Think You Can’t Learn How to Draw? Think Again!

Drawing for Beginners

I went through most of my adulthood thinking I couldn’t learn how to draw. I wanted to, but I didn’t know what the first steps of drawing for beginners actually were. Artists who are more advanced take for granted how they hold their pencil, how they position their paper and how they move their drawing hand and shoulder.

Here you are going to find all the drawing tips for beginners that you need and nothing at all is taken for granted! I take you step-by-step through your first drawing session so open your sketchbook to the first page and let’s get started!

To familiarize yourself with all we will be doing, watch our Drawing for Beginners video above. You will see all the details I discuss here put into practice so you can learn how to hold your pencil, make marks on the paper and what things to draw for beginners.

Watch it again and again, until you memorize the finer points and you are ready to move to the next lesson.

And enter your email below to download your free e-book on Learning How to Draw now — with 26 beginner drawing techniques you can practice in your sketchbook right now.


Beginner Pencils and Paper

Drawing for beginners literally starts with knowing how to hold the pencil. There are a few different ways to do this, such as the writing grip and the overhand grip, which we will explore a little more in-depth.

Writing Grip or Tripod Position

Hold the pencil like you would for writing a letter or taking notes. Hold it closer to the tip for more control and precision and detail — also more pressure and darker lines.

You can also hold your pencil farther away for more gestural, dynamic strokes — for which lighter marks result.

Drawing for beginners: Hold your pencil or charcoal stick in the overhand grip with the first three fingers controlling the implement and your last two fingers resting lightly on your paper so you can easily move your hand when working.
Hold your pencil or charcoal stick in the overhand grip with the first three fingers controlling the implement and your last two fingers resting lightly on your paper so you can easily move your hand when working.

Use the writing grip:

  • On a flat or incline surface.
  • For a tight, realistic style.
  • If you are using a wood-encased graphite pencil with a fine point.

Overhand Grip

Hold your pencil between your thumb and index finger. Support and move the pencil with your middle finger.

Your last two fingers rest on the paper and support your hand as you make your marks. Be careful to rest your fingers lightly on the paper so you can move your hand over the paper easily.

With the overhand grip, the pencil you work with looks different; the wood around the actual graphite has been razored or cut away. You can also buy graphite or charcoal in a non-pencil form. This allows you to draw with the tip and sides of the pencil.

Use the overhand grip:

  • On a vertical or inclined surface. You can turn your hand so your palm is facing you as well as in the opposite hand position.
  • To get a darker thinner line using the tip.
  • To get a wider, lighter line using the side.

The best part: You can transition easily between the two grips with just a twist of your fingers.

Wrist and Shoulder Movements

Isolate the wrist. Using the writer’s grip allows for isolated wrist strokes that are great for small details, short strokes and tight areas. There is less range of motion but more control.

Put your shoulder into it. Having your stroke come from your shoulder, arm and wrist together allows for steady lines; longer lines as well as short lines; fluid, gestural lines; and transitioning easily between the side and tip of the pencil. You also get a much bigger range of motion than with just wrist movements.

Now You’re Ready to Start

Drawing for Beginners | Pencil Drawing | Sketch | Drawing Basics | Beginner Drawing | Artist Daily
Courtesy of Getty Images


Now that you know how to hold your pencil, position your paper and make your first strokes, you have mastered all the drawing for beginners techniques I wanted to show you for your first drawing session.

Don’t forget to download the free e-book on Learning How to Draw for simple techniques you can practice in your sketchbook right now to go even further with drawing. Just enter your email below, and take the next step. You won’t be a beginner for long after this!


What are some of your favorite beginner drawing tips and exercises? Share them in the comments below!















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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.