Drawing Ideas for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Artists

Not sure what to draw? This post will provide you with some ideas. 

Nicolai Fechin Drawing
Nicolai Fechin Drawing

What to Look For in a Drawing Subject

Here are a few points to consider when deciding what to draw:

  • There are no boring subjects. Even a simple egg or apple can make for a great drawing subject. Look close enough and you’ll see the subtle transitions between light and shadow, the textures, and tiny imperfections.
  • Focus on artistic elements-light, shadow, form, shape, pattern, etc.- rather than what the objects represent.
  • The subject can change dramatically by simply changing the light.
  • You are never too advanced to practice the basics. If you think you are too advanced for a simple exercise like drawing an egg, then try drawing an egg with a perfect rendering of light and shadow. You might find that there’s always room for improvement.

Beginner Drawing Ideas

Here are some beginner drawing ideas. These are simple in terms of shape, form, and contrast.

  • An egg with a single dominant light source.
  • A coffee mug.
  • An apple or orange.
  • A wallet.
  • A book (closed or open).
  • Simple forms, like a box.

Intermediate Drawing Ideas

Here are some intermediate drawing ideas. These will require more accuracy with your drawing and a better understanding of light and shadow.

  • A still life with up to three fruit.
  • A pair of shoes.
  • Flowers.
  • A Bicycle
  • A chair.
  • A skull.
  • A glass cup.
  • A statue.
  • An animal (dog, cat, cow, etc.).
  • Simple landscapes.

Advanced Drawing Ideas

Here are some advanced drawing ideas. These are challenging by nature and will require more time to complete. They tend to be dynamic, so you will need to be flexible in your approach.

  • The human figure (with a focus on the gesture).
  • The human figure (with a focus on individual parts).
  • An intricate tree.
  • Complex landscapes.
  • Complex interior scenes.
  • Complex still life setups.

A Drawing Can Be as Complex as You Want to Make It

You can increase or decrease the complexity of a drawing depending on how carefully you render it.

Drawing an egg is perfect for beginners. But drawing an egg with perfectly rendered lights and shadows is much more advanced. Just as a full-rendered figure drawing is usually reserved for advanced artists. But even a beginner can draw the basic shapes, forms, and gestures of a figure.

General Tips

  • Don’t worry about the finished product when practicing. The practice is what’s important. If you’re always focused on drawing masterpieces, you’ll never relax and improve.
  • If in doubt, draw whatever is around you.
  • Always keep a pencil and drawing pad with you.
  • Turn drawing into a habit. Perhaps you can carve out 10 minutes of drawing time in the morning before everyone wakes up, or at night once they have all gone to bed.
  • A little bit of practice every day is better than a lot of practice every now and then.

Additional Readings

Steve Huston’s Figure Drawing for Artists

Simple Drawing Exercises

Gesture Drawing Guide

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it! Feel free to share with friends. If you want more painting tips, check out my Painting Academy course.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott
Draw Paint Academy


Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.