Pencil Drawing Exercises

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Learning to draw can be a tricky process if you don't know the basics of pencil drawing and what can be done with it. Although pencils seem like a simple enough tool for art, there is much more to drawing than putting the pencil to the paper and drawing whatever comes to mind. Learning tips will help you develop proper form and technique in pencil drawing, while contributing to your overall artistic abilities.

Simple Objects

The first step of nurturing your drawing skills is to sketch simple objects with definite lines. Subjects such as flowers, dinnerware and furniture are all viable options and will help you get an idea of what areas need more practice. The key to drawing basic shapes and objects is repetition. Try choosing one object such as a lamp or a household appliance and drawing it once a day for a week.

Line Drawing

Line drawing is essentially the basis of most pencil drawings. Lines are any strokes made with your pencil onto paper that aren't filled-in objects (known as “planes”) or circular (known as “dots”). To practice your line-drawing skills, find a picture of a subject with many different shapes. Trace the basic shapes of the picture using tracing paper and a No. 2 pencil. This will isolate the lines from the background of the photo, helping you concentrate on the finer points and not the colors. Use pieces of paper to cover parts of the photo and sketch it piece by piece. This will keep you from being overwhelmed and help you concentrate solely on the lines in that certain area of the subject. Another tip is to draw a shape such as a circle or oval around the whole subject picture to get an idea of its dimensions and perspective so you can scale your own composition accordingly.


Shading is the aspect of pencil drawing that gives your drawings dimension and brings them to life. One simple exercise is to draw shapes such as squares and circles, then shade them in. You can do this by varying the weight of the pencil on the shape while dotting or making tiny “x” marks in the blank areas. Practice shading at different angles and from different directions. Set a ball on a table so both the ball and its shadow are clearly visible. Sit in front of this composition and draw the basic ball shape. Add the shadow in to use your shading skills. Use the side of the pencil for shading. This will give you more control of the pencil as well as the lightness or darkness of your shading.


About the Author

Catherine Fiorentino began work as a professional freelance writer in 2006. Since then she has written for several online content websites, private clients and blogs. Fiorentino has an Associate of Arts in journalism and mass communication from Kent State University.

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