How to Sketch

Drawing sketches the proper way

How to Sketch


When sketching, we want to capture useful information such as shapes, shadows, and textures. This does not have to be done exclusively by drawing. If you like, you can also add notes to your sketch. Sketching not only helps us to better understand our reference, but also serves to later be able to develop a drawing or a completely new idea from our sketches.

And best of all, it’s pretty easy to draw sketches!

Simple exercise for sketching

Let's first take a trip to the kitchen. Here we grab some fruits or vegetables like potatoes, bananas, apples or - like in my case - tomatoes. This healthy stuff will be the reference for our sketch.

The goal of the exercise is to draw our reference several times from different angles and in a simplified form, in other words, to sketch it.

Draw Tomatoes reference

Learn to see properly

We all know what a tomato looks like: It’s a round, red berry with green leaves on top in the shape of a star. But is that really the case? When we look more closely, we realize that a tomato isn’t that round at all.

It is precisely these little things that makes it so important to look properly at our reference. So before we draw the first line, we should ask ourselves whether we are just drawing from memory or whether we see the shape exactly as it is in front of us.

Capture shapes and rough details

Before we get started, we should be aware that this is an exercise. Making mistakes here is not only okay, it’s also intentional. After all, this is the only way we can improve.

We transfer the not-so-round shape of the tomato or the shape of whatever loot we got from the kitchen onto our paper. Since this is a sketch, the contours can be quiet darker than in a realistic drawing. Depending on the light in our room, it can be interesting to mark light reflections or to hint at shadows by hatching.

Easy sketch
Sketching ideas

Even though a sketch is a simplified representation, that doesn’t automatically mean that we have to completely abandon details.

In my case, the green leaves of the tomatoes had already dried out a bit, resulting in hard edges and shadows. These are worth keeping in the sketch, as these are details that I would certainly not remember in the future.

Drawing sketches
Drawing a sketch of a tomato

Although the example shows pencil sketches, the exercise can be executed just as well with colored pencils, ballpoint pens, or ink.

Get better at sketching

We all start at some point and should practice with simple references in the beginning. But if you practice regularly, you can take on more difficult references and one day you will be able to sketch even complex things very quickly, easily and confidently.

Portrait sketchs

One important note

I am a big fan of being in healthy competition with yourself. You have to understand that sketching once does not make you a master. Regular practice is very important and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. The first step you should praise yourself for is having started. In all further steps you should be proud of yourself that you are better today than yesterday!

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