How to Draw

Pencil drawing line on paper with wooden r...
Learning to draw is easy with a few simple tools and our step-by-step instructions.
Getty Creative: Photodisc

Learning how to draw like an artist is a lot easier than you might think. Any drawing can be broken down into smaller pieces. If you follow the smaller pieces (or steps) one by one, you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll learn how to draw everything from animals and plants to buildings, cars, trains, and even dinosaurs!

To begin learning how to draw, you'll need a few basic drawing supplies including a pencil, pencil sharpener, an eraser, a felt-tip pen, and paper. In each article, the first drawing will be a completed example of the subject that you are about to draw. Examine the lines and shapes of the subject carefully before proceeding to the first step.


The instructions in each article will always start with larger basic shapes, such as ovals, rectangles, and triangles, depending on the subject. Draw the full shape, even if some of it will not be seen in the final drawing. The red lines in each illustration show exactly what to draw in that step, while the lines drawn in previous steps are shown in gray.

After all the steps are complete, use a felt-tip pen to go over the pencil lines. Ink only the lines you want to keep in the drawing. Let the ink dry, and then erase the extra pencil lines.

Once you've inked in your drawing, the next step is adding color. We'll learn about coloring drawings in the next section.


How to Add Color to Drawings

A kick of color makes this little red caboose drawing look polished.
Publications International, Ltd.

The last step in learning how to draw is adding color.

Use the first illustration in each article as your guide. Feel free to use crayons, colored pencils or markers. If you're feeling especially creative, you can even try watercolors or chalk.


Start by adding the main color, gently adding darker colors to areas that would be in shadows or less light (generally toward the bottom or underneath the shapes). This is called shading.

After shading is complete, add lighter colors where more light would be (usually on the top areas of the shapes, where sunlight would naturally hit them). This is called highlighting. Shading and highlighting help the drawing look more realistic.

Once you fill in all the colors and are pleased with your drawing, you're finished. Way to go!­

Now that you know the basics, you're ready to try your hand at drawing. We've assembled a list of our most popular drawing topics on the next page to get you started.­


Popular How to Draw Articles

In our how to draw articles, you will learn how to draw just about every person, place or thing you encounter on a daily basis. Here is a preview:

  • How to Draw Construction Vehicles Construction vehicles may look complicated, but they're great fun to draw! Learn how to draw construction vehicles from start to finish in this how to draw article.
  • How to Draw People If you're comfortable drawing lines and small shapes, then you can draw people! Start with a simple circle and work your down -- limb by limb. Follow the easy steps in this article to learn how to draw people.
  • How to Draw Dinosaurs Let your imagination take control as you capture these prehistoric animals on paper in just a few easy steps. This article will teach you how to draw a Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, a Triceratops and more!
  • How to Draw Flowers and Plants Without them, what would the earth's landscape look like? In this article learn how to draw all of the colorful flowers and plants that make our planet beautiful.
  • How to Draw Animals Dogs, cats, birds, and horses -- this how to draw animals article will teach you how to draw just about every animal under the sun. Use this article to help build your animal art gallery.
  • How to Draw Cartoons Cartoons have the power to make us laugh and to make us cry. They can entertain us for hours or whisk us away to a fantasyland. Learn how to draw cartoons from yesterday and today.
  • How to Draw Buildings Imagine being your own architect as you learn how to draw buildings such as skyscrapers, churches, hospitals, and schools. From the simple to the elaborate, this article will show you how to draw buildings the easy way!
  • How to Draw Landscapes Ever wonder how artists manage to sketch such spectacular landscapes? In this article, learn the secret to perfecting small details as you learn how to draw landscapes.
  • How to Draw Cars They're everywhere -- in movies, in magazines, in cartoons and of course, on every street, road or avenue in America. If you want to learn how to draw cars, this article will show you how to draw cars in all shapes and sizes. Let's get moving -- learn how to draw cars!
  • How to Draw Planes Planes aren't just made up of wings and windows. These amazing flying machines are made up more shapes than you may think. In this how to draw planes article you'll learn how to draw the many unique shapes of a plane.
  • How to Draw Trains In this article, learn how to draw all types of trains from electric and freight to locomotive and steam. Just name a train and we'll teach you how to draw it. All aboard!

Ready to sharpen your art skills one step-by-step drawing at a time? Then, feel free to start with the first how to draw article and work your way down. You can also choose your favorite subject and start there. It's up to you.


Good luck!