By: Evelyn H.

So, you want to learn to draw. That’s great!

            Does this sound familiar? You are super pumped up, so you doodle a quick character. Once you’re done, you immediately go online and compare your drawing to a drawing you like. But that drawing you like looks so much better. Way better than any drawing you could ever make. Suddenly, all the passion leaves you as you think, “Who was I kidding? I can’t do this.”

Hold it!

            That is the wrong mindset to have, my friend. Learning to create art can seem intimidating at first, but I’ve learned with time, you realize that all that negativity was in your head. I have found that drawing can be a truly freeing and exciting experience, so long as you tackle it from the right angle. Let’s get started! Here are my five art tips!

            Let’s start off with the simplest of the tips: tutorials. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but learning from others is one of the most important ways to improve your art! You may think that art is all self-taught but some of your favorite artists may have some great tips to share. In my experience, art tutorials not only share helpful advice, they give a boost of inspiration as well! You can do your first art tutorial in this issue of the Lime Green Giraffe. There’s a link at the end of this article.

            You may not have heard the term “construction lines” before if you are a beginning artist. Well, construction lines are arguably the most important thing artists do! They are the messy sketch before the final product. Construction sketches are composed of simple shapes like triangles, ovals, squares, etc. They also include things like random scribbles, odd shapes and the ideas that form in the artist’s mind as they work. When construction sketching, you really are just throwing ideas on paper and seeing what works. Rarely do artists ever erase when construction sketching, unless their construction sketch becomes a refined sketch.

Color Scheme!
            A very important aspect of art is the color scheme. Colors can be signals as to the mood of the piece as well as make the final product look more complete. Yellow colors could signal excitement or happiness. Red colors could signify anger or love. Blue colors could signify sadness or peace. You can even combine colors to create mixed feelings, like purple and red could signify royalty.

            Ah, here’s a tricky one. Shading may seem confusing, but if you take little steps as you learn it, it will become easier in no time. Just imagine that there is a flashlight shining on your character or scene. You can even draw a tiny sun in the corner of your paper, to help you remember which direction the light is coming from! From there, you just work out what you think the light and shadows are doing. Does the nose of your character cast a shadow on his or her face? Are their shadows long or short? If you want to add some emotion to your shading, you can make the shadows darker or lighter. Darker shadows often signal more extreme, negative feelings and lighter shadows signal more subtle, happy feelings.
If you want to put shading on a colored piece, don’t mix your colors with black. It just makes them look muddy. Instead, mix them with a more contrasting color. For example, mix yellow with a bit of orange.

            Despite the common thinking, it’s not a bad thing to use references. Some people call it “cheating,” but that’s far from what references really are! References are what artists use to help them with tough drawings. References are, in truth, an artist’s best friend. Let’s say you want to draw a character in an odd pose, but can’t get it quite right. Just look up an image of someone in that pose, and it can make your life so much easier!

            You made it to the end of the list! Congratulations! Now that you’ve read these five tips, you need something to draw. Well, you’re in luck! Below as promised are links to two drawing tutorials. Stay inspired!

Art Tutorial: Unique Mushrooms
Art Tutorial: Cat

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