10 Drawing Tips for Every Aspiring Artist

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Picasso

Ever since I was a child, drawing has been very close to my heart and I’m sure it’s the same for many of you, too. Lil’ Hands drawing books and my used 2B Mongol pencils were my basic tools of the trade; and I copied drawings onto my coloring books in the likes of PokemonDigimon, Cars, UFO Baby, Daigunder, and Yu Yu Hakusho/Ghost Fighter.

In school, I would always look forward to “Arts (MAPEH)” because I could basically draw whatever I wanted. I even joined the Art Club (we only had around 8-10 loyal, active members), and we would meet every Tuesday at the cafeteria after the beloved HRG (Home Room Guidance) time, and draw whatever the theme was for the week. The club may have only had a few members, but it was our avenue to express ourselves through drawing and put our skills to use.

Today, as a 22-year-old, I somehow feel that the ‘corporate world’ is slowly taking away that ‘creative child’ in me. Though I always try to look for opportunities in and outside of work to make use of my so-called artistic skillz, I sometimes feel like the fire is slowly dying – and I guess that’s where Picasso hits home: the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Fast forward to March of this year… When I heard about Ayala Museum‘s Basic Drawing Workshop, I immediately volunteered to feature the workshop because I saw it as THE chance for me to rekindle that old fire. A few weeks later, I found myself sitting amongst a diverse group of art aficionados, listening to Mr. Abe Orobia talk about how to properly shade and sketch until we had a total of three fine Saturdays of fruitful sessions.

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Mr. Abe Orobia, one of the most successful young visual artists in the country, told the class that you can’t really be ‘taught’ how to draw, but you may be ‘guided’. This is because drawing is a personal thing, and you’re the only one who can teach yourself how to express yourself. Then again, some guidance can help us achieve that, and this is what Sir Abe did during this Ayala Museum workshop. In a span of three days, my knowledge on drawing was refreshed and I learned new tips that I would like to share here.

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The workshop’s tools of the trade (including the chips)

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Ms. Grace Jabal, the awesome coordinator of the Basic Drawing Workshop

10 Drawing Tips for Every Aspiring Artist

10. Be highly-observant, focused, and analytical.

Learning how to draw the ‘likeness’ of an object, human, or scene depends on your ability to see. This means that you should learn and train your eyes and mind to observe everything, including a subject’s intricacies. To do that, you need focus. Imagine trying to focus on an apple, and then someone walks by, an ant walks near the apple, there’s a sudden lightning outside, so on and so forth…

Our attention can easily be taken away by random things, so it’s important to train the eyes to focus. In drawing, you also need to train your mind to slow down, and devote enough attention to the apple, so that you may analyze it well and notice the tiny white spots on its pale/bright red skin, its brown areas, the particles on its dark brown stem, and so on.

Sir Abe told us that a true artist should be able to draw anything under the sun, and applying tip #1 is surely a great step to achieve that.

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Mr. Abe Orobia

9. Whatever you want to draw, try to draft it by breaking it into geometric shapes.

I used to outright draw my subject as it is without considering too much of its aspects; but thanks to Ayala Museum’s workshop, I learned how helpful it is to draw geometric shapes to comprise the entire drawing first. One of our drawing exercises was to draw our hand and an apple. Since we were all essentially beginners in the class, many of us were like “wew….how do we start???“. Applying this tip by Sir Abe definitely helped me do that.

For my hand, I lightly drew intersecting rectangles and squares for the palm of my hand and fries-looking shapes for my fingers, and then drew the other details of the hand. Voila, I had my first drawing of my own hand! It’s not that great, of course, but it was better than I expected. I will definitely apply this tip when I try to sketch my future wife! (???)

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8. Apply scale and proportion.

Scale refers to the size of an object (a whole) in relationship to another object (another whole), while proportion refers to the relative size of parts of a whole (elements within an object) (Sophia.org, 2017). Considering these two factors can help you, as a beginner artist, to emphasize importance (or un-importance) of certain subjects or areas.

Subjects or elements that are drawn smaller compared to the background may create a mood of desolation or unimportance. On the contrary, elements that are drawn larger than the background will leave an impression of drama, intensity or happiness. Try to play with your future works using these principles to direct your viewer’s eyes to what you want them to see.

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7. Use chiaroscuro to better define three-dimensional objects.

Shading is the process of adding value to create the illusion of form, space, and most importantly – light in a drawing” (VirtualInstructor.com, 2017). In drawing, instead of drawing outlines of an object, it’s better to use shading to define its three-dimensional appeal, and the chiaroscuro technique helps do that.

Chiaroscuro comes from a mix of Italian words chiaro, meaning “light”, and scuro, meaning “dark”. It’s a good, classic technique used by many visual artists, present and past, to render light and shadow, especially when defining contrast.

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We used a shading exercise as training to control the pressure from our hands when shading light or hard

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A crumpled paper.. Yes, Sir Abe asked us to get a sheet of paper, crumple it, and draw it using the chiaroscuro technique

6. Use different types of lines to shade (but don’t overdo it).

Line is one of the seven elements (along with shape, form, value, space, texture, and color) of art, and it is a useful component to creatively shade your drawings. From horizontal to vertical, diagonal, intersecting, and curved ones, lines are a great way to represent shade.

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This is another exercise where we repeatedly drew lines: vertical, horizontal, hatching, cross hatching, random lines,and stippling

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Sir Abe showing us the application of shading with the use of (curved) lines

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Read on for more tips!


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