Essential Sketching Tips and Tools for Beginner

As an artist, I always wished few things about sketching should have known earlier to find my taste, style, composition. These things actually help to improve our skills and show our lagging and leading phases. This blog is dedicated to beginners who are new to this world and want to develop their one of a kind cognizance. So, let’s begin

Know your Tools:

Drawing Pencils: When it comes to drawing pencils, each artist will find a brand that they connect with. Ultimately going to be up to you to explore different supplies/techniques so that you can arrive at your personal favorites. But, as a beginner you should know basic things about different variety of pencils. Graphite Pencils often come in a range of harder graphite (Eg. 9H) through softer graphite (Eg. 6B).  Harder graphite makes lighter marks and keeps a sharp tip longer, while softer graphite makes a darker mark, but needs constant re-sharpening.

Variety of Erasers: Erasers are the great tools for making a breathing sketching. You are totally mistaken if you think it is only for mistakes. There are wide range of erasers. Eg., Rubber Eraser (best suited for erasing pencil (graphite) on paper. It works by shedding itself), Gum Erasers (softer version of rubber eraser and used when integrity of the paper is a concern), Kneaded Eraser (very soft and can be sculpted into any shape. And that’s why this is popular among artists), Vinyl Erasers (most tough eraser and can erase ink as well. But, it can tear paper as well and hence I won’t recommend it), Eraser Pencils/ Mechanical Pencils (these are my personal favorite. It can erase the smallest part because of the pointed ends and often used as highlighter).

Paper Grid Type: One may not need to go beyond 200gsm paper for any kind of graphite or charcoal sketch (I prefer papers beyond 200gsm is suited to watercolors). It is also cost effective to stick to 90gsm, 110gsm or a simple cartridge paper for the practice sketches and also to know which would work best for you.

Blending Stumps / Torillions: Artist use tortillons to blend and smudge pencil and charcoal on paper. Blending stumps tend to be used a bit too often in realist drawing.

Don’t be afraid of mistakes:

As a beginner, I always tried to keep my sketchbook perfect. This forbids me to work on my uncomfortable or not so confident area. Try to get rid of this perfectionist mentality. If something looks horrible it’s okay, you are here to practice. Don’t beat yourself up if it looks ugly. Embrace it. It is better to create 10 ugly and imperfect art pieces than none because you can use all the knowledge you gained from those ugly pieces of art for you next amazing looking piece of art. Just give your best, practice and remember to have fun.

Go simple:

Sketching is all about what you see and breaking it down into the most basic shapes. A sketch should be the base or draft of an idea of image you want to create not the final piece of work. Try to start sketch with light, short and quick lines. Don’t be bound to the single line for creating the entire outline of sketch, break it into small sections. I believe in a lot proportions, if the proportions on your figure drawing are accurate, the realism and integrity of the figure is preserved. According to me, Proportions are the first thing to learn because they teach you how to be anatomically correct.

Copy other artist:

If you think copying is bad then you are wrong, if you are copying other artist’s work to pass on his/her work to others then it is not a crime. But, if you copy them and pass on as your work then it is Totally Wrong!

Copying another artist’s “style” is a common learning practice. This help to build you own style. This boosts creativity level, gives new ideas. So, don’t be afraid and start copying or following your favourite artist.


Last but not Least, practice practice practice ………

Until you are not satisfied. Taking out even 15-20 minutes a day to sketch will get you far, as long as you make sure to continue. I will highly recommend buying a sketchbook that feels good to you and getting into the habit of taking it along with you throughout your day so that you can use any free time that pops up.

For sketching you only need a medium for marking and a surface. But, if you are serious about sketching work then you should be serious about your tools as well and things mentioned above is all I would consider as Essentials for beginner.

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