Common Pitfalls for Beginner Artists

So you have decided to take up drawing and painting, you have got the kit but what now?  Time to get started! Here are a few pitfalls I see over and over again that you might want to consider if you are starting out:

Not buying the right materials for you – This is a hard one if you really don’t know what to buy, you have to start somewhere.  It is well worth taking the time to find out what media you like but start with the basics and then build up your materials.

Working too small – I often see beginners working in A5 sketchpads, this is in my opinion too small.  Working smaller is harder, give yourself space! I recommend A3 and the smallest size I’d work at would be A4.

Not leaving enough space on the page! – This is easy to do, you start one end of an object and then the vase, flower etc. doesn’t fit.  We avoid this by ‘mapping out’ the drawing first.

Detail before structure – This is like icing a cake before you have finished baking it.  Get the structure of the drawing mapped out first before going into details.

Using an H pencil – H pencils are not suitable for sketching and drawing unless it is line or technical drawing so make sure you are using B grades.

Not using enough tonal values – Some beginners tend to produce very faint drawings that lack tonal range.  We need to see all the tonal values to give a drawing depth so pure white to very dark black. Use all of the tonal range of the pencil by adding more pressure for darker tones and you will notice your work has more depth.

Not experimenting – The idea that you start a final piece without testing out ideas, trying out brush sizes, brush strokes or pencil marks etc. first.  All the masters created many sketches for every ‘masterpiece’ so do some experimental work first.

Also see Where do Complete Beginners Start?

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