Drawing tips for budding illustrators

By Serena Geddes

Tip One – Shapes

Everything around you is made up of shapes! If you ever get stuck trying to draw an animal, person, or you just want to draw a character from your favourite cartoon, always look at the shapes you can see: circles, squares, rectangles, ovals, jelly beans, triangles.

I start by lightly drawing a circle where the head will be, and then add in the body… usually a jelly bean shape or rectangle. What the character is doing will depend on where the arms and legs go.

Tip Two – Emotions

I always think what my character is doing or how it is feeling before I start to draw. If your character is sad it will be standing differently, just like its facial expression will be different to someone who is happy or joyful. Let’s try this as an example.

Stand near a mirror. Before you look at yourself, close your eyes and imagine yourself really sad. Feel the sadness not just in your face but in your body. Slowly open your eyes and look at how your body is now standing. Everything will feel heavy and your shoulders will droop.

Now shake that off…. Take a deep breath and think of something you love! Mine is my dog and ice cream! Close your eyes and think of a happy person or a happy moment. Now look in the mirror. How is this reflected in your body? What’s different?

Can you draw how a happy person looks based on this feeling and looking at yourself in the mirror? I bet you can!

It doesn’t matter if this is a stick figure. In fact that’s perfect to capture those two emotions in stick figures first!

Tip Three – Perfect by whose standards?

One of the things I love about drawing is how freeing and creative it is when I have fun. I used to strive for my pictures to be ‘perfect’, but who decides if something is perfect? Some of my best drawings had odd shapes and lines in them; in fact that added character to my piece. Today, let’s just play with some shapes, have some fun and see what quirky characters come out!

Fun Exercise 

We are going to start drawing circles very loosely on the page…. The messier the better, no perfect circles please… let’s have some fun with drawing shapes on the page.

Put that aside when you’re done. Now think of the animal, person or character. Close your eyes and look at them… let’s say it’s a cat. Look at the shapes you can see while thinking of a cat.

Once you have seen where the shapes are, open your eyes (or you can draw it with your eyes closed, that’s fun too!) and now draw the shapes.

When you are done, if it is lightly drawn, go over it and add in some features like fur, its face, stripes or patterns.

If you’re feeling happy with your cat, person or character, start to colour it in.


Peninsula Kids – Summer 2020/21


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