Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go and drawings don’t have to be complex to be beautiful. So, what are some beautiful and simple drawings that you can do for practice? I like to recommend mandalas, medieval book illuminations, and simple nature scenes as a great way to practice.
Mandalas have a natural symmetry but still look quite striking, while sketching illuminations can teach the basics for how they are structured so that you may paint this classic art later. Finally, nature scenes can teach you how to make profound statements with simple beauty and natural arrangement.
Let’s talk about getting started and practicing these beautiful and simple drawings on your own!
Mandalas are spiritual symbols which come from Hinduism and from Buddhist but you can draw them for meaning or for practice… it’s your paper and pencil and so you are in charge. What makes them appealing is the combination of symbols and geometric shapes, arranged in a perfect symmetry.
They are deceptively simple and perfect looking, but harder to draw than you think, as you are going to need to break out your ruler and practice proportions so that you can get the uniform perfection across the whole of the mandala that you are drawing.
Getting started is easy, as you can Google ‘mandalas’ and find quite a few, or you can even ‘free form’ them as well. The word ‘mandala’ is actually just Sanskrit for ‘circle’, so take a square piece of paper and put a dot in the center of it, and start drawing circles radiating from that dotty center. Next, make a series of erasable lines starting from the edge of the first, smallest circle right up to the edges of the largest one.
Now you’ve got a basic framework to help to ensure that your designs are symmetrical and pleasing to the mind and the eye. Take a look at some of the examples on Google and play with your framework to see what kind of Mandalas you can make. Once you know how to section your page, you can really whip up some beautiful Mandalas, especially if you use your colored pencils!
Give it a try and see for yourself! If you’d like some more in-depth instruction, a nice 3rd party step-by-step article entitled ‘How to Draw simple, beautiful mandalas’ has been linked for your convenience.
A fun little skill that you can get started on learning is the drawing of ‘illuminations. You’ve seen them before, likely in museums or movies, but the term refers to ‘illuminated manuscripts’, which were simply handmade books that included art inside them, generally at the first page of a chapter but not uncommonly included throughout. They were called ‘illumination’ because they incorporated gold and silver in their actual paints, making them bright and shiny.
While you’ll only be sketching the forms, learning how to draw this prepares you for eventually painting them and this lost art is truly in need of a little resurrection. Imagine if one of your friends is a writer and you give them a nice, handmade book with illuminations you’ve made that hint at the chapters they are heading?
You could even take hardcover favorites of yours and rebind them, with illuminated pages. Even without rebinding, you’ve got a little space to work with in the corners of many books that you can get from the used bookstore.
It’s fun, looks amazing, and these drawings are quite beautiful in their simplicity. Take a look at the Aberdeen Bestiary, made viewable online by the University of Aberdeen. If you are looking for something unique to practice, illuminations are a lost art that’s well-due for a resurrection (religious pun noted but completely unintended!).
Nature is something that artists have tried to capture perfectly since the dawn of time – with varying levels of success. It’s a great subject, frankly, and for good reason. It’s easy to access when you want to find a pretty area to draw or to paint but it’s notoriously hard to capture perfectly.
It doesn’t even have to be complicated. A puddle after a quick, refreshing rain that is hosting a reflection of a cut-down tree sounds simple, but done right it can reflect the casual culling of nature in a profound way. A bunch of tiny birds at play with a cat stalking in stealthily nearby can also be a delight to compose and portray.
Sunrise and sunset, with the simple addition of a lake or a sea, can produce exciting results even while you are still learning your way around paint or colored pencils. So, when it comes to beautiful and simple, stick to the example we’ve all grown up with.
There’s no simpler beauty than the majesty of nature.
Some final words
When it comes to beautiful, simple drawings, I recommend mandalas, illuminations, and nature. With this combination you may practice symmetry, simplicity, and composition and quickly produce quite beautiful works with a little patience and practice.
Give each of these options a try and if you need a break, why not check out my guide 100 Fun Things To Draw For Practice And Fun to give yourself a little bit of a break by means of variety. Whatever you decide to draw, just keep practicing and your skill will surely grow.
You can count on it!