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How Many Drawing Styles Are There? (50+ Different Drawing Styles with Images)

In this post we’ll break down over 50 different drawing styles.

There are way more unique drawing styles than you think – some of my personal favorites are: anime/manga style, art nouveau, surrealism, and figure drawings. Check out the ones below to find more of your favorites.

I use the below as influence for my own drawing style and art style and future art works!

In our other post we list and breakdown many more art styles but in this post we focus specifically on different drawing styles.

Table of Contents

    1. Abstract Drawing

    Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) by Jackson Pollock

    Abstract drawing is a form of art that uses lines and colors with no definitive form to express emotion or evoke a feeling. It does not directly represent reality, however, it can be inspired by it.

    If you’re interested in learning more about Abstract Drawing, have a look at our other article here!

    2. Academic Drawing

    Academic art by Hozenagghashi

    Academic drawing is drawing with the purpose of studying the human figure and its proportions. It’s in the form of sketching or rendering and often has little to no color, only relying on shading to bring depth. Its sole focus is to study and accurately represent the anatomy and different perspective of the human body.

    3. Anamorphic Drawing

    Anamorphic Portrait of Edward VI by William Scrots

    Anamorphic drawing is a type of visual art that requires viewers to see the art at a certain angle or use a specific tool in order to appreciate the art in its entirety. It uses perspective and optical illusion to make the image look distorted if viewed normally, but from a different vantage or with the use of a tool, the image will appear normal.

    4. Anime / Manga Style

    A panel from the manga Hunter x Hunter by Yoshihiro Togashi

    Anime/Manga Style is an art style originating from Japan that can be seen in popular Japanese cartoon animation (anime) and Japanese comic books (manga).

    Although this style is largely associated with depicting characters as having large eyes, pointed hair, and an angular head shape, some artists deviate from that but it can still be considered anime or manga style as long as it is inspired by Japanese animations or comic books.

    5. Architectural

    Cottage for Mrs. Gale in the Suburb of Oak Park, Illinois by Frank Lloyd Wright

    Architectural style refers to the visual art of buildings and their features. It utilizes a lot of geometrical figures to study, understand, and sometimes recreate famous pieces of architecture.

    6. Art Deco


    Art Deco is the art of decorative designs. These designs are often represented by simple outlines or bold colors to make a statement. They have been integrated into architecture and fashion in the form of unique buildings or creative jewelry.

    7. Art Nouveau

    Daydream by Alphonse Mucha

    Art Nouveau is an art style originating in Europe that depicts its subjects in intricate and detailed flowing curves. Most of the time, the art style uses floral and natural motifs surrounding human subjects. This style can also be decorative. It can be seen in a lot of wallpapers, jewelry, and architecture.

    8. Automotive

    Automotive Art by Frederick Gordon Crosby

    Automotive art refers to the drawing of cars and automobiles as a way to study their designs and structures. Any medium can be used when drawing automobiles, be it paint or pencil. The important thing is to capture the anatomy of a car as accurately as possible.

    9. Blind Contour

    Blind Contour Art by Austin Kleon

    Blind contour is an art exercise (some would consider it an abstract art form) where you draw a subject’s contour or outline without looking at the paper. It’s meant to enhance the artist’s observation skills and encourage freehand. It results in pretty interesting and often abstract drawings but it’s a great exercise, especially for beginners.

    10. Caricature drawing

    Caricatures of Famous People by David Green

    Caricature drawing is an art style that draws subjects uniquely by exaggerating their most notable feature, often the nose, teeth, and ears. It is not meant to accurately represent the human body and its proportions, but merely to draw them in an outlandish way that makes them stand out.

    11. Cartoon Style

    Unofficial Original Mickey Mouse Drawing by Walt Disney

    The cartoon style is similar to that of anime/manga style and caricature. It is a style of art that depicts reality in an exaggerated and sometimes colorful way. Although a lot of cartoons use humans, one notable aspect of cartoon style is drawing animals in a human-like way but still retaining animal features.

