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8 Common Mistakes to Avoid for a Realistic Drawing

8 Common Mistakes to Avoid for a Realistic Drawing

realistic drawingRealistic drawing is the act of trying to make art that looks as if it could have been a picture. It is all about capturing the details and the raw energy of a scene.

You want people to look at your drawing and feel like they could step into it. This is one of the most exciting styles of drawing and it is becoming incredibly popular with time.

People simply love looking at a vivid work of art that looks as if it could be real. I love this style of drawing myself, which is why I wanted to talk about it.

Realistic drawing, unlike other art styles, can make trouble for certain kinds of artists. You might find yourself limited with creativity in some regard because it feels like more of a technical skill.

However, you can get as creative as you want with this style of art as long as you dodge a few key problems. These popular hang-ups are known to cause trouble for different artists, which is why I wanted to make this list. When you dodge these common mistakes, you will find that realistic drawing becomes much easier.

Avoid Overexaggerating Any Elements

—The majority of artists are known for making a scene their own. One of the more common ways that people go about this is to exaggerate certain features. Plenty of artists like to highlight elements like eyes or certain areas within a drawing. While this can have an absolutely stunning effect, it simply does not work for realistic drawings.

You want to make sure that everything is presented exactly as it should be rather than in a way that glamorizes certain features. You will learn that there are more subtle ways to draw attention that don’t compromise the realism.

What is interesting about this common mistake is the fact that so many people are known for making it. In fact, most of us don’t even realize that we are doing it until our drawing is perfect except for one spot. In order to truly embrace realistic drawing, you must commit to it.

There is no halfway with this style of making art. You must well and truly commit to presenting something exactly as it is instead of how you want it to be. Leave your style at the door until after the primary components are done.

Focus on Accurate Lighting

—In some ways, this is similar to exaggerating the wrong elements. Specifically, because a lot of people use lighting to highlight certain features. While this can be used and to great effect with realistic drawing, you have to be careful. There is no better way to ruin a realistic drawing than to get the lighting wrong.

Since realistic drawing is dependent on being realistic, that means all the elements need to be. Choosing an incorrect lighting pattern can take your reality to fantasy really fast. In order to dodge this, you must learn about realistic lighting.

The best way to learn about realistic lighting is by observing. Some artists prefer to go about their day considering it. This can be a powerful technique, particularly when you are working on gaining inspiration. Real-life is the perfect way to get inspired for realistic drawing. However, there are some serious benefits to looking at photography.

So much of photography is lighting based, which means you can easily see the way light changes from one image to the next. Instead of just focusing on a singular light source, you can see it used in various ways. The best part is that every single one of the images will be an example of realistic lighting. Even lighting applied in a studio can be used to demonstrate how light falls.

Don’t Miss Any Details

—An easy mistake to make when it comes to realistic drawing is to miss the details. So much of the power of realistic drawing is the fact that it looks like a chunk of reality. In order to accomplish this, you need to bring everything from the original source into reality.

For many people, this is what makes creating a realistic drawing from no source so difficult. It simply becomes too easy to leave behind key features, and this will compromise the integrity of your artwork.

Make sure that you do not overlook anything because you feel that it might not be relevant. You want to focus on bringing all of the elements into your artwork. Show the picture in high definition. This is the best way to create compelling realistic art. It is always the pieces that are incredibly detailed that people love to focus on.

realistic drawingPhoto by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Avoid Starting with Harder Drawings

—An easy mistake that many artists make is picking a task that is above their skill level. Even the most talented artists struggle with realistic drawings. It can be a pretty big task to take on. In fact, many artists find this to be a huge shift from their usual style.

This is why it is always good to start out with easier examples of realistic drawing. It makes it easy for you to learn fundamentals without stressing yourself out too much. Instead of discouraging yourself with a difficult project, start small.

The problem with overly complex drawings is that realistic drawing is all in the details. If you set out to make a highly detailed image, you will run into trouble. This is because it can become incredibly overwhelming very quickly. When you start with simpler images, you can learn some of the fundamentals with details.

