7 Free Hand Drawing Exercises That Will Make You a Better Artist

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Written By Sam Davis Ph.D.

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Anyone can be an artist with the right tools and practice. In this blog post, we will provide you with seven freehand drawing exercises that will help improve your skills! These exercises are a great way to start your day, or to wind down in the evening. They are also perfect for artists of all levels of experience. So grab a pencil and paper, and let's get started!

Person holding black pen sketching flower

1: Freehand drawing exercise: Draw a basic shape, such as a circle or square

Many people think that free hand drawing is a skill that you are either born with or not. However, this is not the case. With a little practice, anyone can learn to draw well enough to create basic shapes like circles and squares. The key is to start with simple shapes and gradually build up your skills. Once you have mastered the basics, you can move on to more complex shapes.

One of the best ways to improve your free hand drawing skills is to practice regularly. Set aside some time each day to draw, even if it's just for a few minutes. As you become more comfortable with the process, you will find that it becomes easier and more enjoyable.

You may also want to try different mediums for freehand drawing, such as pencils, pens, or charcoal, to find the one that works best for you. With a little effort, you will be surprised at how quickly your free hand drawing skills improve.

2: Freehand drawing exercise: Draw the same shape using different lines – thick, thin, wavy, etc.

As an artist, it is important to be able to vary your line thickness to create interesting and dynamic compositions. This exercise is designed to help you practice controlling the thickness of your line.

Begin by drawing a simple shape, such as a square or circle. Then, try drawing the same shape using different types of lines. Make some lines thick and others thin. Some lines should be straight, while others can be wavy or curved.

The goal is to create a variety of lines that all work together to form the overall shape. This exercise will help you develop your control over line thickness, giving you another tool to use when creating art.

3: Freehand drawing exercise: Draw a still life of flowers or fruit

Drawing from life is one of the best ways to improve your skills as an artist. By studying real-world objects, you can learn to capture essential details and create accurate representations. In this exercise, you will practice drawing a still life of flowers or fruit. Begin by setting up your subject in a well-lit area.

Then, take some time to study the scene carefully, observing the shapes, colors, and textures of the various elements. Once you have a good understanding of the overall composition, begin sketching out the basic forms of the objects. Pay close attention to proportions and perspective as you work. Finally, add in the finer details, such as leaves, petals, and seeds. With practice, you will develop the ability to create realistic and lifelike drawings from observation.

4: Freehand drawings: Draw people or animals from memory

One of the best ways to improve your drawing skills is to practice drawing from memory. Not only does this help to sharpen your powers of observation, but it also forces you to rely on your own imagination rather than copying from a reference.

When you first start out, it can be helpful to choose simple subjects such as people or animals. Once you have the basic shapes down, you can start to add in more details such as hair, clothing, and facial features. With a little practice, you'll be surprised at how quickly your skills will improve. So grab a pencil and paper and give it a try!

5: Freehand drawing skills: Create a cityscape or landscape scene

As someone who loves to travel, I often find myself sketching landscapes and cityscapes from memory. It's a great way to capture the essence of a place and to create a lasting memento of my travels. I start by lightly sketching in the basic outlines of the scene, paying particular attention to the overall composition.

Once I'm happy with the general layout, I start adding in details like buildings, trees, and people. I usually use a pen for this part, as it allows me to be more precise. Finally, I add shading and shadows to give the drawing some depth and dimension. This exercise is a great way to improve my observation skills and to sharpen my memory. Plus, it's just really fun!

Creating a cityscape is a great way for me to practice my straight lines, too. Free hand sketching is a definite art form, and creating straight lines, vertical lines, and parallel lines just takes practice. As your observational skills improve, you'll be able to make a straight line with little to no effort.

6: Freehand drawing exercises: Try drawing abstract shapes and patterns

If you're anything like me, the first thing you think of when you hear the word “drawing” is a perfectly proportioned portrait or landscape. But what if we expanded our definition of freehand drawing to include any mark-making activity, regardless of subject matter? With that in mind, I invite you to explore the world of abstract drawing! It's a great way to practice freehand drawing in your free time.

One of the great things about freehand drawing is that it can be done anywhere, with any materials. All you need is a pen or pencil and something to write on, and you're good to go! Another plus is that there are no rules when it comes to freehand drawing. You can literally draw freehand whatever you want, however you want. So let your imagination run wild!

Let your inner mandala flow – don't worry about a complete drawing

If you're not sure where to start, try drawing some abstract shapes and patterns. Start with simple geometric shapes and build up to more complex designs. Or, try using a limited color palette and see how many different variations you can create. The possibilities are endless!

Who knows, you might just discover that free hand drawing is your new favorite hobby.

7: Freehand drawing exercise: Just have fun

The best way to get better at drawing freehand is to have fun doing it. Drawing straight lines over and over is boring. But freehand drawings of your favorite characters? That's fun. Wanting to draw freehand is the number one predictor of success.

Example: Doodle while drawing freehand.

It will come with practice and lots of mistakes, so don't be afraid to make them. Take some time to doodle whatever comes to mind, or just draw random shapes until something interesting appears on the page. When you're feeling stuck, try picking a favorite character from your favorite TV show or movie and then sketching them. Actual drawing time and freehand practice is the most important thing.

Final Thoughts

The takeaway from this experiment is that everyone sees things differently and interprets them in their own way. What might look like a basic shape to one person could be interpreted as something completely different by someone else. This is an important thing to remember when you’re creating content or designing products – what looks good or makes sense to you may not be what resonates with your audience. So, always test and measure how your target market reacts to see if you’re on the right track. Have you ever tried drawing something from memory? It can be surprisingly difficult! Our brains are amazing things, but they don’t always work the way we want them to. When it comes to art, creativity, and even just remembering what we had for breakfast, every person experiences the world a little bit differently.

If you need more advice about drawing, I highly recommend Skillshare. Skillshare is a great way to pick up essential drawing skills at your own pace. Find out more here!

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