    12. Character Drawing

    Character Drawing by Me

    Character drawing is the art of designing and drawing an original character or an already well-established character. This goes hand in hand with creating comics, visual novels, and video games. It involves drawing a character, be it human or animal, and adding quirks and characteristics, giving it a personality.

    Most successful character drawings involve having their character be recognized solely by its silhouette.

    13. Comic Style

    Comic art by Jack Kirby

    Comic style is drawing to tell a story. The specific style in which the characters are drawn may vary, from anime style to cartoonish to even realistic. It’s more of an art form than it is an art style. Its main objective is to tell a story through drawing.

    That said, it’s popularly associated with superhero comics due to the popularity of Marvel and DC comics, so most people take it to mean that a “comic” art style is similar to the art seen in superhero comics.

    14. Courtroom Drawing

    Courtroom art of the Harvey Weinstein Trial by Elizabeth Williams

    Courtroom drawing or courtroom sketching is an artistic profession in which an artist draws the events that is happening inside a courtroom. The style used is typically realism but some artists take the liberty to use caricatures.

    This is usually done in real-time, however, some artists are required to draw only from memory. This is done because some trials do not allow media recordings and therefore need an artist to document the trial instead.

    15. Cubism

    Guernica by Pablo Picasso

    Cubism is a subset of abstract art. It is the use of cubes and hard geometric shapes to create art and convey meaning. One of the most notable artists of cubism is Pablo Picasso who was known to style his art in cubes or hard-edged shapes. Unlike abstract art, however, cubism often uses forms, although in a broken and fragmented way.

    16. Diagrammatic Drawing

    Diagrammatic drawing by McCarty Gibson

    Diagrammatic drawing is drawing an outline or a diagram of something in order to explain how it works. You will see examples of this often in Science textbooks where a drawing of a human body is laid out with lines pointing out a specific part and explaining it in detail. This can also be done to explain architecture, automobiles, machinery, and anything that can be explained.

    17. Doodling

    Doodle by Mr. Doodle

    Doodling is the act of absentmindedly drawing tiny figures and icons repeatedly. This is often done in clusters, creating a crowded but aesthetically pleasing look. Doodling usually thrives on a lack of direction and theme. It encourages artists to draw whatever they want wherever they want.

    18. Electrical

    Electrical drawings refer specifically to the drawings of electrical systems and circuits. It’s made up almost entirely of lines and texts, depicting which power feeds into where and where breakers, transformers, and power supplies are located. It’s more diagrammatical than it is art, however, it takes a great deal of knowledge to understand them.

    19. Engineering

    Engineering art by Tony Matthews

    Engineering drawing is technical art drawn to explain how something works. It’s similar to architectural drawings and diagrammatic drawing in which its goal is not to evoke a thought or emotion but simply to provide information on the subject that’s being drawn.

    20. Fashion

    Fashion Illustration by Richard Haines

    Fashion art is an art that revolves around the designs and looks of clothes. It’s often paired with figure drawing as clothes are drawn on top of the figures, however, some draw without the figures. It’s centered around the aesthetic of clothes and accessories and which pairs well with what. It requires extensive knowledge of color theory and a good eye for fashion.

    21. Figure drawing

    Phrygian Sibyl by Raphael

    Figure drawing is an art form that focuses on drawing poses and studying the anatomy and structure of a figure. Its aim is to understand postures and body proportions and be able to represent them accurately through drawing. Although it’s mainly done to practice and learn anatomy, it has now become its own form of art.

    If you wanna learn figure drawing, read our other post here!

    22. Geometric Drawing

    NAUTILUS by Rafael Araujo

    Geometric is also another type of abstract art. It relies on the use of geometric shapes (such as squares and polygons) to create an abstract expression or form motifs that can be used on decorative art such as vases and plates. Geometric drawing also involves a rigid technicality to it that makes it applicable to other types of art such as engineering or architecture.

