Different Types of Drawing Styles Techniques and Mediums

For most people, drawing is an enjoyable pastime that was a small part of their childhood. However, given sufficient determination and training, it can develop into a lifelong skill you can use to express your ideas or entertain your audience.

Moreover, with a bit of luck and persistence, good drawing skills may even lead to a lucrative art career. We’ve listed some of the types of drawing to get you started on improving your drawing skills. So keep reading to reawaken your inner artist!

The Types of Drawing Revealed

Below are some of the many forms your drawings can take and exercises you can do to improve your skills:

1. Line and Contour

Line and Contour

When children and amateur artists begin drawing, they always attempt the exercise with a line and contour drawing. You make a line and contour drawing by tracing along the outline of a subject to capture its overall shape. If you decide to improve your drawing skills by taking an art class, you’ll be asked to do a blind contour drawing at some point.

Blind contour drawing involves tracing along your subject’s outline without taking your eyes off your subject. Unlike a regular contour drawing, you won’t have the luxury of comparing the mark you make on your paper to what you see on your subject. Therefore, it’s okay for the final artwork to look unorganized.

2. Sketching


The main point of a sketch is to capture an idea as quickly as possible. Therefore, you may ignore visual details like color, light and shadow, and even form when sketching. Instead, your mark-making will consist of simple, frenzied lines that record the most prominent characteristics of the subject of your drawing.

Additionally, it’s okay for your final sketches to be unrefined and even a bit sloppy, as long as they distill your subject to its most basic form.

3. Gesture


Gesture drawing bears some similarities to sketching: like the latter type of drawing, you’ll need to be quick, you’ll be trying to capture an idea, you’ll be ignoring details, and the final artwork will be unrefined.

However, the main difference between the two drawing types is that the subject of a gesture drawing is almost always a living thing (mostly people and animals). At the same time, subjects in a sketch can also include objects and landscapes.

Also, gesture drawing focuses on capturing action through lines, so it’s not uncommon to draw subjects that change position every few seconds.

See also: How to Draw a Boy

4. Still Life

Still Life

One of the most enduring types of drawing is still life. The subjects of these drawings are exclusively inanimate and may include bowls of fruit, cans of preserved food, a doorknob, etc. You can create a still life by gathering objects in your environment, placing them in an arrangement, and then drawing them.

The purpose of these drawings is to represent the subject as accurately as possible. Therefore, they’re usually very detailed (in comparison to sketches and gesture drawings) and may employ all or some of the elements of drawing, namely line, shape, form, proportion, light and shade, value, space, and perspective.

5. Figure


Figure drawing is a step up from gesture drawing, with a focus on the human anatomy. Usually, you’ll draw nude subjects to accurately portray the human body on the paper.

You may begin these drawings with a gesture drawing and then build your subject on top of the gesture lines using basic shapes and forms. Afterward, you’ll add details like contours, light, shade, and color to produce a life-like rendition of your subject.

Like still lifes, figure drawings are very detailed and require an understanding of all the elements of drawing. Notably, a mastery of form and perspective will be crucial to drawing body parts like hands and feet. Also, you’ll need to study human anatomy to accurately capture the bumps and contours where bones protrude from the flesh.

6. Portrait


Drawing portraits is a little like figure drawing, except your subject may not be nude, and you may not draw its entire body from top to bottom. Usually, the focal point in these drawings is the subject’s face, though full-body portraits of seated subjects are also typical.

7. Landscape


Drawing landscapes requires that you leave your studio for the great outdoors. Your subject is natural scenery around you and may also feature living things.

You could take a sketchbook along and make sketches of the scenery before doing a more detailed drawing when you return to your studio. Alternatively, you can paint the scenery on an easel right then and there (check the weather forecast before going for this second option).

You’ll need to have a good grip on proportion and space to produce beautiful landscapes that fool the eye. Understanding color, value, light, and shade will also be beneficial if you’re painting.

Read also: Cute Animal Drawings

8. Perspective


If you want to create the illusion of depth in your drawings accurately, there’s no getting around learning perspective drawing. The horizon line, the vanishing point, and receding lines form the backbone of all perspective drawings, and you’ll use these concepts to plot your subjects on your paper.

You’ll need a deep understanding of form as a prerequisite to perspective drawing. For example, using receding lines to plot your subject on the page requires diagonal lines representing the third dimension: depth.

9. Cartoon, Comic, and Caricature

comic cartoon

We can’t talk about types of drawing without mentioning cartoons, comics, and caricatures. While based on reality, drawings like these take liberties with the elements of art by exaggerating them, sometimes to comedic effect.

Cartoons and comics may feature anthropomorphic animals, people with unrealistic physical features, and things and creatures not found in the natural world. In other words, there’s an element of fantasy to most comics and cartoons, springing from the artist’s imagination.

Meanwhile, caricature drawing is like portrait drawing, except the subject’s facial features are exaggerated. As a result, it takes more skill to produce a caricature than it does a cartoon or comic.


Knowing the different types of drawing offers a guide on how to improve your drawing skills. For example, gestures and sketches are excellent for quickly capturing information about your subject. In contrast, other types like figure drawing, portraits, still lifes, and landscapes may require more detail, time, and knowledge of the elements of art.

However, if you don’t have ambitions to become the next Picasso or have a story to tell that doesn’t require advanced drawing skills, you could try drawing cartoons, comics, or caricatures.

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