2D Learning and Practice


In my life-long quest of mastering art, music creation, writing, game development, programming, cooking, baking, languages, and hopefully even more (we’ll see how long my lifespan is, which is the only limiting factor to my ambitions to improve myself and learn new things), hand-drawn 2D art is consistently a thorn in my side.

Mainly because I’m not great at being consistent with it, I’m not good enough yet to enjoy it and so I tend to avoid it. I know I need to be more consistent, but it’s honestly not my top priority right now. Regardless, I’m going to upload stuff I do here as a way of documenting my progress for myself.

Old works

This was stroke practice- good 2D art requires steady strokes, which come from the shoulder, not the wrist. This is not an intuitive way to work, and it’s very different from writing, so it takes a lot of practice and your muscles will be very sore at first.
I made the cubes in Blender and then re-traced them by hand. I hated every second of it but it was definitely good for me- you can see an improvement in the steadiness of strokes from my first cube (bottom right) to my last (top).

This is a value study I did recently of my computer mouse.

This is a painting (digital) I did a while back. It’s not based on any specific location, rather, I wanted practice with a 2-point grid:

That is to say, I did this without specific reference. Not great work, to be honest, but documenting progress requires documenting the stuff you’re not proud of as well.

Another old work, practicing human proportions and outfit design. I really enjoy outfit design, it’s a fun part of art that I can enjoy in both 3D and 2D.

Another old digital painting that I think is awful, it’s with great reluctance that I share it here. I’m surprised I still have the file. Since unhappiness with your art is only productive if you learn something from it, rest assured that I have plenty of specific notes of things to improve and do better on all of this.

Lastly, a painting I did on my phone (fingers, no stylus) during my wife’s half of a 7 hour car drive:


I think it’s a good idea to document your progress. We can give you feedbacks and you’ll have an idea of where you came from and where you’re going. If you already have the knowledge to know that you have to be consistant, as for everything that you want to be good at, then you’re definitly on the right path !
I struggled a lot when I started my first year in architecture school, perspective is really hard ! But what made me “decent” at it is of course being consistant. Its such a nice feeling when you start to understand the perspective and the composition just by looking at it.
That being said, even though i’m far from a professional, I would highly recommand trying to draw with simple lines, not bothering with style or linestyle or anything, just to get a feeling of drawing perspective. But most of all, drawing real life references, pictures etc… before starting to create your own world. That could be done with your tablet and references images, or simply by always keeping a small notebook with you and drawing what you see on the street. Our teachers gave us this exercice to draw like a shit tone of things in the street, but each drawing should take us like 5 to 10 minutes maximum, and that definitly helped me experiment with different pen, pencils, watercolor, etc… and to not be afraid to fail, since it should only take me a few minutes of my time.
Anyway, I’m no professional but I hope my advice can be of any help. I’ll be following your progress !
Keep it up and have fun ahah


100%. I am well aware of the importance of starting with the absolute fundamentals. I should probably have mentioned in my original post- I’m no stranger to 2D art, I’ve been doing it on and off for probably 7 years at this point. Back in high school, I did hundreds, if not thousands, of those 5-minute simple line perspective exercises you’re talking about. I neglected my 2D studies during college and so lost a lot of progress. I’m still doing those simple perspectives exercises, I tried to curate what I shared here to more visually interesting things :slight_smile:

I really appreciate your advice, and as you’re someone I look up to very much artistically, I’m delighted to get your input :slight_smile:

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Ah I see, yeah its at the same time amazing and awful to see how quick you can lose your skills when you’re not practicing. In that case I hope you’ll find the motivation to do it often :slight_smile:
Thank you very much, I’m happy to hear that you like my stuff !

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Before I became addicted to Blender, most of the stuff I did was 2D digital art (still there to see on my website and Youtube channel - mostly with Corel Painter). I recently started doing a lot more real life pencil drawing. One thing I found is that 2D and 3D feed off each other. My post-Blender traditional or digital art is informed by the stuff I’ve picked up doing 3D over the past decade or so. Just random stuff like specularity or how different surfaces react to light. As a kid being “taught” art I can remember being told stuff about highlights, but no real specifics. Nothing about how smoother surfaces have smaller, sharper highlights. All that I’ve picked up from 3D stuff. It works the other way too. Most of the most accomplished Zbrush artists and sculptors tend to already be accomplished 2D artists.


I find matte painting/concept art to be a nice blend of 2D and 3D skills which helps keep me motivated to work on my 2D skills.

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I’ve noticed this as well, and I’m hoping as I’m more diligent about my 2D work I’ll be better in 3D :slight_smile:

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I hope someday to be good enough for matte painting, I’m a long way off though

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Doing paintovers is also a good way to practice painting skills. David Revoy (concept artist for Sintel) has a fairly old workshop, now on Blender Studio I think. He’s a great advocate for Krita, although I think he was using GIMP for that workshop.

