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5 Quick Ways to Start Your First Sketch

If you are trying to get into the world of graphic design and want to flex your artistic muscles, then you have come to the right place. Many aspiring artists are like deer caught in the headlights and are overwhelmed by the skill of others.

The thing is that all of those artists also started somewhere and they also did not have the skill that they have today. To make things much easier and to set your nerves at peace, here are a couple of tips from top artists to get you going and start your first sketch.

Know your HB from a 2B

Know your HB from a 2B

When looking at the work of a professional, one can easily forget that they used different types of pencils. Knowing the difference between an 8B and a 4H will give you much more control over your sketches. In short, the B pencils are darker than H pencils.

B stands for Black and H stands for Hardness. An HB pencil is the most common one around and sits in the middle of the pencil spectrum. When you start to draw, opt for a 2H as this is a more forgiving pencil and you don’t have to worry so much about pressure.

Also, use both mechanical and traditional pencils together. The mechanical pencils are great for detail and precision, whereas traditional pencils are excellent for providing a base.

It’s all in the grip

How to Hold and Control Your Pencil

Knowing how to grip your pencil will help you make the right types of strokes on the page. It is almost like essay help for a student, it just makes things a bit easier if you don’t know what to do. When you hold the pencil close to the base, you have more control over your strokes, but you tend to make harder and darker lines.

Gripping the pencil higher up will allow you to make more flowing lines, but with less control. These types of lines are typically used for long shoots of grass, or straight hair, or shading in the side of a wall.

Practice different mark techniques

Exercise: Mark-making techniques

When you start sketching, you probably don’t know about all the different techniques to achieve different styles. Before you start the first sketch, you should practice a couple of mark-making methods and start to see where you can apply each technique.

Everyone has their own style and you’ll probably not use all of the mark-making techniques out there. What is important is that you try a couple and see which one suits your style the best and get working to start sketch. The more you practice, the better you’ll become and the more natural it will feel.

Use different lines

Use different lines

You need to get accustomed to varying your lines. Not all lines are equal or serve the same purpose. When you make subtle shifts in the thickness and darkness of your lines, you can create dynamic changes to your drawing. Making different lines does not just depend on how hard you press down with your pencil, but also on the type of pencil you use.

Experiment with combinations of different pencils and explore the effects that you can create. Who knows, in the end, you might switching from graphics design career to UX based on your own experience. Drawing has the ability to inspire and it usually comes unexpectedly.

Try and stay clean

Clean sketchbook

When you are on a roll and your sketch is looking good, the last thing you want to do is to smudge it. It happens to everyone and it is one of the most frustrating things for any artist. When you smudge your sketch, you take away from its perfection. Even though it is a brilliantly drawn sketch, a smudge can make it lose its brilliance and reduce its value.

Your hands are sweaty and when you concentrate on your work, it sweats even more. That is when the smudging starts. One of the best ways to lessen the perspiration of your hands is by keeping some baby powder at hand and rubbing some on before you begin working.

When you shade, you should always shade away from the drawn lines. For a right-handed person, the shading should always be done from the left to the right and for a left-handed person, the shading should be done from right to left.

For that little bit of extra protection, place an extra piece of paper under your hand. At least, if you start to sweat, you won’t be touching your masterpiece.


Starting to sketch is like learning how to play an instrument. Anyone can do it and there are some people who have a natural talent for it, but for the rest of us, it is a long learning curve. What most people expect, though, is that when they start to draw, that they will become pros in a matter of weeks.

Unfortunately, practice makes perfect and if you are serious about drawing, then the best thing to do is to start. Draw anything and everything and let your imagination take control. The more you do it, the better you will become.

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