How to Draw with Purpose

A lot of people want to know how to draw. Usually, but not always they want to learn how to draw what they see. The act of drawing itself is so personal, so raw and can be so beautiful . If someone wants to take their drawing beyond simply recording what is in front of them, and learn how to draw with more purpose, what are some of the steps they can take to accomplish this? Here a few I have learned over the years…


How to Draw with Purpose

How to Draw

Craig Shillam - Sketchbook drawing

  • Decide what it is that you really want to draw. Find what is important and meaningful to you. Observe the world around you. Think of drawing as a way of talking about the things that interest you.
  • Drawing is the foundation of what you do to express yourself artistically. It is important. When you are studying how to draw, observing and sketching, you are doing something important, and vital to your artistic success.
  • Draw everything. Don’t think a certain subject is beneath you or too plain. Even though I  mentioned above finding what you really want to draw, don’t overlook everything else. For example, if you want to draw beautiful women all day long, go ahead. Just remember her purse, coat, jewelry and shoes are ready and waiting when she’s not. They don’t move and don’t take breaks.
  • Learning how to draw can be fun, challenging and serious. There is also nothing wrong with a little humor once in a while.
  • Observe while you are drawing to help you strengthen your memory.
  • When drawing from memory, you realize how little you really remember a subject.
  • Learn how to draw by looking at quality drawings. Study drawings. Books, shows, libraries, collectors, and other artists. Wherever and however you can.
  •  Observe and study your own work. Hang it on the wall. Look at it in a mirror. Put it away for a while and bring it out again. Be your own best critic.
  • Start over if you don’t get it right.
  • Draw the same thing over and over again.
  • Challenge yourself. Bite off more than you can chew once in a while. Draw small, large, and in between. 
  • Develop your own language. Let the viewer not only see the drawing, let them hear it, taste it and smell it.
  • Think about it before you put a mark on the paper. Work it out in your mind. The hope is that you might be more confident and direct in a shorter period of time.
  • Time and effort will take anyone from learning how to draw, to drawing with authority. From copying to creating in your own unique language.
  • How great it could be if you had something you really wanted to say in your drawing and you also had the skill to say it with authority to your audience!

You Can Learn How to Draw with Purpose


Keep searching to find your own direction and stay with it. Search to find integrity in your drawing. Live your life and find what you want to say about it. When you stick with it awhile, you get better, you mature, and one day you realize you know how to draw better and more with purpose.

Learning how to draw with purpose has nothing to do with competing with another artist, or being on the cover of a magazine. It’s all about you and the paper in front of you. Need any more inspiration about drawing? Here are 16 great drawing quotes that can inspire you to pick up a pencil and get going. 

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