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My first (and best) painting in a while. It was a guided class, quite fun. Highly recommend them


I combined my dislike of realism with my inexperience using reference properly (and my inexperience with 2D art) to paint this tree (reference from


I’m well aware that it doesn’t look particularly good, my goal was A- to get my feet wet with Krita, which I’ve installed but never opened, and B- practice sketching and value study. Someday I’ll be a good enough painter to add the appropriate level of detail, but for someone who’s essentially starting at square one, could be worse. Working in 3D helped a lot with the sketching- you’ll notice my sketch looks a lot like a wireframe :wink: I think my 3D experience is going to be a huge help in my 2D adventures, the lighting and basic forms of the tree just clicked in my head


Ten-minute sketch of a picture I just took in my backyard- I have a bad habit of spending way too long on sketches and getting lost in the details. @good_omen reminded me today that sketches should be loose, simple, but still convey a full idea.

So, I forced myself to stick to a time-limit, hence why it looks bad :sweat_smile: when I get back from church, assuming I have time after packing etc, I’ll use this sketch to block out a scene in Blender. Just cubes, no texturing. I need practice translating a 2D concept to 3D space.


I’ve assigned myself a daily curriculum - here’s my exercises for today.

You can see my curriculum (for what it is, it’s still quite unfinished) here:

The value studies are a simple exercise that I did ad nauseam in art class in high school- draw some lines, fill in certain parts to make a visually pleasing composition. My favorites from today are 5 and 3.

Alignment studies - the goal here is to have balanced visual weight through a mixture of alignment and (intentional) mis-alignment. 2 and 4 turned out well.

Cubes- again, old art class trick. Draw many cubes, every day. I made a lot of stupid mistakes with these ones, I’m seriously out of practice. I also have a tendency to overshoot lines, which I need to work on.

Done with a Uniball Vision fine point pen- probably my favorite pen, an honor that would go to the Uniball Vision Elite, except the ink takes a little to long to dry for my liking and can smear.


Great too see you updating this sketchbook!
For the cubes I’d suggest starting with perspective lines/drawing in the horizon line and 1point/2point etc. And after that drawing without them. This at least helped/helps me a lot to really see my mistakes.

Value studies seem helpful! Initially I thought you mean doing master studies with b/w values (which helps a ton), but I see how this helps more in a graphic/design-way.


That’s actually a really good point, and I do plan on doing that :slight_smile: my goal with the cubes right now mainly is be able to draw straight lines again and draw them without overshooting, but you’re right, perspective points will help with both.

Yeah “value studies” as in black and white artworks are extremely useful and I do those all the time, but that is slightly different from what I meant :sweat_smile:

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I assume you already heard this advice and follow it, but “ghosting” the lines 2-3 times before actually drawing them helps a ton. I think Drawabox mentions it, too. And not being too slow. “Practice” the line over the paper and then draw it full of confidence. But as mentioned this is common advice so sorry if you’re thinking “what is she talking about, everyone knows that” :laughing:

Yeah, master studies are challenging (for me) but definitely valuable. And flipping the images upside down so you train your eye to only see shapes, not what is associated with the shapes etc.

Your notion calendar is inspiring :slight_smile:


Yay, an update!

Drawabox is a really good source that teaches “line confidence” - first two lessons were an eye-opening experience for me <3 Requires tons of discipline though to build up the muscle memory… and fight bad drawing habits in the first place …and not drop the practice at some point… :sweat_smile: …and then cry that your hands turned into uncontrollable noodles…

…I’m telling myself that I’ll start properly practicing again aaany day now


Day 2 of my self-imposed curriculum

Today my assignment was to read Picture This: Perception and Composition by Molly Bang, and follow along with my own version. I’ll be doing this exercise again three or four times, IIRC. I was planning on doing this with cut paper, but I don’t have any colored paper and it’s far too much work to color paper by hand, so I did it digitally. Here’s a short excerpt from the story of Cinderella:

The important thing here is that everything - colors, shapes, angles, sizes- is a deliberate choice with meaning behind it. I could, if asked, explain why I did any X thing on here. This took over an hour to do- not because it’s terribly complex or difficult, but because rationalizing my choices, and making better choices when I couldn’t, was surprisingly difficult. It required a lot thought and deliberation- I can honestly say more than I usually use- so this was very good for me :slight_smile:

Curriculum: https://josephhansen.notion.site/19ee3024ba4a4b219f448919d34bcbe9?v=3216a3702f464f0e822463fc4dbb7059


Still terrible at cubes, but my overshooting is starting to get better :slight_smile: I tried adding perspective lines but my paper isn’t big enough, still, it’s definitely helpful. Now off I go to do 50 or so more, hooray!


Nice going so far and yeah goes without saying it’s a lifetime pursuit of excellence, putting into practice foundational artistic tenets :scream:

Anyhow, ever considered tracing something you like or would like too draw by simply tracing an outline of it via an image then freehand filling in the blank spaces, during your self-learning odyssey?

I mean If nothing else certainly takes the edge off when things start to get a bit testy plus also for clarity’s sake, Renaissance and Baroque Masters when apprenticed would train hand eye coordination alongside other facets of the respective trade copying work typically rendered by their own guild Master artist.