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17 Drawing Ideas For Beginners To Warm up and Build Basic Skills

Looking for some drawing ideas for beginners? Well this is the post for you.

There’s nothing worse than feeling the urge to draw and not having any ideas on what to start.

These are some drawing ideas that can help you get in the creative mode and use them to do a light sketch or maybe even add enough time and detail to make them a completed drawing.

Being a beginner at drawing can be daunting. Despite the vastness of the artistic universe, it can sometimes be hard to come up with a single idea.

If you are stuck and looking for inspiration, this post will provide you with 17 Drawing Ideas For Beginners To Warm up and Build Basic Skills.

Table of Contents

    Drawing Ideas for Beginners

    So let’s get to it – here are some drawing ideas for beginners.

    These 17 drawing ideas for beginners are an excellent selection of objects to sketch that can affirm your grasp on the fundamentals of drawing and art in general, both in your understanding of the concepts and in your execution of them.

    There is technically no shortage of objects to draw. Even the most minimalistic of spaces should have at least one item whose likeness can be sketched onto a page.

    Yet somehow, artists still find themselves stuck every now and then.

    But aside from want of inspiration and just “not feeling it,” there is more to warming up and building basic skills at drawing than simply sketching anything you see. Granted, doing so would be evidence of your dedication and hint at the prolific artist you could become. 

    However, there are certain elements and principles of art that can be exercised through the practice of drawing specific shapes and forms. 

    It is imperative for beginners to have an understanding of all these and, just as importantly, to implement them in their drawings.

    Art can sometimes be random and spontaneous, but it is still grounded in principles—principles that can take root in you as second nature if you consistently practice these drawing ideas.

    Why Should You Warm Up with These Beginner Drawing Ideas

    So, why should you warm up with these beginner drawing ideas? Well, that’s because the diversity in the appearances and shapes of these different objects on the list requires the use of techniques and movements that, as an aspiring sketch artist, you need to exercise. 

    Warming up before diving into a larger work can:

    • get your mind ready to focus on details and shapes
    • get you ready to understand how sizes and shapes fit together
    • loosen up your hands
    • get your mind ready to focus on art (instead of other daily stressors)

    Warming up is essential for any activity, but for it to be truly effective, there are particulars that need to be followed and each one should serve an actual purpose. 

    For instance, an athlete has to do a routine tailored to their sport, down to their specific playing position within that sport. Meanwhile, Pavarotti’s pre-concert vocalizations would not help Drake were he to attempt them. 

    As an artist, drawing these specific items on the list will call your relevant muscles to action. You will become more comfortable with the movements you make and the different grips you need to utilize. 

    When you do begin work on your actual sketch project, the strokes and shades will come more naturally from your hand. 

    Let’s explore what each of these objects on the list brings to the table.

    Whenever possible we recommend drawing these objects from life so if you have a coffee mug nearby or a chair these are great to work on composition, shading, and shape.


    Drawing landscapes is an excellent way for an artist to practice and refine perspective and composition. It also allows them to work with a widely diverse range of forms and shades in a single sketch with the potential for so much fine detail in the final artwork.

    While this tops the list, drawing landscapes should be undertaken by beginners who have already clocked some hours sketching the other 16 items as this is essentially a marriage of the skills and techniques developed by practicing them.


    The eyes are arguably the most captivating feature of a portrait, but they’re also one of the most difficult objects for beginners to draw. 

    For one, there are two of them. It’s tricky enough getting one eye right. Balancing the two just creates an even greater challenge. But it’s a challenge that can be overcome with practice and more.

    Drawing eyes is perhaps the most important exercise in realism and an artist’s first experience in the study of anatomy to create an accurate depiction. 

    Related: Here is our guide on how to draw eyes in 5 simple steps

    Coffee Mug

    Coffee mugs are often the subjects of exercises for shading techniques. On top of that, their curvature makes good practice for perspective and some three-dimensional play on the image.


    Drawing a feather is an undervalued art drill, yet its importance cannot be overstated. It is instrumental for artists learning to draw soft edges.

    A refinement of this skill can be extended to drawing other important features such as the hair in a portrait or the grass in a landscape.

    Related: Here is our guide on how to draw a feather in 6 easy steps

    3D Cube

    Drawing a 3D cube is an exercise in one of the fundamentals of art—perspective. It’s not always the most interesting subject to sketch, but devoting time to this is requisite to the development of any artist. 

    In addition to perspective, drawing a 3D cube can help you practice setting the lighting in your images and illustrating this with the use of shading.


    Drawing a chair is one of a child’s earliest introductions to working with art in three dimensions and it also touches on perspective.

    With its straight lines and the different angles you can view it from, drawing a chair is an effective tool for developing an artist’s understanding of structure, form, and proportion.


    It doesn’t matter what kind of flower you draw. Sketching florals as an exercise is among the best ways to work on your edges and find that perfect blend or contrast of hard and soft edges. 

    Light and shadow applications are also important in drawing flowers.

    Loose Human Figures

    Sketching loose human figures can help an artist learn to relax as they explore techniques and experiment with form without the constraints imposed by the usual strict attention to detail. The emphasis is more on the artist’s mental processes than an actual application of artistic principles.

