Sketching as practice

To learn art it’s often touted that you must do a lot of sketching. Some artists might find this annoying, “I’m here to learn how to paint not to draw.”

But here I shall make the case that learning how to sketch and especially draw can and will help you paint.

Sketching helps us develop other skills that are necessary and doing so with a medium that’s cheap.

Learning how to see

Seeing is a skill. It’s not one you often see taught or emphasised.

Seeing involves noticing, not just looking but understanding what we see.

Such understanding then helps us create art better. It’s why art can only be learned through practice, not from a book.

You have to know how to see in order to paint what you see. To see and understand about Aerial Perspective, where landscape in the distance is fuzzier and cooler in colour than the landscape in the foreground.

Perspective, where objects appear smaller the further away they are.

To notice the different subtle variations of colour in any object. Not just hue, but of brightness, and saturation. Only then can you recreate what you see in some convincing manner.

Develop Patience

Patience is another necessary skill. Good art takes time. I find myself impatient a lot, wanting to get on with a panting.

But by slowing down, taking my time through sketching, my artwork comes out better and I’m more happy with it.

Patience has to be learned and slowing down, taking your time by sketching can foster this skill.

Success is the same, it take time to sell your work and grow a business patience is required here as well.

Patience is the skill that leads to all successes because anything worthwhile will take time to create.

Coordination

Creating a painting or a sketch, unlike a taking a photo, aids in hand-eye coordination. This technical skill also takes practice and sketching is a cheap way to do that.

Such a skill can be useful in the other mediums such as painting.

All this above is why sketching is still an important part of an artists education.


Sketching, getting down ideas and observations have been a major part of art for centuries. Artists may paint hundreds of paintings but their sketches will number in the thousands.

It’s cheap and the tools are easy to carry

But it’s more than the just the drawings or small studies. It’s the skills you develop with such practice that matter too. The mindset or attitude you have to develop to become a good artist.

Without such practice such skills don’t develop as fast.