5 Steps To Instantly Improve Your Drawings

5 Steps To Instantly Improve Your Drawings

Seriously, anyone can draw.

Drawing can be easy. Sure, some people learn faster or find it easier than others, but it is a skill that anyone can acquire with a little bit of practice. If you want to draw well and learn it quickly, though, here are a few steps that can get you there.

1. Copy, don't trace

If you want to get good at drawing fast, you have to use reference photos. Rather than just try to draw from life or from photos, though, find an artist whose style you like and try to emulate them. It could be a famous artist or just someone on Twitter or Tumblr. Choose a piece you like, preferably a sketch so you can see how they drew it, and literally try to recreate it yourself. Your art won't look exactly like there's, but you'll learn by imitating. Once you finish that drawing, rinse and repeat with a different artist or piece. Over time, you'll figure out how they draw the face shape that you like or learn that the nose they draw looks better if you tweak it a little bit, and eventually start to develop your own style out of theirs. This is exactly how I learned to draw in high school. I used to copy Burdge's fanart into my sketchbooks, and my current style grew directly from that.

2. Figure draw

While nude models are best, since drawing the body without clothes is the best way to understand the way the body actually moves, it's not always easy to find them. However, your new model could just be the person sitting across from you in the library, or relaxing on the campus green, or waiting to be called at jury duty. It could be a reference photo you found online. Some of my favorite figure drawings came out of online reference galleries like Bodies in Motion or SenshiStock. If you aren't uncomfortable with nude models, though, try CroquisCafe on Youtube. The channel has hundreds of nude models pose in real time, building from thirty-second poses to five-minute poses. It also has tutorials and close-up references for harder things to master, like hands and faces.

3. Learn the human face

Once you start to learn the human face, it's really easy to fall into drawing the same face in every picture. To mix things up and really learn how facial structure works, uses reference faces. The random selection on Humanae on Tumblr is a really good resource for facial references. Choose the one you like, or just add "/random" to the end of the Humanae URL and try to draw the face you are given. If you're still having trouble with faces, try simplifying each random face you're given. Find the nose in just a few lines so you can come back to it later. Establish eye size and distance with a dot or a stroke, and then use detail. Just try to figure out how each face works before spending more than ten minutes on one person.

4. Find something that inspires you

It could be a show, a comic, a person, a song. Find something that makes you wish you could create, and then sit down and do it. If it's a story, it might be a drawing of the characters, a recreation of a scene you liked, a comic of the moments you wish had happened. If it's an album, it could be an interpretation of a lyric or of the artist. If you have your own creative work to go off of, like a short story or poem, bring that to life. Just always try to have something in your life that inspires you, because if something is urging you to create, it becomes hard to avoid it.

5. Keep drawing

You won't improve in one night. You might not improve in a week. You will improve, though, as long as you keep doing it. You don't have to carry a sketchbook around. Just doodle in the margins of your notebook. Steal some printer paper and sketch. Keep going, because it's impossible to get worse with practice.

Cover Image Credit: Phoebe Corde

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57 Things You Think When You're Debating Whether To Miss A Deadline In College

Wait... for real, though, did I finish that assignment?

Deadline. It's a great thing, it teaches us how important it is to do things by, well, a deadline. BUT when you have like a million other things to do because you're about to graduate and the semester is coming to an end, well, you fear you may miss it.

Never fear, though, here are 57 things you are thinking about when debating on whether or not to miss this said deadline.

