Has this ever happened to you? The feeling of wanting to draw something but having no idea what to draw. Scrolling through hundreds of images on the net and Pinterest and not finding any inspiration until you end up drawing nothing or simply a sketch that you’re not satisfied with.
In this article, I will do my best to give you some tips and tricks so you never have to go through this negative process again.
How to draw what you want even as a beginner?
Not knowing what to draw… This is a problem that many people even professional artists, struggle with from time to time. For professional artists this may be called art block, for beginner artists, I think it’s something else which I’ll explain now.
The problem (and the solution)
Beginners tend to get discouraged because, at a certain point, they want to draw “something” but they don’t know what, mostly because they don’t draw well yet. They will waste hours searching for something to draw but end up finding nothing interesting to sketch and, more importantly, nothing interesting they think they can draw.
If you are a beginner and you want to draw but have no idea what to draw, let me tell you this: The trick is to practice drawing what you want to draw and not searching for pictures that you think you can draw.
For example, you may like a certain pop star that you would love to draw, but when searching, that pop star won’t even come to mind because it is unimaginable for you that you might be able to draw that pop star. What happens then? You end up drawing a tree, or something similar because that’s what you think you “can” draw as a beginner. After a while, you might get bored, not know what else to draw, and you might even stop drawing all together.
Practice drawing what you want with this step-by-step tutorial for beginners
Okay, I want you to think of something you like. It could be an actor, a singer, a certain object, an animal, a close relative, a hobby, a kind of music, literally anything BUT don’t think or associate the things you like with this thought: “Will I be able to draw it?” Simply make a list of things you love. That’s it!
Okay, you completed your list? Good. Now put that list next to you and focus on what I’m going to explain next.
Make things work best for you because you’re the one in control
Okay, let’s say that one of the things you like is a singer, and for the sake of this example, let’s randomly choose a famous singer like Shawn Mendes. So you’re a drawing beginner and you know that you would love to draw Shawn. You go on Pinterest and you find pictures like this one below:
Normally, you would either try to draw it or you would instantly feel down because you know it will be impossible for you to draw this.
Okay, let me share a trick with you. Instead of giving up on the idea of drawing Shawn Mendes, instead, I want you to change the way you see things and make it work for you. Let me explain.
I know many drawing beginners who practice drawing portraits manage to draw the right proportions but they have a problem. They don’t know how to draw the other eye. They can draw one eye but can’t draw the other one as well as the first one. It’s a pretty common problem. The trick is to look for images like the one below that show only one eye.
This way, with these types of reference images, no one will suspect that you are having trouble drawing the other eye. See what I mean now by “make it work for you”?
Another example: If you’re someone who has difficulty drawing mouths then find pictures like this one below, where we can’t see the mouth:
Again, find a picture that will work to your advantage. Another example: Let’s say you have trouble drawing eyes in general, find a picture with closed eyes like this one below. Drawing closed eyes can be way easier to draw, especially for beginners. Just make sure to zoom in to see the face more clearly.
These are just a few examples to make you understand how you should pick the right images for you, based on your drawing skills. If you don’t know how to draw faces yet, the examples above are a great way to start practicing.
Another thing you can do, if you can’t draw portraits yet, is to think of something related to “the thing you like/love” In our example with Shawn Mendes, you would think about something related to him.
For instance, Shawn has a tattoo on his hand as you can see in the picture below. This could be your drawing idea.
You could search for a drawing of his tattoo to start small. And even if this drawing is not Shawn Mendes, you’ll be more willing to put the love and effort into your drawing because it is not a random drawing but a drawing related to someone you love. This will help speed up your process of learning how to draw.
So keep this in mind: The trick is to practice drawing what you want to draw and not searching for pictures that you think you can draw. This is one of my top pieces of advice that will help you tremendously if understood properly.
Looking back at the list you’ve made earlier if you noted the name of a person or a group of persons that you can’t draw yet, think of something related to it.
Now I want to share something else with you. Other tricks that will make you improve A LOT! So keep scrolling to read my next drawing tips!
An amazing trick to help you improve your drawing skills in general!
First thing first, I want you to watch this video below until the end as it will explain to you one of THE most important things to skyrocket your drawing skills in no time.
Are you done watching the video? Okay, let’s stay with our example of Shawn Mendes. So you’re at that point where you want to practice what you saw in the video. What I would suggest is to find a picture (where the person is looking straight ahead like this one below.
Next, I want you to zoom in and crop only a portion of the face you want to draw. My advice would be to crop until you only see his eye and nose, and perhaps even his ear.
Important: When you crop and look at that cropped image, it should look like the person you intend to draw. Because if the cropped reference image does not look like the person you intend to draw and you are a beginner, it won’t work.
So it’s best to crop the picture with this in mind. Once this is done, follow the steps mentioned in the video above. Rewatch it if you need it and just follow the steps. I’m sure you’ll see progress this way. And I will say it again and again: The trick is to practice drawing what you want to draw and not searching for pictures that you think you can draw.
Find out what you want to draw here
Now I want you to take the list you made earlier and put it in front of you. Done? So you already have a bunch of drawing ideas on your list. Now that I’ve helped you see things differently, you can probably add a few more drawing ideas to that list by finding related things to what you have already chosen.
Here are some other suggestions to find other things to draw if you don’t know what to draw:
- Think about what you like and draw it: (which you probably already did by reading this article, but just dig deeper perhaps you’ll find other things to draw 😉
- Draw what’s in front of you: Sit somewhere and draw what you’ll see in front of you. Simple as that.
- Find a cool reference picture and draw it: You can either look for cool drawing ideas on Pinterest OR take a look at my already filtered drawing ideas HERE for you.
- Go to your window or outside and draw the first thing that catches your eye: Similar to number 2 but it’s still a great way to practice your drawing skills and improve them.
- Get inspired by looking at artworks of other artists that you like: Look up at some artists and their artwork, make up a list of drawings they made that you like. Afterward, look if there is something similar to their drawings. They could all be doodles, comics, manga, etc. Once you find the similarities you will have a basic idea of what you would like to draw yourself.
Here are some good drawing topics that might interest you, if you still don’t know what to draw:
As an advanced artist, you may be looking for drawing ideas to get out of your art block. These drawing links might be helpful for you as well to find good drawing topics and drawing ideas in general.
Start to watch drawing tutorials or..?
Can I learn drawing from Youtube? One heck of a question isn’t it? Well, the answer to that question is yes and…
…It depends necessarily on your goals. Do you want to learn how to draw? Like professionally or simply to be able to doodle. Do you want to be able to draw portraits or simply be able to draw cute manga and chibi characters? It really depends on your actual goal. You can learn a variety of things on youtube but… – More
Drawing is not really complicated, but sometimes finding what to draw can be a little tricky. I hope this article helped you out and even taught you some tricks you didn’t know before. If you would want me to teach you other drawing tricks then you can follow my drawing course beginner to advanced that will do as the title clearly said turn you into a professional drawing artist. Feel free to check other drawing ideas here.