How to Draw By Observing: Tips and Tricks

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how to draw by observing

This was my first attempt at Drawing By Observing. In this approach of making art you draw the object placed in front of you and capture the details including light and shadow. Actually light and shadow is the key. If you can understand and capture this, your painting will turn out realistic.

Read on to see my art and check out some tips and tricks to make art by observing.

There is a place called Carpe Diem art and learning centre. So far, I’ve taken three art sessions there from an artist himself, called David Fernandes. What I liked about learning from him is his way of teaching. He likes to give hints here and there without instructing too much. The best thing is, he doesn’t get impatient or irritable if the result is not as he might have desired. It feels more like an unschooling way of learning; nothing like a class.

object drawing tips

Here’s what and how I drew:

Art/Sketching Object Drawing

Shading is one way to make your drawing look real. I love shading. It creates an amazing effect in your art.

There are few techniques I learned from my art teacher and those are.


Take a thin strip of paper (shape it as per the outline of your art where you’d like to do shading), and take a pencil with a thick lid- (8B,6B 9B 10B). and smudge it on the edges of the paper. Then place the paper where you want to do shading. With your finger tips, rub the pencil shade onto your art paper. You might have to apply some pressure to get the amount of shading you want. Like this as you see in the pic below:


Using this technique will give you depth in your painting. Here’s how the result is.


The smudges you can see just above the base of the bowl is after I used the paper-strip shading technique.

Holding The pencil.

There’s a way to hold a pencil while shading. Hold the pencil with the lead facing downward. Your index finger on top and thumb on the side.  

Observing Shadows…

Observing the shadows is also one of the important things which can make your drawing realistic. Shade the bowl on the bottom to give shadows. You can also make thin strokes. I also prefer the smudging technique (described above).

Observing Light and Dark Areas…

My sir keeps telling me to understand where to do light shading and where to do dark. Do dark shading to show that there’s less light coming that side. You can also use an eraser rubbing in one straight line to show there’s light falling. If you’re painting, you can use thin stroke of paint to show light.

You can always color the inside of the bottle/bowl dark to show it’s deep/there’s something inside.

Transferring The Drawing…

When you first make a drawing, don’t do it directly on the final paper. First, take a thin paper (called news print) and sketch your artwork. We usually want to choose a thin paper to do your sketching if you want to transfer it onto another paper (the final Paper). Before you transfer, rub some pencil on the  reverse side of news print,  and place the paper where you want your real sketch. (on your final paper). Then, trace your drawing pressing hard on the outlines, making sure your drawing comes nicely on your final paper. This is one way to save time and  hard work as you don’t have to do the same drawing all over again on your final paper.

Tip: You can shade under your object showing its placed on something like a table/surface.

At last, put your sign and date and there you’re done! 


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  1. Mami says:

    Beautiful Pari! I was also trying to do some drawing using shading technique. Your tips will be of great help for me next time I do that. Share more pictures of your drawings.You can share some on email or share on the blog itself.
    Much love

    • Pari says:

      Thanks a lot Mami! i knew these tips would be helpful for my readers so i shared them. I also found them interesting. Sure, i will send you some on email. And, i have done more sketching regarding how to draw realistic animals. Will some day share that too:)

  2. chachi says:

    Ohh my Pari! very beautiful sketch. Ajji had said me that you are going for art classes thats very nice. I am remembering my school days, even i liked very much to go to art class and sketch by observing light. Even Anoop used to do sketching as a relaxing hobby. Pencil sketching is a real fun and tips you have shared is really nice. One can learn very easily from that. Share more pics of the sketches you have done.
    Waiting for the pics!!


    • Pari says:

      Thank you chachi! I am so happy to see your comment on my post. Yes, why not, i will send you the pics on gmail, or do another post on my drawings:) Yes, that’s exactly what my sir said, he told that starting by shading is a easier and fun way to learn, that is why i first did shading. Thank you, i was surprised to see the tips myself when my sir told me that.

      Will send you the pics soon!

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