When I feel like putting together a composition, whether it be for a painting or a starkly-crisp black and white drawing, I find that looking at random images and sketching them really gets the juices flowing. Today I’m going to give you the opportunity to do the same.
I’ve put together 100 images of different fun things to draw for you to start out sketching. You don’t have to reproduce them completely. If you see 2 or 3 things that you like, get creative and put them together on paper – literally if you like. Composition comes from within, so if you feel like sketching them separately or melding a few into something new then go wild with it.
It only takes a spark and I think that you might just be surprised where your inspiration takes you!
Take one or more of things below and transform them into something new
Item#1 – Pirate Flag
The good old Jolly Roger is easy to make and fun. A simple skull and crossbones and a tattered flag ready to top your pirate ghost ship as it sinks into the seas. Getting the tatters just right takes more practice than you’d think so this is a fun novice evercise.
Item#2 – Nautilus shell
A nautilus shell takes a little more detail than a pirate flag and it’s a great drawing exercise as well. Draw the outline first and then either use your rule or a practiced eye to ensure that the spirals come out correctly.
Item#3 -The human hand
Drawing a human hand in detail is good practice. You’ve got to deal with the shapes and the shading and make it look natural. Hands are tricky until you’ve have a little practice so try this if you’ve never drawn one close-up.
Item#4 – Parasol
Parasols are a fun way to go from a partial sphere into something more substantial. Take it apart mentally into it’s components shapes and draw those first. Then take your eraser and a few firm pencil strokes and voilla! You’ve got a parasol!
Item#5 – Elephant Mandala
Mandalas have a lot of fine, symmetrical details that make them an ideal exercise for the budding or even seasoned artist. Transforming them into shapes like the elephant mandala is also a fun way to let loose with your creativity.
Item#6 – Zebra stripes
Stripes are useful for more than just zebras and you aren’t limited to black and white colors. Try filling some empty areas of a sketch with some zebra stripes and experiment showing depth within them to get a little advanced.
Item#7 – Patterned leaves
Patterns crammed unnaturally close together draw the eyes attention, as we naturally see patterns in just about everything. Sometimes you can even hide other images inside for subtle signatures in your artwork.
Item#8 – Mandala
I like drawing mandalas sometimes when I’m uncertain what I feel like drawing next. They feel like a marriage between floral and snowflake shapes and they are just plain fun to draw and the symmetry makes it easy to think and to be inspired.
Item#9 – Simple flowers
A simple grouping of flowers, leaves, and grass is a good basic exercise that will come in useful the next time that you are doing a natural landscape.
Item#10 – Cat
Cats have a number of delightful expressions. Whether it is surprised, affection, or expressing a hunting intent, with the hairs and expressions they are always fun things to draw.
Item#11 – Feather
Feathers are another form that is hard to draw until you’ve had a little practice. That’s because a lone feather has a little bit of symmetry and a little bit or disarray for you to capture.
Item#12 – Woodcut style hand
Not just for Monty Python fans, the old ‘medieval woodcut pointing finger’ has an interesting array of shading built completely out of curved, spaced lines.
I also like drawing Ravens. These clever birds with their broad wings and short, squared tails get easier with practice and look amazing when you spend a little extra work on their knowing eyes.
Item#14 – Jazz scenes
Drawing stylized people and places is great for personal art and as practice for advertisements. Get creative and draw a night in a jazz bar with this woman present and accounted for.
Item#15 – Wise old owls
Drawing an owl up close teaches you the shapes that you need to mimic to add smaller owls into your twilight landscape scenes.
Item#16 – Trees
Another landscape must-have, the more different trees that you can draw the richer your landscapes will be. Eventually, you can put the correct trees for a region with a completely fictional creation.
Item#17 – Dragon silhouette
Silhouettes are another favorite of mine because you have to put as much detail as you can away with to add a little dimension to a very limited outline. It helps you to think 3-dimensionally.
Item#18 – Angel
Angels are interesting to draw and if you get bored, you can draw humans with bat wings. Sometimes it’s just about having a little fun while sharpening up your skills at the very same time.
Item#19 – Radiant sunburst
I love the exaggeration in pictures like this. See how the wavy lines are accentuated with shading and trapped between the solid rays. That’s a serious sunrise coming up right there!
