Drawing for Beginners - 6 tips to get you started
Want to get into drawing but not quite sure where to start? Perhaps you have drawn for a bit but aren't quite happy with the results. Don’t fret, here I have gathered six valuable drawing tips for beginners that will help you get started on the right foot. Or the right hand. Except if you are left handed, in which case it would be on the left hand. You know what I mean... Read on and get drawing.
Gather Your Materials
Before you begin your artistic journey, it's essential to gather the right drawing tools. You don't need a fancy studio or expensive supplies to start; only some basic essentials:
Pencils: You only need a standard HB pencil to start. Later on you can get a range of pencils with different hardness levels (2B, 4B, 6B) for various effects.
Pencil Sharpener: I think having a good pencil sharpener is more important than all the “right” pencils. Invest in a good sharpener once and you'll be good to go for a long time.   
Erasers: A normal eraser works perfectly to start, later you can get a kneaded eraser to create effects.
Sketchbooks/paper: I recommend starting out with a larger size paper than you might think you need. A3 is a good, versatile size, that makes it easier to plan out your subject on the paper. That said - if A4 printer paper is all you have, then use it. No need for anything fancy when you are first starting out. 
Understand Basic Techniques
Learning the fundamentals of drawing is crucial. Start with the basics:
Line and Contour Drawing: Mastering line control is essential for accurate representations. Begin with drawing the shape and outline of things you see. Start with simple shapes like an apple or a bottle, and practice getting your subject down on paper. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn't “look right”. You’ll get there with practice. 
Shading and Value: Understanding shading helps create depth and realism in your drawings. Start with noticing where the light is coming from and where it hits your subject, and where it casts shadows.  
Proportions and Scale: Learn how to use guidelines and measurements to ensure accurate proportions. Working with a grid is a great tool. 
Practice Regularly
Consistency is key to improving your drawing skills. Establish a routine that works for you, and consider taking on a 30-day drawing challenge to kickstart your practice. Remember, it's okay to make mistakes; they're a natural part of the learning process.
Learn from References
Use reference images to improve your drawing accuracy. Start by copying and tracing to build your skills, and then gradually transition to using references to inform your original work. This process will help you develop your unique style over time.
Seek Feedback and Join Communities
Sharing your work with others is a fantastic way to grow as an artist. Join online and offline art communities to connect with fellow artists. Constructive criticism can be immensely helpful in identifying areas for improvement and building confidence.
Keep an Art Journal
Maintain an art journal to document your progress, ideas, and reflections. It's a wonderful way to see how far you've come and to brainstorm future projects. Over time, your journal will become a treasure trove of inspiration.
Drawing is a rewarding and lifelong journey. Remember that every artist starts as a beginner, and the most important thing is to enjoy the process. So, pick up your pencils, start drawing, and let your creativity flow. Embrace your unique style and watch your skills grow with each stroke.
Disclaimer: I have linked to a few websites in the article, and I am not affiliated with any of them. It is resources I find helpful, and I think you would too.  
A bunch of poppies growing out of the sleeve of a blue blouse.
Is it time to be repotted?
A while back I bought a small Alocasia Amazonica for my daughter. She loves that the leaves are purple on the back, because even at the young age of 10, she knows her taste and style.
It sat beautifully on a dresser in her room for a long time. It had plenty of indirect light, just enough water and grew very nicely. Then it started to look a bit sad. Nothing serious, just a bit off. Then it began looking very sad, the leaves got brown spots, and it was totally droopy. I left it for quite a while, thinking "Maybe it will sort itself out". I am not sure why I thought that, but I sort of hoped it would just get used to its small pot, and stop growing. Like a bonsai, right?
In order for it to survive, I had to give it more space
But eventually I had to admit that if I wanted it to survive I had to give it a bit more space. And it was at the nick of time! One of the stems had died, leaving only two sad, brownish stems, and I was convinced I had left it for too long. But I crossed my green thumbs, repottet it, gave it water and light, and lo and behold! Not long after a new stem came crawling out from the dirt. A brand new beautiful leaf unfolded. And not long after I noticed another tiny new leaf coming out from the new stem. Success! 
Getting stuck in the daily grind
And it got me thinking. When did I last repot myself? When did I last give myself space, and a chance to grow new leaves? For the last long while I had been getting more and more stuck in the daily grind. Not that I have a particularly complicated or overly busy life, but I have a daily routine that doesn't really get changed, ever. And don't get me wrong, I am a fan of routines. A day with a child is much easier with routines, but I was feeling stale in the middle of it all. I wasn't doing anything just for fun, just for me, just for the sake of it. All work and no play.
Some work and some play
I had to do something about it, so I decided to make experimenting with my drawing a priority. I love drawing, I just sometimes forget to have fun with it and to experiment. I have all the excuses: I'm too tired, it is too late, I don't know what to do differently. You know, all the usual stuff. So I made a plan: I'm going to set aside 10 to 30 minutes every day for two weeks just to draw something for the fun of it, using materials I normally don’t use. 
And it worked. Knowing that I "had" to sit down to draw and have fun every day, gave me so much freedom. The structure of having a plan for how to spend my time made it so much easier to be creative. It also made me more productive, but without stressing me out, because it was still just something I was doing for fun. If I missed one day it was fine, I just got going again the next. I was repotting myself one drawing at the time. And the extra bonus of this exercise was that I started opening up for other ways to break the routine, to give myself space and some fresh soil.
Having a creative routine broke up the practical routine, which made me feel so much better and gave me a growing stack of drawings to show for. A total win win. So here's to routines, I wouldn't want to live without them!
You can find all my available drawings here.
Young child with a yellow shower cap on a blue and yellow background.

