Art techniques: top tutorials for painting and drawing

Part of honing your skills as an artist involves learning how to draw the world around you: animals, people, landscapes and so on. The other part involves getting to grips with art techniques – mastering composition, light, shadow and so on. 

Creative Bloq regularly invites the industry's most exciting artists to share their best pro drawing techniques here on the site. Elsewhere, you'll find our favourite Photoshop tutorials, Illustrator tutorials and vector art tutorials, as well as painting tips and more.

In this article, we bring together a host of fantastic tutorials to help you add more pro art techniques to your creative arsenal – whether you're looking to improve your sketching skills, learn how to add perspective or capture movement. You'll be able to explore some different styles, as well. 

You'll find a mixture of traditional and digital tutorials below. Regardless of media, each one provides insight into a wide range of different art techniques that can be applied to any art project – so dive in.

01. Sketching techniques

Art techniques: how to hold a pencil correctly
You know how to hold a pencil, right? Well of course you do. But are you holding it correctly to draw? There's more to pencil grip than you might think… 

7 fundamentals of pencil drawing
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.

10 sketching tips for beginners
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.

Top tips for drawing in black and white
Your artwork doesn't have to be colourful to pack a punch. Here are nine top art techniques for creating monochrome masterpieces.

15 observational drawing tips
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.

02. Composition techniques

10 ways to convey emotion in your artwork
Creating an accurate drawing is one thing, generating a sense of emotion in your artwork is another challenge entirely. This tutorial shares 10 art techniques for building a particular mood.

Art techniques: 12 top tips for great composition
From the Golden Ratio to implied lines, there are plenty of time-honoured techniques for creating strong compositions. In this tutorial, Dan Dos Santos walks through his favourites.

Create a composition with multiple characters
Illustrator Jose Daniel Cabrera Peña paints an image of conflict from Greek mythology, and passes on some tips for creating an effective composition with multiple characters.

Direct a viewer's eyes around a drawing
Illustrator Nick Harris explains his techniques for directing people's gaze around a painting. There's a helpful video showing his process.

Give your art a sense of motion
Composing multiple figures is always difficult, but painting them in motion makes the problem even harder. In this tutorial, Lauren K Cannon shares three pro tips.

Use perspective to create a dynamic image
Mark Molnar shares some of his tips for making a front-view action scene pop and explains why the trick to an image like this is to use two perspectives.

03. Light and shadow

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

Master drawing light with these tips
Get the lighting right in your illustrations by using a light ball. This article explores how to use a light ball to provide a constant reminder of your light sources when painting.

The basic rules of painting in shadows
To paint someone coming out from the shadows, the only thing you need is a source of light. Digital artist Paco Rico Torres reveals how to master it in four simple steps.

The trick to painting light on a bright day
Painting bright, natural light throws up its own unique problems. This tutorial runs through the key ideas you need to get a handle on to do it convincingly.

Create a positive emotion with colour and light
Mark Molnar offers some advice for creating a digital painting that's full of energy and exudes a joyous feel. There's also a helpful video showing his process.

04. Practical effects

How to get harmonious colours in paintings
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.

How to wrap textures around an object
Painting textures on three-dimensional objects can be tricky, but Photoshop's Warp and Liquify can be incredibly useful. This tutorial shows you how to use them to speed up your workflow. 

How to give your art a photoreal cinematic look
There are lots of tricks you can use to make an image feel more cinematic. In this article, Bram Sels shows you how to bring a photorealistic vibe to your art in Photoshop.

How to paint traditionally in Photoshop
Far Cry 3 artist Bianca Draghici shares her tips for mimicking a traditional art feel in Photoshop in this painting of an underwater figure.

How painting in black and white can improve your art
Painting in black and white can offer artists a number of benefits, says concept artist Charlie Bowater. In this article he explores how.

How to start painting from a silhouette
Silhouette is the most characteristic visual element in every person or animal. Concept artist Mark Molnar explains the benefits of working up a silhouette as opposed to a sketch.

How to create truly terrifying art
Want to scare your audience? Anthony Scott Waters explains how to examine the darkest aspects of human nature to create scary images.

05. Workflow and inspiration

How to use 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. 

How to paint 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 painting en plein air.

10 top speed painting tips
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. 

Boost your creativity with daily sketching
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.

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