Creative exercises for every month

10 Minutes of Drawing a Day

We will be running this course in April on our Facebook group, as well as posting it to our Instagram page. It's a great way to spend a month improving your drawing. The exercises are varied and will hopefully challenge you. Our group is open to all skill levels and is very friendly and encouraging.

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These one minute drawings help you improve your ability to accurately and quickly draw your subject. The aim is to quickly learn and move on to the next drawing rather than laboring over one drawing. You can also change up your perspective or focus on different aspects of your subject.
* Choose a subject— still-life or a photo
* Do a one minute drawing.
* Repeat for 10 minutes
* Try different angles, or focus in on details, for each one.
🎬 Here’s my demonstration video

one minute drawing


Quick drawing exercise without looking at your paper
Draw with out looking at your page. Bet you can't guess what each subject is! I've put them at the bottom of these instructions.
👉 I spent 10 minutes on these 3 sketches
👉 I looked only at the subject, not at my page
👉 I focused on the variety of lines and details, taking my time to draw.
👉 I didn't worry about overlapping or even trying to make it look like the subject.

My drawings are of my fiancé, my handbag and a chair


Seated Man in yellow overalls, Lois Mailou Jones, 1939 (American)

Spend 10 minutes drawing Seated Man in yellow overalls, Lois Mailou Jones, 1939 (American).

The aim is to spend time with the painting. When you draw it you see all the details. You can admire the brushstrokes and the composition. I used natural charcoal for this but you can use whatever you like.
There’s a very good podcast on this artist too 👉 episode #52 The Great Women Artists 

[Source: Wikiart]


 Draw cylindrical objects
* Draw a few cylindrical objects focusing on its form.
* Imagine you're drawing around the object, draw lots of circular lines.
* Once you've drawn a few objects try something more complex like a person.
* Continue to focus on form and circular lines rather than details

🎬 Here's a short video of the exercise


For this exercise we’re using paint as a medium for drawing.
* Choose a still-life or photo to draw from.
* I really enjoyed using paint and went with a dry brush to apply the paint on my first attempt.
For my second drawing I used a palette knife to get the paint down.
* These two examples are done on cardboard but you could use paper. The painted cardboard gave me a bit of texture too.
* I think this is great for freeing up your work.

Here is a short video explanation 🎬


Grab a spoon and draw your reflection
I started with looking at my reflection in the back of the spoon.
I used a soft charcoal as it gave a similar effect to how my reflection looked. It also helped me get away from details.
I then drew my reflection in the other side of the spoon, which was upsidedown.

🎬 Here's the video


Contour drawing of a room ✍️
I sat down with a coffee and drew what I could see of my kitchen. It ended up looking much messier than it is 😳
* Choose a room in your house and do a contour drawing of the furniture and objects.
* You’re looking for lines.
* No shading.

10 minute drawing exercise, contour drawing of a room


This exercise is about not getting caught up in details. The wiping away adds a neutral tone. Knowing you’ll wipe it away adds a looseness and free flowing element to your drawing. You can’t do this exercise badly!
You can take this drawing further and add white chalk over the top.

• Choose a still-life subject
• Draw it roughly in charcoal. A natural
charcoal works well.
• Use a tissue to wipe over your paper as though you’re trying to erase the whole thing.
• Draw your subject again over the top. Try to ignore your first lines underneath and start over. Wipe over your drawing one last time.
• Draw you subject for the last time. Again trying to ignore your marks on the paper and start over.

 Charcoal and tissue technique



Continuous line drawing.
My naughty kitty makes an appearance in my time lapse video, luckily he didn’t walk on my sketchbook. 🎬

I love this exercise, it’s satisfying to fill a page up. You end up with a pattern without a focus on any one drawing. Choose a subject that has some interest to it but nothing too complicated— a banana, cup, simple plant.
* Use a pen for a nice crisp line— no accuracy required. Spend 10 minutes on this 
* Keep your pen on the paper.
* Do a line drawing of your subject.
* Rotate your page as you go (see video).
* Vary the size and shape.
* Distort your subject to squish it into smaller spaces.


Copy a drawing using different techniques.
This drawing was taken from the Australian impressionists book, it was done by George Sutherland, Jane Sutherland's father. Jane Sutherland was a well known Australian impressionist artist. I chose this image as it doesn't focus on faces so I could just focus on the angles and shapes.
* First I just drew what I saw using a fine point biro pen. I spent a few minutes on this one.
* Next I drew a contour drawing of the image.
* Lastly, I drew the image using vertical lines only, this was a bit trickier than the other two.
🎬 Here's a link to the video 👉



Vertical line drawing ✍️
This is another one of those exercise that helps you get away from drawing in your usual way. You will need a bit more focus to stop yourself doing outlines and horizontal lines but that’s half the challenge!
* Choose a subject with plenty of dark areas.
* Draw the dark areas with vertical lines.
💡If you are working from a photo you can use a monotone filter to clearly see the light and dark areas.



Simplifying a painting to basic shapes
I found this landscape painting by Arthur Streeton and decided to simplify it down into its most basic shapes. It's like creating a detailed sketch in reverse, instead of building up the sketch, you're breaking it down.
* The first sketch took the longest, I took a few minutes sketching the painting, not going into too much detail.
* The second, I simplified the sketch down further, focusing on shapes rather than objects in the painting.
* The last sketch was the most basic of shapes, it turned into an abstract like image, with only a few simple lines and shapes.
* If you have trouble seeing the basic shapes, make the image smaller.

