discover more techniques that will work for you, and strive to learn as much as you can.

For more drawing inspiration, check out our sketchbook ideas post.

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