Best Strategy for Learning How to Draw

In this article I will present to you a good strategy for learning how to draw. For someone that wants to learn about drawing, the big question is HOW. How to start. What I should pay attention to, with which materials, etc. Of course drawing is a lifetime walk. You will always have something new to learn… there are millions of possibilities, materials, techniques, approaches, subjects, concepts and topics. And it is so easy to get overwhelmed with all those options. So, my first advice for you is Keep it Simple.

If you prefer the video format, you can check the video I’m posting here. If not feel free to skip it and continue with the article down below.

You learn how to draw by drawing. In my opinion, that is the most important and fundamental thing. Practice, practice, practice. You can read 100 books about drawing that you will never learn it if you never pick a pencil and make some marks on a paper. There is no way around. You have to draw. And, guess what, the more you do it the more fast you will evolve. So, draw a lot, make a lot of mistakes and, most important, enjoy! It is not about the end result, it is about having fun doing it. Keep this in mind. The best drawing is the one that gives you more pleasure doing it. Just enjoy, really.

So, where to start? Start with the basics. And this means: a notebook and a pen. Yes, that’s it. Nothing more. Really. Buy a cheap notebook (check my video about the best sketchbook ever… there is a link in the end of the article down below) and a pen. Draw with ink. Not pencil. No colours. Definitely, no watercolour. Not yet. Be patient. For now, just use line.

The sketchbook should be cheap, with plain paper, a hard cover, little and should open well (once more, if you are wondering about why these characteristics, check my the links in the end of the article to other articles/videos that complement this one).

Then, draw, draw, draw, draw… and, in the end, draw more. You get my point. Just draw. And the good thing about always carrying a little sketchbook is that you can draw anytime, anywhere. To draw will stop being something that you will do in a certain time and location. Instead, every little moment you have during your everyday life, can be used to make a drawing. While waiting for the food in a restaurant, in the middle of traffic, in the bathroom, before sleeping, etc. You just need 5 min. So, imagine how many drawings you can do in one day.

You may be thinking, but what should I draw? And that is a great question because there are things that can be more easy than others. So, my advice is this:

  • Start with objects. Things like a glass, a chair, a table, a lamp, a pen, a wallet… look around. Unless you are a minimalist, I’m sure you are surrounded with lots of objects. Just look at one and draw it. Then draw it again. Then move on to the next one, and continue like that. (stay away from cars… they are really not easy and you should avoid them in the beginning);
  • Meanwhile you can start by drawing flowers, trees and rocks. They can be more challenging but they are great things to draw.
  • The next step is to draw buildings. First just one and avoid perspective. You can draw, for example, the front of the building. Loose yourself in all the details and enjoy the process.
  • Then, you can start with people. This is more challenging and I will definitely enter more deep in this topic in the future but, for now, I will give you an exercise. Draw just the outline. Look around… if you see someone reading or looking the phone, for example, draw his/her outline. Never mind the details. Just a line that marks the outline of the person. Head, shoulder, arms, legs and feet.

And that’s it. You have a lot to do right now! If you liked this article and want to receive a notification every time I submit new content, you can subscribe to the blog on the right side. If you prefer RSS feeds, you have that option on the right side too.

Here’s a Link for my previous video where I talk about choosing the best sketchbook.

Affiliate disclaimer

Some links on this post are affiliate links, which means that I get paid a small commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link. If you make a purchase, you’ll pay the same price whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website without using an affiliate link. When you use an affiliate link, you help support this channel and the content I share. I sincerely appreciate your support.

5 tips on choosing the best sketchbook ever

There are so many sketchbooks out there! Cheap, expensive, with different kinds of paper, small, big, light, heavy, etc… What to buy?! Well, it depends. In this article I will share with you 5 tips on choosing the best sketchbook if you are starting out (well, I’m not starting out and It still is the best one for me!). If you prefer the video format, feel free to check this one on my youtube channel. If not, skip it and continue reading the article.

I will not talking about any particular brand but, instead, I’m focusing on 5 characteristics that I think are essential in the moment of buying a sketchbook for drawing.

