There are many people who want to try their hand at illustration but are hesitant because they don’t know where to start.

Just thinking about having to study sketching, composition, colors, etc. feels exhausting .
However, you can start drawing more casually.

So, for those of you who are new to illustration, here are some tips on how to start and improve your illustrations.

1. Before drawing! Let’s try drawing illustrations first

When you want to try draw an illustration, the first thing to realize is to “just try”.

The first thing you want to do when you want to draw an illustration is to try drawing it.
If the motif is something you like, it will make the drawing time even more enjoyable.

Also, if you have a favorite character or artist, you can set it as a goal for your illustration, which makes it easier to improve.

[ Don’t I need amount of textbook studying to begin ? ]

This is a great way to learn how to draw.
However If you have a desire to draw, what you need is to enjoy drawing instead of immense studying and  try to draw anything and everything.

It would be a shame to start studying with a burning passion, and that exhaust you into giving up thinking, “I’m not good enough” or “It’s too much trouble,”.

Besides, when you are drawing what you want to draw, you will naturally think, “How should I draw this? and “I want to draw it better”.

You can study what you need when the necessary time comes.
Your brain will absorb the information better when you feel strongly that you need it.


2. Prepare the tools for illustration

Now, let’s prepare the tools to start drawing illustrations.

2-1. If you want to draw digitally

If you want to draw digitally, you’ll need a drawing application. There is no need to use a paid app from the beginning, because recent free apps have become more and more user-friendly.
Try using MediBang Paint.

You can learn how to use drawing apps by exploring them as you draw, but if you look up the bare minimum of how to use them on a website first, you will be able to draw smoothly.

When drawing an illustration for the first time
・How to change the thickness and color of the pen
・How to use the eraser
・How to save an illustration.
・If you have time, you can learn how to use layers.
If you are new to drawing, you may want to know the four things above.

▶︎Click here for an easy way to use MediBang Paint.
MediBang Paint Tutorial


2-2. If you want to draw in analog mode

If you want to draw in analogue, you can use paper with a pencil or pen.
Each pencil or pen has its own characteristics, so choose one that is easy for you to draw with.

Pencil or mechanical pencil: Easy to draw lines with various thickness
→Recommended for drawing a natural three-dimensionality
Ballpoint pens and mechanical pens: Easy to draw uniform lines
→Recommended for mini characters and simple illustrations.


3. Everyone’s a beginner at first! Draw whatever you want!

Once the tools are ready, let’s start drawing the illustration.

If you have a favorite character, have a material out to look while drawing in case you lose track of its details such as clothings.

Of course, it’s OK to start out by tracing, or by drawing your own original character.

You may feel a little nervous the first time you start drawing. But don’t worry, everyone’s a beginner at first.
If you make a mistake, just redraw it until you get it right. So just relax and enjoy drawing!


4. If you find something you don’t understand, this is your chance to improve!

When you have finished drawing, let’s review the illustration.
If you find parts that make you think “what’s going on here?” or “I tried drawing this but it doesn’t feel right”, that would be your chance to get better.

For example, if you don’t know how to draw a hand

・Draw from a real hand (your own, a friend’s, or a family member’s hand)
・Draw from a image from the Internet
・Draw from a hand drawn by your favorite artist

You can practice by using the examples above.

In addition, if you study the logic of drawing from online drawing courses and textbooks, you will be able to apply them and draw hands from various angles more easily.

It is very important to “input knowledge” and “output by actually drawing” as described above, and you will improve naturally by repeating this process.

Furthermore, pursuing questions that comes up while you are drawing, makes it easier to absorb the knowledge because it is necessary to the drawing you are currently trying to complete.


5. Repeat to improve even more!

The summary so far
・Draw it.
・Gather information about what you don’t understand
・Practice based on the information
If you repeat these steps, you will get even better.

When I say repeat, I don’t mean it has to be the same picture, so try drawing whatever you feel like drawing.

It will be easier to improve if you draw as much as possible until the end, so set a goal such as “to finish one illustration in a week” and complete it every day, even if it is just a little bit.

Posting your completed illustrations on social media and interacting with other people who like drawing will also help motivate you.

(Text and pictures by sakaki)