18 Tips on Illustration That Will Help You Nurture Your Skill

If you plan to brainstorm ideas for a bigger project, then, we are sure that you wouldn’t mind improving your drawing skills.

If you want to become good (at, decent and passable!!) at the art of sketching, then, there are 18 tips on illustration that you can consider adding to your list.

Let’s get started.

1. Drawing on the go

Tips on illustration

No matter where you go, always take a sketchbook with you – a smaller one will do, you know, to fit in your bag – so that you can record your ideas whenever inspiration strikes you.

Always create a habit of carrying one with you – you don’t want to miss any creative chance, do you?

2. Mapping out your way

Instead of simply scribbling your thought process in your sketchbook, why not consider illustrating your thoughts in a creative, aesthetic way. It is suggested that you try to represent your ideas with symbols and even add hand-lettering to emphasize the main concepts.

3. Say ‘yes’ to still life

Still, life doesn’t have to be boring, you know.

Instead, you can try placing a few interesting objects in front of you and take the time to observe them, and consider sketching them in detail.

It is advised that you take your time to study their texture, and how the light hits them, and if possible, challenge yourself to draw them with just a pen or pencil, with no fancy tools.

4. Drawing yourself

Tips on Illustration

If you are more into drawing characters, then you can study yourself in a mirror and try to sketch yourself in real-time. You can either choose to try a realistic style or a stylized version of yourself, it depends on you.

5. Don’t think of lines

It is advised to see things like shapes and not as lines, as there are no actual outlines for the real objects which surround us. It is recommended that you slow down your observation and focus on rendering what is actually in front of you.

6. Try (not) to be a copycat

Copying is a big no-no in the world of art, but as long as it is for your personal learning and stays within your sketchbook, you are encouraged to attempt the Mona Lisa, if you do want or any other masterpiece that interests you.

Doing so will stretch your abilities, and who knows, it may even lead you to try techniques that you may not have thought of otherwise, or it can even inspire you to draw a new subject matter.

7. Less is ‘indeed’ more

If you plan to be great at sketching – we know, that it’s a slow process – but if you really want, you should consider clearing your desk of all supplies, except pen, pencil, and rubber (if necessary). Doing so is a great way to let go of fancy drawing supplies.

8. Experimenting with your grip

Of course, we all have our ways of holding the pencil – and no matter how you hold it, it is recommended that you try this exercise as many times as possible; and then, the next time when you hold a pencil to sketch, it will feel like second nature to you.

9. Giving time to yourself

You are not in any hurry, so, consider giving yourself time – take a subject that interests you, and take your time to draw it. If possible, consider stretching out of your comfort zone, and you will surprise yourself.

10. Tracing a photograph

Take any photograph, and consider tracing it for a change – it will help you to train your eye and hand to study the shapes of things, like the curve of an eyelid, or the many lines on a flower petal.

If possible, you can pick up your photo based on the subject that you normally sketch on your own. You will be surprised at the details that you have been overlooking.

11. Varying your angles

Take something different for a challenge – you should draw something from a bird’s eye view, or with a fish-eye effect. Doing so will lead you to look at the world with fresh eyes.

12. Drawing every day

Even if it is for just one month, consider drawing something and you know, you are bound to see a difference in your sketching abilities. Artistic skills can and do get rusty, and putting them to use daily will help you a lot.

13. Playing with space

You can try thinking up different ways to fill up a blank space on your page.

What style do you like?

Do you like a plain background with your object being the focus of the illustration? Or do you prefer a busy page filled with details and patterns?

14. Doing it your way

Search for inspiration online, but try to limit that time – instead, it is advised that you should spend the time more wisely by discovering your own visual style.

15. Noticing the texture

If you want to improve your sketching skills, one of the best ways to do that is to focus on an often-overlooked element, which is the texture of your subject.

Wondering how to do that?

Take the help of tutorials – you can find them online.

16. Embracing mistakes

Consider working with a pencil and eraser – it is one of the fool-proof ways to allow yourself to take creative risks.

You know that your lines are not permanent and hence, it takes the pressure off of ruining a blank page. Just remember that you should use a light hand when laying down your first sketch so that you can erase it easily.

17. Drawing prompts – Tips on Illustration

You can even try your hand at drawing prompts – they are simply lists of things that one can draw daily, and they are either themed or totally random.
And the best part is that there are so many blogs where you can find drawing prompts.

18. Getting to know your pencils

Who said a pencil is simply a pencil?


There are many pencils out there, and they can be found in a range of hardness. What’s more – each one will give you a different result.

While the hard pencils leave a light mark but will scratch the paper, if a heavy hand is used, soft pencils will give a darker and a more variable line, and vice versa.

Take your time to see which pencils suit you best, and based on that, consider the type of sketching that you plan to do.

Remember, sketching is supposed to fun, don’t be scared of it. All you need to do is to grab your favorite drawing tools and start right away, and you are already a step ahead!!

Leave a Comment