This will make it easier for you to tackle those bigger and more detailed projects later. It is about building up the skillset before you dive right in. By using this approach, you can grow your talents more steadily. Tackle harder and harder projects until you take one the big one!

Don’t Miss the Depth of Shade

—If there is one thing that realistic drawing will teach you, it is that no two shadows are alike. While certain art styles use shadows in a general sense, they are an active part of realistic drawing. You will be amazed to realize that drawing a shadow in this style of drawing is its own thing.

It is no longer the easy background noise of drawing. Shadows have texture and a lot of life in them. Missing this will force you to compromise your entire realistic drawing. Shadows are honestly just that important for this style.

Making a singular shadow that is even in texture is almost never realistic. Unless you are dealing with a spotlighted subject, your shadows will have shapes within them. This is something that we often see in photography. It is what gives an image so much depth.

Every shadow is its own unique section of the drawing. Understanding that can help you to learn how to create texture within them. When this happens, you will become that much better at handling the lighting and details of your drawing. Many people find that mastering this approach helps breathe life into the picture.

realistic drawingPhoto by Sincerely Media

Avoid Choosing Bad Subjects

—If there is one easy mistake to make, it is choosing the wrong subjects. Though just about anything can be grounds for a realistic drawing, some subjects just aren’t what they ought to be for the medium. You might find that a subject is overly simple or just doesn’t translate well.

My advice is to go with your gut instinct on this one. It makes it possible for you to avoid wasting your time on a drawing that won’t work out. Pick something that feels honest and will translate well. If you’re not captivated by the subject, why should anyone else be?

Don’t Expect it to Be Easy

—One huge mistake that people make is assuming that it will be easy. Realistic drawing is one of the more complex methods around simply because it leaves no room for error. Still, people will come in assuming that they can pick it up with ease and get upset when they can’t.

These drawings are beautiful because of the hard work and skill that go into them. Do not think of realistic drawings as something that can just be learned in a single night. Pay respect to the craft, and open yourself up to the option that this style might take a little extra time to learn.

When you have the realization that realistic drawing isn’t easy, you will be more proud of yourself as you progress. It will allow you to evaluate this style of art for what it is: highly detailed and incredibly technical. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible, and it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come naturally to some people.

The real benefit of avoiding this notion of it being easy is that you will be open to learning more. Trying harder and being respectful will help you to create much better art as a whole. Learn some new techniques. Read about how other people approach this. Using this kind of knowledge will help you to become a way more effective artist for realistic drawing and beyond.

Avoid Sparing the Subject

—This is probably my biggest bit of advice when it comes to doing a realistic drawing. In art, the majority of us focus on making something beautiful. We want something that looks like an idealized version of itself, the best we can make.

While I believe it is a great thing that artists can see the beauty in the world around them, it is also something that we have to learn to balance. With realistic art, you don’t want to miss out on the flaws of a subject.

The biggest charm with realistic drawing and why so many people love it is the honesty. If you are going to take a subject and romanticize it, you are no longer being honest. Let the raw nitty-gritty details show in your work. This makes it easier for you to do the medium justice. Instead of just making something pretty, make something real.

At the core of realistic drawing, you want to find the detailed spirit of a subject. Focus on creating reality, not necessarily how you want to see it. While you can still focus on making some things beautiful and real, don’t overplay it. Keep it honest and let your true talents shine through. You will be so glad that you did when you see the final result.

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Conclusion

Realistic drawing is such a beautiful form of artistic expression. It recreates reality in a way that can mesmerize just about any audience. You will love the way that people will respond when you nail it.

It is one style of art that people always seem to marvel over because they can’t believe that a person made it. Remembering that the power of this medium is in this direct translation can help guide your choices while you create.

I’m not going to tell you that there is no artistic expression with realistic drawings. You can still absolutely make an image your own without losing the realism. However, I think that the best way to go about this is to start with absolute raw realism.

Focus on making a perfect translation before you start to shake it up. Using this approach, you can nail down the fundamentals so you can make magic happen later on. No matter what, keep trying and be honest.

What kind of drawings do you like the most? If you create realistic art, what are some favorite things about drawing realistically do you enjoy?