Item#20 – Halloween cat
Cartoon silhouettes can be just as much fun things to draw as fantasy or realistic ones. I have to admit a weakness for doodling Halloween art in between more serious projects. It comes in handy when Halloween comes, too.
Item#21 – Monster
Shaggy monsters are fun too! Getting creative and drawing something that doesn’t exist outside of your notebook is one of the perks of being an artist. This one has some obvious simian elements, as you can see. Try making your own monsters out of some animals that you know that you already draw and see what happens.
Item#22 – Smoking lips
Lone body parts have a lot of power when you draw them right and these lips are a great example. See how much attitude comes without even having the whole face? Expressive lips are extremely good practice if you have plans to draw any photorealistic art at some point.
Ferns and similar plants are always good practice or if you’ve already got them down, a great thing to doodle all over (especially in places they don’t belong) until the idea-genie grants you your wish!
Item#24 – Basic bee
This is a basic top-view of a bee that you can draw and as your skills get honed, you can modify to include much greater detail than the initial shapes that you learned with.
Item#25 -Gnarled old tree
Winter trees are fun to draw and can add a starkness to landscapes when you want a little creepy feel thrown into the picture. Learning how branches are supposed to go is very important, as well, so these are worth practicing.
Item#26 – Patterned saint
A fun exercise in detail, crafting pictures made up of concentric lines and swirls can make a somewhat dull picture much more interesting and eye-catching.
Item#27 – Eyes
Eyes are always fun and the more detail the better. With pen and ink or pencils you get to do a lot of interesting shading to give a knowing look to that collection of curves which everyone instantly recognizes.
Item#28 – Moths
Moths are also fun to sketch, with their natural colors lending perfectly to pencil sketches. There are a number of them that you can easily google and sketch to striking effect.
Item#29 – Rabbits
Drawing animals is always fun and bunnies are no exception. These playful little guys can be hidden in grass in your landscapes just waiting for the attentive viewer to find and be delighted by.
Item#30 – Nautilus #2
Another beautiful exercise in natural beauty for you to draw, this nautilus shell has a little more detail but a bit less shading. These are also fun to draw with something coming out of the end… but what? That’s for you to decide.
Item#31 – Winter scenes
Peaceful winter scenes are perhaps considered a little trite, but they are still a good exercise in composition. Besides, who’s to say that you can’t draw a tiny, concerned face peeking out from the cracked door?
Item#32 – German shepherd
Like cats, dogs are also quite expressive and drawing different breeds is great practice. You can also earn points (and occasionally cash) from dog owners by sketching their pets for them!
Item#33 -Antique style rhino
I love to sketch animals from old bestiaries. If you aren’t familiar with those, they are early depictions of newly discovered or even fictional animals. Do a Google search for ‘Aberdeen bestiary’ and you can access one online to practice with for free!
Item#34 – House in the woods
Sketching homes is another useful exercise, as you might want to paint them on occasion. There are many, many styles of houses freely depicted online and in books that you can practice on at your leisure.
Item#35 -Fun with cartoons
Even the most serious of artists needs a break every now and again and little cartoons like this depiction of Pinocchio with an obvious bird problem are a great way to let go of stress in between more serious projects.
Item#36 -Stylized horses
Pictures like this example with 2 horses are a fun way to teach yourself to capture shapes with as minimal work as you can. This is a very useful skill later when you have to draw something that you’ve never seen before. Breaking everything down to their essential shapes is key.
Item#37 – Petal practice
Flowers come in many shapes and sizes and learning to make the basic shapes gives you something that you can build upon to eventually make your flora more unique and beautiful.
Item#38 – Tigers
Tigers are fun for their stripes and you can find a number of examples on the web to keep you busy. Learning to accentuate tiger musculature by the way the stripes run is also a fun exercise.
Item#39 – Fill in the bird
Here is a basic bird outline that you can draw and then use in order to practice drawing plumage. When you get good at birds, try drawing them with colored pencils. The results are sometimes nothing short of amazing.
Item#40 – Antique advertisements
Old-school advertisements are also fun to sketch. Seen in the back of old comic books or magazines, they have a distinctive style that can be a lot of fun if enjoy these adverts already.
