I often tell my students that if they know how to write their name, they already know how to draw. Drawing realistically is about learning how to SEE like an artist. Try this easy observation exercise:
Grab any object near you (a pen, coffee cup, etc.). Could you draw that? Instead of looking at it as a cup or pen, try looking for the individual elements that make up the object.
Dots – any rounded shape that is colored in (doesn’t need to be “circular”, can be oval or even amoeba shaped as long as it has rounded edges and is closed). Examples of “dots” – an egg, a doorknob, the earth, a bean
Circles – any rounded shape that is not colored in. Examples: a ring, the top of a mug, the space between the handle of a mug)
Straight lines – any line that does not bend. Examples: 2 straight lines make up the sides of a pencil, the edge where the ceiling meets a wall, the frame of a door)
Curved Lines – any line that does bend. Example – the bottom of a mug when sitting on a surface, the side of a glass, sides of a leaf
Angled lines – any straight lines that come together at a point. Example: the corner of a window frame, the edge of a jagged rock.
Now, try drawing the object in front of you, looking for and naming the elements of shape instead of naming the parts of the object. Don’t worry about making your first try perfect. The more you learn to observe an object, the better you will get at recording the details.
** Want to go deeper with this lesson? Check out “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. Great book!