Drawing is one fantastic way to express your emotions, tell stories, or simply make people happy. And what’s beautiful about art is the endless range of possibilities of what you can create. No two pieces are ever exactly the same. And above all, making art is just plain fun!
If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know what to draw for art class, read on! In this two-part article, we give you some tips on how to choose a good subject for drawing, plus a list of things you can draw, to grease the wheels and get you inspired. (Jump to the second instalment here.)
5 Tips on How to Pick a Subject to Draw
One of the most important decisions you will make as an artist is what to draw. It can be difficult to choose a subject that is interesting. Here are a few tips to help you choose a good subject.
1. Think about what interests you.
If you’re passionate about your subject, your feelings will come through in your work. Then again, it’s also natural for an artist to get bored with a subject after a while, so try to switch things up every now and then.
Let’s say you’re working on a series of drawings, try experimenting with different techniques or mediums. Or just take time away from your canvas. Take a nice, long stroll and maybe you’ll literally get back to the drawing board with fresh, more creative ideas.
2. Choose something that is challenging.
Sure, drawing a flower or a landscape may be easier than something complex, like a person or an animal. However, many artists also believe that complex subjects can be more rewarding to draw than something that is more commonplace. This is because there is more room for detail and expression in a complex subject, and it can be more interesting to see the artist’s interpretation of it.
In addition, challenging yourself with difficult subjects can help improve your skills. Every step of the process becomes more important, you pay closer attention to the details and tend to take your time to get everything right. This level of focus is very rewarding and will make you a better artist.
3. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
It’s easy to feel comfortable in your routine, especially when it comes to art. You know what you’re good at and what you enjoy, so why try something new? But that’s the beauty of art: You can always try new things and explore new subjects for drawing.
If you’re feeling adventurous, explore a new medium or subject matter. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your style. Maybe you’ve been drawing realistically for years, but you’re curious about how anime drawings look. Give it a try! The worst that can happen is that you don’t like the results and go back to your old way of drawing. But who knows, you might find a whole new passion for a style of art that you never considered before, and that’s always exciting.
4. Be patient.
Finding inspiration to draw can be a daunting task. It may take time to find the perfect subject matter, but that’s okay! You don’t need to force yourself to draw something that doesn’t light you on fire. Just relax, take your time, and eventually something truly inspiring will come to you, like it always does!
You can also try hacks to boost your creativity, like playing certain types of music. Give it a go and see what works for you.
5. Don’t give up!
Drawing is as much muscle memory as it is artistic ability. If it’s not perfect the first time around, just keep going! Practice makes perfect, and if you keep working at it, you’ll get better and better.
Think you have to be born with natural talent in order to be good at something? That’s a complete myth. No professional athlete or musician gets good overnight; it takes them years and years of hard work and dedication. The same is true for artists.
Ideas on What to Draw for Art Class
Not sure what to draw for art class? When it comes to drawing there are many choices, from still life images to portraits. If you’re struggling to come up with some ideas, look no further than this list! Even better, why not try drawing one of each?
1. Draw simple shapes.
If you’re new to drawing, you can practise by sketching basic forms like circles, squares, and triangles, or experimenting with different lines and textures. As you get more comfortable with your drawing skills, you can move on to creating more complex shapes and images. No matter how good or bad you think your drawings are, they all start off as scribbles and sketches that gradually transform into masterpieces over time. Just keep practising!
2. Draw abstract designs and patterns.
Building up from the first exercise, try putting shapes together into an abstract piece. What you’ll love about abstract drawing is that there are virtually no rules! Just let your imagination run wild and create something unique.
Perhaps, you can start with a small circle and then add more circles around it to make a pattern. You can choose any color or size of your liking. Drawing a circle is the first step towards creating a pattern or design that you can use for anything from art to clothes.
Straight lines are easier than curved ones because they don’t require much practice or skill; anyone can draw geometric shapes like triangles, squares, and rectangles. They’re commonly used for borders around pictures or spaces where you want something simple but professional looking.
Drawing objects around the house
3. Flowers in a vase
The best way to tackle any kind of drawing is by breaking it down into smaller portions that are easier to handle. Rather than trying to do everything at once, focus on one aspect of the subject at a time and work your way through all the components until you’ve got something that looks right.
Start with an image of a flower. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you can use a ruler to draw straight lines as guidelines for how big the petals should be, how far apart they should be from each other, and so on. Next, draw a circle around each petal line with your pencil so that you know where to start coloring in each petal with your crayons or colored pencils. Finally, colour each petal with a different colored pencil until all are filled in completely.
