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50 Clever Tutorials and Techniques on Traditional Drawing


Traditional drawing is certainly way harder than digital and it is true that people are able to progress much faster digitally, but one should learn the traditional type of drawing and painting before starting digital drawing, since it often lays out the foundation for screen design.

This article contains a mixture of traditional drawing tutorials, drawing techniques and some methods for transforming and preparing your creations for screen design. Some are intermediate level and some are advanced tutorials that include general theory, useful tips, comic inspired art, sketch a pencil drawing, coloring processing, character sketching, shapes, proportional, perspective and much more. We hope that drawing tutorials and techniques in this post will be a great help to you.

Traditional Drawing Tutorials Link

Marilyn Portrait Tutorial1
A truly fantastic drawing tutorial to learn how to draw a portrait of Marilyn Monroe with pencil. Each step of the portrait is perfectly well explained and commented. This tutorial is very detailed, and requires a lot of patience.


Portrait tutorial3
This is a step by step tutorial on how to draw a realistic portrait. The artist assumes that you have a basic understanding of drawing and shading before attempting to draw a serious portrait. For this lesson he is drawing on 11″x14″ Fabriano Hotpressed Watercolor Paper. He is using Derwent Graphic Pencils ranging from 2H to 7B. For more information on any of the drawing tools that he mention in this tutorial, visit the drawing materials page.


How to draw lips5
In this tutorial artist will explain how to draw the structure of the human lips.


How to Draw a Car7
For this tutorial the artist will show the different steps he takes in drawing a realistic looking car. He chose to draw an american classic, the Corvette. This tutorial will apply to any car though because for the most part, they are all the same. The key to drawing a car that will pop off the page is having a good balance of lights, midtones, and darks along with clean, sharp edges. He is using Derwent Graphic Pencils and Fabriano Artistico Bright White Watercolor Paper, he is also using mechanical pencils for small details.


How to Draw Optimus Prime From Transformers9
In this tutorial you will be learning how to draw one of the most popular of the Autobots, Optimus Prime. This drawing tutorial will show you in detail how to sketch, draw, and shade in this character that is popular around the world


Pet Portrait11
A very good tutorial about how to draw pet portraits with colored pencils. Basic process and tips. Medium : Prismacolor Colored Pencils.


How to Draw a Ninja13
This tutorial will show you how to draw a ninja step by step. This tutorial has easy to follow directions and steps making it that much more possible for anybody to tackle


Portrait tutorial15
Artist is going to show several step photos along the way on this one. Artist chose this photo because of it’s RICH content, and it’s HIGH amount of TONAL VALUES, CONTRAST as well as it being a high resolution file, Finding just the right photo is half the battle to a good drawing. NEVER EVER work with a low quality photo.


Hair drawing tutorial17
Drawing hair is definitely one of the trickiest part of almost every portrait. However, you will definitely like it if you acquire technique and skill in it. Therefore Artist introduce some easy and effective ways to draw wavy or straight hair or hair blowing in the wind. No matter how much chaotic the hair is, you’ll be able to draw it.
This tutorial explains two techniques of drawing hair on four portraits.


Eye-drawing tutorial by Sarah19
A great and very detailed tutorial, to learn how to draw an eye in 30 steps


How to Draw a Realistic Eye21
Artist made this tutorial to show the different steps that he take in drawing a realistic eye.


How to Draw a mouth and teeth23
Artist made this tutorial to show the different steps that he take in drawing a realistic mouth, lips, and teeth.


At most design schools they teach you how to use a single wooden pencil to create an entire rendering, sometimes referred to as a “Prisma-rendering” due to the type of pencil usually used (Prismacolor wood pencils). These are fast and very pretty looking techniques, and they are fairly easy to master. This will be more of a walkthrough then a tutorial in the sense that artist won’t describe every pen stroke, more the basic steps and thoughts behind. Ok, let’s go!


Drawing Hands and Feet27
Some useful explainations and tips about how to draw hands and feet.


Drawing a Rose29
An excellent tutorial offered by Rachel, to learn how to draw a pink rose.


A Pseudo-Sugar Skull: From Start to Finish.31
Create a highly detailed sugar skull illustration by following this expert tutorial, with details on the process from sketch to final digital design.


Hair Amanda Tapping33
A step by step drawing showing amazing hair on a portrait of actress Amanda Tapping. The result is impressive realism. A must see!