Item#41 – Antique bicycle
If you like doing steampunk art, learn how to draw an antique bicycle. These are simple in their basic shapes and you can add all sorts of interesting thing to ‘punk them up.
Item#42 – Child and dog silhouette-style
This is another fine example of how silhouettes may be drawn to show a depth that normally takes a lot of creative shading. The easiest way to do it is to draw the scene lightly as normal and then fill in the shapes.
Item#43 -Cloth draped table
Interesting to look at, pics like these let you depict folds and creases in cloth and depending on what is around them, they can add depth to a depiction.
Item#44 – Loud depictions
Cartoonish, yet serious, some depictions are obviously exaggerated but they simply jump off the page like this man with his Molotov cocktail. The lines behind magnify the aggression and indicate motion, which is another fun trick to learn to do if you can do it with style!
Item#45 – Fern shading practice
Here we have another fern with some more pronounced shading, which is excellent practice for any artist. See how the shading brings the black and white picture to life? It’s always impressive when you don’t need color to promote realism in your drawings.
Item#46 – Woodcut scenes
Woodcut scenes are fun to draw and not overly complicated. For those artists who are parents out there, they are also a great way to make coloring books at home for the kids!
Item#47 -Bird of peace
Here we have a peaceful bird in stark contrast with the black. Why not draw this with a symbol of war in contrast as well, centered inside? Alternately, you could make another bird for this one to chase!
Item#48 – Absurb cartoons
Cartoons are hard to resist. Not only can you make a statement but you get a chance to fiddle around with absurd depictions. If you happen upon something really interesting, then you also have a blueprint for a more realistic,creepy depiction built upon it.
Item#49 – Buffalo silhouette
If you like doing Native American style art or just including symbols of it, a Buffalo silhouette can come in handy. Mostly, of course, I really like drawing silhouettes and so I’m sharing it here.
Item#50 – Forest scene
This lovely forest scene has a little of everything. Angles, curves, shading… I honestly prefer close-up woods depictions such as these to wider landscapes. There always seems to be so much more going on.
Item#51 – Western towns
Here we have an old sheriff’s office in some unnamed western town. Drawing towns can be fun things to draw, especially ghost-towns with a rolling tumbleweed thrown in for a little flavor.
Item#52 – Interesting shapes
Look for as many interesting shapes as you can for sketching because they really add a flavor to your art over time. Developing an eye for the odd will serve you well and nature really provides there.
Item#53 – Mountain scene
Here we have a majestic mountain with some pines scattered about, helping to create perspective, and the fun part– the reflections in the water. I love drawing reflections, even when are simple (though reflections in disturbed, rippling water are the most fun, I think!).
Item#54 – Cartoon fun
It’s a basic pic but let’s face it, it is interesting to look at and that is what you are going for. The old man is reading a book with his birds and that’s just not something that you see every day.
Item#55 – Mannequin practice
If you don’t have a small human figure mannequin to practice poses with, I highly recommend that you get one. They help you to draw more natural human form by practicing with the simple shapes that make it up.
Item#56 – Patriotic practice
Feeling patriotic? Here’s an eagle with a banner so that you can write whatever slogan that you like– be it inspiring or even with statements of protest. What you put in your drawings is, of course, up to you!
Item#57 – Step pyramid
Here we have a nice step pyramid that you can use to draw an interesting, exotic scene of your own Googling pictures of old ruins is a great way to find practice material when you feel like you’re always drawing the same old things lately.
Item#58 – Exercise in shapes
Here we have some basic shapes transformed into a depiction of the future! Taking the shapes that you’ve learned and making new things with them is always fun… it never gets old.
Item#59 – Logo style
Pictures that take obvious shapes and solidify them into something recognizable, but obviously not realistic, are fun to do and great practice for making logos.
Item#60 – Detailed flower
Close-up, detailed flowers are beautiful and this picture is a great example of something that you can draw that incorporates some light shading and a whole lot of detail. See if you can draw this in one go and capture the same detail.
Item#61 – Fantasy art
Fantasy art is fun to draw and doesn’t have to be limited to ‘realistic’ depictions. Sometimes it’s a chance to break out silhouettes and stylized depiction to really catch the eye.
Item#62 – Eagle
Birds are always fun, take this swooping eagle for example. While it’s not highly detailed, it captures the basic shape that you need to learn in order to move up to more detailed depictions. Can you draw it with a fish or a rat in it’s claws?
