It may be a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true: it’s never too late to learn something new. Drawing and painting are visual art forms that can take a lifetime to master but practising them is something you can start enjoying from the moment you pick up a paint brush or pencil. So, if you’re looking to try something new and maybe discover a love you never knew you had, then here’s what you need to know to get started…
What is art and why do people create it?
Art can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some, art is visual. It could be paintings, drawings or photographs that inspire them. For others, music may fill their soul with creativity and passion for life.
It’s all about finding your voice and what makes you unique. It’s the one thing that only you can express, whether it be through visual art or music. Art allows us to escape our everyday lives for a moment so we can find peace within ourselves.
What makes people choose drawing and painting?
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter which medium you choose to express yourself through, but for those who are looking to just dip their toes in the water, drawing and painting are a great first choice. You don’t need to worry about big and expensive tools, all you need is some pencils, paint and some paper.
As you progress and find that you love your new hobby, then you can start to learn more about the very best equipment out there and decide whether you’re ready to invest more time and money into your art. As a beginner, however, there are very few things you really need.
How to get started drawing and painting
If you’re interested in drawing or painting, but don’t know where to start, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Here are a few tips on how you can have a go at these fun and creative activities:
- Start by drawing or painting something simple. A good place to begin is “still life” objects… things like fruit, rocks or simple furniture. Once you feel comfortable with things you can move onto more complex objects.
- Experiment with different colors and techniques. You don’t have to stick to one style or color palette. Try out new things and see what you like best.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re first starting out, and that’s okay! The purpose isn’t to be perfect from the get-go, but to find joy and respite in the process of practising. The goal is whatever you want it to be, but so long as you are open-minded and willing to try again, you’ll start seeing improvements in your abilities.
Health benefits of getting involved with the visual arts
You may not realise it but there are actually enormous health benefits that come as a result of having a go at drawing and painting. To list but a few of those positive effects of artistic hobbies, you can enjoy rewarding benefits such as: the reduction of stress, improvements to your mental health, increasing self-confidence and greater creativity in other aspects of your life.
- Visual arts have been shown to reduce stress levels in both adults and children. When we’re stressed, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode, which can be harmful over time. By engaging in low-stress tasks like drawing or painting, we can provide our minds with a healthy way to release tension and anxiety, leading to a general improvement in our mental health as a result.
- In addition, visual arts can help us to find our voice and express ourselves in ways that words cannot. This can be incredibly empowering, particularly if you’ve ever felt like you have struggled with self-confidence in the past.
- Finally, the physical act of painting or drawing has been linked with an improvement in motor skills, whereby the careful control of your paintbrush or pencil encourages you to work the muscles and joints in your hands.
So, while it can be a fun way to express yourself, getting involved in these visual arts can be a great boost to your physical and mental health too!
Types of painting and drawings
There are countless different drawing and painting styles to explore, but here are just a few to get you started…
- Realism: This style is all about capturing the details of the subject matter. Painters and drawers who work in realism often strive for an accurate representation of their subjects.
- Abstract art: This style is all about conveying feeling or emotion through color and shapes. There is no specific focus on realism or detail, and the results can be incredibly varied.
- Impressionism: This style is all about capturing the feeling or “impression” of a scene. Painters working in impressionism often use short, brushy strokes to capture the light and colour of a scene.
- Cubism: This style completely breaks down the visual elements of a subject to create something new. Paintings created in cubism are often very abstract and fragmented.
- Surrealism: This style is all about creating dreamlike scenes by juxtaposing realistic objects with surreal imagery, colours or patterns. It’s an incredible way for artists to express emotional reactions to current events or other aspects of their lives that inspire them creatively!
Of course, you don’t need to follow any particular style as a beginner. Just painting or drawing whatever you feel like is a perfectly valid option. But as you grow, you may be interested in focusing on learning a particular style.
Should I start with drawing or painting?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It really depends on what you want to achieve and your skill level.
If you’re a beginner, it might be easier to start with drawing. This is because drawing is a more basic skill and can be learned relatively easily while also requiring far less in terms of resources (like paints and brushes).
However, if you’re already experienced in drawing, then painting might be a better choice for you.
The important thing is to start somewhere and explore the different types of visual art that are available to you. There’s no need to stick with just one style – try out many different ones until you find the ones that inspire you the most!
Tips for improving your skills
Here are some things you can do to improve your drawing and painting skills:
- Practice, practice, practice! The more you draw and paint, the better you’ll get. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different mediums and techniques.
- Take classes or workshops. This will give you the opportunity to learn from someone who has a lot of knowledge and experience. You don’t even need to go to a physical class as there are so many fantastic options available online.
- Draw or paint every day. Even if you only have a few minutes, it’s important to get in the habit of regularly practising your skills.
Join a free art class online today
The Joy Club is an online activity club for people who enjoy keeping busy. When you join The Joy Club, you can join our 5* art classes and lectures, led by Hampstead School of Art, plus daily reads for those looking for inspiration of the more relaxed kind. Premium membership costs just £5 per month and all new members get a one-month, no obligation free trial, meaning you can come to all of our art classes.
Hampstead School of Art is the oldest, non-profit, contemporary art-making and learning centre in North London. It began life as the Hampstead Artists’ Council (HAC), founded by Jeanette Jackson and Bernard Gay with the patronage of Henry Moore, Lord Cottesloe, Oswald Milne and Sir Kenneth Clark. Their vision was to establish a centre where people could share the appreciation and enjoyment of art, whatever their age, background and ability. Most recently, HsoA has gone virtual, providing opportunities for people to continue to develop their talent and art-making skills in their own home with live studio classes via Zoom.
Interested? Click here to find out more and sign up for free today!