Learn to Draw for Beginners - Curiosity and Play

Learn to draw for beginners - art isn’t about doing it ‘properly’ or doing it the ‘right’ way. True creativity is about curiosity, exploration and play so that you can create great drawings in your own way…

Having fun with some expressive drawings of dancers

Having fun with some expressive drawings of dancers

The objective of this drawing lesson is to start to develop a creative mindset with a light-hearted (playful) and curious attitude towards your art-making (…and today, that actually doesn’t involve ANY drawing!).

This is important because it really helps you not to take your art too seriously, which allows you to disengage yourself with the end-result and enjoy the process – feeling free to experiment and have fun. This is far more enjoyable for you and it also creates innovative and fresh art and helps you to develop your own unique style when you do get back to your drawing.

This page is part of my Start Drawing Your Way free learning drawing resource helping you to start drawing accurately in a fun and personal way. We’ve been looking at self-expression, collecting inspiration, and expressive drawing. (You can catch up with the rest of the lessons here and also see what we’ve got planned for the future.)

Feeling playful with some seed-head drawings

Feeling playful with some seed-head drawings

Learn to draw for beginners - why getting it ‘right’ is getting it wrong!

One of our main worries when creating art is concern over whether we’re getting it ‘right’… and a feeling of failure, shame, or embarrassment if we believe we might have got it ‘wrong’. And that prevents us from being free, expressive, and personal with our art and it can also stop our drawing from being enjoyable and fun (which is kind of the whole point of doing it!)

Relax! There’s no such thing as ‘wrong’. Art is a process, a journey – we’re learning all the time so everything is practice. Even when we decide a particular piece or technique is ‘good’ it’s still just a part of our overall learning journey, but one that we happen to like.

We’re all still learning and we all, however long we’ve been drawing, have disasters – parts we could’ve done better or whole days (or weeks or months) when we can’t just get into that flow and we hate every mark we put on the page.

It happens to everyone at some point and the sooner we can accept it just as something normal that does happen, the sooner we can work through it and come out the other side to enjoying our creative work again.

If it happens to you, take a look at what else is going on in your life at the moment. There might be other areas of your life that need your focus just at this minute, so taking a break from trying too hard with your creativity, or even a complete break from your creativity, might be right for this moment – or you might simply need to change things up a bit, stop trying so hard and experiment with something different…

Experimenting with some fun flower drawings

Experimenting with some fun flower drawings

Why it’s hard to play, sometimes…

It’s fun to approach your art with a playful attitude, but I understand that this can sometimes be a loaded word. Perhaps, at some point, someone told you that it was time to put away the toys, stop playing and being ‘silly’, and to take life more seriously… and you’ve internalised this message so that being ‘playful’ with your drawing now feels forced or awkward for you.

Being playful isn’t a bad thing – as long as it’s at an appropriate time, place, and in appropriate company. In fact, I feel that ‘playing’ is essential for us to keep learning and keep growing, and is essential for our happiness.

Drawings from limpet shells

Drawings from limpet shells

When we’re children, play is how we learn about the world – so essentially, when we’re ‘playing’ all that we’re doing is being curious about the world around us and experimenting, trying things out, seeing ‘what happens if I do this?’

So if your idea of ‘having fun’ or ‘playing’ with your art brings up some kind of vision of being rowdy, laughing loudly until you screech, and flicking paint around the place with abandon (and if that vision fills you with as much horror as it does me) then relax…

‘Playing’ with your art is simply ‘curiosity’. Experimenting:

  • How can I do that?

  • What happens if I do this?

  • How might that work?

And of course, when we’re experimenting, we don’t expect or demand that everything works right first time. It’s not what it’s about. That’s all part of the experiment to find out what ‘works’ and what doesn’t… or how I’d prefer to phrase it would be to find out how it works for you.

So try to develop a curious attitude towards what you’re doing – experiment, ‘play’, discover new things, surprising things, find things you like, things you don’t like.

Do more of the things you like… and then think of what else you can do with those things. What could you add? What could you take away? What could you combine? How would it work? Experiment and see.

Go large, go colourful, go abstract. Experiment with your drawings, try new things and see what happens.

