Artist demonstration: drawing top tips

Artist Robin-Lee Hall has some practical tips to help you improve your drawing. She explains how to start drawing: what you need to use, how to set up your workspace and where to find inspiration. She also demonstrates some warm-up techniques to get you in the right frame of mind for drawing and gives her advice on how to improve.


  • Hello, I’m Robin-Lee Hall, and I’m an artist. And here are my drawing top tips.

    You can probably see that I’m drawing standing up at an easel. But there’s actually no right and wrong way to do it.

    You can work flat, you can work at an easel, experiment, see what works for you.

    One of the reasons why I work at an easel, is that I can actually then stand back and look at what I’ve done. Because sometimes if you’re very, very close when you’re drawing, you stand back and you realise that I’ve got the proportions right.

    You can still become a very good drawer, even if you have only really basic drawing materials, like a rubber or a pencil and a piece of paper. You don’t need loads and loads of materials, you don’t need to spend lots of money. You can just practice with those simple materials and get some results.

    Basically, a reference portrait is an image you use to refer to, to help you with your drawing. Now, this could be an image that you’re inspired by. Refer to the image as you draw, but you can also put your own creative input in as well.

    Now you can find reference portraits in books, magazines and online. Before you go into a drawing, you just sketch, make shapes, practice shading. Rather like an athlete will go for a jog before a race, I’m kind of doing my jog, by doing lots of these sort of little marks.

    Think about the pressure that you put on the paper. You’re not actually trying to press too hard. You’re pressing very, very lightly on the paper, almost stroking the paper.

    And I actually can move a little bit faster when I don’t press too hard. I can make some lovely sort of swirling shapes. And it doesn’t really matter if you feel like you're making some scribbly messes, it’s just to get you in the right sort of frame of mind to produce a drawing.

    Just keep drawing and you’ll find that you really do improve day by day.

Learning objectives

  1. Explore the creative practices of a portrait artist.
  1. Discover practical warm-up techniques to improve your drawing.
  1. Build confidence in drawing.

You will need

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Rubber
  • Pencil sharpener