“Drawing is never reproducing - in order to see, you have to know how to look, and you have to know what you’re looking at.” - Olga Tokarczuk
Drawing is something that both children and adults can enjoy. Comics have never been so popular. A lot of people get into drawing because they want to draw their favourite characters.
But can you quickly learn to draw?
What Do We Mean By Learning to Draw?
Whether you’re drawing a horse, a face, or a landscape, there are many ways to show that you’re capable of drawing.
So when can you say you’ve learnt how to draw? Is a child’s drawing bad?
Not at all.
Can you tell what it is?
]This is often what is understood by drawing well. Most people will accept that somebody can draw when they can represent the realistic qualities of what they are drawing. This is why abstract drawings also count. However, being able to draw also involves exhibiting several skills.
Would you like your drawing to be realistic? Would you like to draw things in your style? Are you looking to master a certain technique?
Depending on your goals, learning to draw can take quite a while. Even professional artists will probably tell you that they’re still learning how to draw.
Identify Why You Want to Learn to Draw
To say you’ve learnt how to draw, you need to set your own goals for what that means. Whether you’re teaching yourself or learning with a teacher, you need to have clear objectives.
Ask yourself the right questions:
- Why do you want to learn?
- What techniques do you want to master?
- What types of drawings do you want to do?
- What’s the end goal?
- How much time can I commit to drawing?
The answers to these questions will help shape how you’ll learn to draw and how you measure your progress. Once you have your goals in mind, you can start planning how you’re going to start achieving them.
Learning to Draw Depends on Your Motivation
Learning how to draw can take months or years as it depends on your motivation. However, staying motivated is easier said than done.
When you first start learning, you’ll probably be pretty enthusiastic and will want to create wonderful drawings, try out various media such as charcoal, pens, pencils, crayons, and pastels, and flex your creative muscle at any given opportunity.
You’ll probably want to draw every day whenever you can so make the most of this enthusiasm to get into the habit of drawing. For many artists, this motivation and enthusiasm may dwindle over time and some artists end up being demotivated by a lack of progress. However, you need to regularly practise to make any progress.
To stay motivated, use other artists for inspiration. By looking at other artists’ work online and going to exhibitions, you’ll also get an eye for good art and feel inspired to create some yourself.
You don’t want to rush things or attempt overambitious projects. By biting off more than you can chew, you may be disappointed and discouraged by the results.
Your Progress Depends on Your Skills
Not everyone is born with the same innate talent for art. Similarly, some of us won’t have drawn since our childhood. Others might have never stopped. This doesn’t mean that novices can’t make a lot of progress, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t set themselves the same goals as those with some training will probably need less time to achieve some of their goals.
Even if you haven’t attended any classes, that mightn’t mean that you’re an absolute beginner. You might already have some useful art skills from drawing diagrams, for example. Think about any useful skills you have that you could apply to your art.
You must be patient, too. Patience will help you to stay focused on your goals and lead to faster progression but don’t just expect immediate results.
Practice Makes Perfect
You have to understand that learning to draw can take a long time and your first drawings are unlikely to be absolute masterpieces. To learn how to draw, you have to be ready to fail and learn from your mistakes and take constructive criticism on board.
Every artist will tell you that you need to regularly practise to get better at it. Try to draw something, be it an animal, landscape, person, or object, every day. If you can’t manage every day, try to draw at least once a week. Regular practice will help you to progress.
Depending on your goals, you can learn to draw in a few weeks or months with regular practice. If your goals are as basic as drawing a circle without a compass, then you could be done in a matter of hours. Again, by doing the same thing over and over again, it’ll become second nature to you.
Give Yourself Time
It’s all about the time you’re willing to put into learning how to draw.
Are you prepared to practise regularly? Are you willing to challenge yourself?
To improve, you need the means and the time and we don’t necessarily mean financial means. You need to set aside the time and give yourself every possible chance to improve. Pick a time during the day where you’ll be focused on your drawing. Make sure you have the materials you’ll need, too, so that you don’t have to keep getting up to look for them.
Finally, you can also invest in books on how to draw. There are absolutely tonnes of them so shop around before choosing the right one for you. If you’re on a budget, you can always borrow books from the library or watch video tutorials on YouTube for free.
Work Out How Much Time You’ll Need
Once you’ve set your goals and the steps you’re going to take towards achieving them, you can start to estimate how much time you’ll need to achieve them. You can define this by steps, lessons, or in terms of time. If you’re going to set aside one hour a week to draw and each step is going to take around an hour, then you’ll easily be able to work out how long it’ll take.
Of course, there are some uncertainties. You might struggle with certain tasks or get some tasks completed more quickly than you estimated, but you should still have an idea of how long it’ll take.
Of course, results aren’t guaranteed but progress is. Let me explain. If you’re learning to draw a horse, your picture mightn’t come out as you wanted, but it may be better than the last time you tried. You might have the overall shape, but be struggling with light and shadow, for example.
Can You Learn to Draw in a Month?
The short answer is "YES"! Consider a daily drawing challenge like Inktober and see how you get on.
Inktober was launched in 2009 by Jake Parker and it now takes place every October. The list is published online to encourage people to draw daily throughout the month. There’s an overall theme and daily themes for what to draw.
The advantage is of this is that you’ll practise regularly, get into the habit of drawing, and be able to see what other artists are doing. Try not to compare yourself to professional artists but rather look at improving your work over the month. Take your time and by the end of the month, you’ll probably see quite a difference between your first and last drawings!
Consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced tutors on the Superprof website. There are tutors for almost every academic subject and skills and hobbies like drawing, too. You can get face-to-face, online, and group tuition and since each type of tutoring comes with its pros and cons, you'll need to think carefully about which is best for you and your budget.
Don't forget that many of the tutors on Superprof also offer the first hour of tutoring for free so you can try several different tutors out before deciding upon which one is right for you.