First, the best sketchbook is the cheapest one you can find. Because you will draw much more without worrying about spending paper or feeling the pressure to do a good drawing. A Portuguese artist friend of mine once said “you have to loose the respect for the sketchbook”. And he is so right… you cannot respect your sketchbook. The more you do it, the less you will use it because you will be afraid. Afraid of waisting paper, afraid of doing a bad drawing, afraid of damaging it, etc. Stop it. You will not learn anything and your evolution will be extremely slow or, even worst, there will be no evolution at all. The sketchbook is for you to use and abuse freely. So, buy the cheapest one you can find. Remember, the more you draw, the more fast you will evolve.

Second, plain paper. You want it to be plain. Without lines or little watermarks, or whatever. You want a clean blank, plain, white piece of paper. Without any marks that can distract you or interfere with the decisions you make while drawing.

Third, the sketchbook should have a hardcover. There are a lot of advantages in this. The most important one is that the cover can give you support. Can work as a table. If you are drawing standing up, for example, you will hold the notebook with one hand and draw with the other. If the cover is hard, it is much more easy. Otherwise, the pages will bend as soon as you start putting the first marks on the paper.

Fourth, it should be little. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the drawing, the more detail you will have to put on it in order to make it look good. And you want to make a lot of drawings and not spend a lot of time with just one. So, my advice is: pick an A6 or A5 notebook. My favourites are the A6. They have just the right size for the drawings that I like to do. Big enough for 10/15 min drawings. When I go A5, I always spend more time in each drawing because of the detail I have to put on it in order for the final result to please me… This rule is not always like that. Of course I can make a big fast drawing on an 100x70cm piece of papel. But, if you are starting out, my advise is to keep it small.

Fifth and last tip: the sketchbook should open well. In the store, test it. Open the notebook in the middle and make sure it can open completely horizontal. You will treat the double page as if it is just one page. So, in order to do that, you can’t have the middle of the sketchbook bending the pages.

I hope this information can be useful for you. If you want to be notified of new blog posts, you can subscribe it via email or use the RSS feed. You have both options on the right side.

TOOLS I’M USING (amazon affiliate)

Affiliate disclaimer
Some links on this post are affiliate links, which means that I get paid a small commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link. If you make a purchase, you’ll pay the same price whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website without using an affiliate link. When you use an affiliate link, you help support this channel and the content I share. I sincerely appreciate your support.

Favourite drawings made during 2019

Here’s my 2019 Favourite Drawings. A small compilation of sketches made during this past year with some comments about them. Different locations, sketchbook formats and techniques. I hope you enjoy the video and, if yes, please hit the Like button and Subscribe to the channel. If you want to receive notifications every time I post a new video, don’t forget to hit the Bell as well. Thank you!

Why the iPad Air 2019 + drawing demo

In this article I’m giving you my personal review regarding the iPad AIR 2019. The iPad is an amazing tool to draw but, before you buy it, you should consider some things like how you will use it exactly and for what kind of works. If you are considering buying an iPad to draw or make illustration this video can add up to your research regarding if you should buy or not this particular model. I should mention that this iPad has the PaperLike screen protector installed (link below).

If you prefer the video format please feel free to check the video regarding this topic on my youtube channel. If not, just skip it and continue with me in this article.

disclaimer: this is not a sponsored review. I’m just an artist that some months ago wanted to buy an iPad to draw. In the past I had one but I didn’t like the experience so I sold it. But it was in a time that there was no Apple pencil, pressure sensitivity, etc. Now, finally, I’m prepared to give the iPad another try.

I will not talk about tech specs also. There are a lot of youtube videos and articles talking about the tech specs of this iPad and in comparison with the other models. My review is a very personal point of view. Basically, I want to answer the questions: how is the experience of drawing on the iPad air? Is it worth it to spend that money? The answers are not so straightforward. 

Why the AIR (2019 model)? I think it gives an amazing “price for value”. Yes, the second generation apple pencil is better, yes there is less delay, yes the iPad PRO has more processing capacity, etc.. that is all true but we are talking about another price point.

Why is it a good price for value? I will start with another question: A bigger screen isn’t better? Definitely, NO. As general rule of thumb, the bigger you draw, the more detail you have to put in your drawing. For someone like me that doesn’t like to spend so much time in one drawing, it is important to keep small formats. In 10 minutes I can be ok with a result. On the other hand, i like to draw on location. So, the portability of the iPad becomes something important. The bigger, the heavier. Besides that, it takes a lot of space in my bag.

