6 Drawing Exercises for Artists

Drawing exercises help keep you in practice, whether you paint, sculpt, draw, or animate. These exercises also help you visualize your subject in unique ways, as well as break you away from regular practices that might become more of a habit rather than an intention. The following drawing exercises are also great for beginners, but come back to these basics whenever you need the practice, if you are searching for inspiration, or if you just want to tighten your technical skills.

Blind Drawing
Blind drawing means looking only at your subject, and not at your paper. Not even a peek. Try to allow your hand, as you draw, to approximate the spacing, distance, and proportions of your subject without having to look at what you are doing.

Negative Space Drawing
This exercise is all about looking around your subject and not at it. Concentrate on the negative space, the space that defines your subject and draw. Don't even draw the subject: only look at the space defining it. In fact, leave your paper completely white where the subject should be

20 Second Drawing
Get a timer. Study your subject carefully, then set your timer for 20 seconds. Quickly sketch out as much of your subject as you can. After your 20 seconds are up, study your subject versus your sketch. Now, do it again. Start over and draw your subject again, but only in 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise until your 20 second sketch gets as close to your subject as possible.

Continuous Contour Drawing
In this exercise, the point is to keep your pencil or pen on the paper the entire time you draw. Don't lift it to stop and start lines. The drawing should ideally be one continuous line. Focus equally on your drawing and your subject, but try to keep your pen or pencil moving the entire time.

Continuous Blind Contour Drawing
Combine what you've done with the blind drawing exercise and the continuous line exercise into this: one continuous line drawing, but a drawing at you don't look at until you are finished. The initial drawings look pretty abstract; that might be a nice look, depending on your goal.

Non Dominant Hand Drawing
This exercise is a drawing exercise, and a brain exercise. Train your brain while allowing yourself to relinquish control. Letting go is the point of this drawing exercise, so let your non-drawing hand do the work, and enjoy some stress-free training.