Every true Artist should master the art of freehand drawing.
Are you tired of copying pictures using carbon copy paper, tracing paper, or using the Grid method, etc.?
It is high time you know how to draw without any tools, and that is what Freehand drawing is all about.
I was initially unsure of drawing at least close to accurately the picture from the reference image.
I used to be amazed at how artists freely work from their references or live environments without any tools.
The way they drew the proportions, perspective, and several aspects of the sketch amazed me.
Fast-forward today, I am confident that I can draw what I see accurately. It is not an overnight miracle; I gained this proficiency through regular practice and perseverance, which I want to share.
In this post, I will share my experience and everything I know about this subject.
Before jumping into in-depth, let us also understand some basic things around this topic.
What does freehand drawing mean?
Freehand drawing is a method where the Artist draws without any technical, mechanical, or geometrical assistance. Depending on preference, it can be done by hand with pencils or pens, but we commonly see it when artists use their fingers as an extension for the ink to create beautiful works of art!
An artist expresses his creativity on paper using only his hand without any guiding tools, and this style of artwork is called Freehand drawing. The guiding tool is in his head well visually measured and pictured.
He may or may not have reference material. Everything else an Artist does is through his confidence and knowledge, which he has gained over the years.
The following are essential for this type of drawing: –
- Artist uses only his hand
- Artist uses his observation skill to recreate the artwork
- Artists do not use any technical, mechanical, or geometrical equipment.
- Artist gains ability by practice over some time.
We can also say this is synonymous with sketching as the Artist does not use any geometric gear.
An excellent example of this type of artwork is Graffiti.
Which are the freehand drawing tools used?
Here, we refer to only traditional drawing and not the picture was done using apps or computers.
Some of the basic materials which are required are:
- Pencils with various categories
It is like the art materials which we use for creating basic drawings.
What are the freehand drawing tips for beginners?
Use Simple Reference pictures
If you are a beginner, my suggestion is to draw using a reference picture.
The reference picture which you use should be simple with a clear outline showing light and shade.
An apparent reference will make your picture process easy and meaningful. Study and understand the picture.
Start your Drawing from Top to Bottom and from Left to Right
Starting from left to right and top to bottom can help you to avoid smudging.
You should continuously develop a habit of creating your artwork like writing, top to bottom and from left to right. It will help you to avoid your hand touching the graphite and then spoiling your sketch.
Remember every small habit adds value to your artistic skill.
Use Hard pencil to create outlines
When you start working on shapes, use a hard pencil like 2H or H. It will help you to erase the pencil impression if you make any mistakes in your artwork.
Trust me; you will not draw a perfect line at the first shot unless you are a professional. It will take time.
So, till that, you will draw, erase, and recreate, refine, modify, and do everything so that you are convinced you got what you want.
For that, your lines should be light easily erasable, without damaging the paper.
Always remember there is nothing wrong with using an eraser.
Use Simple Lines and start from larger shape
Every image is a collection of multiple lines and shapes.
Study your reference picture carefully and dissect the concept into simple lines and shapes.
Find the most prominent shape and draw that first to capture the main object, and after that, move to smaller bodies.
Do not overcomplicate your shapes.
For a beginner, you must capture the essence of the drawing. Observe and grasp the basic shapes and lines from your reference picture.
Create values from bright to dark
This is a general pencil drawing tip and not unique for this kind of drawing.
Always create shading from light to dark and adopt a layered approach. Creating values from lighter areas to darker areas will help you to gauge the value correctly.
If you find it challenging to evaluate the value, I suggest you use the value scale.
Ways to Identify your Mistakes
- Give some break and do not draw continuously. After the break when you see the drawing, you can have a fresh look. If there are any mistakes, then it will be easily identifiable.
- See your drawing from different distance, like half a meter, one meter, tilt your head different angle and see if you are finding it fine. Sometimes, when we draw sitting close, the errors will become invisible and from distance it will look apparent.
- Take a photograph top down and see if the shapes and values look right. When you take a photo, the image is smaller, and this can also throw any mistakes you have done.
Final Touch and Fine tuning
I spend the maximum amount of time in finetuning and giving the final changes to my drawing.
This is because that elevates the look of your artwork.
The thin line reflection on the object side of the hair strand that falls on the face creates realism.
Practice Free hand drawing daily
The only way to master any art is to practice it consistently without any break.
In the beginning, this may look like a difficult habit to develop, but when you do it regularly, it will soon become part of your routine.
Initially, it may not look like you are making any progress, but trust me, you will soon find out the improvements.
So, practice daily.
What is the Difference between Freehand drawing and Mechanical Drawing?
The creator does not use any technical, mechanical, or geometrical assistance in creating a drawing.
Materials used in this type of drawing are pencil, erasers, markers, pastels, etc.
This type of drawing is created by artists where accuracy and measurement are not necessary.
Portraits, figure drawings, landscape, etc., are some of the pictures done using freehand.
Mechanical drawing or technical drawing is where the professional engineer uses mechanical instruments to create a picture.
The equipment used for this type of drawing is scales and precision instruments.
Mechanical drawing is done by technical experts where accuracy is essential. Professional spends more time on the details.
Building, stadium, Car, designing, etc., are areas where mechanical drawings are used.
Why is Freehand drawing important?
- This drawing improves your creative skill.
- You do not need to depend on any instrument and just with having a pencil alone you can create great artwork.
- It helps you to draw fast be it a line, circle, or any shape.
- Practice in this type of drawing helps you to improve your visual measurements and recreate it on paper.
- This type of drawing can help you to create your own art style
- You non dependency on any measurement equipments can drastically improve your drawing skill.
What are the different types of freehand drawing?
There are many types of freehand drawing, and some of them are listed below:
- Graffiti Art – This type of drawing is done using spray paints and mostly covers controversial topics. The Graffiti art is normally words or figures usually in bright colors. We can also call this type of drawings as street drawings.
- Gesture Drawing – Gesture drawings are quick drawings done usually to capture the essence of the motion. These are quick drawings and usually take 5 to 10 minutes to draw. Many of these drawings are done outdoors.
- Contour Drawing – Contour drawing are also called as outline drawing. This kind of drawing is created using one single line and without lifting the pen or pencil from the paper till the drawing is completed.
- Thumbnail Sketches – Thumbnail sketches are rough, quick drawing drawn in smaller size to convey or check an idea.
All the above drawings are done without using any instruments like Scale, Compass, or supporting device.
Freehand Drawing Examples
The drawing of a girl below is done by me without any measurement.
Of course, I had to use an eraser several times to correct the right side of her eyes, but that is fine. I can capture the essence of the drawing.
I spent just 15 minutes creating this drawing.
I took this less time because I already knew the face proportions and figure drawing, so that part was easy for me.
In addition to that, several years of my practice make it easy for me to create this drawing.
Hand and eye coordination are vital in this kind of drawing. People who have hobbies usually do these types of drawing.
If you can draw accurately without any supporting instruments like tracing tablets, tracing papers, or drawing grids, that means you are moving in the right direction of becoming a pro.
It will take time, and it will take practice, being patient, and improving your skills.
Trust me, and it will go a long way.