Everyone can learn how to draw. Drawing is a skill, and all skills can be learned. Most people get frustrated when they try to draw something, and it does not come out the way that they wish it would have. Learning some drawing basics will get you started on learning the skills needed for you to be able to draw what you see. Controlling your pencil is one of the basic skills that all artists need to learn.
Just like a guitarist practicing scales, an artist must practice creating a line. By making the motion over and over, you will be able to create exactly what you see without overthinking. Your hand will know how hard to press, how long to glide and exactly where to place the line.
Even the greatest artists practice drawing basics on a regular basis. Practicing skills will allow you to create freely, allowing you to create what your eyes see on a 2-D surface.
“As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward.”
~ Vincent van Gogh
Drawing Basics: Master Controlling Your Pencil
What Pencils to Use?
Many different brands of pencils are available for the artists. The good thing is that they are not that expensive. This allows you to try a few different brands to decide what works best for you without breaking the bank.
You will want to purchase a brand that has a consistent value for the grades that they offer.
Some cheaper pencils have an inconsistent value. This makes it difficult when you are adding shadows.
Other pencils have clay that is not ground properly. This could cause an inconstant line and may also damage the drawing surface.
I recommended using a higher quality pencil for your finished work. Even the higher end pencils are still very affordable.
What are Pencil Grades?
Pencil grades allow the artist to know how hard or soft the graphite of the pencil is. The harder the pencil is, the lighter the line will be. The softer the pencil is, the darker the line will be.
HB is the middle of the scale.
2B – 9B are the softest pencils. They will create the darkest lines. The higher the number is, the softer the pencil.
2H – 9H are the hardest pencils. The higher the number is, the harder the pencil.
How to Sharpen a Pencil
There are many pencil sharpeners that are available. You will find electric sharpeners as well as handheld sharpeners.
I prefer to sharpen my pencils with an x-acto knife and use sandpaper to create a fine point.
How to Hold a Pencil
There are several different ways that you can hold your pencil. You will want to spend some time to find the perfect grip for your style.
I rest the pencil on my middle finger and support it with my thumb and index finger. I will hold the pencil tip closer or farther away depending on the type of line I am drawing.
Practice Controlling Your Pencil
You will want to be able to draw any line that you see. Controlling your pencil is with muscle memory. This can be achieved by repetition.
- Left to right
- Right to left
- Top to bottom
- Bottom to top
- Clockwise circles
- Counter clockwise circles
Take some time every day and practice these moves.
Spend some extra time on the moves that are more challenging. You do not want to be drawing a finished project and fight with your stroke.
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