Inner Child - Shower Cap

Connect with your Inner Child
When we were children, we were free to explore the world without the burden of adult responsibilities and expectations. We also had the benefit of a beginner's mind, and it didn’t matter too much whether we were good at doing the things we were doing or not. As we grow older, we often lose touch with that sense of wonder and playfulness. However, by reconnecting with our inner child, we can tap into those memories of creativity and joy, which in turn can help us navigate life's challenges as adults.
Here are some ways you can connect with your inner child:
Remember to play
Play is essential to children's development, and it's just as important for adults. Whether it's playing a game of catch, colouring in a colouring book, or building a sandcastle, engaging in play can help you let go of stress and connect with your sense of fun.
Go outside
Spending time in nature can be a great way to reconnect with your inner child. Take a walk in the park, go for a hike, or just sit outside and enjoy the beauty of the natural world. Nature has a way of bringing out our sense of wonder and curiosity, and can help us feel more connected to the world around us.
Dance or sing
Dancing and singing are two activities that can help you connect with your inner child. Put on your favourite song and dance like nobody's watching, or sing along to your favourite tune at the top of your lungs. Let go of any self-consciousness and just enjoy the moment.
Watch a childhood movie or TV show
Watching a childhood movie or TV show can transport you back to a time when life was simpler. Whether it's a classic Disney movie or an episode of your favourite cartoon, take some time to indulge in some nostalgic entertainment.
Create art
Creating art is another way to connect with your inner child. Whether you're drawing, painting, or sculpting, creating something with your hands can be a deeply satisfying experience. Don't worry about whether your art is "good" or not – just enjoy the process of creating.
Journaling can be a powerful tool for connecting with your inner child. Take some time to write down your thoughts and feelings, and explore any memories or emotions that come up. Writing can be a way to tap into your creativity and express yourself in a way that feels authentic.
Play with a child
Playing with a child, where the child gets to decide what the game is about, can be a great way to connect with your own inner child. Whether it's playing a game, reading a book, or just goofing around, spending time with a child can help you tap into a sense of playfulness and curiosity.
Connecting with your inner child can be a transformative experience.The playfulness and curiosity you had as a child is still there, you just need to look for it. So take some time to engage in play, spend time in nature, create art, or just indulge in some nostalgic entertainment. Your inner child will thank you.
If you are interested, you can click here and see my ongoing art series called "Inner Child".

Rainbow coloured word on a pink background that spells "pyt", which is Danish for "never mind"  or "oh well".

