Free Hand Drawings

Free hand drawing is a drawing drawn without using instruments like ruler, template, stencil or a pair of compasses.


The book “Basics Freehand Drawing” was published on May 22, 2017. “Florian Afflerbach” is the author of this amazing book. Basics Freehand Drawing tells that the importance of free hand drawing for educating architects is mostly underestimated. This craft is basic for any designer. The way of your drawing shows what you think, see and observe. The design ideas can easily and quickly clarified and displayed in few strokes. This book explains a step-by-step procedure to develop a perspective design from the initial structure of an image to various sketching or drawing techniques. It also describes the use of colors.


Florian Afflerbach was born in 1980 and passed too early in 2016, at the age of 35. He was an architect, sketcher and a teacher. His self-chosen was to revive the art of free hand drawing, especially for students of architectures. He was an architect and assistant professor of the Department of Spatial Design and Design at the University of Siegen and the assistant professor of the Architecture Department at the University of Dortmund. He delivers his words through pen and watercolor brushes. Florian won prizes and awards for many of his designs. During an interview with the magazine “Baunetzwoche” in 2013, he said that:
“I only draw what fascinates me. This is why an overview of my drawings is a perfect reflection of myself”.


Drawing is a kind of visual art in which artists use instruments to mark paper or other 2-dimensional surface. Drawing instruments include pen, graphite pencils, paints, ink, crayons, chalk, brush, charcoal, colored pencils, markers, erasers, pastel and stylus. Digital drawing is done by using a computer to draw. Common methods of digital drawings are stylus or finger-to-touchpad, finger on the touchscreen device, and mouse. You can also do various digital art programs. Drawing is most commonly done on a paper. Cardboard, leather, plastic, wood, board and canvas are also used for drawings. It has become a popular and fundamental source of public expression throughout human history. It is one of the simplest and most efficient means of communicating ideas. An artist who works in technical drawing is known as drafter or draughtsman. Drawing is simply concerned with the marking of lines or shapes onto the paper or other material. Drawing is divided into several different categories such as cartooning, figure drawing, free hand and doodling. It also has many methods like shading, stippling, line drawing and tracing. Freehand drawings which are quick and unrefined are usually called as “sketch”.


It is one of the oldest form of human expression. It is considered that around 30,000 years ago drawing was used as a form of communication before the discovery of the written language. These were known as “pictograms”. In the 12th century, monks in European monasteries used intricate drawings to illustrated, illuminated manuscripts on parchment and vellum. Drawing has also been extensively used in the field of science. Diagrams are the important part of scientific study. In 1609, an Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei explained the changing phases of Venus through his observational telescopic drawings. In start artists used and reused wooden tablets for their drawings. Then after 14th century, availability of papers became easier and the use of drawings in the arts increased.
It became significant as an art form around the late 15th century, with artists like Albrecht Dürer and Martin Schongauer (c. 1448-1491). Drawings of landscapes or genre scenes were often observed. There was mostly no religious art work.


Drawing is a very creative way to express the thoughts and feelings of an artist. There are innumerable styles of drawing to be explored and studied. Some are detailed and require a lot of patience, while others work well when the artist is able to be loose and free with their strokes. A good artist never stick to just one type of drawing, but he experiment freely in order to stretch his skills. Some of the different types of drawings are:

Line drawing or line art is a kind of drawing that consists of only straight or curved lines placed against a plain background. It does not require shading or coloring. It is mostly monochromatic. Line drawing indicates the edge of a two-dimensional (flat) shape or a three-dimensional form. A shape can be indicated by means of an outline (2 dimension) and a three-dimensional form can be indicated by contour lines.

During 19th century, in print magazines (Punch Magazine in 1843) cartoons were used as a comical illustration. It is sometimes animated, non-realistic or semi-realistic type of drawing. Cartoon is referred as an image or series of images intended for satire and humor. Cartoon strips, or commonly called comic strips, are found daily in the newspaper worldwide. Political cartoons serve visual commentaries on political events.
cartoon drawing

Doodle can also be called as “scribble”. These simple drawings may have representational meanings or may just consist of random lines, generally without lifting the drawing device from the paper. According to a review of over 9,000 submitted doodles, nearly 2/3rd of respondents recalled doodling when in a “tense or restless state” as a means to reduce those feelings. Leonardo da Vinci, a great artist, is known for his doodle.

Sketch is a freehand drawing; it is quick and mostly unfinished work. An artist record an idea for later use usually draws it. It is generally a prescribed part of the studies of art students. The sketchbooks of some artists are well known such as Edgar Degas and Leonardo Da Vinci. It is also a form of communication in industrial designing and in some other areas of product design.

A portrait is a sculpture, painting, photograph or other artistic representation of any person, in which face and its expressions are predominant. When an artist create a portrait of himself, it is known as self-portrait. The Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten’s sculptor Bak, who carved a representation of himself and his wife Taheri in 1365 BC, created the first self-portrait.

