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Art techniques: expert tutorials for painting and drawing

There are a wealth of art techniques to get to grips with across the artistic spectrum. Mastering elements like composition, light and shadow is a crucial part of honing your skills as an artist – it's as important as learning how to represent the world around you.

To help you conquer all you need to know, we've invited some of the industry's most exciting artists to share top professional techniques with you. Whether you want to improve your sketching skills, learn to add perspective or capture movement, we've got tutorials here to help you to add more pro art techniques to your creative arsenal – and in a range of different styles.

Quick links: Art techniques

We've collated a mix of traditional and digital tutorials below. Regardless of medium, each one provides insight into a wide range of different art techniques that can be applied to any art project. 

You can use the quick links to navigate to the area you're interested in. Or, if you want to improve your art in a different way, we also have roundups of great Photoshop tutorials, general how to draw tutorials, vector art tutorials and a guide to all you need to know about tonal values. If it's terminology you're lacking, then don't miss our ultimate guide to art terms.

Fundamentals

01. 14 art techniques to improve your work

Art techniques: image of woman with tattoo on face

Tiny tweaks and adjustments to your drawings can have a big impact on the final outcome. In this art techniques article, Tran Nguyen offers 14 tips to help you improve your artwork this year. 

02. 7 fundamentals of pencil drawing

Art techniques: person drawing a cat

If you’re looking to learn new art techniques, a good place to start is by making sure you’ve mastered these seven pro pencil drawing techniques. Artist Bobby Chiu runs you through what you need to know.

03. 10 top speed painting tips

Art techniques: landscape with sea

Speed painting – giving yourself a limited time to finish a piece of work – is a great exercise for beginners and experienced artists alike. Here are some tips on how to do it successfully. 

04. 20 sketching tips to empower you to make your mark

Art techniques: sketch of boy with book

In this article, top artists share their advice for getting started with sketching. It covers everything from how to avoid smudging to how to control your pencil properly.

05. Top tips for drawing in black and white

Art techniques: black and white drawings

Your artwork doesn't have to be colourful to pack a punch. Here are nine tips for creating black and white drawings.

06. Master visual development skills

Art techniques: Visual development

(Image credit: Simon Baek )

Visual development is to do with how you tell a story within your artwork. This guide walks through the basic art techniques you need to know, using a magical moonlit scene as an example. Learn how to use different elements within your composition to guide your viewers through the story you want to share. 

07. 15 observational art techniques

Art techniques: boy leaping out of a window drawing

Observation is key if you want to capture figures with real life to them. This article offers some top art techniques that will take your work to the next level by observing the world around you.

08. Boost your creativity with daily sketching

Art techniques: sketches of animals

Sketching shouldn't just be a means to an end at the start of a project – it's also vital part of developing yourself as an artist. This article explores techniques for daily sketching.

09. Ink drawing: Expert tips to get you started

Art techniques: Ink drawing

(Image credit: Tess Fowler)

Ink drawing is one of the most unforgiving mediums that requires particular techniques in regard to texture and adding light and shadow. This tutorial gives you the basic skills to help you to get started. 

10. 10 expert tips for charcoal drawing

charcoal drawing of a dog

(Image credit: Thomas Fluharty)

Use this tutorial to find out how to get the most out of the addictive medium of charcoal. It's a super popular way to draw, perhaps because of how impressive the outcome is. 

Colour and effects

11. The essential guide to foreshortening in art

Art techniques: foreshortening

(Image credit: Rob Lunn)

This post will help you get to grips with the tricky skill of foreshortening, which. means portraying depth and dimension in your drawings. Being able to accurately draw objects receding in space will make your drawings and paintings more realistic and help pull your viewer in to the scene you want to set.

12. Draw on the power of contrast in art

Contrast in art

(Image credit: Timothy Von Rueden)

Learning to use contrast in art will transform your projects and the way you work. When working with pencils, you can't harness contrast with hue and saturation. This tutorial teaches you how you can do it with value contrast.

13. How to mix the right shadow colour

Art techniques: yellow block

Finding the right colour for your shadows is difficult. In this tutorial, artist Rob Lunn shows you how to mix a colour for your shadows that relates to the rest of the painting.

14. How to get harmonious colours in paintings

Art techniques: painting of Bath landscape

Colour harmony is the theory of combining colours in a way that is harmonious to the eye. This tutorial explains some techniques for ensuring harmony in your paintings.

15. Mimic oil paint in Corel Painter

Art techniques: man with horns and a sword painting

There's a certain magic that comes with the unpredictability of traditional media. In this step-by-step guide, Magdalena Proszowska explains how you can mimic the beauty of oil paints using Corel Painter's newest tools.

16. Create an interior using one-point perspective

Art techniques: drawing with lines on it leading to perspective

In this handy tutorial, Disney vis-dev artist Nick Kennedy explores the art of backgrounds. He walks through how you can create a welcoming interior scene with help from one-point perspective.

17. Tonal values: Everything you need to know

Art techniques: tonal values

(Image credit: Dorian Iten )

Successfully navigating tonal values is a key part the process of creating most pieces of art. This tutorial walks you through fundamental elements of this process such as separating light and shadow, capturing reflected light and avoiding common shading mistakes. 

Workflow

18. How to hold a pencil correctly

Art techniques: person holding pencil with notebook

You know how to hold a pencil, right? Well of course you do. But are you holding it correctly to draw? Find out in this handy tutorial. There's more to pencil grip than you might think… 

19. Must-know painting techniques

Art techniques: painting techniques

This article offers the essential painting techniques that will help bring your compositions to life. Here, you'll find advice on tone, colour, texture and brushwork. You'll be painting like a pro in no time.

20. How to use reference images

Art techniques: reference images

Reference images can be your best friend or they can suck all the life out of your artwork. Here's some tips for how to use them the right way. 

21. How to paint outdoors

Art techniques: easel set up outdoors

If landscapes are your thing (or even if they aren't), getting out and about and painting out in the real world can give your artwork a new lease of life. Here's how to get started creating paintings en plein air.

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