The Importance of Warmup Sketches

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We’ve all done it; we jumped right into our final piece without warming up. The results were anything but great. The lines were stiff, the shapes were wonky, the colors didn’t belong together, and the composition was terrible. At this point I usually blame myself for not being a “good enough” artist and I’m discouraged by my abilities. Ugh, another one for the trash. Why do we do this to ourselves? We get so impatient that we jump right to the finish line without going through the obstacles. We cheat, and we’re only cheating ourselves.

A simple way to fix this is to warm up. Drawing sketches before your planned drawing is beneficial to your art because it allows you to loosen up. If you “ stretch” your hands and your mind before your final piece, you go into the process more relaxed and reassured by your skills. You’re prepared both mentally and physically. You can draw small thumbnails of the final piece you’re working on to better plan the composition, or you can draw random things to get your hand moving. It really doesn’t matter so long as you’re getting that energy flowing and your hand moving. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I hate warming up... I get an idea in my head and I get so excited that I want to do it immediately. Sometimes that works out great, but most of the time it doesn’t.

Professional singers don’t go on stage without warming up their voices. Why would you jump into a drawing without warming up? You can’t expect your drawing to be decent when you haven’t properly prepared. Give yourself even a small amount of time and crank out some sketches in a sketchbook. They don’t have to be pretty sketches. In fact, the uglier they are the better. Get those stiff, wonky, terrible drawings out of the way so that you can go on to create something you will be proud of. Warming up is a small investment of time (and patience) but I promise it’s worth it.