    23. Gestural Drawing

    Charioteer by Domenico Gargiulo

    Gestural drawing or gesture drawing is a type of art similar to figure drawing, however, where figure drawing focuses on anatomy and posture, gesture drawing focuses entirely on the poses of the figure and its fluidity. As such, this type of art draws figures in their bare bones in order to highlight its pose. Just like with figure drawing, gesture drawing is a great exercise to improve anatomy.

    24. Graffiti Drawing

    Crack is Wack by Keith Haring

    Graffiti drawing is a type of street art that is done in public places in order to send a message or simply to have fun. It’s usually deemed illegal as graffiti artists often don’t get permission to paint over a public area and some would categorize it as vandalism. However, some would call it an expressive art form, seeking to send a message to a public that would otherwise ignore it if it were trapped in a small canvas.

    25. Hatching Drawing

    The Wise Virgin by Albrecht Durer

    Hatching is actually a type of shading that is done to give a drawing a look of texture but over time, it has evolved into its own type of art. If you don’t know the types of shading, check out our other article here!

    Hatching is done by drawing lines and crossing over them. It brings out an illusion of texture and is usually more aesthetically pleasing when done as shading. Some artists have begun drawing simply by applying the hatching technique. This gives their drawing an abstract and somewhat fragmented look.

    26. Hyperrealism

    Mark by Chuck Close

    Hyperrealism takes realism to the next level by creating picture-like paintings that look like it’s been taken by a high-definition camera. Unlike most art styles that take a unique spin on a subject whether by highlighting a specific feature or breaking them down to their barest forms, hyperrealism does the opposite and aims to replicate every detail of a subject. However, despite replicating reality, hyperrealists tend to add a message to their work and insert a narration through the image they create.

    27. Impressionism

    San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk by Claude Monet

    Impressionism is an art movement that involves painting vivid images of outdoor life in quick small brush strokes. Impressionist art is not meant to represent the outdoors realistically rather it encourages artists to paint their own version of it while still keeping it grounded in reality. It’s made with quick and often rapid brush strokes using bright colors. This gives the art hazy and almost dream-like visuals.

    28. Interior

    The interior of the library of the landlord’s house by Stanislav Zhukovsky

    Interior art or interior paintings are paintings in which the subject is the interior of a house. It showcases the design and function of a room by drawing the objects in it. In some cases, interior art can even tell the story of the person occupying the room by drawing the objects in a way that is unique to the person’s personality.

    29. Life Drawing

    Sit Tight by Stephen Todd

    Life drawing is similar to figure drawing where the sole focus of the art is drawing the human figure In life drawing, however, the subject has to be sitting in front of you as you draw them live.

    30. Line drawing

    Pig Serigraph by Pablo Picasso

    Line drawing is simply drawing by exclusively using lines. This is also referred to as line art. It involves taking a subject and drawing just its outline, with little to no shading.

    31. Modernism

    Le bonheur de vivre by Henri Matisse

    Modernism is an art movement created in the late 18th century. It celebrates art that breaks traditional barriers and offers a new perspective. Modernist art rejects the idea of realism and instead encourages artists to experiment with their expressions in art. This results in rather unique and somewhat unorthodox pieces of art.

    32. Modified Contour

    Self-Portrait With Hands on Chest by Egon Schiele

    Modified contour is an art practice where the artist draws an outline of their subject by looking at their edges while only occasionally looking at their paper. It’s similar to blind contour where it encourages artists to be more observant, however, it’s a lot cleaner than blind contour.

    33. Perspective drawing

    The Music Lesson by Vermeer

    Perspective drawing, as its name suggests, is the art of drawing a subject from different perspectives in order to give it the illusion of depth. This is popularly used in architecture as some buildings and structures require being seen from different angles and perspectives.