    Human Skull

    The 16th and 17th centuries produced countless pieces of art with a spotlight on human skulls. But philosophical significance aside, the human skull is a great object to practice drawing.

    The complex form of a skull features slopes and planes that will require an artist to be at their lighting and shading A game.

    Loose Portrait

    Drawing loose portraits is essentially the same concept as drawing loose human figures, but this time with a focus on the subject’s face.

    It may prove more difficult than drawing loose human figures as the details of the different parts of the face are more intricate and the artist will have the tendency to be very particular about them.

    Should the exercise achieve the desired outcome, the artist will have taken a massive leap in learning to relax while drawing.

    Individual Parts of the Face (nose, mouth, ears)

    If you hope to draw portraits someday, you need to devote a lot of time to sketching the individual parts of the face. 

    A development of your understanding and application of form and proportion is vital to this endeavor and should be diligently studied and practiced.


    Making animal drawings, like that of a dog, are a good way to work on proportions.

    But when sketching animal portraits, especially that of a dog, be meticulous in capturing the emotions in their eyes.


    A sketch of a bird is somewhat like the culmination of your earlier drill of drawing feathers.

    But depicting the complete avian form brings together the drawing of both soft edges and hard edges.


    From capturing the flow of the mane to the prominent musculature, drawing a horse is one of the best exercises an artist can get in structure and form.


    The apple is another one of the first subjects of kindergarten art. But you can make an improvement on the heart shapes with flat bottoms you used to draw as a child. 

    Drawing an apple now as an aspiring artist is a great way to practice sketching a curved object and implementing correct shading and lighting techniques to achieve a realistic image.


    A drawing of a house is typically a child’s first masterpiece. But you ought to practice drawing more than a rectangle with a trapezoid on top of it. 

    By making sketches of a house at an angle, you can practice and refine your use of the two-point perspective.


    Several things come together in the drawing of a lamp. While an artist’s creativity can produce several designs, the focus of the exercise is not so much on form, but rather on light and shadow. 

    The accurate placement of the shadows in relation to the light source is a detail that requires a bit of reading and some observations. 

    But when you apply your learning to your drawings, it can imbue them with realism that will be appreciated by the more observant viewers of your work.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do you get good at drawing?

    As with any other craft, you can get good at drawing by devoting time to practicing and developing your skills and techniques. While this is the key factor in determining your progress or lack thereof, the following helpful tips can also prove beneficial in your journey as an artist.

    Use the Right Materials

    Yes, picking up the nearest writing implement and sketching on the pages of a random book can be credited as practice. But if you are serious about becoming a better artist, you’ll need to get yourself the right materials to work with.

    The importance of an artist’s materials should not be taken lightly. There are different kinds of pencils to use for drawing and a selection of paper types for sketching on.

    While the most expensive brands of pencils and paper can’t compensate for a lack of skill stemming from a failure to practice, the tools that go into creating art can define it, for better or for worse.

    Take An Art Class

    It’s a common misconception that drawing is something only those born with talent can do. Art is something that can be learned and developed. Even the most naturally gifted can benefit from the lessons to be gleaned from an art class.

    For all the wonders a child prodigy can produce with a pencil or paintbrush, art is a discipline that is governed by a set of principles. 

    You can learn more about these concepts and how to implement them in your drawings by taking an art class. While this may not necessarily level the playing field for you and a prodigy, you will find that they improve your artwork to a degree.

    Some of the finest artists to walk the earth spent the years of their early lives apprenticing at the workshops of the masters of their time. If Da Vinci can take instruction from a teacher, so can you.

    How long does it take to get good at drawing?

    With consistent practice, it can take about 2 – 3 years to get good at drawing. The phrase “Practice makes perfect” may be overworn and perhaps not entirely accurate for those who think of perfection as a myth, but it still holds wisdom for aspiring artists.

    Ideally, you should take time out of every single day to sketch. But life has a tendency to get in the way. The next best thing you can do is apply the 5-Hour Rule to drawing.

    This concept religiously observed by successful billionaires and world leaders states that you should dedicate at least one hour of a five-day workweek to learning — or in your case, drawing.

    It should also be noted that your natural ability factors into your level of progress. Say, for example, a more naturally talented artist and a less gifted one both follow the 5-Hour Rule. It’s only logical that the former would demonstrate better progress than the latter after the same 2 – 3 year period.

    But for as long as you consistently practice, when you measure your progress by your own level when you first began, you are guaranteed to see a marked improvement.

    What Pencils Should you use when learning to draw

    You should use a decent graphite pencil with an HB grading when learning to draw. HB is the “default” grading for pencils. If you have a random one lying around, it’s probably HB. This grading strikes the balance between hardness and blackness and is a great tool for beginners to draw with.

    As you inch your way to mastery of sketching you can add more pencils with softer gradings to your arsenal. You can begin your drawing with an HB, 2B, or 3B pencil and use the softer 6B and 9B pencils to add darker tones to the sketch.

    How to hold your pencil correctly

    The basic three-finger tripod grip you use for writing is likewise the primary way to hold your pencil correctly when drawing. But you will also need to use additional grips for your artistic endeavors. These include:

    • The extended tripod grip
    • The overhand grip
    • The underhand grip

    Thanks for reading and hopefully this helps gives you some drawing ideas!

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