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New to Drawing? Make Sure You Know These Basic Techniques Before You Start

Things to Remember as You Draw

Once you’ve got the essentials down, there are a couple of things to keep in mind as you practice these basic drawing techniques.

Start light. When you're beginning to sketch, make light marks on your paper. That way, if you make a mistake, they are easier to erase (if you're using pencil). It also allows you to gradually build your tone and shadows.

Drawing Techniques

Artist: Kamwei Fong

Line weight is important. Things that are darker or thicker will be interpreted as having a greater visual weight than a light-colored or thin line. As you draw, consider what area of your subject is shaded or is “anchoring” your composition. You’ll want to focus on making deep shadows or extra thick lines—or both. But if you’re trying to communicate a highlight, however, keep things light and delicate.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up—literally. Variety is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to mix a couple of the basic techniques into your artwork. One way could be to draw the details of someone’s face in hatching and cross-hatching, while their hair is done using the back-and-forth approach. There'll be much more visual interest that way.

Do you have a drawing to share? Show it off in our Art, Design, Photography, and Drawing Club!

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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