It seems to be a contradictory claim because making a beautiful drawing is often the ultimate goal. Nevertheless, I think it is extremely important to be able to make a good sketch. Perhaps this is more important than being able to draw nicely.
Huh, isn’t this a website to learn how to draw better?
Yes, that’s right, but I have 7 reasons why sketching is an incredibly important part of drawing. You have to be good at sketching before you can make really good drawings. Okay, first the 7 reasons, then I explain them below.
- It is easier to start again.
- Sketching creates less character stress.
- You can work more freely.
- You practice.
- Trial and error.
- You can combine.
- A sketch can be the basis for your final work.
1. It is easier to start again.
If a sketch goes in the wrong direction you try again. You won’t get too attached to a sketch. If you work hours on a drawing and only then find out that the proportions are not correct, it becomes difficult to change it. The nature of the sketch is that you work quickly so a mistake is not a big disaster.
2. Sketching creates less character stress.
Because it is not your definitive work, you are more free and less afraid to make mistakes. Sometimes I even try to think during the making a “real” work: “It’s a trial and we’ll see.” This often causes me to get less stress with starting.
3. You can work more freely.
When sketching, do not put your hopes on one drawing. This makes you more free in your ideas. If the first idea is not good enough, then perhaps the second or third idea.
4. You practice.
Combining this with tip 1 you can quickly draw the same subject multiple times. You will notice that every time you draw it you get more grip on your subject and it keeps getting better.
5. Trial and error.
Because a sketch is made quickly, you can try different things in a short time. Sometimes ideas in your head look better than when you put them on paper. Not such a good idea? Next!
6. You can combine.
I often sketch by putting multiple drawings on one sheet of paper. Sometimes you come up with new ideas because you put everything together on paper. This way you can come up with combinations that you would otherwise not link to each other. This gives you the chance to come up with new and original ideas.
7. A sketch can be the basis for your final work.
If you sketch with thin lines, then you have the basis for your final drawing. You can trace over the light lines with for example fineliner or pen. You can also use another color pencil and then take over with drawing pencil. Many artists opt for light blue because this is almost impossible to see when scanning.
Tips for sketching:
- Do not worry about quality, a sketch has a different purpose than being beautiful. Understanding the idea or subject is most important.
- Try to open your head to strange ideas and combinations. Do not think: “That does not work” or “that’s a stupid idea.” Sometimes a “stupid” idea can bring you back to a different idea once you have it on paper. Sometimes you suddenly see it on the page.
- Draw with loose and thin lines. You can search a bit for the right form on the paper. If you find this difficult, you can hold the pencil a bit higher, then you automatically press less hard on your pencil.
- Use a different color to set up your sketch. When you have finished the sketch you can indicate the final correct line with a different color.
- Have fun!
Do you like to draw people or animals?
With both sites you can indicate what you want to draw and how long the images can be seen. I made the sketches at the top of the page based on images from these sites. I also created the image on the right during a quick drawing session. Not all sketches from this session were successful, but because they succeeded well, I later elaborated on this drawing.
Another extra tip about sketch lines.
For those who do not like sloppy lines, I found the video below in which Leonardo Pereznieto shows you how you can still draw nice lines while sketching. His other videos and tutorials are also really recommended.