Item#63 – Branch detail
Here is a tree branch in a little more detail. Anytime that you can doodle nature in a way that looks interesting and realistic always feels nice and it’s excellent practice.
Item#64 – Fun with contrast
Simple pen and ink or dark pencil black and whites can be made all the more interesting with a bit of color. The blue around these figures really makes them pop off of the page and that’s what you are going for.
Item#65 – More fun with contrast
Here is another example where just a touch of color makes an enormous difference. The red in her lips immediately draws your attention followed by the lighter contrast of gray in the eyes.
Item#66 – Medieval depictions
I like medieval art, especially when skeletons or demons tempting saints get thrown in. They’re fun to draw and no one can give you grief because they decorate a lot of classical art. It gives you an excuse to let your inner child out with powerful, new adult skills.
Item#67 -More cartoon mischief
Here is another example of making cartoons a little more interesting. Though it’s simple in nature, it’s fun to look at. We have a little old woman writing in her book as the sun rises and it’s not complicated, but it makes you look!
Item#69 – Shrouded figures
Here is an incomplete, shrouded figure which you can draw as-is or get a little practice on faces by putting someone recognizable inside it. Give it a go and see what comes out, you might just surprise yourself!
Item#70 – More mannequins
Here are some more mannequins for you to practice with that you can draw lightly and use to make normal people if you like… or you can keep them as mannequins. I think they look interesting.
Item#71 – Avenging angel
Here we have an avenging angel, presumably St. Michael, which you can draw for a little fun. Angels are always a pleasure to draw, though my favorite are the compassionate, weepy variety as they can evoke a lot of emotion if rendered carefully.
Item#72 -Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead pictures are good practice for you. They combine a lot of curves and angles, often thrown into the middle of some contrasting color. Google ‘Day of the Dead’ and you can get a lot of great examples to practice with.
Item#73 – Jester on a box
Here we have a mean little jester sitting mischievously upon a box. You can put him anywhere in your drawing, of course. I just like drawing the mean little guy and thought you might enjoy him as well.
Item#74 – Another wise old owl
Here is another depiction of a wise old owl, though the shading really gives him sort of a ‘fluffy’ look. Facially, he’s practically like an Ewok from Star Wars!
Item#75 – Japanese fan
Here is a simple Japanese fan that you can draw. Sometimes drawing singular objects, especially graceful ones or objects that inspire a particular train of thought and create something that draws the attention. Not all drawings have to be complex, so see what you can do with some simple things.
Item#76 – Interesting shading
You should create a folder on your computer and call it ‘shading’. Reserve it for saving black and white pictures that you see which have interesting shading, like this fern. This gives you a lot of practice material. Mastering shading can really open up your art, so practice whenever you get the chance.
Item#77 – Anime foxes
Anime style drawings are fun things to draw and these sad foxes are no exception with their large, mournful eyes and downcast faces. If you’ve never tried any anime drawings, give this one a try and see if you like it.
Item#78 – Ear
Here’s another body part that people get wrong all the time, even though they see them every day. See if you can draw this ear and do a little Googling to draw some other ears. Every detail that you learn to capture is important and makes a lot of difference in your finished works.
Item#79 – Horses
Here’s a nice black and white horse that is shaded in without a lot of scribbling, but rather the artful arrangement and congruence of simple lines. Try doing your shading in this style in some of your next work and see if you like it. Sometimes it makes the shading more interesting.
Item#80 – Evocative imagery
Notice how the hole and the debris grab your attention and then your mind wraps around the source of the destruction and goes ‘hey…brick!’. Adding minute milliseconds in processing imagery has an impact, as you can see.
Item#81 – Female silhouette
Here is a simple silhouette of a woman leaning against a wall. Human silhouettes are a lot of fun and they can even be incorporated in ‘regular’ scenes. For instance, a silhouette of someone changing behind a screen while a fully-rendered person in the room looks on.
Item#82 – Splashes of color
Here is a very striking example of what you can do by incorporating color along with black and white. This picture really pops out of the page with it’s photorealistic quality contrasted on both sides. Get out your colored pencils and see if you can draw this or something similar!