From Sketch to Vector Illustration35
Create inspiring digital creations from hand drawn sketch using these helpful tips.


Manga Making Tutorial37
In this tutorial artist will show you the process of creating a complete Manga comic strip using traditional tools.


How to draw a fashion figure39
In this video tutorial you will learn how to use existing reference photo to trace a fashion inspired sketch.


The Dragon Tutorial41
In this great dragon inspired tutorial artist will teach you some techniques and useful tips, you can also use this techniques in you other fantasy realted drawings.


Leather Wings43
In this tutorial you can get ideas and techniques for drawing realistic wings stracture, Artist focuses at drawing wings.


Pencil Sketching by Max MaxBert Bertuzzi
very comprehensive theoritical tutorial, this article will increase knowledge and power of your drawing skill


Drawing Hair in Pencil45
Some very useful tips for you on how to create extremely inspiring and realistic drawing hair in pencil work


Drawing Hands47
Follow these simple and easy tips to avoid the difficulty of recreation of hands in pencil drawing and to learn some great tips and techniques of drawing hands.


Clothing Tutorial49
An excellent roundup with plenty of tips and clothing tutorials. So, dress your characters in the best way by practicing these tips.


Comic Story Step by Step51
If you are looking for a comic story guideline, here is a perfect step by step guide for you that will guide you starting with sketching and moving on through the inking and digital processes.


How to draw Marlon Brando step by step53
It is now time to show you “how to draw Marlon Brando step by step” All the steps and instructions are laid out in the simplest format possible to help make this tutorial a breeze.


Face drawing: the heroic male55
In this tutorial we’ll draw a character face of a hero-like character. In the process we’ll review an optimal placement of the facial features and the best ways to emphasize the features of the face that will make our character look manly and heroic.


Evil skull drawing57
Looking for a terrifying evil skull drawing tutorial? Just follow the steps and you should be able to walk away with a scary skull to use in your scary projects (whatever they might be).
Let’s start with the evil skull drawing tutorial!


How to draw a female anime Dark Angel59
The video demonstrates how to quickly create an efficient concept design from concept idea into visual. How to put rough idea onto the paper sketch and create fantasy or sci-fi character concept art online lesson for comics cartoon illustration, manga, and anime.


Lone Wolf Pencil Drawing61
Here is a new miniature speed pencil drawing. Artist wanted to make this one different from my other ones. He combined two drawings in one to make a single image. The sunset and the single wolf. It gives the final image a different look and feeling.


How I making manga part 263
A step by step comprehensive and detailed tutorial about making manga.


Graphite Portrait65
This tutorial explains all steps to create a portrait of Zinedine Zidane in graphite pencil. Time to complete: 10 hours.


Dance of Spring Tutorial67
A step by step detailed tutorial that will help you with your Colored pencil.


Traditional Drawing Tips & Techniques Link

How to Draw what you See: Techniques and Tips to Improve your Drawing Skills69
This article contains step-by-step images of the process Artist uses to create realistic looking drawings, as well as tips he have picked up over the years which anyone can use to improve their drawing skills.


Shading and Blending71
This brilliant tutorial is all about shading and blendng, so let start and get lot of tips and amazing techniques.


Tips for drawing hands73
In this tutorial Artist will include many tips about drawing hands he has picked up which are useful for getting better at drawing hands, including foreshortening, nails, and finger shapes.


Circulism Technique75
Circulism is a very interesting technique to create skin texture with pencil. With this great tutorial, learn how to acheive a realistic skin texture with circulism.


3 Dimensional Drawing Techniques77
To learn the basics of shape, perspective and shading in order to create depth in your work.


9 Steps to Creating Better Compositions79
Great compositions don’t just happen by accident. They take planning, patience, and a knowledge of all the visual elements at your disposal. The great thing is, no matter how much or how little talent you have, you’ll always be able to improve your art by sketching out a good composition before you begin.


Drawing clothes techniques81
A less general point that the portrait seems to pose few problems is the representation of clothing. In this tutorial, clothing can be summarized in two points: the folds and textures.


Editing Drawings 83
Editing Drawings by Cataclysm-X offers valuable tips for bringing out the best in your traditional drawings after they have lost their depth and luster due to scanning.I am sure this technique will help many traditional artists in the presentation of their work.


Detailed Hair85
This article contains high quality tutorials that will guide you how to create highly realistic and inspiring hair on your subjects.


Portraiture lesson87
To study draw a portrait using the ‘inside-out’ method.


