• Nebulous Stars

Three easy techniques to learn how to draw

You don’t have to be Leonardo da Vinci to enjoy drawing. Anyone, young or old, can create true masterpieces by using techniques that have long been proven effective. Get your pencils ready!

By Marie-Josée Roy


1. Zentangle

Who hasn’t distractedly scribbled a series of black and white patterns before? American creatives Martha Thomas and Rick Roberts made it an art form when they realized the sense of well-being they felt when drawing abstract patterns repeatedly. In its traditional form, Zentangle follows several rules: the design must be traced by a black, felt-tipped pen in a white square measuring 9 cm (3.5 inches) on all sides, no corrections are allowed, all patterns must be abstract, etc. Each error or time you go outside of the lines becomes a new pattern to integrate into the design. Want to try this technique with your budding artists? To make the session more fun, skip the instructions and encourage them to explore by providing pens of different colors and a variety of cardstock and paper. Nebulous Stars coloring books’ pre-divided pages are a perfect place to start since all they have to do is fill it up with pretty patterns.

2. The grid technique

This method is highly effective in helping artists of all skill levels reproduce a more complex drawing while maintaining proportions. It also allows you to adapt the size of the drawing to match your desired format. To avoid damaging the image or drawing that your child would like to reproduce, you can make the grid on tracing paper and lay it over the template. Then, using a graphite pencil, reproduce a grid of the same proportions on a sheet of paper. You can adjust the number of squares according to your child’s skill level. Your child can then copy the drawing by moving from square to square. It is recommended to sketch an outline first, before getting hung up on the details. This exercise can be completed with a graphite pencil, pen, or colored pencil, and can include colored or black and white sections. Once the drawing is complete, just erase the grid lines and that’s it!

3. Step-by-step drawing

At any age, learning artists can feel discouraged when admiring a completed piece of artwork. But, breaking the drawing into different steps is sometimes enough to make it seem easier. The sailboat, superhero or rose that once seemed impossible to draw, suddenly becomes an achievable challenge. First draw one petal, then another, before moving on to the leaves and stem. A few pencil strokes later, a beautiful rose begins to take shape. By following the different steps, any budding artist can complete their drawing. To teach your child this technique, find online tutorials and print them on sheets of paper the same size as those that will be used for the drawing. You can also trace a few guiding lines on the paper to help your little Picasso maintain the proportions.

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