5 Pencil Sketching Techniques to Help You Improve Your Drawing Skills

Sketching is a form of freehand drawing and is also a form of self-expression.  Many people that sketch do it for their own reasons such as for fun, relaxation, a hobby and even to make a living.  Engineers use technical sketching techniques in order to communicate their ideas to others.

Sketching techniques, on the other hand, are used either to record or draw an image quickly or as practice for improving your drawing skills. Sometimes, the term “sketch” is used to describe a stand-alone form of visual representation. For example, when you see an artists drawing of a concept car that may be used for the actual design of the production car.

But here for our purpose in this article we will refer to sketching as the various techniques used by amateurs and professional artists to practice dexterity or to develop a certain way of observing and drawing the world around us.

Sketching techniques practiced daily can help you develop a completely new way of seeing and analyzing the world around you, while also developing the motor skills necessary for executing complex drawings. When practicing these techniques remember that you are just practicing to improve your skills and not trying to get a drawing done perfectly. If it looks bad don’t worry because you are just practicing to improve your drawing technique and over time you will see an improvement if you stick to it and practice consistently.

Here are 5 sketching techniques for beginners that can improve your perception, dexterity and drawing skills.

Sketching Techniques:

1.    Drawing Contours – In this exercise you basically pick an object whether it’s a picture or anything you can see and try to draw it without lifting your pencil off of the paper. Doing this will help you to be able to practice getting the proportions correct.

2.    Drawing Motion – recording movement helps grasp the overall image. Try to draw the movement of the person or object you see. Do it quickly, don’t try to give it a finished look because these are just practice drawings!

3.    Drawing with a grid – this is an excellent exercise to give you a sense of proportion. Draw a grid on a blank piece of paper and then try to sketch an image on it. The grid will help you position the objects in the picture and also to make them proportionate. This is an excellent technique when sketching faces.

4.    Drawing in a continuous line – another focusing exercise: put the pencil on the paper and try to reproduce what you see with a continuous line, without lifting the pencil. Try to focus more on the object, not so much on your sketching. You can do a figure eight or any continuous shape as long as you don’t have to lift your pencil from the paper.

5.    Blind drawing – try to sketch what you see without looking at your drawing at all. This exercise helps you “feel” your tools and also improve coordination and focus.

These sketching techniques can seem like they are mechanical exercises, but they’re meant to develop the skills necessary for you to be able to do more advanced drawings.

Try them and you will see that they are both useful and great fun!