Tag: how to draw in pencil

6 drawing mistakes & how to fix them fast!

As I’ve been teaching drawing since 2004, I came to understanding what mistakes every art student makes on his/her path. Today I’d like to list the most common mistakes and to provide you with the solution to each of them.

  1. I have crooked lines that make my drawing look uneven.

Fix: Work on the perfection of your drawing by checking the “anatomy” of your shapes in a mirror for possible mistakes. When you look at your image in the mirror, your mind reads the information differently, allowing you to see the mistakes. The same happens when you look at your artwork upside down.

Look at your artwork upside down or in a mirror to catch the mistakes.
Look at your artwork upside down or in a mirror to catch the mistakes.
  1. My drawing lacks clarity.

Fix: Always shade right to the edge of your outline without leaving the uneven, white spaces. When we shade we have the tendency to lose the edge. As a result our drawing falls apart by becoming uniformly soft, lacking focus and definition. While not everything should be defined or outlined, most students have a problem of not “connecting” the numerous lines (in other words, making the shading even).

So, outline the edge with the line of the correct value (tone) and shade right to that edge to restore the original outline.

This video illustrates the concept: https://youtu.be/GaDyhypmWwY

drawing-mistakes-and-how-to-fix-them
The black lines show you where the unevenness of shading happens, creating the ‘broken’ lines that destroy the sense of the form. Shadows must look uniform without any white spots present in between your lines!
  1. My drawing looks messy.

When we sketch out the lines graphite tends to smear all over the place. It’s important to keep the drawing clean to give a nice impression of a finished work even if it’s not finished. While it sounds obvious, you won’t believe how many students make messy drawings!

If you draw in colored pencil, it’s vital to keep all the graphite pencil marks super light and avoid smudging as much as possible.

Fix: the kneaded eraser is your best bet! It doesn’t leave any residue on paper and erases softly.

4. The objects in my drawing escape or fall off the page.

Start your sketch with the envelope where you mark the top, bottom and sides of your objects. Then draw inside those markings without “leaving” the envelope.

This sketch shows how to start drawing correctly by sketching out the "boundaries" of the object first, and then breaking them down to smaller shapes.
This sketch shows how to start drawing correctly by sketching out the “boundaries” of the object first, and then breaking them down into smaller shapes.

 

5. I focus on drawing the contour so hard, but it never looks right when I’m done.

Fix: always make directional lines first, and position your shape over that line. This technique gives you the right rotation & position of your subjects in space.

creative-techniques-book-sample-pages49
This is a page taken from the ‘Creative Techniques’ art book that illustrates the concept of subjects’ rotation in space. The line in the center gives the direction to the object, or places it in space correctly. Then you simply draw the object over it.

6. I don’t know where to start shading.

Fix: start shading from your darkest shadows! Then continue to your mid tones and finish up with the lightest shading around the highlights.

This is another page from the book that shows you this concept. You block in the darkest areas first, and then erase the highlights and make tonal transitions.
This is another page from the book that shows you this concept. You block in the darkest areas first, erase the highlights, and make additional tonal transitions.

Hope it helps! And now you can go and create your masterpiece following these tips. 😁

portrait drawing in pencil
Believing that the impossible is possible, graphite on paper, 11×14″

 

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Step by step drawing tutorials can be found here.