Principles of Drawing

Art or drawing is based on principles that the artist needs to learn. Principles of drawing are the fundamental functions that an artist needs in order to be able to create fantastic drawings. Being an artist isn’t just painting or drawing. It’s much more. The principles of drawing are the basics that you need to learn to create a great piece of art.

There are many different things in drawing that an artist must know to become an expert in their field. Everyone will tell you a different set of rules and guidelines on drawing and making your drawing come alive. If you are interested in drawing and painting, an excellent place to start is to review the basic principles of drawing. Even if you already can draw well, it’s always a good idea to review these basics. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss seven drawing principles that will assist you in improving your drawing skills.

7 Principles of Drawing

Principles of Drawing

Drawing involves lots of skills, including observing, imagining things in three dimensions, and using perspective. All the techniques you’ve learned before you can apply them to make your drawing better. However, the principle of drawing is so vital that all the other techniques are useless without it. Let’s look at the seven principles of drawing.

1. Balance

One of the key principles in art is balance. Whether you’re looking at a painting, taking in a sculpture, or admiring a building, you’ll notice the artist has used their creative flair to create an object which achieves the perfect balance of elements. By creating visual weight through size, shape, and color, these artists have created beautiful pieces that stand out for their strong sense of balance.

There are three ways to achieve balance:

Symmetrical Balance

In symmetry, both sides of a piece are the same or almost the same; they are equal. In order to establish symmetry in work, draw an imaginary line from top to bottom, either horizontally or vertically, and make each half of the work identical or very similar. The symmetrical balance creates a sense of stability, order, solemnity, rationality, and formality.

Asymmetrical Balance

The two sides of an asymmetrical composition do not have the same visual weight but appear to be equally important nonetheless. This artwork has an unequal and uneven distribution of negative and positive shapes, which guides the eye through the piece. It is a bit harder to achieve asymmetrical balance than symmetrical balance since each element of art has a different visual weight, affecting the composition as a whole. 

Radial Balance

Radial balance is a variety of symmetrical balance in which the elements are arranged equally around a central point. An example of radial balance is a wheel’s spokes or ripples made in a pond when a stone drops. It has a strong focal point due to the arrangement of elements equally around a central point.

In nature, we see radial symmetry in the petals of tulips, the seeds of dandelion seeds, or even in some marine organisms, such as jellyfish. As well as in religious art and sacred geometry, like mandalas, it can also feature in contemporary art.

2. Contrast

There are many rules of design involved in creating a successful painting or drawing, one of which is contrast. In art, contrast is one of the key principles that allow the audience’s eye to be guided in certain ways. It is the visual relationship between two or more different objects. Contrast can work in relationships opposite each other; some notable contrast examples are light against dark and rough against smooth. The concept of contrast is a guideline for artists to achieve balance in their works and communicate meaning effectively with their audience. 

3. Emphasis

Emphasis. That’s the secret to a good drawing. If there’s something that you want the viewer of your artwork to notice and enjoy, then simply draw it so that it appeals to the eye. The emphasis in the drawing is a way to direct the viewer’s attention. All drawings contain suggested elements more than they are shown, so the artist has to use their imagination to suggest those things, leaving out unnecessary details. By adding emphasis, the artist can remove some of those details and lead the viewer’s eye to exactly where they wanted it to go.

Emphasis is how you draw something in a picture to attract the eye and give it importance. You can do it with color, light, or tone. You can also do it by making some parts of the drawing larger or smaller. Perhaps the most common way to emphasize something is to enclose it in shape like a circle, square, or rectangle.

4. Movement

Movement is the component of art that most people don’t know anything about, but it’s actually quite simple. An artwork uses movement to create the appearance and feeling of action. The movement guides the viewer’s eye and creates a sense of movement. Moving lines, repetitions of elements, and gestural mark-making can all convey a sense of movement.

