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 and get 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.
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.
11. A pair of hands
Drawing your own hands is an excellent exercise for art class because they’re so different from each other – one might be longer than another, or have larger knuckles or fingers than another person’s. This will help you improve your ability to see objects as three-dimensional objects by drawing them in perspective with foreshortening – a method where you draw an object in depth, the same way we perceive it as it recedes into the distance.
There are so many different types of hand poses and positions that even experienced artists need time to master them all! Start off by drawing basic hand positions like fists or open palms. And then, you can move onto more difficult ones like fingers spread apart or hands gripping objects like pens or paint brushes.
12. Your parents’ wedding photo
Start with a simple sketch of the couple at the altar, then add details like flowers, candles and other wedding decorations in the background. Fill in the drawing with additional features like dad’s bow tie, buttons on his jacket, his eyes, nose, mouth, and other facial features.
Next, do the same with mum. Draw her veil, her makeup and perfectly coiffed hair, the laces or beads on her gown, her hands clutching her wedding bouquet, and so on. A few finishing touches will make this drawing look like a professional piece of art (and a good idea for a present on their next anniversary).
Drawing living things
13. Your favourite pet
Animals of all kinds are great subjects for art, even for kiddie artists thinking of what to draw for art class. Even if you’re not an artist, you can learn how to draw animals from memory or you can do a little research on their anatomy, behavior, shapes, and characteristics to add more depth to your illustration. Or you can just use your own pet as a model… if you can ever get them to sit still, that is! (If not, you can always take pictures from all angles and use these as references.)
As with human portraits, try breaking down the drawing into simple shapes: A circle for the head, four more circles for the legs, another one for the tail, an oval shape for each paw pad, and so on. Add details like ears, eyes, nose and mouth, then refine it into its final shape as needed using shading techniques like crosshatching.
14. A bird in flight
First, draw two circles near each other. These will be the head and body of your bird. Next, draw two small rectangles inside the head circle and connect them together with curved lines to form the beak of your bird.
Now, draw two vertical lines on each side of the body, which will serve as guides for drawing the wings later on. Create two large curved lines on each side of your body as well, which will be used for drawing feathers later on.
Draw two small rectangles at the bottom end of each wing and connect them together with curved lines to form the feet of your bird. Finally, add the details and textures like feathers and claws, to make your bird drawing more realistic.
15. A mythical creature
What creature do you want to draw? It could be anything from a dragon to a unicorn. Or something outrageous right out of your imagination!
Choose your medium, like pencil or charcoal, or maybe paints or markers. Now, start sketching out the outline of the body and head in pencil so that you can see how everything is going to fit together before committing it to paper permanently. Use light lines so that they don’t show up when you color them in later on.
Start coloring in your sketch using darker lines so that they show up better against the white paper background. Use lighter colors if possible so that your artwork doesn’t look too dark and dull when it’s finished. Finish up by adding shading effects around the edges of your creature’s body and head as well as between its legs (if it has any). This will make it look more realistic and give it more depth.
Scenes from nature
16. An autumn leaf falling from a tree
Autumn leaves are simple but gratifying to draw for art class because of all the beautiful colours you can have on your palette. To start, use a pencil to outline the leaf shape and draw the veins of the leaf with varying degrees of pressure. Next, fill in the outline with light lines and shading, using crosshatching strokes for the veins.
Then, draw the veins again, but this time use hatching strokes (horizontal lines) and crosshatching strokes (vertical lines). Finally, shade in all remaining areas of your drawing using crosshatching strokes or hatching strokes. You can also add details like veins or wrinkles using dots or lines.
17. The sun setting over the ocean
Drawing a sunset is perfect for beginners, as it only requires a few simple shapes and shading, plus it’s easy to see and relaxing, as well.
Start by drawing the horizon line and then draw a circle with rays coming out of it (like a sun). Then, draw a few clouds next to it. Add some waves in the water and use colored pencils to make them appear more realistic. Draw its reflection in the water, and use colors like orange and purple to make it more beautiful. It’s a classic subject, but it’s also very beautiful. It’s probably one of the first things you learned to draw as a kid!
18. The sun, moon and stars
Drawing heavenly bodies is easy. This is a great way to learn how to draw because the shapes you need – basically, a circle and an oval – are simple and easy to replicate. The sun can be drawn as a circle with rays emanating from it, while the moon and stars can be drawn as circles with dots inside them. If you want to add some detail and make your drawing more realistic, try adding clouds in various shapes and sizes to your sky.
Places and landmarks
19. Landscape of your hometown
Places are constantly changing, growing, and morphing into new shapes. And then, there are those things that remain the same across time – the skyline, the neighborhoods, and the memories of your childhood. Look back on your favourite memories and you’ll find countless ideas of what to draw for art class.
Draw an outline first, to keep everything in proportion as well as give you something solid to work with when shading later on in the process. Add details next like rocks or trees; these will add depth and interest to your drawing. Finally, shade in areas where there are shadows or darker colors so it looks more realistic.
20. Cityscape at night
City skylines are always breathtaking to look at, but they’re especially stunning at night. Draw the sky with a dark color like black or blue. Use short strokes and make sure they are not too close together. Make sure the top of your sky goes up as high as you want it; this will help you decide how tall your buildings should be later on. Next, add stars and maybe some clouds with white chalk or pencils on top of your blue sky. You can add them anywhere you want in different sizes and numbers.
Now, draw the outline of your city using curved lines that go up and down to create hills and valleys. Then, add trees and other vegetation around the edges of your cityscape. You might add water at the bottom or along one side of your cityscape if you want it to be near water, like a shoreline. If you want, you can also add people or animals walking around in your cityscape.
21. The Eiffel Tower
The French destination is a staple in your typical paint and sip class and is not as difficult to draw for art class as you might imagine. Bet you can imagine it in your mind right now, just from seeing it so often in paintings, books, and films.
Start with a simple straight line; this will be the base of your drawing. Using that line as a guide, draw vertical lines in parallel to each other, to outline the shape of the tower. Next, add the details, like windows and railings, and once that’s done, you can fill the spaces with different shades of gray or black ink.
22. Draw something inspired by your favorite artist or art movement.
Are you a big Picasso fan? Look at some of his artwork and then try to emulate his style. Don’t copy it exactly; it’s just a good starting point if you’re not sure what to do next. Or if you’re more into impressionist paintings, try doing a few sketches that look like Monet or Manet might have done them.
If you like watercolors but don’t know what to paint, why not try making a self-portrait? That’s what Vincent van Gogh did when he was starting out as an artist. He painted his face many times before he finally completed The Potato Eaters, which is now considered one of his most famous works. Whatever kind of art inspires you, use it as inspiration for your own work!
Art is all about creativity and personal expression. If you’re feeling stuck and not sure what to draw for art class, don’t be afraid to experiment with new techniques. Finding inspiration from others can help you get started, but you should always strive to develop your own style. This will allow your confidence as an artist to grow, and that’s the true measure of artistic talent! Here are a few tips that might help.
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.
For beginners and experienced artists alike, there is always something to inspire your creativity. Take a drawing class today and start tapping into your artistic side!
Anyone can draw. Start making art today!