1. Did I do all of my work for that class?

2. Am I going to pass said class?

3. C's get degrees, right?

4. Well, I hope so because that's what it's going to be.

5. Wait... for real, though, did I finish that assignment?

6. I literally have assignments on assignments.

7. Don't I have an article due, too?

8. Welllllll...

9. OK, OK, five minutes on Facebook won't hurt.


11. I'm so buying that dog.

12. I wonder how much they cost?

13. Let me Google it.

14. Wait... how many zeroes is that?

15. Oh... that many zeroes.

16. Well, what if I adopt one?


18. I want to adopt you.

19. But, sorry, you're a Great Dane and I barely live in an apartment big enough for one.

20. Maybe my parents would buy him?

21. Let me tag my mom in a Facebook post about Great Danes and see what she says back.

22. Success! She didn't hate him.

23. Maybe I should text her and ask her if we can get a Great Dane.

24. OK, maybe not then...

25. Wait... don't I have a deadline?

26. Oh, not for another hour, I'm good.

27. I wonder what is on Netflix.

28. WAIT, they just uploaded a new season of my favorite show.

29. Let me find some popcorn because it's going to be a binge fest tonight!

30. Gosh, I just love this character. That's so me.

31. I'm hungry.

32. Do I have any food here?

33. Well, there's popcorn.

34. But, I need real food.

35. Do I have any money in my bank account?

36. Score! Enough for some real food.

37. OK, I'll be right back, Netflix, I just need to feed myself.

38. Why didn't I wear a heavier jacket?

39. Why do I live so far away from this restaurant?

40. What do I even want?

41. Do I even like this place?

42. What do you mean you're out of chicken?

43. Fine, that's fine. I'll take whatever.

44. Here I come, Netflix!

45. Bye-bye pause button.

46. Play next episode?

47. YES

48. Play next episode?

49. What time is it?

50. Oh, I'm still good.

51. Wait...

52. I think deadline was at 5...

53. Welp, it's 8 now, I might as well fully embrace this missing deadline thing.

54. AGH, NO

55. OK OK OK, regroup

56. This article is going to be amazing.

57. Who cares if I was late? This article is going viral.

Actual note though: don't be late for deadline. Seriously, Just don't do it, not even for the dog photo.

Cover Image Credit: NBC Universal

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The Key To Ending Your First Draft Blues

Or at least getting through the next chapter with your hair intact

Ah, the first draft. We’ve all been there as writers. The day we decide to turn a blank word document into a 70,000 word (or more) masterpiece. Or, at least, that’s always the aim. Often as first-time writers, we go into the experience blind, learning as we go, and never really knowing whether what we’re doing is right or wrong.

It can be frustrating at times, as most first drafts are a test of sanity. As somebody who had written ten first draft books (nearing eleven) in six years, I have had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to first drafts.

My first book ever took me four years just to write it, I started at the age of sixteen and finished by the time I was twenty. A year later I had written another. I then wrote one in thirty days, and nowadays I write about three to four books a year.

My point is, there is no science to writing. It is all about learning how to do it, and finding the methods that suit you best. I just wish I could have had someone to tell me all of that when I started.

With that in mind, here are my five pieces of advice on how to write your first draft:

#5 Embrace the Terribleness

The first draft is always the worst version of any story. The sooner you accept it, the easier it is to move forward with your work. So you misspell a few words so bad that even Word can't help you. That shouldn't stop you from going with the flow. Your dialogue will feel hammier than a "Star Wars" film, but you'll clean it up the second time around. You're not expected to create a masterpiece on the first go, so just enjoy the ride.

#4 Suffer for your Art

Writing can be hard. I've said it enough times already, but it's true. You have to be prepared to suffer for it. The reason my first book took four years to write was because I didn't commit to it. The reason I wrote 80,000 words in thirty days was because I committed myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. Now I average 3,000 daily. Is it painful to force 3,000 words to the page every day? Yes, but that's what you have to do to get the draft finished.

#3 Take your Time

Now I know this goes against what I just said, but it's important that you go at the pace you want to. I was happier writing 1,000 words a day, but I was eighteen then. At twenty-three, I'll never get everything done going at 1,000 words a day. Commit yourself to writing every day, even if its only 200 words. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll get to the finishing line quicker if you jog a steady pace rather than adopting a sprint and rest mentality.

#2 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Yes, it's important to remember what colour your character's hair is, which one is taller, and what weapon they are carrying. Although with that said, it is important to keep going forward. In my editing, I go over everything with a fine comb, often with a character profile at my side. Don't get bogged down giving every little detail the first time around, you'll have time for that later. The hardest thing is getting it down the first time.

#1 Keep the Story Going at All Costs

This kind of goes without saying, but it is by far the most important step for me. You have to keep moving forward. It doesn't matter if you have to use the biggest Deus ex machina to get your plot going again, you can always edit it away in the re-draft. I use a technique called automatic writing, which means that I don't plan every detail of a chapter. I simply write it as I go. This allows me to give my characters natural reactions as events often come as a surprise to me too.

Obviously it is good to have a rough idea of what is meant to happen, but as long as you can get your characters from A to B, then you are half way there. The other half will be polishing it to the point you can see your reflection.

Good luck, and happy writing.

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writer%27s_Block_I.jpg

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