"Pyt" means "oh well" or "never mind"

Holistic Mental Training
In addition to trying to incorporate a good work schedule for myself as an artist, I have also recently tried to find a more holistic way to live my life and to train my mind in general. The great life/work balance that is often so elusive, but that just about everyone strives for, is not something I always have, so I am exploring ways I can help myself find more balance. A holistic approach to mental training as an artist involves addressing multiple facets of your life and well-being, not just the “art side”. It recognises that mental health is interconnected with various aspects of your life, including physical health, emotional well-being, social connections, and spiritual fulfilment.
Below is a list of some key elements of a holistic approach to mental training for artists that I have found helpful:
1. Mindfulness and Meditation: By practising mindfulness and meditation you can develop greater self-awareness, manage stress and anxiety, and improve focus and concentration. The Headspace app has been very helpful for me, especially their guided meditations, but also other resources like The Wake Up and the small expert guidance animations. My daughter isn’t interested in meditating, yet, but she does enjoy the animations and the sleepcasts, so I am thinking it is a way to get her used to the idea of mindfulness and how important it is, until she is ready to try meditating more regularly. 
2. Physical Health: Engaging in regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and getting adequate sleep are important for maintaining good physical health, which can have a positive impact on mental health. This might include a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching. A holistic approach would also consider incorporating activities like yoga, tai chi, or meditation to enhance mindfulness and relaxation. Find an activity that fits your personality and fitness level, and if you have a hard time finding a way to move that suits you, try to connect with your inner child, and see if you can pick up something you enjoyed when you were a child.
3. Nutrition: A healthy diet is essential for physical strength, but it also plays a significant role in mental health. A holistic approach would involve eating a variety of whole foods, avoiding processed foods, and limiting sugar and alcohol intake. It would also consider any dietary restrictions or sensitivities that may affect overall health. I, for example, need to be careful with caffeine and too much bread, they give me terrible heart palpitations which is very uncomfortable. I also try to remember to drink enough water throughout the day. 
4. Emotional Well-being: Developing emotional intelligence, learning healthy coping mechanisms, and practising self-care are all important for improving emotional well-being and resilience. Here in Denmark we have the perfect word: “pyt”. It translates to “oh well” or “nevermind”, and children are taught to press the “pyt button” when something upsetting happens. Conveniently the “pyt button” is usually your belly button, so it is always with you. Even now when my daughter is ten, we use the pyt button a lot, and it does work. We even have an actual pyt button we can push when we feel overwhelmed (which is actually just a pincushion, but it does the trick!) A resource for emotional intelligence that I really enjoy is EQ Applied. Justin Bariso has a very well written and helpful newsletter with a lot of free, actionable advice, a podcast, books and more. It is a great resource for learning more about emotional intelligence. 
5. Social Connections: Building and maintaining positive relationships with family, friends, and community members can provide social support and help you feel more connected and fulfilled as social connections are essential for mental health. Seeking professional help from a therapist when needed is also a good option. I must admit this is the hardest for me. I am very socially challenged, not because I don’t like people, but I just never know what to say or do, and I am terrible at starting conversions or mingling. FInd me in a corner, waiting for enough time to pass so I can justifiably leave to go home to my cats, plants and books. I am trying though, and online communities are a good place to start. There are so many options online for both paid memberships or free Facebook groups, so do a bit of research, and find the best one for you. I am enjoying The Art Queens, which is a paid membership, and the price is totally worth it with the amount of content you get: live classes, meditations, coaching etc.   
6. Spiritual Fulfilment: Whatever spiritual fulfilment means to you, whether it is volunteering, practising religion, or engaging in creative pursuits, the important part is that they give you a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfilment. I like being in nature, getting my hands dirty planting flowers in my balcony garden, or reading. I also enjoy listening to music, and my mood is very dictated by the types of music I choose. Embrace what fills you up, and make you happy, and if you have a hard time remembering what brings you joy, try to connect with your inner child.   
7. Sleep: It is crucial for physical and mental health to establish a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and practising good sleep hygiene. I need between 7-8 hours of sleep at night, and I need my room to be cool and dark. A hack I have to quiet my head is to read for 10-20 minutes before I go to sleep. It helps me empty my brain from all the impressions of the day. Another thing I try to do every night before sleep is to write three things, big or small, I feel grateful for in order to end the day on a positive note.
These are only a few ideas to how you can add a more holistic approach to living your life. It can help you develop the skills and resilience needed to navigate life's challenges and achieve greater overall well-being. If you have any additional tips on how to develop a more holistic way of life, I would love to hear it. Please connect with me on Instagram
Disclaimer: I have linked to a few websites in the article, and I am not affiliated with any of them. They are resources that I genuinely enjoy, and that I think others might find helpful.
Back to Top