How to draw what you see in easy steps

Learn how to draw what you see with these easy steps!


Drawing or artistic drawing is something that not everyone can do. There are methods and techniques that go into creating that perfect sketch or drawing. One of the most difficult things to do is to draw something that you are seeing. You need to get the dimensions correct, the shading correct and everything else just correct for the image to come out right.

And this is known as learning to see and draw. It also gives a person a hobby which explores hidden talents and true artistic genius. If you want to learn how to draw what you see, then here are some steps to get that image of the subject perfectly drawn on the paper in a much easier way.

1 Basic rules

The most basic and general rule in seeing and drawing is to gauge how far or near the object is in order to sketch it perfectly. The general rule in gauging the distance of an object is that the objects which are higher up on a plane or closer to the sky are smaller in size.

And the objects that are lower down on the plane are usually bigger as they are closer to you. Also the far away objects are hard to see and tend to have much softer edges than objects nearer to us.

Basic rules

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2 Drawing accurately

If you want to learn how to draw what you see accurately, you need to develop a bigger sense of spacing between the edges of the object and the relative angles of different elements. When you take a basic drawing class, you are taught to draw an exact copy of the object, by drawing gridlines over the object.

Then you have to observe the gridlines carefully and copy the object onto the gridded drawing paper provided to you. You then need to draw the object, referencing it block by block and drawing everything inside the block.

Drawing accurately

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3 Necessity to see things

An artist sees things differently if he/she has to draw it. The artist needs to read everything about the object. He has to observe the edges, the alignment of the object with the surroundings, measurement of the angles horizontally and vertically.

This helps you create a grid in your mind as a reference to draw the object on a paper. This is how you see the relation between the elements of a scene.

Necessity to see things

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4 Measuring the object

One way to measure the object is to do it the artist way- holding out a pencil at an arm’s length and check the distance with one eye shut.

In order to do it, move your thumb to take a measurement from the end of the pencil to your thumb. If the object you are drawing measures ½ the length of an entire pencil, and the height of the platform on which the object is kept is ¼, then make the platform half the size of the object in your drawing.

This is to give a perspective to the viewer and setting a relation in proportions of the object with respect to its surroundings.

Measuring the object

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5 Sketching and shading

Sketch the entire scene on the paper very lightly. The sketching should be so light that the pencil marks are just visible. Do not spend more than 5-7 minutes on sketching the entire scene on the paper. You should not worry about any mistakes as this is the reason for light sketching.

Now if you are happy with the overall sketch, even if there are mistakes, start by filling in the slightly darker lines. Try to make them dark enough so that you can see them, but not so dark that you are not able to erase them if a change is needed.

Try to project a grid over the paper and the object and take reference from that and sketch the object block by block on the paper. You can use a scale if you are drawing buildings or mechanical objects.

As for the shading part, start by shading whatever is not drenched in light. Try and use soft lines or crisscross patterns according to your comfort. Do not shade anything that appears white or yellow in your scene. Try and not use colored pencils, since the lead has a tendency to smear on a paper.

Sketching and shading

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6 Video Tutorial

Here is a video tutorial that teaches the basic drawing method using gridlines and teaches how to draw block by block and also the shading techniques. Enjoy the video and let your inner artist come come out as soon as possible!

About the author / 

Jatin Sharma