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A beginner’s guide to illustration

As a complete beginner, where do you begin with illustration? Should you spend time learning to draw first, or should you start with digital software? Today, illustrations are everywhere. When it comes to depicting various aspects of our lives, it has reached almost every sphere of our lives. These distinctive visuals are now frequently used to promote brands through posters and other artworks. 

If you are a complete beginner, the most important step in your practice will be to find a way to express yourself visually.

1) Use a sketchbook and a pencil

In the beginning, a pencil and a blank sheet of paper are the two most terrifying things on the planet, so you must prepare for it before you begin. Start small, you can start drawing shapes, and colouring them in. Divide every object you want to draw into small shapes and draw those using a pencil. This helps you develop your understanding of the items you’re drawing.

2) Improve your drawing skills by taking drawing classes

Some say these classes help develop drawing skills, while others say online courses can do the same. Taking a drawing class is crucial for learning illustration because it trains your hand to draw what you imagine. While traditional drawing may seem rigid, knowing the rules will help you understand its limits and how to go beyond them in your illustrations.
In a traditional drawing class, you learn from a mentor or teacher. This will speed up your progress because mentors show you what to focus on as a beginner and offer immediate feedback. And that’s more efficient than searching online for an hour.

3) Start a daily art journal

A daily sketchbook habit, like daily meditation, is essentially a daily practise of sketching. For centuries, people have used a daily sketchbook to improve their drawing skills, achieve a sense of peace, and relieve anxiety. This therapeutic activity is appropriate for people of all skill levels. It allows you to draw every day and brings more creative flow into your life. It also helps develop consistency.

4) Doodle, a lot

Doodle, draw from reference (photos), or draw from your imagination — do whatever you can to gain confidence in holding a pencil and telling a story. You can take a walk outside with your sketchbook and trace out things you see. It doens’t have to be perfect. It just needs to get your hand moving.

5) Copy other people's work

This is only for practice, do not try to pass them off as your own work. Copying can boost confidence in my your drawing abilities. When you have no experience or skills, copying is a great place to start.
When copying, try to use the same materials as the artist and use the process to figure out which art techniques you prefer. Remember that if you copy someone else’s style without developing your own, you risk becoming a one-trick pony with no personal voice. You’ve been forewarned.

6) Use other medium

Try using other medium, like waterpaints, oil paints, acrylic and so forth. You can explore different avenues to see which one you like the best.  Remember that contemporary illustration is not limited to hand-drawn images. Draw in your own style and in any way you can. If drawing does not come naturally to you, experiment and explore other options.

And lastly, while you get started, remember to also use your own personality. It contributes significantly to the development of your artist persona. You are a person with specific interests and stories that have shaped your personality. Use your knowledge to develop your own style as an illustrator.

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