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For many artists, sketching is the foundation from which many other types of art are built. Whether you’re a painter, a sculptor, an animator, or even a set designer, most projects begin with preliminary sketches to help you start interacting with the visual component of your work. Sketching every day is one of the best places to start as a new artist but developing the habit can be difficult if you’re not sure where to start. Here are some top tips for sketching as a beginner. 

  1. Be Familiar with Your Tools

While the tools required for sketching might not seem as complicated as the tools for other mediums, it’s still important to be aware of them and familiar with their use. Get familiar with the different grades of pencils and what type of lines they create. Figure out what type of eraser you prefer, and experiment with different weights and types of paper. The more familiar you are with your tools, the easier it will be to get the ideas flowing onto the page. 

  1. Start with the Simple Shapes

Everything is made up of simple shapes – visualizing the world in its most basic components is the first step toward being able to sketch anything. New artists are often overwhelmed by trying to get the minute details of an object right, but you really should be focusing on the large, simple shapes that make up every object and filling in the details later.

  1. Use References to Your Advantage

Many beginner artists are resistant to using references because it feels like cheating. It isn’t! Artists at every level work from reference, and it is absolutely essential to moving forward in your artistic career. Using references helps you develop your hand-eye coordination while sketching and helps you fully take in all of the details of a subject. Our brains can’t hold all of the information that a photograph can, so learning to draw from photographic references is a great way to move toward drawing more realistic sketches.