7 Simple Tips to Encourage a Daily Drawing Routine

Janice K. Johnson


1: Get in the Right Mindset.

It’s surprising how much your attitude can determine your outcome. If you go into drawing with the expectation that everything you produce should be a “masterpiece,” then anything that falls short becomes a failure. It’s unfair to set such high expectations. No one needs that kind of pressure.

Instead, allow room for fun in your daily practice. Use your drawing time to brainstorm ideas, keep notes, make observations. This is all part of the creative process. Thinking and reflecting. Evaluating and critiquing. This should also be part of your drawing practice.

  • Takeaway: You’re more likely to start and keep drawing if you remember it’s okay to “mess up.”

2: Keep Two Types of Sketchbooks

If you’re always waiting for the “perfect” drawing before you put pen to paper, you’ll never use your sketchbook. Don’t wait. Keep two sketchbooks. Use one for your planned drawings—the ones that will be more polished and finished. Keep a second sketchbook for everything else—your doodles, notes, and experiments. The silly things.

  • Takeaway: Keep a sketchbook that’s not for ‘perfect,’ but for progress.

Daily Drawing Routine Tips: Keep Multiple Drawings Going

3: Draw at a Convenient Size.

Most of us feel become comfortable working at a particular size. When your goal is to draw every day, however, it’s important to get out of that box and find a format that allows you to work consistently and efficiently. I find that this is easier when doing smaller drawings. Find a size that still allows you to do what you enjoy, but is small enough to keep you going. You can also work on just a part of a larger drawing daily.

  • Takeaway: Find a sketchbook size that’s not too big and not too small (with compliments to Goldilocks!)

4: Switch It Up.

Part of the goal for developing a consistent drawing habit is to grow yourself as well as your drawing practice. You don’t have to commit to just one thing in your art-making. Try out a new a variety of drawing media. If you’re used to graphite, try charcoal. You may discover that you really like it—or that you don’t. Both discoveries are valuable.

  • Takeaway: You don’t have to commit to one thing. Give yourself an open and honest chance to experience something new.

Daily Drawing Routine Tip: Switch It Up

5: Keep It Simple.

Don’t feel pressured to make a highly polished drawing every time you draw. Simple drawings are fine. Go ahead—doodle, sketch, make a blind contour drawing or a partial study of a subject. Sometimes these less finished efforts are even more expressive and exciting than a finished drawing.

  • Takeaway: Simple drawings are fine. The point is to keep yourself moving and progressing.

6: Create Drawings in Themes.

Draw variations of the same thing. This could be as simple as drawing a box from different perspectives, in different lighting, or in different sizes. You could draw a series of eyes, hands, feet, trees, or any theme you want. You could draw a subject using different media or in different levels of finish. Working in a theme will help you continue to draw consistently without becoming bored.

  • Takeaway: Working on a series of themed drawings allows you to widen your scope and teaches you about your own style and process.
Daily Drawing Routine Tips: Create Drawings in Themes

7: Have Multiple Drawings Going at the Same Time.

If you get tired of working on a drawing, take a break. Then, start a new drawing. When you return to the earlier drawing, you’ll come back to it with a fresh eye.

  • Takeaway: No need to force a drawing. Give yourself some space and come back refreshed.

Ready to Start Your Daily Drawing Routine?

There’s nothing like a consistent drawing practice to keep your creativity fired up, so make yourself do something in the realm of drawing every day. That doesn’t have to mean specifically putting pen or pencil to paper. Spending time reflecting and being visually present is important too. Take time for close observation. Make notes. That mental activity is also part of the drawing process.



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