An artwork’s movement adds drama, excitement, and a sense of overall composition. By arranging an image’s elements in a certain way, an artist can influence the way a viewer’s eye moves around it. The elements of line, rhythm, color, space, and balance also contribute to creating a sense of motion. Using these movement techniques, the main focal point can be directed away from the composition. The viewer will then focus on other elements surrounding the focal point.

5. Pattern

The pattern is one of the principles of drawing. It enables us to repeat and extend what we see in nature. The pattern is the constant repetition of one or more elements of art or combinations thereof. Repetition can make anything into a pattern. Grids, spirals, and weaves are all examples of classic patterns. 

Pattern refers to the repetition of a form or motif. We can see repeating forms everywhere: in clouds, wallpaper, newspapers, printed fabric, and even in the individual hairs on a horse’s tail. Although the pattern is not an element that we may consider separately from other design elements, it has a powerful effect on drawing when used well.

A super simple example of a pattern is in leaves. The surface of leaves is covered with patterns, lines, and shapes that help spread water over the leaf while at the same time protecting it against damage from the sun. To draw a leaf, you must take these natural patterns and add your own dimension to them.

6. Rhythm

There are several drawing principles that suggest movement or action, such as rhythm. Repetition of colors, lines, shapes, and more is usually used to achieve rhythm. It creates an illusion of tempo in artworks and enables the viewer’s eye to be drawn into them. A rhythm combines pattern and repetition, but the pace may vary. A pattern’s slight variations create rhythm, and repetition in art creates rhythm.

Rhythm can be a powerful tool in art. It can add flow to lines and fills and make them seem more natural. It can give an object movement and a sensation of life that would be lacking if it was stiff and static. But it’s easy to get rhythm wrong, resulting in stiff-looking drawings with less life than if the artist had done nothing at all. Rhythm is subtle and hard to achieve effectively.

7. Unity

Unity is one of the principles of drawing. The concept of Unity has been around for thousands of years. Today, the theory and practice of this principle is a significant part of many artistic endeavors, including painting, architecture, and industrial design.

One of the most important things a strong visual composition needs to have is unity. Unity is harmony between all the objects in a composition, such as lines or shapes that are contrasted. A principle of Unity prevents us from creating a layout that will create confusion or distraction to our viewers. Therefore, we need to arrange art elements in a way that they will not be competing with each other and instead compliment each other. 


What are the 5 basic skills of drawing?

It is important for students to learn five basic skills, first is the ability to recognize edges, understand proportions, use different color schemes and combine their thoughts. To enhance your skill and make a difference in the art form, you must practice enough, over and over again.

What makes a good sketch?

It is important they are loose, rough, and quick. Sketches are so beloved because they allow us to see how the artist thinks and interprets the piece. It’s important to keep your sketch lines, so don’t go erasing them all. Take your time, and don’t rush the process.

What are the basic principles of drawing?

  1. Balance.
  2. emphasis.
  3. Contrast.
  4. movement.
  5. Unity.
  6. harmony.
  7. Rhythm.

What is difference between fine art and visual art?

Visual arts are art forms primarily composed of visual imagery while fine arts are a broad category of art involving work created for aesthetic value. Fine arts are works of art whose primary aim is aesthetic appeal rather than practical value.

What is hatching technique?

A hatching effect is created by drawing parallel lines that are closely spaced to create tonal or shading effects. Drawing, linear painting, and engraving are some arts that use this technique, varying the lines’ length, angle, and closeness.

Final Words

Good drawing is a skill anyone can learn, but it takes practice and patience. You may need to redraw the same thing for a few hours or days until you get it just right, but your hard work will be well worth it. It’s important to know principles of drawing, because they help you make a good outline before you draw something.

So, the question of drawing principles is one that you really never fully stop asking. The better you draw, the more different and intricate shapes and angles that you will become aware of. The better you understand how things work, the more potential there is for your work. To be sure, goals and aspirations are two completely different things. But there is nothing wrong with setting goals if it helps you to reach a higher plane of understanding.

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