How to Get Better at Drawing: Just Draw (Automatic Drawing)

Updated: Jul 8

When I was at school, I loved to scribble on my wooden desk and then use that hardly discernible sketch to create something meaningful. I can tell you that until this very day, there is nothing more fascinating nor liberating than drawing in such a way.


I don't want to delve into the terminology or the history of this method, but I do want to highlight its powerful impact on my art and how it can help you to improve your art rapidly too.


One of the major advantages of automatic drawing is its ability to counter the artist's block. I'm sure that you just love to draw and express yourself, but often you just can't find something to draw! You can't find that beautiful scene you want, that dynamic pose or dramatic perspective you crave for, and so you just lose your motive to draw and end up doing something else.


You know what I'm talking about! We have all been there when we spent hours looking through references trying to find an inspiration, but to no avail.


Automatic drawing is the answer to such a problem. Just think of nothing and start scribbling random lines with no direction or intention, and just wait until you see something familiar. If you don't see anything that's fine too. Just flip the page and try again.


Don't go too crazy and fill the page too quickly, try to move gradually and add more lines, dots, and shapes until you see something.


I know it might not seem believable that you can create something from nothing, from void, but believe me it is possible, and it is the most exhilarating you will ever do as an artist.


I'm still surprised every time when this happens to me. I start with a white blank paper and a couple of random strokes, and all of a sudden, I see a face, a figure, something beautiful and then I just grab it and build on it until it comes together and becomes something extraordinary.


I will share with you a painting that began as random scribbles and ended up as something spectacular to look at.




It might not be my best work but it expressed my feelings that night and it was a sheer delight to make. Here is another example below with much stronger results and impact, because it just gets better with practice, I can tell you!



Unfortunately, I didn't save a copy of how I began this piece, but it was just a mess-something that no one can make anything of.


I just surrendered to my imagination and allowed myself to create, free from restrictions, free from any obligations, and I was rewarded with this painting that I just adore.


I will leave you with one final tip. Look at more references and draw as much as you can, and you will develop subconsciously and gain an ability to see meaningful objects in your scribbles. You will then be able to pull them out of the mess and make something great out of them.


Until next time, don't you ever give up. Don't you ever surrender, for what you seek is already yours.


Ahmed