Drawing Practice: Linework Exercise

This is my go-to drawing practice when I’m wanting to improve my linework skills, warm up before working on a project, or want to get back into drawing after a break. This practice helps develop control and consistency by focusing on drawing circles and lines in patterns.

I picked up this exercise when I was looking for ways to improve my drawing skills after being frustrated that I hadn’t improved after drawing for a while. One thing I noticed about my illustrations was that my lines didn’t flow the way I wanted them too. I was also discouraged because I didn’t know what to draw and was getting tired of looking for a subject to study without feeling inspired.

This practice helped by giving me something to draw without the expectations that it would have to look like a specific subject, while also allowing me to practice building my linework skills.

I usually recommend this exercise to all my students when they’re wanting to improve their drawing skills. I like to think of this as a stretch or gentle job before a big run, it’s something to warm up the hand and mind without the pressure of full-performance. One of the ways I notice myself and others struggle with drawing and illustration is when we expect to have a finished “perfect” drawing immediately. When something doesn’t look like what we’re expecting to see, that discouragement can make us put down the pencils and not want to pick them up again.

This exercise creates a respite from that expectation, so we can be present with the practice and appreciate what we can do rather than what we struggle to achieve.

This isn’t a magic exercise, though. To become skilled at drawing and illustration, you’ll still need to practice drawing different subjects from references and your imagination. This exercise is a way to prepare for that work.

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