    34. Photorealism

    Helene’s Florist by Richard Estes

    Photorealism is a subset of realism. It involves painting subjects as they are, with little to no variation, as if capturing an image with a camera. It deals with greater detail than realism. This results in extremely realistic painting. However, unlike hyperrealism, you can still tell that it’s a painting and not a photo.

    35. Plumbing

    Plumbing art is the art of pipes and fixtures. While some don’t consider this art but instead an occupation, many argue that plumbing can be seen as a visual art form similar to sculpting. Plumbing requires a complex arrangement of pipes and tubes to make sure water flows correctly. This creates a unique abstract look when seen from afar.

    36. Pointillism

    The Eiffel Tower by Georges Seurat

    Pointillism is an art technique that requires artists to paint by applying dots instead of brush strokes. A picture is created by several tiny dots which, if viewed from a distance, create value. This can also be done with a pen or pencil.

    37. Pop Art

    Crying Girl by Roy Lichtenstein

    Pop art is art that is derived from popular culture and mainstream media. It’s meant to be eye-catching so the colors used in pop art are usually bright and bold. They also utilize popular commercial icons as part of the art’s imagery. The movement was meant to be a critical comment on traditional art

    38. Realism

    La rencontre (Bonjour Monsieur Courbet) by Gustave Courbet

    Realism is an art form that draws its inspiration from the everyday life of people, without adding any embellishment or a unique twist to it as most art forms. It’s an art that simply draws reality. As such, subjects are painted in a realistic manner. Although it’s not as detailed as hyperrealism, it still has an image-like quality to it as it draws the human form as it is.

    39. Scientific illustrations

    Scientific Illustration by Alice Rosen

    Scientific illustrations are art created with the purpose to explain scientific concepts. This is similar to diagrammatical art where it’s art created to provide information or help explain. It’s simply a rendered image that allows for scientific visual aid.

    40. Scratchboard drawing

    Scratchboard Illustration by Gary Bullock

    Scratchboard drawing is an art practice that involves creating a picture by scratching off dark ink to reveal a white or colored layer underneath. This is done with a scratchboard, which is made with white China clay painted over with dark ink. The contrast between the black ink and the white clay creates a pleasing visual which artists take advantage of by engraving pictures.

    41. Scumbling Drawing

    Self-portrait at an early age by Rembrandt

    Scumbling is actually a shading technique but, similar to hatching, due to the unique look it creates, it has now been considered an art form. Scumbling is done by creating circles of varied sizes overlapping one another to create value and form a picture.

    42. Shape Drawing

    Keple Gestalt by Victor Vasarely

    Shape drawing is akin to geometrical art in which it uses different shapes to create a picture. However, shape drawing is not limited to geometrical shapes only.

    43. Silhouette drawing

    Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated): Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats by Kara Walker

    Silhouette drawing is a practice where artists create an image by only taking the subject’s shape and filling it with a dark color, usually black. This is often done on a light background to help accentuate the subject’s silhouette.

    44. Sketching

    Proportions of the Face and Eye by Leonardo da Vinci

    Sketching is part of the artistic process which involves creating a rough outline of a final piece with a pencil. It’s meant to be a draft that can be painted or outlined over, however, it can also be considered as an art form as well. Some artists draw only sketches, with the sketch being the final piece. Sketching is often freehanded.

    45. Stippling Drawing

    Christ and the Samaritan Woman by Giulio Campagnola

    Stippling is another shading technique. It is done by creating tiny dots to create value. the further the dots are from each other, the lighter the value, the closer they are together, the darker. Just like hatching and scumbling, stippling can be applied to more than just shading.

    46. Structural

    Eiffel Tower

    Structural art is the art of creating and designing structures. As said by Professor David P. Billington of Princeton University, works in structural art should be efficient, economical, and elegant. It’s mainly defined by whether a structural engineer is able to create an elegant structure despite the limitations of engineering. A perfect example of structural art is the Eiffel Tower.

