Learn to Draw

When I first started my graphic design journey, I read a bunch of articles on how to become a graphic designer–and this one by Karen Cheng was by far the best. Her advice made sense to me. I even bookmarked it and revisit it regularly!

The first step in her article is learn to draw. So, I did what she said and I learned. I bought the book You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler from Amazon. Then, I ran to Michael’s and bought a sketchbook, some pencils, and an eraser. Buying new materials is my favorite; I’m always looking for an excuse to shop.

I sat down and I started his lessons. Here are my favorite takeaways from his book and also my own experience:

1. Drawing isn’t a talent, it’s a skill. While some people might seem to be artistically inclined, it’s probably due to years of practice. Even if that practice is doodling in the margins of a notebook. With a little guidance, you can learn the technical aspects that make drawings look realistic.

2. Little habits add up. To be honest, I didn’t complete every lesson in the book. And I certainly didn’t do it within 30 days. But I tried to be consistent by practicing a little bit every day, even if was just for two minutes. After a while I noticed I could draw much more quickly and get the shapes I wanted the first time around. Also, you’d be amazed how quickly a sketchbook fills up when you draw at least one thing per day. It’s awesome to flip through my sketchbook and see the progress I’ve made over time.

3. It’s ok to copy. It’s ok to copy! When I first started drawing, a little part of me felt guilty about copying photographs or another person’s work. I wanted to draw original things, but they ended up looking cartoonish…. and just wrong. You don’t have to feel guilty about copying. Think about musicians. When you first start learning how to play an instrument, you don’t write your own songs. You play other people’s songs until you feel comfortable enough to try your own thing. When you base your drawings off of existing artwork, you come to conclusions more quickly than if you had taught yourself.


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