How it performs in terms of drawing? Keep in mind that i’m using it with the Procreate app. First impression: it is slippery and it has a lot of reflections. The rest is amazing. The freedom of undo, using different brushes, colours, exploring new techniques, etc. it all adds to the experience. Of course, a lot of possibilities, in many situations, means confusion and uncertainty. I definitely would not recommend an iPad to someone that is just starting to draw. For that I have other advices for you. But for someone that is already drawing regularly, comfortable with pen and paper, then, why not? It will make your visual vocabulary more rich and it is a very good way of keeping you excited with drawing, encouraging new experiments. Which is something really important.

Pressure sensitivity is good. But keep in mind that for a lot of artists pressure sensitivity is not important at all. Although it is cool to play with it, it doesn’t necessarily means it is something essential. For example, on paper I usually draw with a Lamy fountain pen. And that is not pressure sensitive. You will just break the pen if you force the nib. What I’m saying is that a lot of artists don’t want the line to vary in weight according to the pressure they put on the nib.

Palm rejection is very important for writing but not necessarily for drawing. What I mean is that “palm rejection” (in drawing) is here to solve a problem that, in a way, should not exist. I advise you to draw with your wrist up and aligned with the top of your hand. Not down resting on the surface of the paper or screen. If you need some kind of support, use your pinkie finger to do it. To draw with your palm resting on the surface is a bad habit. Your line will be more stiff and that will be very visible on the overall drawing. Actually, a very good exercise is to draw without touching the surface in any way except for the tip of the pen or pencil.

You can tilt the pen. Again, something useful if you are used to tilt a pencil. Otherwise, not so important. But, hey, always nice to have those functionalities, right? more or less… it depends on if you are learning how to draw or more evolved. If you are just learning, it is just one more thing to create confusion. Too many options are not so good in the beginning. I’m a big fan of limiting resources in order to make the best out of the ones we are using in the moment. We will know them much better and we will be encouraged to explore new possibilities.

Another thing to pay attention is to the layer limitations on the iPad, in particular in the context of the Procreate app. The bigger the image resolution, the more limited you will be in terms of quantity of layers. This is not so important to me because I don’t like to work with too many layers and I’m always merging the ones I’m using. But if you are that kind of artist that likes to separate a lot of things in layers, keep this in mind. Maybe you should look for something more powerful like the iPad PRO.

It is definitely an amazing tool for my needs and tastes. I hope you enjoyed the article and, if you want to be notified about future post, feel free to subscribe it via email or RSS feed (you can find these options on the right side). If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments below so i can get back to you.

If you are wondering about the tools and recommendations i’m using and talking in this article check my Amazon Store (affiliate links).

Affiliate disclaimer: Some links on this post are affiliate links, which means that I get paid a small commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link. If you make a purchase, you’ll pay the same price whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website without using an affiliate link. When you use an affiliate link, you help support this channel and the content I share. I sincerely appreciate your support.

Episode 6 – Sketchbook Revealed 2015

In this series of Sketchbook Revealed I’ve been showing you my sketchbooks with just music on the background. In this video I decided to add a voiceover with some comments about each drawing. I think this adds to a better experience. If you have comments or suggestions please let me know in the comments below.

This sketchbook has drawings made between June and September of 2015. A lot of them are pencil sketches and the notebook has a small format (my favourites). If you want to see each one of these drawings in big format, you can go and check my blog where I post just the digitalised drawings.

I hope you enjoy the video and, if yes, please hit the Like button and Subscribe to the channel. If you want to receive notifications every time I post a new video, don’t forget to hit the Bell as well. Thank you!

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Ofir

drawing of Cávado River, in Fão, Portugal
Fão, Portugal, 11.12.2019
drawing of people in Ofir, Portugal, 11.12.2019
Conchinha, Ofir, Portugal, 11.12.2019

It is raining so much lately here in north Portugal… I took advantage of some sun to go outside and do two drawings. The first one was made to do the shooting for my youtube channel trailer. The second one, some minutes later, in Conchinha Cafe near the beach. A favourite place to draw people.