10 Drawing Exercises to Help You Learn Common Strokes

We are learning to draw, just like you. We have been doodling our entire lives, and this has given us some idea of how to draw, but not very well! What is necessary is an outline of steps to practice to get better.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a list of 10 specific drawing exercises that could help you master the basic drawing strokes? HERE IT IS!

Oh! Before we get started, take a peek at my Baskerville Pen setting on my Procreate. If you use these settings, it will make drawing a bit easier. I used 5% size for all my exercises in the image you’ll find below.

Stabilization: StreamLine: 23%, Pressure: 50%, Stabilization: 45%, Motion Filtering: 10%, Expression: 0%.

10 Exercises to Help You Learn the Basic Strokes of Drawing

1 – Draw Straight Lines Until Your Eyes Fall Out!

Straight lines are hard to draw. If you spend time drawing one thing to help you learn, make sure you include a lot of straight-line practice! Practice drawing straight lines in different directions and lengths. Start with short lines and gradually increase their length. Focus on maintaining control and keeping the lines as straight as possible.

Start your straight lines from the left. Right. Top. Bottom. Draw them every way and see which feels most comfortable to you. Drawing is all about comfort, consistency, and accuracy, isn’t it?

2 – Draw Curved Lines Until You’re Dizzy

Practice drawing curved lines with all kinds of shapes and sizes. I like to draw the same size and shape of curve over and over to see how well I can do it. Experiment with different types of curves, such as gentle arcs, C-curves, and S-curves. Practice drawing them smoothly and consistently.

While you’re at it, draw parallel curved lines like the exercise below.

3 – Parallel Lines and Don’t Cross the Beams!

Draw parallel lines by placing two reference lines and trying to match the distance and angle between them. This exercise helps you develop your hand-eye coordination and control over parallel strokes.

If you thought drawing straight lines was difficult, try drawing straight parallel lines! All of these exercises will seem hard at first, but with time and practice… EFFORT, you’ll start to get better.

You can see my drawings for this exercise below. I’m not there yet, am I? I find it very hard to draw on the iPad. I don’t have any special paper-like cover over our iPad and maybe we should get one, but I thought I could learn without it. What do you think? Do you have one?

I’ll practice these 10 drawing exercises every day or so for a while and see how much I improve. You do it too! Feel free to send me your exercises anytime. It’s nice to have someone look at your work, and I don’t mind at all.

Contact Vern at ArtDayJob.com.

4 – Draw Cross Hatching (Tic-Tac-Toe)

Create grids of intersecting straight lines and practice filling in different areas using cross-hatching. Cross-hatching involves drawing parallel lines in one direction and then layering another set of parallel lines in a different direction to create shading and texture.

Cross-hatching is one of the best ways pen and paper users shade scenes. It may seem simple when you see professional drawings that use it. It’s basically tic-tac-toe shapes, isn’t it? The problem is knowing which angle to draw them and how many layers to use. Using cross-hatching takes a lot of time to learn to do well, but there are artists making stunning images with a simple pen and paper. Have you seen them?

5 – Contour Lines

Choose an object and draw its outline using continuous, flowing lines. This exercise helps you observe and capture the essential contours and shapes of an object.

10 drawing exercises using the iPad. ©Vern Lovic
This took about a half hour, maybe 40 minutes. Do something like this to get started with the exercises. You’ll find out where your weaknesses and strengths are right away! ©Vern Lovic

6 – Spirals

Draw spirals of varying sizes, both clockwise and counterclockwise. Start from the center and gradually expand outward, maintaining consistent spacing between the lines. I was surprised at how naturally this came to me. I don’t remember drawing many spirals in my life.

7 – Dotted Lines

Practice drawing dotted lines with equal spacing between each dot. Focus on creating uniformity and precision in the placement of the dots.

8 – Zigzag Lines

Draw zigzag lines by connecting alternating diagonal lines in opposite directions. Experiment with different angles and lengths to create different effects. Draw from the left and the right. You might be surprised that, despite your reading and writing from left to right, drawing from right to left can sometimes yield more accurate lines. It’s weird, I know!

9 – Cross Contour Lines

Select a simple object with a clear form, such as an apple or a box. Draw curved lines that wrap around the object, following its contours. This exercise helps you understand the three-dimensional form and volume of objects.

I need serious help with this. I drew my camera, and the urn for my wife’s father which is up on my chest of drawers. It’s impossible to see what they are by my drawings.

10 – Sketching Basic Shapes

Practice sketching basic geometric shapes like circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. Focus on capturing their proportions and maintaining clean lines.

I do this quite a bit when I’m practicing with the iPad, but today was downright horrible. My squares were the worst. These basic shapes make up nearly everything you’ll draw, so once you really begin to get good at drawing the simple shapes and all variations of them, your drawing will improve remarkably.

Takeaways!

  • 10 minutes/day. Stick with these basics and practice daily if you can. There’s no reason to take 30 minutes or more, but do it for 10 minutes and you’ll improve over time!
  • Practice some of each of the 10 exercises here. Don’t just draw circles. Push yourself to become competent at all of these.
  • The Procreate brush you use will either drive you nuts because the settings are all wrong, or you’ll absolutely love it because it’s so perfect. If you don’t want to use the Baskerville brush as I did, find one of the sketching pens to use instead.

Remember, these exercises are meant to be practiced regularly and can be adjusted or expanded upon as you progress. Start with slow and deliberate strokes, gradually increasing speed and fluidity as you gain confidence. It’s also helpful to warm up with some quick, loose sketches before diving into the exercises. Happy drawing!

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