A few tips for the portrait drawing newbie. How to draw—book recommendations, advice, lessons.
Drawing for Newbies


Pencil Drawing
(Pencil drawing)

Here's a quick intro on drawing for newbies. I won't even pretend to cover everything here, but I'll try to give you a few tips and a little bit of valuable information.

In these "newbie" pages I'll give some essential book recommendations, tell you about the concept of "negative space" and the "grid method," and how they will really help you learn how to draw more accurately. I'll also discuss a little bit about tones and shading.

Introduction to drawing:

Drawing is a skill that just about anyone can learn. It is not reserved for those who are born with a "natural talent." With education, knowledge, and practice, anyone can learn how to draw what they see. It is a myth to think that drawing is reserved for just the "talented" people. Do you think that the skill of handwriting is also reserved for the "talented" people? Of course not!

I am not saying that talent is not a great thing, and I'm not trying to tell you that the concept of talent doesn't exist or doesn't matter. I am just telling you that a drawing is also a learned skill. You learn it, just like you learned handwriting. And when you learn how to draw (and you can learn) you may discover that there is a little bit (or more than a little) of "talent" buried inside you, waiting to be discovered. It may need some extra nurturing, but very likely it's there. So—what are you waiting for? The time to start learning is now!

Don't worry if you feel you are "too old" to learn how to draw. Don't let your age hold you back! There is no time limit to learning how to draw. As long as you have the manual dexterity to write your own name and can hold pencil to paper, you are perfectly able to learn to draw.

When you are starting to learn how to draw, have patience with yourself, and enjoy the process of learning. Especially when you are starting out, force yourself to take it easy. Don't push yourself to do "perfect" work. I give you permission to do "silly" or "abstract" drawings too. They are just as important as learning to draw accurately. And don't worry, you will, of course, be learning to draw accurately along the way.

Even though the rest of this site (portrait drawing tutorials) is rather specific and structured, (full of "rules") don't think that all art should be full of such "rules." Some of the best art can be full of spontaneous fun, and "goofiness." I think it is especially important for you to remember this, since you are a newbie. Always remember to not get too uptight. Don't be too self-critical. It's not the end of the world if something you draw doesn't turn out the way you like. No big deal. Just do another drawing!

Here are some excellent books that you will need to help you learn how to draw. I am forever recommending books! But books were so instrumental in helping me when I was a drawing "newbie," so I know they will help you too.

| Buy from Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca |

I will frequently mention this book (if you haven't already noticed!) I am a firm believer in the methods taught in this book. I attended a class taught by one of Edwards' students. He taught her methods in the class, with great results. This further convinced me that her methods are worthy and highly effective.

This book contains vital information that will help unleash the ability in anyone to be able to draw. The methods taught in this book are very effective. People who thought they "couldn't draw a straight line" saw their skills improve dramatically in a relatively short amount of time!

Limited availability on Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca |

In a way, I almost think this book is "better" than the Betty Edwards book. Well, not "better"—just different, in an amazingly fabulous way. It compliments and supports the "Right Brain" book beautifully, giving thorough and step-by-step explanations of how an artist looks and sees. Author Bert Dodson is obviously an incredible teacher— understanding, steadfast and articulate. He will gently guide you through the process of learning how to draw. Exercises are explained with such simplicity and clarity, as to not intimidate even the newest of newbies.

One thing I must tell you, though. The drawings in this book are in a more "loose" and "fluid" drawing style. They may look "sloppy" to some, but I assure you, this man knows how to draw, and he knows how to teach drawing. If you can only get two beginning drawing books, I highly recommend this book and the "Right Brain" book.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca |

Author Mona Brookes has taught children, teens and adults to draw with her methods. Even students who were terrified and intimidated by drawing were amazed by what they could draw after taking her classes. Brookes offers such encouragement in her lessons. Her teaching method is decidedly non-critical, but still she offers tried-and-true methods and structure that will teach students how to draw in the traditional, realistic way. Another must-have book, especially if you worry that you have zero talent. (Don't worry! You will do fine!)

When you have chosen your drawing book(s), you need to get some art supplies. Don't worry, they don't have to be expensive, or elaborate. Check out the "Drawing Materials" page to learn more about what papers and pencils might be suitable for you.

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| Basics Home | Choosing Art Materials | Shading & Rendering | Shading Explained | Drawing techniques | Step-by-Step Portrait | Realistic Pencil Portrait | Portrait Art Tips |

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