Drawing Tips From Artist John Spain

My drawing tips are kind of unorthodox. I like to use a single BIC ink pen to draw and shade. I like to practice the most difficult way possible. No erasing , all freehand and straight from the imagination, although sometime I will use a reference like the Jay-Z drawing for example.

Some of my tips are:

1.) When you shade, always try to get smooth blends and transitions. To do this, you have to pay VERY close attention to how hard you press down the tip on the paper. Light shades are created with a simple flick of the wrist and your tip should lightly touch the page. Darker shades are created by the opposite of course, you should be more heavy handed. But make sure not to push too hard because it can destroy the surface.

2.) Use your shades to create contrast. Make your shadows as dark as possible, and make your like shades light as possible. The magic comes from your mid-tones, make sure to have many different mid-tone shades.

3.) Proportion is important. Getting perfect proportions are damn near impossible but try your best to make everything as even as possible

4.) Add texture. This is more an advance thing. Adding textures will come with time and practice. A easy way to add textures is to draw basic shapes and just shade like you normally would without the texture.

5.) Have your own style. This is important because it’ll distinguish you from other artist.

6.) When you practice, always try to make it difficult.Draw freehand, and drawing without erasing