6 Sketching Exercises to Transform Your Drawing

hands drawing

It’s no secret that if you want to improve your art, you’ve gotta practice. But that doesn’t have to mean repeating the same thing over and over again. In fact, the more you mix it up, the more you’ll grow — we promise!

These five exercises are hand-picked to stretch your skills and open up some new artistic doors. Let’s go!

1. Begin With Breakfast

sketching breakfast

Start a sketching practice is by drawing what’s in front of you every morning … your breakfast! Start honing your observational skills while practicing value and perspective — you’ll continue to build on these techniques in every drawing you do.

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2. Sketch an Urban Scene

urban sketched street

Creating quick, loose vignettes is a great practice for learning how to capture the world in pen and ink. It all starts with “reading” the scene around you to select and frame the most interesting angle on your surroundings.

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3. Practice Your Hatching

still life of tools

Cross-hatching is a technique you’ll turn to again and again in your pen and ink drawing. Get the method down by sketching everyday objects in your home.

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4. A New Perspective on Plants

leaf drawing

How much detail and nuance lies in a simple leaf? Learn how a pro scientific illustrator approaches botanical drawing, then apply those techniques to your own work. You’ll never look at a garden the same way again!

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5. Your Neighborhood, in Miniature

urban sketch of denver union station

Try recreating your fave neighborhood building in a thumbnail sketch! It’s a great way to practice framing and blocking in basic shapes. And if you’re loving what you see, use that foundation to create a fully realized drawing!

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6. Put People in Motion

sketch of person on bike

Capturing a subject on the go is a whole different type of challenge — but a few clever tricks go a long way in improving your sketches. This tutorial breaks it all down into surprisingly simple lines and shapes.

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