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Sketching Tips and Tricks

Pragya T
Sketching is a fun art form at which one can get better with practice. Here are some sketching tips and tricks, which will help you become better at sketching.
Before we get down to discussing the techniques and tips of sketching, let us tell you that everyone has their own way of drawing. What works best for someone may not necessarily work for you, but that doesn't mean you are going wrong or you will not be able to do it.
You may have heard the saying "practice makes man perfect" a zillion times before, but it so holds true! Remember - miracles don't happen overnight but only when you diligently and faithfully work hard TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN.
Never ever trash your previous work, even if it is not up to scratch, but maintain it to monitor your progress. As you will compare your previous work with your present work, you will realize how much improvement you have made through hard work and patience. It's simply rewarding!

Sketching Tips for Beginners

So, what does one need for sketching basically? Is it paper? Is it pencil? No, it's not. It is the skill of observation, that is an important attribute for a good sketching artist . Here, are a few tips and tricks that will help you in improving your drawing and sketching skills.


It is not necessary to spend all your money on expensive stationery. One of the sketching tips for beginners, is to start sketching on textured paper.
Later on, you can start using A4 sized papers used for photocopying.
For sketching, a darker pencil is required as you can add more depth to your sketches by adding dark shadows and tones. You can always lessen the pressure on the pencil and lighten your strokes, so start with a 6B pencil of decent quality.
You will require an eraser and a sharpener or a cutter handy, to sharpen the pencil, and carry a pad to support the papers.


Now that you have all the equipment, the important thing before your start sketching is observation. Whatever the subject you want to sketch, the important thing before you start is to observe the subject carefully. It can be still life, nature, portrait or gesture drawing.
First just sit and watch. What does the subject look like? How is the subject balanced? How does the light fall on the subject? Lighting is an important factor that one should pay attention to, when adding texture in a sketch. Look for the highlights (brightest spots) and shadows formed on the subject.

Hand Movements

Many people don't know that one of the most important part when it comes to sketching is related to hand movements.
Before sketching, for 5 -10 minutes just draw circles of a diameter of around 10 centimeters. Draw vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines from end to end of the paper. While drawing these shapes, it is important that you don't rest your wrist on the paper.
As you get better at drawing these lines and circles perfectly, your hand movements will improve and you will be able to draw shapes more confidently. This is an important practice assignment, one should do before sketching any subject, for free hand movement.

Getting the Right Form

Whenever sketching a subject, forget about the completion of the sketch. First thing you should get right is the form. This is one of the important sketching tips for kids or beginner. For example, in still life get the shape, size and symmetry of the object right.
The shading and texturing of the drawing is secondary and comes later on. When sketching for perspective drawings, get the form perfect and then proceed to shading. If you get the form right, you will not just now how to shade them but also to paint them.
So whatever subject you want to sketch, try to get the correct form first. You can buy books on different subjects. These books have rules for drawing forms, which will help you understand and draw the form with proper rules.

Texturing or Shading

After you get the form of the subject right, start practicing shading. At this stage, buy more pencils of different tones.
You can also buy kneaded erasers to give different light shades to your drawings. In the drawing, find the highlights and leave these spots, then take a middle tone pencil, and start shading with the pencil, in even angle strokes. Then proceed to the darkest spots on the subject, and shade these areas with dark-toned pencils.
Always observe and then start shading the sketch. There are different types of textures, one can use in sketching, like hatching (parallel lines), cross-hatching, varied hatching, stippling, etc. You can create your own texture too, many people smudge their sketch with their fingertips to give a soft hazy look.
Buy a basic texturing book, to learn about the different texturing styles. After you get better with black and white sketching, you can start using color pencils. There are some color pencils which are water soluble, so you can use a wet brush on the sketch and give the sketch a watercolor painting sort of feel!
However, practice is the most important thing required to get better at sketching. So if you really want to sketch well, practice the art at least for an hour everyday and when outdoors, observe and absorb details about anything or anybody. Use the given tips and sketch amazing portraits, still life, nature, perspectives, etc.