What are you drawing?
Apparently, when asked ‘what talent you would most like to possess?’, most people plump for the ability to either sing in tune or the ability to play a musical instrument. Of those who can already actually sing in tune (or at least the 90% who believe they can sing in tune yet quite clearly cannot), the answer is ‘to be able to draw’.
There seems to be an intrinsic need buried deep within the human psyche for humans to express themselves artistically. You would have thought cave men had enough to do all day what with finding dinner, not freezing to death and not being trampled by mammoths, yet our primitive ancestors still found the time to adorn their caves with paintings; usually of them trying to find dinner, not freezing to death and not being trampled by mammoths.
A caveman’s painting abilities were as primitive as their brains, but that was probably because the internet hadn’t been invented yet; they couldn’t even play Angry Pterodactyls online. Happily, a budding artist can these days use their computer as a virtual classroom, and uncover the many thousands of wondrous resources that exist out there in cyber-land to help them become a lot handier with a pencil; and we’re not talking handy with a pencil like The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’.
If you fancy upping your artistic skills, then here are the top ten sites that’ll take your talents all the way from stick-men to Michaelangelo-standard.
On Drawsketch, hosted by About.com, you will find a massive array of guides and tutorials all written by experts who clearly seem to know their stuff. You can start from the very basics, including learning how to actually hold a pencil properly, to a series of projects that will soon have you sketching like an old Dutch master. The site has a special section for budding child artists, plus video tutorials and a newsletter.
Despite this site’s title, you don’t have to be a deviant to explore here. This is a cavalcade of amateur and professional artists, who are here to showcase their art and their abilities. You can join the community for free, and once you get exploring you’re bound to find the particular niche of art that interests you, and you’ll no doubt then be able to call upon the services and advice of your like-minded artistic souls.
Drago Art is home to thousands of art tutorials that teach you to draw absolutely anything, with easy to follow, step by step directions. The focus is definitely on the magical and mystical (if you hadn’t guessed, the site’s names comes from ‘Dragon’), but if you want general advice, there are a range of tutorials that gives you tips on general drawing techniques. If, on the ten-thousand-to-one chance you can’t find what you are looking for, you can always ask for help from the site’s community of experienced and budding pencil-wielders.
Like Drago Art, Drawing Now is a community-driven site that is a little friendlier for absolute beginners and is free to join. Once you’ve been brave enough to rub virtual shoulders with everyone else there, you can summon up a tutorial, which will provide you via a screencast with step by step instructions on how to learn to draw like a pro. You can also chat in real time online with your fellow artists. Once you’ve mastered the basics you can even contribute your own tutorials.
Drawspace was created as a drawing tutorial portal by Brenda Hoddinott, author of ‘Drawing for Dummies’. An online resource aimed at all levels of drawing ability, you can download and print out all of the tutorials hosted here meaning you can draw in peace and without your PC on, meaning you’re free from distractions such as checking for Facebook updates and seeing if you’ve any tweets. The tutorials are neatly arranged so you can treat your Drawspace experience as a complete drawing course.
This is perhaps the ultimate online drawing site, as it’s all about actually drawing online. The site’s Flash-based tools gives you all you need to use your computer as both your canvas and your set of art materials. You can follow the online guides, or branch off on your own. You can even find someone who will be willing to sit with you online and advise you as you go along. Once your drawing is completed, you can have it viewed by other users of the site who will rate it between fantastic and foul.
If you need proof of this site’s credentials, you’ll be impressed by the endorsements offered by Mickey Mouse, Homer Simpson, Spongebob Squarepants and even No-Face from Spirited Away. You can learn to draw any form of cartoon character, from your favorites such as the aforementioned animated stars, to generic themes such as dragons and other fantastic beasts.
A whole site dedicated to how to draw that character from the early series of Cheers, the one played by Nicolas Colasanto, before Woody (Harrelson) took over in season four. No, not really. Drawing Coach offers a handful of simple tutorials that teach a budding artist how to draw cartoons and caricatures, with an added section on tattoos.
A whole site dedicated to how to draw that character from The Addams Family … ah, we’ve already used that gag. This is a rather quaint little site that seems aimed at the younger arty set, with basic step-by-step instructions on how to draw a range of animals and cartoon characters.
If you’re gonna start, it’s best to start whilst you’re young. The eponymous Uncle Fred is a cartoon character himself, and through twenty or so tutorials, will show a youngster how to master the art of basic character construction. Some of Fred’s tutorials are available to download as IPhone apps.