4. A bowl of fruit
Using a photo or an actual model, draw a simple outline of your bowl and fruits. Then fill in the details, like leaves or stems. This can be done with a light touch with your pencil or you can use a darker shading tool if you have one available. Next, add texture to your drawing by using shading or crosshatching – this is a technique where lines are drawn over each other at different angles creating small dots that blend together into one solid shade of colour.
Add color by filling in areas with solid blocks of color or by applying watercolor washes over the pencil marks you already made. Experiment with different colors until you find one that works best for your piece. You can also add some highlights to your fruit, like a white highlight on top of each grape or cherry that gives it some shine and dimensionality.
5. A cup of coffee or tea
A cup or mug is a simple object. Because it is such a recognisable item, it has a lot of details that can be drawn from memory by beginners and more advanced artists alike. Of course, you can use a real cup if you want to get the proportions right. What’s great about this subject either way is it will help you get used to drawing three-dimensional forms in perspective.
Start by sketching out the basic shape of the cup or mug and then do some shading, using crosshatching like you did with the bowl of fruit. This will create shadows and highlights on the object’s surface. Use different types of lines depending on whether they’re facing up or down in relation to the light source (vertical lines are usually darker than horizontal ones).
6. A glass of iced tea on a hot day
Like with mugs and cups, this is another excellent example of how easy it is to start with basic shapes like circles and triangles when learning how to draw objects – in this case, your ordinary drinking glasses.
First, draw the rim of the glass and then fill in the rest with colored pencils or crayons to make the glass look frosted over. This will give your drawing depth, and you can practise different skills like shading (adding shadows), perspective (making objects appear smaller when viewed from afar), foreshortening (making objects appear bigger than they actually are), and so on. Make it interesting by drawing different types of ice cubes floating, some lemon slices or mint leaves for extra flavor (and color)!
7. Draw anything that is right in front of you
Take some time to look around the room where you’re sitting right now and see if there’s anything there that makes you curious enough to want to draw it. Maybe there’s something in the room that makes you think of something else – like a lampshade that reminds you of afternoons in your grandmother’s old parlour. Or maybe there’s something on the wall that catches your eye, like a photo frame or an artwork hanging above your desk.
Whatever it is, as long as you find it interesting enough to draw, just pick up your pencil and sketch it out, using the techniques you’ve already learned on the previous still life exercises. In fact, by now, you will have already trained your eye to look at everything as a potential drawing subject. And that’s how all great art starts!
Drawing the human figure
8. Self portrait
Drawing a self-portrait is easy enough, if you’re not trying to draw yourself with perfect proportions. Start by lightly sketching the outline of your face with a pencil, making sure not to get too detailed yet. Decide which direction your head should go (upward or downward), as well as how far away it should be from the viewer (which will affect proportions). Draw lightly so that you can erase unnecessary lines later without messing up your sketch too much.
Next, draw loose lines around the eyes, nose and mouth as guides for placement. Use them as a guide when shading in those areas so that everything is perfectly aligned with your original drawing. Then, add more details such as hair or clothing by lightly shading those areas with pencil or colored pencils.
If you want to make it more challenging, try drawing yourself from an angle that is not facing straight ahead. This will force you to draw the features from memory and not just from what you see in front of you.
9. Portrait of your best friend
Can you capture your mate’s essence, their personality, their mood? Portraits are great because they allow you to keep practising ways to draw faces, which can be challenging for beginners. If you’re having trouble drawing faces, you can practise drawing eyes first, by making a circle then adding two round dots inside it for pupils. Soon, you’ll have mastery over this facial feature and be eager to move on to eyebrows, lips, nose, and ears.
Others find it easier to draw portraits by using a pencil and tracing paper to outline the photo they wish to draw. Try it! Once the sketch is done, you can add details like eyes, ears and other facial features as needed using circles for eyes and simple shapes for noses or lips. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect yet, just keep at it and don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Even better, make it twice the fun and draw portraits of each other!
10. Portrait of someone famous.
Drawing your favorite celebrity or character from a movie or series will be easier to do if you had a photo to work from, say, from a print or an image on social media. Like with your self-portrait, start with a basic outline, pencil in the features of the face, then add details like hair or accessories, like a pair of glasses or maybe a hat.
Faces are a good way to practise drawing because they are very complicated shapes, but once you get the hang of it, you can move on to other body parts like hands or feet.
When it comes to art, there is no one right way to do things. You can learn from various sources and try out different techniques until you find something that works best for you. Like the first set of ideas we list here in Part 1, you don’t need to look too far to get ideas on what to draw for art class. You’ve got all the inspo you need right at home!