In simple terms, scribble drawing is a quickly done scribbled drawing. Doodling and gesture drawing are both forms of scribble drawing. Blind contour or single line drawing can also be considered scribble drawing of sorts. Different people see it different ways but the principles behind them all are similar.
The idea is that you loosen up your drawing technique. That you learn new skills to improve your drawing rather than relying on the skills you already have.
One of the things that differentiate scribble drawings from others is that instead of a single line outline, you scribble the outline in some way. Some people will draw small loops to form the lines, but you can use any repetitive motion. The lines will be a bit messy to look at but that doesn’t matter. It isn’t the point to make a masterpiece.
Different methods to try
Some people will do the complete drawing without taking the pencil from the paper. For others the key is looking at the subject for the whole time instead of looking at the drawing and the paper.
The idea is to improve your hand eye coordination and your observational skills. It will also improve your pencil control and can help you use that pencil with a new found fluency.
Learning how to get the most out of a tool as simple as a pencil will help you when painting or doing anything else creative too.
The point is not to create masterpieces or even finished drawings. This is an exercise to improve your drawing skills in an exciting new way.
How to scribble draw
There are several ways to scribble draw but I will start with the easiest first.
Choose a subject or photograph of something you want to draw. Don’t choose something too complex to start with. Keep things simple while you learn.
Instead of drawing an outline with single strokes of the pencil, draw a continuous line with small loops. Don’t take your pencil from the paper, just continue the lines by linking up the different loops. As you draw try to focus your attention on the subject or photo as much as possible. Try not to look at the drawing itself too much.
Keep your hand relaxed
Keep your hand and arm relaxed and draw small steady loops to replace the single lines you would normally draw. Do your best to create the overall shape of the subject with those looped lines. As you draw the various loops try to create the impression of the subjects textures and shape.
Blind Contour Drawing
For the next part of the exercise you can simplify the smaller loops and replace them with a single flowing line. Never take your pencil from the paper and do not look at the drawing at all. Focus entirely on the subject. Try to draw each line without looking at the paper you are drawing on at all. This is blind contour drawing and is an exercise used in most art schools.
You can find a more in depth article about blind contour drawing here. It has become popular in the world of tattoo art and is often referred to as single line drawing. There are some great examples in our article on single line tattoo ideas.
Finally, try to bring the 2 methods together. Focus completely on the subject you are drawing, but draw small flowing constantly looping lines. Keep your pencil on the paper at all times and do not look at the drawing until you are finished.
Don’t be Too Critical
The results will look messy, especially at first. Remember, the idea is to perfect your skills as an artist, not to create a masterpiece. The results will often make you laugh as you see the ways you have tried to recreate the subject. Don’t be too critical, it is all about learning. Keep the first drawings you do and you will see the progression as you practice more.
For many people the learning process seems very slow. It can look like you are making no progress. However, you will find as time goes on it will get easier. You will see your style develop and your drawings improve.
Results will improve in time and you will find that with other drawings you do, you will spend more of your time looking at the subject rather than the drawing. As your confidence grows your drawing will become less mechanical and your lines ‘freer’‘.
By exploring and practicing the technique of scribble drawing you will improve basic drawing skills like your observation and hand eye coordination. Your pencil control will also improve and this will also improve any painting you do.
Learning how to draw with your hand relaxed using confident lines will transform your art. It is one of the surest ways to add confidence to your work.
Explore the endless possibilities that scribble drawing can bring. Enjoy creating oddities and being able to learn without the need to create anything meaningful. Sometimes we all need to let go, and just go with the flow to see what happens.
We have some fantastic drawing tutorials as well as painting tutorials and general artistic hints and tips. I hope you enjoy them and remember, we always love to see the results or hear from you in the comments
Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great day.