    47. Surrealism

    The Temptation of St. Anthony by Salvador Dalí

    Surrealism is an art movement that is defined by dream-like paintings that depict scenes that almost makes no sense. Subjects of surrealist paintings often cannot be explained as it combines reality with fantastical elements. Surrealism requires a great deal of imagination and creativity. It thrives off weirdness.

    48. Tattoo Drawing Style

    Tattoo Art

    A tattoo drawing style is simply tattoo art. A tattoo is a type of body modification. It inserts ink into the skin to create an image. The subject of tattoo art usually varies as it depends on the person getting the tattoo, however, most people go for text or pictures of flowers and skulls.

    49. Technical Drawing

    Technical drawing

    Technical drawing is a precise drawing of an object. It can be seen in engineering and architecture where the drawings are usually applied in real life. Just like diagrammatical drawing, it explains certain areas of an object and its function via drawing.

    50. Typography Drawing

    Typography art by Paula Scher

    Typography drawing or simply typography is the art of text. It deals with the design and aesthetic of texts. It brings importance to how legible and clear a text will be based on its font and design.

    51. Value Drawing

    Value art by Elisabeth Larson Koehler

    Value drawing is simple drawing in black and white. Value in art refers to how light and dark something is. If you draw or paint in black and white, that is considered value drawing.

    What Are Some Basic Drawing Tools?

    To begin drawing, you must first invest in some basic tools. Generally, when you’re first starting out, all you will need is a pencil, eraser, and sometimes a ruler. Paper, of course, is necessary.

    Make sure that you invest in quality paper so that it doesn’t rip easily. If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely be erasing a lot which can easily rip cheap paper. If you want to know which paper is best, check out our other article here: What Paper Is Best for Drawing? (Full Guide for Graphite Pencils)

    For a pencil, you can get a simple 2B pencil. It’s dark enough for you to see your sketches and light enough that it won’t be hard to erase. If you’re looking for some heavy shading, you can buy a 5B pencil. If you really want to be sure, you can invest in a pencil pack with a range of pencil grades.

    Here’s a quick guide if you’re new to pencil grades:

    PurposePencil Grades
    Light marks/Fine details9H, 8H, 7H, 6H
    Initial sketches5H, 4H, 3H, 2H
    SketchesH, HB, F, 2B
    Soft Shading  3B, 4B, 5B
    Dark Shading6B, 7B, 8B, 9B
    Pencil grades and what they’re best used for

    For an eraser, a simple store bought will do, however, if you want to create details, you’re gonna wanna buy a kneaded eraser. A kneaded eraser is an eraser that you can shape. This will be easier for erasing small details off your drawing.

    What Are Common Mediums for Drawing

    If you don’t know where to start, try beginning with a graphite pencil. This is the most common medium there is and is often what most artists start with.

    Some other common mediums for drawing are:

    • Ink
    • Crayons
    • Pastels
    • Oil Paint
    • Markers
    • Colored Pencils

    If you want to start with color, I suggest trying colored pencils first before moving on to more complicated mediums like paint. If you want your drawing to be entirely black and white but more permanent, ink and markers will do.

    What Are Some Good Drawing Styles for Beginners?

    Some good drawing styles for beginners are cartoon style or anime style. Not only do these styles encourage creativity, they’re also a good starting point for learning anatomy. From these styles, you can then move up to the more difficult art styles like realism. You can also experiment with different art styles.

    Related: Check out our full post on how to find your own art style

    Some styles don’t really resonate with artists and that’s okay! Part of the artistic experience is discovering your style, so if you find that you don’t really sit well with a cartoon style or anime style, then you can move on and try something new. Perhaps you’re an abstract artist or maybe you’re more into geometrical drawings.

    Here’s a video to help you find your style:

    How to Find Your Art Style

    Other Frequently Asked Questions:

    How Long Does It Take to Learn to Draw?