Proportions in any drawing assignment hold great value; therefore we have come up with these five most helpful techniques that will help you getting grips with proportions in your drawings.


How to Draw Caricatures: The 5 Shapes91
This is a great collection of tips and techniques you can use to draw caricatures and learn the basic theory and 5 shapes of caricature design.


How to Draw Caricatures: Head Shapes93
Head shape is the most important part of a caricature and in this tutorial you will learn great techniques about it.


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Aquil Akhter is a web graphic designer and has been working in this field for 8 years. He also runs the blog, which focuses on free web resources and inspiration for designers and developers.

  1. 1

    Very nice tutorial collection!
    Will try some of them ^-^

  2. 2

    Very nice list!

  3. 3

    I was really looking for these tutorials. Great collection. Thanks a lot

  4. 5

    Most of these tutorials are just bulls***. And I would really petition somewhere that they are banned. They don’t show you how to draw, they just show you how to render and kitschy image with a pencil. And these techniques just misinform an enthusiast beginner. Bad, bad SM! Tutorials should focus on construction, observation, relativity etc… not effects. The thing is, an artist will never render hair, lips or eyes as shown above, because it’s just n00b-ish.

    • 6

      i think youre just a piece of shit. nice use of big words there duche bag. if they didnt help, then they didnt help you, no need to bad mouth them. oh, and by the way, saying “n00b” and hyphenating it with “ish” after it, makes you sound unprofessional, and like a stupid fuck.

      • 7

        Well, you don’t sound too intelligent yourself mister. “N00b-ish” sounds better than “dumb fuck” anyday.

  5. 8

    If you have enough talent, these tuts will just give you some help…

    But If you don’t have any talent, they won;t help you a bit at all…

  6. 9

    I agree with lx!

  7. 10

    Tip for people who really want to get into drawing, and develop a style that is original, unique and accomplished: go to life drawing lessons, and go to them frequently – with an open mind and a willingness to put a lot of hours in.

  8. 11

    September 8, 2009 6:32 am

    excelent post !!!!

  9. 12

    awesome post.. thank you

  10. 13

    um…this is the most useful and amazing list ever put together by smashing. blown away and thank you!!

  11. 14

    Gabriella Azurra Sky

    September 8, 2009 6:47 am

    These are amazing. Thanks for the great post

  12. 15

    haha… I was looking for some dragons to create a tatoo… very inspiring… thanks!!!

  13. 16

    I see some negative as well as positive comments on the post. In learning to draw what helped me the most was a bit of guidance from an art teacher and LOTS of practice. My favorite way to draw is to just sit and observe and sketch the object in view and focus on what I’m seeing more than what I’m putting onto the paper. I believe it is important to focus on the contour of the object, the area it fills in space, etc. in the beginning and hold off on trying to create features.

  14. 17

    I agree with Joshua – nothing beats drawing how you see it! The problem with tutorials such as these can be that you are in effect copying another artists style, not drawing it how you see it. Don’t get me wrong, some helpful tips there but remember, it’s your uniqueness that makes you great!!!

  15. 18

    What a coincidence, I just bought a sketch pad the other day with the intention to start drawing again. I’m sure these tuts will be of great use :]

    Is there any chance of getting some Wacom tuts as well?

  16. 19

    Michael Chacon

    September 8, 2009 8:13 am

    Every day I check smashing and you guys have exactly something I’ve been looking for. Awesome, thanks again sm.

  17. 20

    I have been drawing for over 25 years, and I quickly realized the best way to learn to draw is just do it. I think tutorials like these are useful after you have established your style and methods. You don’t want to compromise you unique style and how you see the world.

  18. 21

    Maupioga Michael (KNUST, FASA Digital Studio)

    September 8, 2009 8:50 am

    Wonderful collection of traditional rendering techniques. Thanks to the smashing team. You are just too good.

  19. 22

    Great list SM, just what I needed right now.

    To all you other artists commenting that this doesn’t help: You’re being ridiculous. You could say the same thing about every single photoshop tutorial on this site. I’m walking through drawing tutorials because I don’t know how to draw well. Once I learn how to appropriately render hair (or whatever) then I can start applying my own style.

    In my opinion these tutorials are far from useless.

  20. 23

    Great, great, GREAT! I’ve been looking to improve my drawing skills, this looks like it will be of great guidance. Cheers SM.

