5 Ways to Improve Your Drawing

Try these Tips When Putting Pencil to Paper

Have you ever wanted to learn to draw better? Get bogged down hitting the same roadblocks over and over again? Think only repetitive practice makes perfect? 

Guess again! While it is true that practice will make you a better drawer or sketcher, these 5 simple tricks will improve your drawing skills quicker and improve your perception to better see what your drawing.



1. Make a Grid

This is especially important if you suffer from not being able to proportion out your sketches properly. While keeping your proportions straight for more realistic images, measuring out a square grids can keep you in check. 

First measure out a square grid over the image you plan on copying on your own paper, then copy that same grid with the same measurements onto your drawing paper or sketch pad and then simply try to draw that identical image from square to square. This trick also makes the image as a whole less daunting and intimidating by breaking down the different sectors. If your image paper and your sketch paper are the same size, then the image you create on your grid should match up. If you use a light shaded pencil on your grid, you should be able to erase them later with a great eraser like the Vanish 4-in-1 Artist Eraser

Skip the step of measuring out your own sketching paper with the Artist Survival Book which contains gridded paper for easy sketching.


2. Build Out your Sketches with Shapes

If you have trouble with complicated subject matter such as animals, people or random items, then start out by breaking down your subjects with basic shapes and draw them onto your paper before tackling the more complicated aspects of your drawing.

Draw lightly and then you can erase and replace the big shapes with more defined lines as you continue to sketch the fine details. This will help ease the frustration of getting bogged down on small details while helping you gain perspective on the general form. See the video below for more instruction on this.



3. Try Gestural Motion Drawings


We have covered this one before in our previous article, Practice with Gesture Motion Drawings, but this technique really can improve your drawing quickly. By capturing motions of people or animals, you can quickly gain a comprehensive perspective of how different forms, bodies and muscles move and react in motion. Spend less than 2 minutes visualizing and drawing the motion of something that interests you disregarding details and focusing only on form. This will help you in the future visualize how different bodies move in motion and and loosen up drawings and portraits. By getting a better idea of a base form, you wont be restricted to sketches that look stiff, boxy or contrived.


4. Switch Up your Drawing Utensils

Sometimes the medium you prefer most such as pen or charcoal can be a bit restrictive. By changing up your drawing medium every now and again, you can find that you can achieve new effects or styles of drawing. If you are tired of drawing with ball-point pen, try a large pencil like Jerry's Jumbo Jet Black Pencil for a softer, blended effect on your sketches. Or if you use a dull number 2 pencil when you sketch, try using a sharp technical pen such as the Isomar Technoart Technical Drafting and Drawing Pen for crisp sharp lines that will give your drawing a more technical and refined style. You may even find that you like one style over the other!


5. Draw Everywhere

Get out there! Draw in your free time wherever you are. Draw on the bus, the train, at lunch, when you wake up and before you go to bed. I know this sounds a lot like "practice makes perfect" and technically it is. But by varying up your subjects, where you draw and when you draw, you can learn a lot about the different ways you draw. Maybe, you can draw better in the morning when you feel more organized. However, you might find that you can sketch better in the evening when you're a bit more relaxed and unwinding from the day. It's possible you can be more inspired drawing from real life than from a printed out picture or photograph. You can only learn these things by constantly drawing and gaining new experiences. As your experience grows and your drawing subjects vary more and more, you will get better, I promise you that!

There is hope for us all to learn how to draw better and if you have any drawing tips that we've missed or you'd like to share, leave them in the comments below!


Happy 4th of July from Jerry's Artarama!

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!



Hopefully your Independence Day was filled with fireworks, cookouts and of course, ART!


Be sure to check out Jerrys Artarama for tons of amazing deals, savings and amazing content!


War Artists

Saluting the Army Art Program

In keeping with our Patriotic Week theme, today we thought we'd bring up a little known fact about the American Military. Most people don't think of the army as being a source to empower artists when some incredible American Art has come out of it!


Casualties, Ogden Pleissner, 1944

The Army Art program 

The Army has been officially funding artists dating back to World War I as part of the Army Art Program. It all started as a need to document and record the activities of American Expeditionary Forces, so the army commissioned eight artists as Captains in the Corps of Engineers. Through paintings, these fine captains would capture the action of battles and hard grinds, as well as the downtimes and minutia of everyday life during the war. The purpose of recording these activities was to be able to bring back the experience of war to America's museums such as the Smithsonian, which at the end of World War I was the custodian of historical Army property and art. 

John Singer Sargent, often called the "leading portrait painter of his generation" was one of the comissioned artists with the American Expeditionary Forces. His painting Gassed captures the aftermath of a mustard gas attack with a line of wounded soldiers marching towards a medical station(pictured below).

Gassed by John Singer Sargent 

Jerry's Artarama loves to honor John Singer Sargent by exclusively carrying one of our favorite linen canvas rolls, the Sargent Herringbone Weave Linen Canvas Rolls. These innovative canvas rolls come in three styles-unprimed, oil-primed and glue-sized for capturing fine details and perfect for realistic paintings such as Sargent painted himself.




The army continued the Army Art Program during World War II in 1943 until the Secretary of War made a contract with the editor of Life Magazine allowing civilian artists to be treated like war correspondents and were provided with the same support already being given to newspaper and film war correspondents. 

By June 1945, the Army had started a Historical Properties Section to maintain a collection of over 2,000 pieces of art seized during the war and in 1947, the Army Art Program had over 8,000 pieces of German war art including 4 architectural drawings by Adolf Hitler. Life Magazine allowing civilian artists to be treated like war correspondents and were provided with the same support already being given to newspaper and film war correspondents. 

Today and Michael D. Fay

War art continued through the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Shield and continues today with the War on Terror. One artist from the War on Terror in particular has gained notable attention for his paintings from Iraq and Afghanistan: Michael D. Fay

Michael was a former mortar man in the Marine Corps before re-enlisting with the United States Marine Corps again as a one of three combat artists to produce fine art based on their experiences with combat and life on the battlefield. The orders of an artist in the USMC is simply to "Go to War. Do art."

Some of his artwork can be seen here:

L to R: The Two Hands, Danger Close, and Captain Ross Parrish Directing his Company Over the Top

Fay's work from the field is currently displayed and can be seen at National Museum of the Marine Corps and the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. You can see more of his art online at his blog Fire and Ice

To keep up with our patriotism, be sure to check out our 4th of July Door Buster Sale with free shipping on purchases over $99 and amazing deals on all of your favorite art supplies and materials.


Don't miss out on these great deals and be sure to check back with us Saturday with more patriotic art news! Happy 4th of July! 


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