A gesture drawing is a laying in of the form, action and pose of a figure or model. It is a series of poses taken by a model in a short amount of time, often as little as 10 seconds, or as long as 5 minutes. The primary purpose of gesture drawing is to facilitate the study of the human figure in motion. Purpose is to train hands to sketch what the eyes have already seen. The practice allows an artist to draw spontaneous poses.

Technical drawing or drafting is the act of composing drawings that visually shows how something is constructed or functions. This type of drawing is mostly used as communicating ideas in industries. Artist uses familiar symbols, units of measurement, perspectives, visual style, notation system and page layout, to make the drawing easier for other people. For example, architectural drawing is a technical drawing of a building project. Other examples are engineering drawing, mechanical system drawing, electrical drawing, scientific illustration etc.

The word contour means “outline”. In this type of drawing artist sketches the style of a subject by drawing lines that result in a drawing that is actually an outline. Contour drawing convey three-dimensional perspective of length, width, depth and thickness. Contour drawing is considered as an essential technique because it is a strong foundation for any painting or drawing. In blind contour drawing, artist draws a contour of an image without looking at the paper.


Free hand means to do things without being controlled by other, or freedom to do things. Similarly, free hand drawing means to draw any image on a paper without the use of guides, tools or instrument such as rulers, protectors, tracing, compasses or stencils. Just use your hands to freely draw on a paper, board or canvas. This form of drawing can only done by means of hand and eye coordination. This require a lot of practice, time, patience, a smooth motion of hands, some shading skills and good observation skills. Below are some useful tips for free hand drawing that will help you.


Your observation power is one the most important things in free hand drawing. Take a good look on your surroundings. Continuously go on observing everything closely. Notice buses, people, trains, landscape, birds, trees, animals etc.


Keep your mind blank and loosen up your drawing motions. Draw circles in smooth motion on a paper; do not rest your palm. Hold pencil with your fingers and draw circles all over the paper. Similarly, draw horizontal, diagonal and vertical lines in a same manner. Do this practicing every day to make your drawing skills better.


Always keep a sketchbook and pencil with you. Look at your surroundings. See people at train station and sketch them. Just scribble the subjects like birds, landscape, trains, people, buildings etc. This will improve your drawing skills.


If now you get better at your drawings, then learn shading. Shading is actually adding light colors and shadows to your sketches. Sketch the highlights, shadows, and other tones on the subject, to add more depth to it.


Rather than using free hand drawing software like adobe, first practice your skills on paper. Before going digital, stick to the basic drawing instruments (pencil and paper).


If you get stuck on any subject and want help, then instead of sulking, seek advice from your drawing teacher or artists. You can also show your sketches to your friend who is good at sketching.


Start with an easy method to draw a duck on a paper then go for harder ones. A duck can be drawn simply by following the steps written below:

• Duck’s head is same as the upper part of “question mark”. Use your pencil and draw the upper part of question mark on the left side of paper. This is the duck’s head and part of neck.
• Make a line on the upper end of head and then drag the line going inwards slightly and then down.
• Now, add a body by drawing a curved line from the neck backwards. When reached to the end, curve your line up just a little bit to add a tail.
• Drag the curved line of the tail to the front of the duck’s neck. This will also a curved line. When you get to the duck’s neck, connect the lines to complete the outline of your duck.
• Now you have a complete outline of duck. Make a little curve line on the beak area. Add a small straight line down the lower half of the beak to mark out the opening.
• Draw a small dot in the upper corner of the beak to mark the nostrils.
• In the upper part of the duck’s head, draw a small round circle; this is the eye of duck.
• Give your duck wings by drawing a curved line from the front of the body to the back of the body.
• Now do a little shading of duck. Your duck is ready.


• Draw a circle in the upper part of a paper and a vertical, slightly curved, line, which is the stem of flower.
• Divide the circle by a number of lines that will shaped for petals.
• Draw smaller circle in the middle of the larger circle. Also, make two leaves on the both side of stem.
• Draw petals of the flower using U shaped lines starting from the middle small circle.
• Erase the unnecessary lines. Flower is drawn; now shade it.


What are the basic tools for drawing?
Simple tools require for drawing are graphite pencil, eraser, stencil or template, ruler, and drawing compass.

What is 3D drawing?
3D Drawing is a method of mapping three-dimensional points to a two-dimensional plane. Graphic designers, architects, and civil construction professionals commonly use 3D drawing technique. It allows builders to tackle the geometric elements of width, height, and depth.


Free hand drawing is one of the simplest form of drawing, but this also require practice and time. This drawing is done without using tools and guides like rulers, templates, compasses etc. only pencil, pen, crayon, and colors are used on sheet.


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