Step by Step Drawing: 5 Key Steps for Every Artist

Step by Step Drawing 5 Key Steps for Every Artist
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Do you have a passion for drawing and are wondering what you need to excel at it? Well, you already have it: Passion!

Drawing is not about talent. Rather, it’s about passion and the desire to vividly depict things better than you see them in the real world. It’s about learning. It’s about knowing when to shade, and when to leave it plain. In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Learning never exhausts the mind”

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The greatest weapon in the hands of an artist is the mind. Whatever the mind can conceive, the hands can reveal. Everyone has the potential to draw. But not everyone succeeds at unleashing it simply because we do not take the time to learn the secrets to step by step drawing.

In this article, you will find 5 Key Steps for Every Artist and a step by step drawing guidelines that apply in just about any exercise.

A comprehensive drawing course like The Secrets to Drawing can also do wonders to your skill.

What Do You Need?

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate, there are a few things that should always have a place in your drawing arsenal:

  • Pencil: Experienced drawers will tell you that a pencil is by far the most important equipment for any artist. Graphite pencils are particularly ideal for beginners because they allow you to easily erase mistakes. Be that as it may, not all models are produced with drawing in mind.

Pencils are graded by number and letter. Hard pencils take on the letter “H” while soft ones come with the letter “B”. Each of the two categories can be split further depending on the level of hardness and softness.

So, how do you choose between hard and soft? Hard pencils are ideal for light shading and linear drawing. They neither stain the paper nor thicken the lines that are meant to be as fine as possible. Soft pencils are usually ideal for more artistic tasks like shading middle tones.

  • Paper: That you need paper might come across as rather obvious, but paper quality has a major bearing on the final drawing made. In a nutshell, drawing requires heavy, thick papers. However, you might also want to stock up on the thinner sketch paper – ideal for testing out ideas.
  • Sharpener and Eraser: As long as you have invested in pencils, you will need a sharpener. A good one should help you to churn out different types of tips depending on the purpose at hand. Lastly, you will need an eraser because there will always be occasional slip-ups, however experienced you are.

Now, let’s dive in and look at the actual drawing process:

A Step by Step Drawing Guide: 5 Key Steps for Every Artist

Step 1: Choose a Reference Image

It’s fair to say that almost every drawing has a reference, real or imaginary. Having a visual image of the item helps beginners and intermediates to stay focused. As a beginner, it’s advisable to choose a photograph that’s simple and clear.

Why is a reference image important? Well, it helps you to maintain attention to detail, especially since a physical image remains the same.

A “look and draw” approach works, but to grow from a beginner to a true drawing guru, you will need to learn how to conceptualize your ideas. That way, you can ditch reference images and fully embrace the power of your mind.

Step 2: Scribble down The Outline

An outline captures the basic appearance of the item you wish to draw. You could call it a “skeleton”. This should not be difficult, and you’re allowed to be a little flexible at this point. The outline should be as light as possible.

Keeping it light involves making loose, repeated strokes. Remember you’re trying to get a general idea, not a photo-realistic copy. You can even draw several outlines of the image. After that, compare each outline with the image itself, and pick the best match.

Step 3: Begin to Add Details

Once you have penciled in the general outline, you can now begin to add the distinct features. In the case of a human face, such features include the eyes, ears, and nose. At this point, you can use heavier, darker lines.

As a general rule, it’s always good to frequently step back and take long looks at your drawing as a whole. That way, you will be able to take note of any detail that’s obviously out of place and make the necessary corrections.

Step 4: Add A Little Bit of Realism

Realism has a lot to do with how different parts of an object compare in terms of size. By comparing the original photograph with your drawing, you can easily single out any landmark or part that’s not proportional to the others.

Step 5: Add Tone and Texture

Once you’re satisfied with the general appearance of your drawing, you can now refine it using a combination of shading and carefully weighted strokes. For example, borders should be a little darker to replicate the depth of real-life objects.


You can come up with a realistic drawing of just about anything you have in mind. To do that, you will always need to embrace a step by step drawing plan, particularly if you are a beginner. For a more comprehensive set of learning materials including videos, eBooks, and tutorials, visit The Secrets to Drawing.

Our Top Pick For Drawing Tutorial

The Most Complete Drawing Course!

Learn More

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