  21. 24


  22. 25

    I agree that these tutorials are largely useless. They all start off with a near perfect render outline. Anyone who really wants to learn to draw *can’t do a perfect render*. None of these tutorials even begin to explain how to measure and triangulate positions to lay out proper proportions. “Circles and sausages?” don’t make me laugh! Sure shapes are important if they are the right shapes.

    These tutorials will turn off beginners to drawing, and only feed the “I have no talent” mentality. Drawing is a process, not a talent.

  23. 26

    I can’t wait to start my drawing lessons with a great instructor and these tuts just made me wanna draw even more. I have bookmarked to come back back over and over. Thanks

  24. 27

    Rocking collection, thanks for another great list, keep up the good post.

  25. 28

    Facundo Aspitia

    September 8, 2009 12:01 pm

    I worked at Universal Studios Orlando Fl, doing caricatures…. and i remember spending hours drawing, now in this digital era i gotta confess that i become very lazy. Now spending more than a couple hours doing something its too much…

  26. 29

    Agree with some posters. These tutorials are disappointing and will be of limited use – following these tutorials will give you some sort of quick-fix ‘hacked’ result, but I’m not sure in what way this could ever be helpful. When I was 20 I thought I could draw pretty well, then I went to art college – and learned how to draw properly from those who really knew. Want a good drawing for a project? Hire someone who can draw. Want to learn how to draw yourself? Get a sketchbook and start drawing people, hands, feet, still lifes, a pile of chairs (for how things sit in space, form etc) – REAL stuff. Draw every day. Then draw some more. You might find you have a talent, you might not – but doing it that way will be far more rewarding.

    • 30

      I have never replied to any posts before, until I read yours. I am a writer and piddle around with a pencil. Your advice to people about being or wanting to be an artist is directly on point. The same advice is true with writing. Thank you, Steve.

  27. 31

    I have to agree to Joshua, TheDude, lx and other…I don’t see ANY tutorial showing you how to draw from NATURE and not trace over a photo. Sorry, useless.

  28. 32

    SMASHING SKETCHING, I love Circulism, pencil is empty now :) nice result.
    Great article, thanks

  29. 33

    I see that smashing magazine becoming more and more selfish everyday. I was a huge fan of this site, but lately my visits drop to once in 2 weeks or so.
    I do NOT have a blog or website but SM removed “link dropping” now i see that they also remved links from people names.
    this is just pity. You ask people to comment but no link even not their very own websites lol
    Yeah there will be lots of spammers but just spend some time to edit comments
    is that so hard ?????????????????????????????????????????
    i think thats the main reason that SMs traffic is going down every single day.
    but to be honest you guys deserve this.
    google for “linkluv” or “commentluv”

  30. 34

    Smashing Editorial

    September 8, 2009 1:47 pm

    @Greg Andrew (#29): “link dropping” was removed almost a year ago. This is the necessary measure to prevent people from spamming. And no, SM’s traffic isn’t going down every single day. Now imagine the work of checking and removing links from 750 articles every single day. I am pretty that’s not the job you’d like to do in your spare time.

  31. 35

    Interesting how you address the traffic comment, and not all the ones calling this a useless article. There is no way in hell a beginner would be able to get step 1 in any of those examples without first knowing the very basics.

  32. 36

    The only thing that bothers me is that I can’t draw unless I’m really in the mood. How do people force themselves to get into that drawing mood. Is there something I need to do to be able to draw at anytime I want. Inspiration is always around but I just don’t draw as good unless I’m really in the mood.
    Good list to give people different techniques and I think it helps everybody.

  33. 37

    interesting… i like it

  34. 38

    AWESOME collection of stuff here. Thanks for everything, again!

  35. 39

    They don’t really look like the kinds of things that teach you how to draw but rather copy someone else’s style or image.

  36. 40

    Great compilation but nevertheless, some are really poor ones. Especially the anime hair somethin’ somethin.

    Now I don’t have to search the web.

    But i could’ve been better for newbies if the others were presented as techniques not tutorials that you can’t do anything with besides the subject. :)

  37. 41

    A lot of good tuts, very Impressive and informative.

  38. 42

    Brian Temecula

    September 8, 2009 7:04 pm

    If a menu was what it took to make your site nice, then I guess a lot of these sites would rank well. My problem was that except for Full Cream Milk, none of the sites were of any value in terms of accessibility.

  39. 43

    Nice post! very useful.

  40. 44

    Great post! will be useful for sure


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