A Brief Introduction to Painting & Drawing for Beginners

If you have never done any drawing or painting before, this is a good place to start. The first thing you need to do is get any thoughts out of your head that says ‘you can’t draw’ and replace it with a good dose of enthusiasm and passion. Like any other hobbies, all it takes is a bit of confidence, lots of enthusiasm and plenty of practice. Remember, if you think that practicing will be a chore and you are put you off by it, then you probably don’t want to take this up. Do something else that you really like.

The fact that you are here and reading means that you are keen and passionate about painting and drawing. Before you embark into the world of painting it is worthwhile to understand a few concepts that will provide you with a good foundation to get you into swing. The digital art world has been available to the masses since the humble PC and the Apple Mac were introduced but it has grown in popularity with the recent introduction of the tablets and smartphones. Today, the iPad and similar touch type devices are witnessing a resurgence of this creative hobby due to the exceptional versatility of this unique device. There are now a growing number of Android apps dedicated to drawing available for all tablet and smartphone users.

Now that you have your tablet/smartphone, your creative juices are all fired up and your doodling is taking on a much better form then when you started and you are getting second glances from onlookers. Alternatively, you may have the latest copy of Paintology installed on your device and you are itching to get started and improve your drawing and painting ability.

Let’s first examine the definitions of painting and drawing since I use these words loosely in the context of drawing on your digital tablet. In a strict sense, drawing would be classed as anything that is done with a ‘dry’ medium such as a pen, crayon, pastels etc. Although, using an ink pen may also be called drawing or sketching. Any other mediums such as paints will be called painting. Therefore in the absolute sense we are not actually painting on the tablet but rather drawing. However, I am of the thinking that the versatility of the software applications supporting drawing and ‘painting’ functions are superior to anything that we can find in the dry medium such as pens. In this case, using the word painting would not be inaccurate to describe this skill when it comes to using these digital devices.

Rather than explaining the nuances of drawing and painting in the real world as opposed to drawing and painting in the digital world we should first get all the practice we possibly can. This means that the easiest medium to get started is finding some paper and a pencil. Don’t feel that this medium will not provide you with any skills for the digital art, in actual fact, this medium is the perfect platform to get you started. You will never be short of paper and pen but if you do have access to a tablet all the time, you can go ahead and practice on this too. The important thing is that whenever you get a chance, just pick up your pen/paper or your tablet and practice, practice and practice.

How does a beginner get into the world of drawing and painting and how can you get there quickly and keep climbing to greater heights?
You may have come across other people’s artwork and been very impressed by this and you may feel that you can do something similar. I would steer away from other forms of artwork and use your own imagination on what you want to draw. Since you are just beginning, you should always pick simple subjects and use this as a means to improve your techniques that will allow you to accomplish much more complex artwork. Patience is definitely a virtue here. Like all professions, you need to learn the tools of the trade and in that way you will be able to use them more effectively to make it work for YOU. This also applies to painting and drawing.

In the example of drawing as I have explained above, pick a subject such as an apple and try to draw this. You may find after your first attempt that you did not get everything right and this is ok. This is because you have not mastered some of the techniques for replicating a drawing that looks realistic. The apple in our eyes can seem very ordinary, but take a good look at it and see how the light is hitting the apple and locate the shades and shadows created by the sunlight or indoor light. If you are using a pencil to draw, how does one go about creating those tones? This is simple, you go over the same area with your pen to darken the area and go lightly over another area to keep it light. First create the apple outline and then use your pencil to go over the areas of the apple to make it dark or light. Do not worry if you go outside of the outline since you can always correct this later with a rubber. By developing this cross-over hatch movement of the pencil you are effectively improving your skills in obtaining the correct shade. You will find that with further practice the tonal areas that you produce in your drawing or painting will improve as you practice more. In essence, this is the most important technique that is used to render realistic paintings and drawings. The same is true of digital painting and in the case of the popular Paintology app use the ‘shade’ brush tool to create this effect.

The next part of painting and drawing for beginners is an understanding of the perspective and elements in a painting. A good subject to master some of these techniques is to draw landscapes. Again, a good start to get a handle on perspective is to examine landscape photographs and the more you draw landscapes the more you will be aware of the nuances when it comes to drawing. Try to pick a subject where the horizon is clearly visible and the foreground does not contain too much detail. Also a good recommendation is to work with black and white landscapes, in this case, you are not too concerned with color which is another less variable to worry about. Again, employ the techniques of ‘shading’ described previously to create a realistic look to the whole painting. You will find beginners course on this topic on this website under ‘Digital Art Courses’.

As your skills improve with practice, increase the complexity of the subject matter and examine your drawings closely only after you finish. Do not make the mistake of dismissing your painting or drawing half-way just because you feel it isn’t good enough. You should continue to the end and then evaluate your painting and ask yourself what you could have done to make it better. There may be very simple answers to that and the next time you draw something, you will get what you were looking for. As a beginner, you should constantly practice and practice and never feel that you lack in ability, this is because you just have not practiced enough! Enjoy the courses and content on this website and please feel free to contact me anytime for help or information on anything.

Here are lessons to get you started with digital painting on your smartphone or tablet.

This lesson will teach you the basics of perspective using only one brush tool and color.

This lesson goes further to enhance your shading ability to define shapes and give form to subjects.

This lesson will introduce you to elements of the landscape and introduce the brush colors.

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