    Learning to draw has no specific time frame and some would argue that it’s a lifelong journey. However, for a more specific answer, on average, it takes about 2-3 years to learn how to draw.

    Those 2-3 years should involve consistent practice. That doesn’t mean you HAVE to draw every day, but it’s important to set aside a couple of hours a week and set up a routine.

    Now this doesn’t mean that by 2-3 years, you’ll be a master at drawing. You’ll still have a few more ways to go but you’ll have learned enough of the skill to be confident in yourself and your art.

    How Long Does It Take to Learn to Draw Anime?

    It’ll take you 2-3 years to learn how to draw anything and that includes anime. However, if you focus solely on drawing anime, it’ll probably be a lot quicker. I suggest you start with the fundamentals such as anatomy and perspective.

    While anime does exaggerate a few human features, generally it still requires a working knowledge of anatomy. I recommend adding figure drawing or gesture drawing to your practice routine if you intend to learn to draw anime.

    Practicing perspective helps as well.

    What Is the Easiest Drawing Style?

    The easiest drawing style is doodling. Doodling doesn’t have a strict set of rules artists can follow and it isn’t bound by things like anatomy and perspective. It’s simply drawing for fun.

    It can also be done literally anywhere and doesn’t require a great deal of materials. Whereas painting requires a canvas and paint, doodling only needs your pen.

    It’s also creatively stimulating as you can draw whatever you want. That said, if you want to learn how to draw, doodling won’t really help you out with things like perspective and anatomy.

    Doodling is fun and allows you to be creative but it can limit you if it’s the only style you learn.

    What Is the Hardest Style to Draw?

    The hardest style to draw depends on the artist but if you’re a beginner photorealism and hyperrealism can be the hardest style to draw.

    It may seem easy to some. After all, you’re just copying something right? But the thing with photorealism and hyperrealism requires great attention to detail and a lot of patience. It also combines a lot of drawing fundamentals that a beginner artist might not yet have learned such as shading, perspective, and anatomy.

    Generally speaking, however, the hardest style to draw depends on the artist. An artist who has only done abstract art all their life with find realism to be the most difficult, likewise if an artist has only ever done realism then they’ll maybe struggle with abstract.

    This is why it’s important to explore and practice different drawing styles.

    How Do I Find My Art Style?

    To find your art style, I recommend experimenting. Find which style you are most comfortable in. Of course, this can be difficult for beginners who are still figuring things out, in which case I suggest the fundamentals first before worrying about the art style.

    Once you’ve learned the basics of art and drawing down, it’ll be a lot easier to find your style.

    Another thing that’s important to note is that an artist can have more than one style. If you feel as though you’re inconsistent with your style because you don’t stick to one thing, that’s okay. Having more than one style is encouraged in the art community.

    Even the most famous artists are inconsistent with their drawing styles. Pablo Picasso was known for the Cubist movement, however, he also had realistic and surrealistic paintings. Had he stuck to realism, he wouldn’t have founded cubism.

    So experiment with different drawing styles and see what comes out of that!

    Is Drawing and Sketching the Same Thing?

    Yes and no. Technically speaking, sketching is literally just drawing but in a more loose and free way. Fundamentally speaking, no.

    Drawing requires a finality that isn’t present with sketching. Sketching is meant to be a rough draft. That means it isn’t clean and the details aren’t as well defined. Drawing is what comes after sketching. It’s a cleaner and improved version of the sketch.

    What’s the Difference Between Photorealism and Hyperrealism?

    The difference between photorealism and hyperrealism is the intent of the artist. The difference is subtle but it’s there.

    Hyperrealists present an emotion or a story to their work rather than just painting it in a hyper-detailed way. Photorealism, on the other, paints a picture as it is, without adding anything to it.

    Hyperrealism is a lot less strict when it comes to the interpretation of their work than photorealism. Photorealists removes themselves from adding anything, be it message or feelings, into their work and is focused only on representing the image as it truly is.

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