🎬 Here's the link to the video 👉


drawing exercise, unconventional still-life

Unconventional still life
Find some objects that wouldn't usually go together.
* Arrange them in a way that looks interesting.
* Select a medium to draw in. This is done in charcoal.
* Spent the full 10 minutes drawing your still life arrangement ✍️ 


This is a sketch in two colours. Try to think of doing a sketch in each colour one over the top of another— it’s not a painting! Choose less obvious colours. I didn’t reach for green but instead picked yellow and blue oil pastels.
* Draw your subject using one of the colours.
*  Wipe over roughly with a tissue. If your using chalk pastels you may wipe most of it away but that is fun too 😊
* Draw with your second colour. Try to think of it as starting from scratch not adding a new colour.
* Wipe over it again and finish off in your original colour choice.


Draw onto newspaper
This exercise is pretty simple. Draw an image onto newspaper.
* I chose to draw my favourite teapot with an artline pen
* I chose a page from the newspaper with areas of colour.
* I drew over the newspaper page upside down.
🎬 Here's the link to the video 👉


Drawing Americana by Charles Sheeler (1931). This painting seemed fitting for 2020/2021 when so many people spent time stuck indoors. Not sure I have a room that tidy though.
The aim of the exercise is to explore this painting through drawing it rather than creating a good copy of the artists work.
* Spend 10 minutes drawing this painting.
* I used a medium Artline pen as the work is pretty precise.
For more info on the painting 👉

drawing exercise, copy Americana by Charles Sheeler 1931



 Copy a drawing and add in a background.
✍️ I copied a drawing of a bear by Frans Snyders (Flemish 1597-1657)
✍️ I added my kitchen as a background.
The proportions don’t really fit but it was a fun exercise.

 drawing of a bear by Frans Snyders (Flemish 1597-1657)

a bear in the kitchen. copy of  drawing of a bear by Frans Snyders (Flemish 1597-1657)


 Choose an moment in your day to capture in a drawing ✍️
* I chose to draw whilst making a cup of tea.
* Use whatever drawing medium you prefer. I went with charcoal for this one
* Spend 10 minutes drawing.


drawing exercise, plein air

Plein Air Drawing ✍️
* Find a scene to draw outside or looking out of your window.
* Capture it in a 10 minute drawing.


Draw around your subject (negative space)
I think it works well to have an interesting background for this one. Choose an object and draw everything you see around it.



10 minute drawing exercise, monochrome drawing

Monochrome drawing.
✍️ Choose a bold colour to draw with.

✍️ Select your subject to draw.

✍️ It can help to take a photo and then apply a black and white filter.
This is done with a red oil pastel.


Copy this Japanese print. The folds are fun to draw and I enjoyed the clear lines and shapes. 

Japanese woodblock print


 I thought this would be a fun exercise for today— overlapping drawings 😊

* Select a few objects around you.
* Draw then one at a time allowing them to overlap each other.
* Rotate the page so you don’t end up with a “picture”.


Drawing detail only
* I chose a subject with lots of intricate detail, the palm of my hand.
* I focused only on the detail and didn't draw any outline.
* I followed the lines and creases in my hand.
* You can use any detailed subject such as a leaf or wood grain.

🎬 Here's the video link 👉



Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish 1577-1640) Dancing figures

Copy this drawing by Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish 1577-1640) Dancing figures, all linking hands, pen and brown ink.
“This dynamic ink drawing by Rubens shows an idea set down at incredible speed and with almost diagrammatic brevity. The artist’s desire to capture the movement and all-embracing vigour of the dance is paramount over concerns of anatomy, yet virtually all the key linking hands of the dancers are shown. The broken link of the dancers at right serves to highlight the way in which the momentum of the dancers has overpowered them, and they struggle to regain the ring.” Lines of thought by Isabel Seligman.


Draw an object through a glass
👉I found this odd looking figurine and thought it would be great to draw.
👉I also found a glass that would distort the figurine.
👉I used a pen for this one and focused on the patterns and shapes caused by the glasses distortion.

🎬 Here's the video 👉



Draw using circular motions. ✍️
You’re basically scribbling in darker areas here. I kept my pen on the paper mostly and just did loose circles for lighter areas and tighter overlapping circles for dark areas. A great exercise for loosening up 😊

drawing exercise, circular motions


Looking for shapes in a portrait.
* I started off with a quick self-portrait, looking at the shapes of the shadows on my face.
* My second drawing, I really focused on just Drawing the shapes of those shadows.
* I avoided focusing specific facial features such as my eyes and nose and just tried to draw the shadows that fell across them.

🎬Here's the video 👉


Drawing a found pattern
Find a pattern that you are drawn to and draw it.
* Focus on the details and the repetitiveness.
* I used a fine biro.
It’s a lovely way to spend ten minutes.


Our final exercise for April !!
Draw on a different coloured background
* I chose one of my favourite teapots to draw.
* Getting some black paper, I got to work with a couple of chalk pastels.
I drew in a loose way to capture my teapot.
The main aspect of this exercise is drawing on a background that isn't white.

🎬 Here's the video 👉