Tag Archives: drawing

Don’t Have a Steady Hand for Drawing? Don’t Let That Stop You!

If you are an artist (or a frustrated artist) who lacks a steady hand, fear not: you can still draw even without a perfectly controlled hand! How do I know that? Because you’re not the only one who has difficulty with this–many artists do! And it’s not something that should stop you forever; it is something that can be mastered, often with just a shift in your thinking.

Lack of Confidence in Art Skill -> Shaking Hand -> Lack of Confidence in Art Skill

I used to believe that I was a terrible artist, because of one thing: my trembling hand. Unsteady hands have plagued me for as long as I can remember–I can remember even before entering kindergarten, I had a hard time drawing a perfectly straight line, even when I concentrated really, really hard.

My experience in subsequent art classes in elementary school only confirmed what I already knew: I couldn’t draw anything well, because my lines weren’t clean and sharp-looking like I wanted them to be. I could only sit and marvel at my classmates who could produce beautiful visuals without shaky lines everywhere.

But there was a slight problem with my thinking, as I discovered much later on. Well, let me rephrase that: there was a HUGE problem with my thinking. I considered myself a terrible artist because of my unsteady hand, so I was not confident while I held the pencil or pen; because I was not confident, I always concentrated way too hard when I drew, and ended up with–guess what?–shaking, quivering lines. A vicious cycle!

Though part of my trembling hands may be heredity, I certainly wasn’t helping matters when I focused so hard on trying to draw a straight line. I kept noticing that whenever I was just dashing off a quick little doodle, a drawing I didn’t care about, my lines WERE clean and sharp. It seemed like the less I cared about “getting it right,” the more often I in fact did “get it right!”

A Possible Cure: Just Draw, Don’t Worry

For anyone else who’s struggling with an unsteady drawing hand, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to just draw. Act as if whatever you’re working on is just a carefree doodle, just a random little piece of art rather than something that has to be absolutely positively right. (I found that thinking this way helped get rid of a lot of my hand’s quivering, because I wasn’t holding the pencil SO HARD trying to get everything right.)

Having confidence in your skill, even when you think you’re not “good enough” to be observed yet, is important for any art, not just drawing. Keeping your judgment separate from the creative process is key. Don’t worry about how it looks on the page, don’t worry if that line looks out of place–just draw for the sheer joy of the art. Reshaping your thinking can be the first step toward becoming a better artist!

Additional Help for Unsteady Hands

If your confidence in your drawing skill is fine, but you’re still having a little trembling getting in the way, check out the advice on this thread over at ConceptArt.org. From moving your shoulder and entire when you draw (instead of just your wrist and hand), to practicing large cursive handwriting to improve coordination (not kidding, it helps!), these artists give a lot of ideas on how to steady your lines!

Simple yet Effective Art

Note: I am not and never will be a “great” artist, but I do like to mess around in MS Paint and see what kind of little visual creations I can come up with.

While playing around in Paint the other day, I started toying with shapes, colors, and random line shapes, just musing rather than trying to create a real picture. Along the way, I came up with 4 images that astounded me–they weren’t necessarily “great” art, but they were striking pictures nonetheless. It reminded me of logos for businesses, website headers, and other iconic pictures; the art was simple but effective.

The following simple tricks, like using various shades of one color and basic shapes, can sometimes make a bigger impact on your viewer than a complicated line drawing. Not to mention that it is MUCH easier to draw and color these shapes, especially with a laptop mouse. 😛 Read on to see examples of this kind of art!

Work with varying shades of the same color.

Sometimes, all you need is just one color, with various lighter and darker tones making up all the visual interest in the image. This sophisticated layered effect is created with just four squares of slightly different blues on a very deeply-hued background, which creates a soft picture perfect for some sort of logo or even just contemplative art.

Make your art look 3D with color shading.

With only four colors–bright yellow, black, and two shades of green–I created this simple image, which seems to be in 3D. The yellow “layer” of the picture pops up from the green “layer”, because of the line of darker green I put just below the zigzagging black edge. I seriously surprised myself with this picture…I had no idea the addition of the darker green could make the picture suddenly become dimensional!
This ribbon looks more realistic than not, with just a hint of darker lavender shading in strategic places. Curving shapes are a little harder to do than straight-sided shapes, but just add a little bit of shading at a time. (In this picture, I don’t think I got the shading QUITE right, but as with most of my art, I was afraid to try to do it over for fear I’d mess it all up…which is usually the result. LOL)

In both cases, all it comes down to is choosing a “believable” shadow shade and figuring out which “side” the light is coming from, and you’ve got it made!

Play with using the same shape in different sizes and colors.

By using various sizes and shapes of circles, as well as various colors, you can make a quirky and cool art piece. Layering shapes together in playful ways, experimenting with color combinations, and even putting in a bit of transparency here and there, can create an image you’d be glad to showcase as a logo, a print on a pillow, a piece of art in your bedroom–anything you can think of. This particular design would look nifty decorating a notebook or a pencil cup, I think. ^_^

The Big Secret? This Art Took Minutes

I kid you not; all this art took moments to make but doesn’t look it. Since I’m a very impatient artist, I needed art that didn’t take me hours and hours of sketching, erasing, drawing, coloring, erasing (and crumpling up of paper, eventually).

This kind of simple digital art can be easily used anywhere you want them to be, even in non-digital places–all you need is a printer and an appropriate medium for your project, and you’re set. Try it for yourself; open your simplest image-creation program, and start playing around… 🙂

Happy Little (Sketched) Tree

With apologies to Bob Ross for the title of this post, this week I thought I’d showcase a recent sketch of mine that I scanned into the computer:

Number #2 pencil on computer printer paper. Awright.

The tree is mostly composed of simple leaf and branch shapes (similar to a crape myrtle tree). Not the most original thing in the world, perhaps, but this picture works for me on several levels:

  1. It’s mine–I didn’t have to borrow artwork from someone else like usual
  2. I didn’t have to worry about every leaf and twig being in EXACTLY the right place, because it looks better as an imperfect form anyway
  3. The sketch ended up pretty much how I wanted it, for just about the first time in my life

P.S.: Why This Isn’t a Color Picture

This picture isn’t colored in, because usually when I start trying to color my pictures by hand, I end up with something that looks worse than kindergarten. Crayons are too heavy and waxy, colored pencils are too light (takes too long to build up enough color), and markers are too permanent. (And we just won’t talk about the tragedy of my painting skills here. XD) Not to mention that “staying in the lines” is just about impossible for me and my impatient hands.

I did try to color this picture using Photoshop’s Paint Bucket too, but I found it much too hard to color in with a laptop mouse! I couldn’t stand the thought of having to click a hundred thousand times so precisely to fill in all those little leaves, so I quit after a few pointless minutes of accidentally filling the whole canvas with green. Sad.

Pencil + Paper = Fun

My difficulties with coloring is why I enjoy the impromptu ease of a simple pencil sketch. You don’t have to have any special tools–just about any kind of paper except notebook paper and any kind of pencil will do. You can also do this sketch anywhere; out in the wilderness, at your desk while avoiding homework, in bed watching TV. I also really love the ability to do subtle shading with a pencil, which is easier to control than a charcoal stick (for me). Plus, if when I screw up, there’s a handy little eraser.

This is my first pencil sketch in a long time, and I’m hoping it won’t be my last! Let me know what you think about this first attempt after a long, LONG time of staying away from visual art!