Item#83 – Tribal art
Tribal art is a fun thing that you can draw and as you can see, a nice, loud color really contrasts without taking from the drawing itself.
Item#84 -Capturing the essence
Try drawing in a minimalist style like you see with this dog. Here, the basic shapes are captured with as few lines as possible, and yet it is quite obvious what is being depicted. It sounds easy, but you might find that it takes a little more practice than you think.
Item#85 – More absurd cartooning
Here is another example where cartooning can be quite clever. The man with the coattails fits right in with the birds… up until he doesn’t. Subtlety like this can be used in a number of ways and is certainly not limited to cartoons, so practicing drawings like these can teach you some useful skills.
Item#86 – Woodcut shading
Woodcut-style artwork incorporates a lot of shading and shadow and is quite interesting in it’s own right. You’ll use up a lot of ink or grind down your pencils a bit drawing woodcuts but they really look striking when you are done.
Item#87 – A touch of red
A touch of red takes this from a simple drawing right up into being a work of art. It’s not a complicated picture and there’s not a whole lot of color, but what color there is has been judiciously used.
Item#88 – Celebrity sketches
Sketching celebrities is an advanced exercise that can yield some fun results. Here is a sketch of James Dean, for instance, that you can try your hand at reproducing. Capturing iconic faces is harder than it looks, but it’s great practice!
Item#89 – Sketching the classics
You can always sketch classical depictions and there is never a shortage of them for you to try. Classical portraiture teaches form and proportions and helps you to master realistic faces.
Item#90 – Absurdity is just plain fun
If you can’t tell, little absurd depictions like this are really a favorite of mine and you can have a lot of fun with them too. Just don’t draw your friend’s faces on an animal in this way unless they have a good sense of humor!
Item#91 – Mannequin crawling
Here is another great mannequin pose for novices to draw and later transform into a crawling human. Get yourself one of these little wooden mannequins, they really help a lot!
Item#92 – Put surprises in your pictures
We’ve got two normal things here. Rabbits and a person. Now, make it appear that rabbits are coming out of his mouth and you are going to evoke a response. This is a blunt example but this kind of imagery is a good foundation for later, sneakier surprises in your art.
Item#93 – Master shading
As your shading skills progress you can accomplish much, much more. Take a look at this picture and try your hand at drawing it. The shading turns the cartoony characters into something much more formidable, I think.
Item#94 – Pictures that tell a story
Making people think is an important part of art and pictures like these do exactly that. Where are those people going? Provoking questions is the name of the game, so try drawing something similar that makes people curious and see what you can come up with.
Item#95 – Dog silhouette
Another silhouette for you to practice, here we have an alert dog, tail obviously between his legs and ears up as if something has caught his attention.
Item#96 – A parade of shapes
Here we have a human figure, crudely drawn, along with some interesting, but simple shapes arranged around him. Without those shapes it would be a boring picture and there’s an important lesson in that.
Item#97 – Depicting depth
This simple heart design loos wooden and uses the proximity of the radiating lines to depict shading and depth. Try drawing it yourself and then draw another object, shading only with lines like you see here.
Item#98 – Old, majestic houses
Drawing large, interesting houses is always fun things to draw, expecially if you can inject a lot of realism in them. While color depictions about, stark black and white portrayals of everyday things just seem to have so much more weight to them.
Item#99 –Fairy and mouse
Here is a simple, but delightful picture of a fairy brushing a mouse’s fur that you can draw or use as a framework for drawing something a little more detailed. It is also fun to take a simple design like this and use your colored pencils to put together a striking color combination to raise it above it’s simple construction.
See if you can take this and make it fancy!
Item#100 – Just having fun
Art doesn’t always have to be serious and sometimes you just need a break, so why not freehand something with very little gravity to it. Just cut loose and have a little fun, see what happens. If you’ve been practicing all day, you’ve certainly earned it.
So, are you inspired yet? Get drawing!
If you haven’t been sketched anything then go back to the beginning and start sketching at random. Pick something, even if it doesn’t initially inspire you, and make it into something interesting. Don’t weasel out of the exercise by saying you didn’t like ANY of 100 items to draw, that’s just being lazy.
Art is about expression and making something your OWN. You’ve got this. Now, what are you waiting for?
Aspiring Artist… it’s time to create!