Go large, go colourful, go abstract. Experiment with your drawings, try new things and see what happens.

Here we’ve got a no-drawing art exercise to help you develop your curiosity and play muscles that will help you explore your art and creativity with an open mind when you do get back to drawing…

Curiosity and Play Exercise: Printing with Nature

Learn to draw for beginners - sometimes it helps if we just take the pressure off the actual drawing and doing it ‘right’ …so, let’s practise not-drawing and just exercise our playful, ‘anything goes’, creative muscles instead

  • Cover tables and floors well and wear old clothes. This can be messy!

  • Put some paint or ink in a tub (if you don’t have any, you can also use a strong coffee solution – honestly!)

  • Gently dab into the ink/paint, some leaves, shells, flowers, twigs, bits of bark (or paint it on).

  • Press them onto pieces of card to ‘print’. How do they look?

  • Make a pattern by pressing them into different directions.

  • Change colours and put one over the top of the other filling in any gaps.

Try the same experiment with different textures that you find around the house – an old toothbrush, clingfilm, bubble wrap, a scrap of lace, an old sponge.

Do you remember cutting a potato in half and cutting a shape in it to print when you were a kid? Try this now.

  • Carefully cut a simple shape into half a potato (leaving the rounded part intact for you to hold).

  • Dip it into paint or ink and print.

What else around the house could you print with? What else would you like to see the impression it makes – a cut orange? A cut tomato? A cut onion? A piece of lace? A ribbon? Bubble-wrap?

Printing with different leaves and black paint

Printing with different leaves and black paint

Fun printing experiments with a bit of lace ribbon and different colour inks

Fun printing experiments with a bit of lace ribbon and different colour inks

Do the patterns inspire anything in you? Do you feel the urge to draw anything over the top, perhaps connect different areas with an abstract design or colour or shade different areas, or copy the patterns and textures you see? Whatever you feel like doing, just go for it (…or don’t)! We’re really not expecting masterpieces here!

Drawing just for fun - a flower doodle drawn with Promarkers over the top of my printed page in similar colours. Fun to do, loose, and freeing - done for the experience of doing it and not for the result or how it turned out. Try it yourself!

Drawing just for fun - a flower doodle drawn with Promarkers over the top of my printed page in similar colours. Fun to do, loose, and freeing - done for the experience of doing it and not for the result or how it turned out. Try it yourself!

These exercises might seem a little strange, but they are great for getting unstuck and freeing the mind – just getting used to approaching things a bit more curiously, a bit more creatively, and without fear of how the end result will turn out. We can go back to our drawing with this same attitude and feel more free, confident, and creative to create drawings that reflect us more and are more interesting, personal, and expressive.

I have actually used patterns created in this way in my artworks and in my licensed fabric designs, so you never know when these seemingly ‘pointless’ bits of playtime could actually end up with a purpose one day…

Licensed designs created from printed play!

Licensed designs created from printed play!

(P.S. Did you know that the whole ‘point’ is playing?)

Next: Did you find out about expressive drawing yet? Our next lesson is about making meaningful art and our own personal artistic meaning.

Unsure how to implement all this in your own art, more? I have a whole course around building up your drawing skills while doing it in your own personal way, feeling free to experiment, being curious & creative, and feeling confident drawing in your own unique style… if you’re ready to ditch drawing properly and feel confident drawing ‘you’ instead, I’d love it if you checked it out (feedback and DIY versions are available to suit you) - click here…

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Want to start drawing in your own way? Catch up with my learn to draw for beginners free lessons and resources here…

Want to see my art? Browse my nature, floral, and animal/pet art created digitally from my pen/marker drawings here and get access to the behind-the-scenes creation of the artworks.

Want to buy my art? You can order art prints from my store for fast worldwide delivery, order your own custom pet portrait, or buy fabrics, cushions, phone-cases, bags, china-plates and more at my licensed additional online stockists.

Get creative and personal with your drawings and develop your own drawing style - my Start Drawing Your Way Essential Drawing Skills online course - click here…

Get creative and personal with your drawings and develop your own drawing style - my Start Drawing Your Way Essential Drawing Skills online course - click here…

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