The Basics of Sketching and Drawing - How to Build a Strong Foundation

By: Gen Wright

"Why is it so important for an artist to learn sketching?"

Drawing in monochrome lays the foundation for greater things to come. You can move on to color pens, oil pastels, watercolor painting, acrylic painting and oil painting later on but without the skills to create the visual effects that you want, your progress will be limited.

This e-book is about building a strong drawing foundation. Without a strong foundation, the artist has no expressive freedom. Without control and mastery of drawing techniques and tools, they cannot express their ideas and vision in a satisfactory manner.

And that's the goal that every artist should keep in mind when creating a work of art.

It could be a few broad strokes, or it could be many fine lines. It could be patches of shades, or it could be patches of void spaces. It doesn't matter.

The important thing is to remember that a drawing or a painting is complete when the ideas are expressed to the artist's satisfaction.

You'll see these techniques re-surface when we move on to discuss more advanced drawing techniques. Meanwhile, do familiarize yourself with the techniques discussed in this e-book.

Ultimately, the goal we want to achieve here is to prove that anyone with a burning desire and a strong interest for art can learn to draw in no time.

What's the next natural thing to happen? With understanding comes better works of art. Let's start with understanding composition.

Aspect 1: Composition

The composition of a drawing contains elements such as line, shape, tone, texture, color, direction, size, proportion, and perspective. The combination of these elements makes up the overall look and feel of the drawing.

Decide early the subjects that are going to be included in the drawing. Draw out rough shapes as outlines for the subjects. This will let you see how the different shapes fit into the drawing, and you won't find yourself running out of space for some objects that you want to include in the drawing.

Aspect 2: Perspective

Perspective, simply put, is the way in which objects appear to the eye. Anyone with a keen observation of the objects in the surrounding has the potential to draw great looking pictures.

After that, it's all a matter of translating that mental image into visual form. The higher the level of skill and mastery of tools, the better the drawing.

Here, the artist has the power to choose from the many different ways to represent the image. Different mediums, different drawing tools, different types of paints, etc. He or she may even choose to represent perspective differently. Here's a quick example of how perspective can affect the drawing.

Objects that are further away always appear smaller. The further they are, the smaller they are, and they will keep on appearing to the eye as smaller objects until they disappear into the horizon.

In addition, details of the objects may be blurred or lost due to the distance.

If the object is of importance or if for some reason the artist wishes to emphasize the presence of the object, the perspective can be altered to bring the object to focus.

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Darren WK Chow is the founder and developer of, an online website that offers free drawing lessons, home study courses, and other drawing related resources. For more free resources like the one you've just read, please visit for free online drawing lessons.

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