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50 Clever Tutorials and Techniques on Traditional Drawing

Traditional drawing is certainly way harder than digital1 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 design2.

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 Tutorial3
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 tutorial5
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 lips7
In this tutorial artist will explain how to draw the structure of the human lips.


How to Draw a Car9
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 Transformers11
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 Portrait13
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 Ninja15
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 tutorial17
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 tutorial19
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 Sarah21
A great and very detailed tutorial, to learn how to draw an eye in 30 steps


How to Draw a Realistic Eye23
Artist made this tutorial to show the different steps that he take in drawing a realistic eye.


How to Draw a mouth and teeth25
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 Feet29
Some useful explainations and tips about how to draw hands and feet.


Drawing a Rose31
An excellent tutorial offered by Rachel, to learn how to draw a pink rose.


A Pseudo-Sugar Skull: From Start to Finish.33
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 Tapping35
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 Illustration37
Create inspiring digital creations from hand drawn sketch using these helpful tips.


Manga Making Tutorial39
In this tutorial artist will show you the process of creating a complete Manga comic strip using traditional tools.


How to draw a fashion figure41
In this video tutorial you will learn how to use existing reference photo to trace a fashion inspired sketch.


The Dragon Tutorial
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 Wings
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 Pencil43
Some very useful tips for you on how to create extremely inspiring and realistic drawing hair in pencil work


Drawing Hands45
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 Tutorial47
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 Step49
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 step51
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 male53
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 drawing55
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!


Lone Wolf Pencil Drawing
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 257
A step by step comprehensive and detailed tutorial about making manga.


Graphite Portrait59
This tutorial explains all steps to create a portrait of Zinedine Zidane in graphite pencil. Time to complete: 10 hours.


Dance of Spring Tutorial61
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 Skills63
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 Blending65
This brilliant tutorial is all about shading and blendng, so let start and get lot of tips and amazing techniques.


Tips for drawing hands67
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 Technique69
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 Techniques71
To learn the basics of shape, perspective and shading in order to create depth in your work.


9 Steps to Creating Better Compositions73
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 techniques75
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 77
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 Hair79
This article contains high quality tutorials that will guide you how to create highly realistic and inspiring hair on your subjects.


Portraiture lesson81
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 Shapes85
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 Shapes87
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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SmashingConf Barcelona 2016

Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf Barcelona, on October 25–26, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.

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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.


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