How to draw accurately and fast?

How to draw accurately and fast?

Question from John

I want to learn how to draw rapidly from life. What are the best ways to get accurate values?


Feedback from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Dear John,

Getting accurate values comes “automatically” after practicing tonal drawing for thousands of hours and training your eyes and hand to see and depict values in drawing.

There is one thing you need to avoid—using gray-scale or similar tools for judging tonal values. The measurement should happen in your brain, not by an external device.

Here’s what you need to do to improve your perception of tonal values by eye:

Spend as much time comparing values in life as you do shading them in drawing. When drawing, constantly compare different values to each other and hatch tones in layers with a graphite pencil. 

Regarding fast drawing, speed comes with practice. It is a “byproduct” of experience. Art is not the Olympics; they do not give medals for speed in drawing. Strive for accuracy and correct proportions; work on anatomy and likeness.

Start with two- to ten-hour-long poses to learn how to draw from life using constructive drawing principles. With time, your speed will increase, and you will be able to sketch “short” five- to ten-minute poses. 

Many life-drawing classes advocate fast gesture sketching for beginners. This only gives students frustration and disillusionment. If you don’t know how to draw a proportionate human figure with understanding of anatomy and body construction, doing it fast under time pressure only makes things worse.

When visiting drop-in life-drawing classes in London, I have seen so many artists who have come for life drawing for many years, and they still have rudimentary figure-drawing skills because the longest pose they ever did was less than 20 minutes. Combined with lack of knowledge of a human body’s proportions and anatomy, this explains why their progress in life drawing is so slow.

Here’s good advice—learn constructive drawing principles, human figure proportions, anatomy, and above all the sequence of steps of figure or portrait drawing. Spend enough time applying your knowledge in drawing long poses, and gradually shorten the timing to end up with fast gesture sketches that are beautiful, precise, and have high likeness.

Best regards,

Vladimir London

To learn human anatomy fast, visit the Anatomy Master Class »

To learn professional drawing techniques,

Enroll in the Drawing Academy Course:
Three Monthly Installments
Pay for the course in 3 easy installments
  • Receive 15 new videos monthly (45 in total)
  • Incredible discount – $4,164
  • Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
  • Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
  • Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
  • Lifetime membership. Free after the 3rd month
Total cost: $291 USD (3 x $97)

Add to Cart

Complete Course - BEST VALUE
Get all video lessons for a one-time payment
  • Immediate access to all 45 video lessons
  • Incredible discount – $4,198
  • Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
  • Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
  • Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
  • Lifetime membership. No more payments
Total cost - Only $257 USD

Add to Cart

Categorized: Ask Tutors Questions

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Allison Bourland says:

    That answer is music to my ears. I have quite several figure drawing classes due to anxiety and hopelessness. Just as you said, how can you draw quickly when you don’t even know where to begin? I draw at an extremely slow pace and I have feared that I just can’t “see”. My brain goes into over drive and that is the beginning of the end. I love the Drawing Academy and Anatomy Master class videos. They are invaluable tools for learning the step by step process of how to draw. . Just mastering how to draw a straight line is important and I like having time to practice such a small skill.

  2. Christopher Heaphy says:

    Thank you for reinforcing what I’ve always believed in.

    Drawing skill comes with time spent studying the structure of the subject you want to draw and patiently practicing.

    This skill is not achieved if the model moves every 5 to 10 minutes, yet teachers insist on forcing students to do that……rubbish !!! Crap teachers.

    The Drawing Academy is a superb teaching platform , well done.


Leave A Reply