Heather Harding: Top 10 Tips to Start Learning to Draw

Heather Harding: Top 10 Tips to Start Learning to Draw

So, grab your pencils, follow this blog and have a go yourself. Here are my top 10 drawing tips to get you started.

1. Get yourself a good set of drawing pencils. A tin of pencils that range from H to 8B or a sketching set containing a mixture of pencils, graphite sticks and charcoal is a really good place to start. It will make you feel a bit more serious about it and the experience of drawing is always more fun when you have a nice range of materials to play with.

2. Practice. I can’t say this enough. Draw every day. Having said that, I am a realist and know that life has a habit of getting in the way sometimes. If that’s the case, try to draw twice a week. This will keep your hand in and stop you getting rusty.

3. Draw things you like. This might seem like an obvious thing to say, but drawing should be an enjoyable experience and part of that experience is getting pleasure from looking at whatever it is you’re drawing. If you love roses, draw your roses. Love shoes? Draw your favourite pair.

4. Hunt around your house for things to draw. There’ll be bottles, jars and pots in your kitchen; jewellery and clothing in your bedroom; piles of books, indoor plants…… Don’t choose too many objects to draw at one time though. A few items grouped together will do. Consider your composition and maybe group things together that are different heights or complimentary shapes.

5. Draw with a pen. Any pen. A biro will do. Drawing with a pen makes you more considerate about where you put your lines but also makes you less precious about making mistakes. A few overlapping lines where you’ve gone back and corrected something can look very beautiful – certainly a lot nicer than black smudges from copious amounts of rubbing out.

6. Embrace your own style. It’s what makes your drawing unique. Don’t copy someone else’s style unless you’re just copying for practice.

7. Invest in a sketchbook, especially a small one that will fit inside your bag or coat pocket and which you can take out with you every day. Always carry a pencil or drawing pen. You can buy portable pencil pouches that slot around the hard cover of your sketch book, but failing that, just slip it into the gap of the spine or strap it on with an elastic band.

8. Use your sketchbook for making notes as well as drawing. Jot down ideas, add in bits of colour or anything else you find that inspires you. Very soon you’ll have a great working sketchbook to refer to.

9. Don’t beat yourself up if you drawing doesn’t go right first time. We all have rubbish drawing days. Don’t expect to be Leonardo da Vinci after one session. Even Leonardo didn’t manage that!

10. Don’t throw your work away. Tuck it away somewhere and pull it out a month or two later. You’ll be surprised by what you see. That drawing you thought was awful will more than likely look a lot better than you originally remember. Also, by being able to look back at the work you did weeks or months before, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve progressed and that’s always a great boost.

Now enjoy and get drawing!

Heather Harding

Heather Harding – Art, Crafts, Textiles & FashionI love drawing, painting, printing and textiles. I’m a very instinctive person, always wanting to reach out and touch, taste or sniff things! I’m drawn to images and textures, constantly staring at colours, imagining drawing or painting things in my head when I’m out and about. I’m a terrible hoarder really, always collecting things because I like their shapes, texture or colour – pebbles, bits of wood, patterns off packets, bits of fabric, leaves when they’re changing colour, articles on art, interiors and fashion.

I’m in and out of art galleries a lot, poring over books and researching artists on the internet that I’ve just come across. I don’t have an all time favourite artist, there are far too many to like, it’s more ‘flavour of the month’ with me. My favourite drawing at the moment is “Poldi” by Egon Schiele.

My proudest moment? Making it through 6,500 amateur artists to be selected to take part in BBC1’s The Big Painting Challenge which aired earlier this year. It was a fantastic achievement, great fun and intensely nerve-wracking all at the same time. I made it through 3 episodes before going out. Painting Blenheim Palace did me in. It was too big and so many columns! I didn’t warm to it at all and had a bad painting day with that one, although my other challenges were fine. My friends and family all think I was robbed, being kicked off at that stage. Bless ’em. (I agree!!!).