How to stay creative at home – getting started with drawing

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It’s safe to say we all have a bit of extra time on our hands these days, and while there’s nothing wrong with making your way through Netflix, it’s good to find a hobby that takes you away from your many screens, even if just for a little while.

That’s why we asked Illustrator, Edinburgh College of Art Alumna and Merchandise Co-ordinator in the Visitor Centre, Victoria Ball, to share her top tips for drawing at home, even if you’ve never done it before.

Getting started

A lot of people tend to give up at the first hurdle: ‘what shall I draw?’ but anything can be your subject matter – a view from the window, your work from home set up, your kitchen cupboards, a pet, family member or friend (anyone you’re self-isolating with), plants, flowers, your favourite book cover, your lunch, etc. Scroll through your Instagram feed, Pinterest, or your camera roll if you prefer to draw from images over real-life subjects.

A work in progress of a drawing of a plant.

Next choose your materials. Anything can become a surface to draw on – a notebook, scrap piece of paper, inside of a cereal box – even the notes on your phone probably has a drawing tool, if you fancy trying out digital drawing.

What drawing tools do you have lying around? A set of coloured pencils or felt tips are great, but drawing can be done with just a biro if that is all you have. There are no rules.

Start with a rough sketch to get shapes down onto the paper. This is often a good way to loosen up your creative muscles before jumping right in with a ‘finished’ drawing. You want to focus on what you want to include in the illustration and perhaps there are parts of the scene that you want to miss out.

Start to add in details slowly. Focus on shapes and lines, rather than what the finished drawing looks like. Add details by picking out textures, shading, patterns, and any text within the drawing. Don’t put pressure on yourself for it to look good – this is about taking time to relax and enjoy being creative!

A work in progress of a drawing of a cat.

Other creative ideas

Experiment with colours and be playful with your illustrations. You don’t have to create a drawing that is true to life! Choose one or two colours to work with – these could be contrasting colours such as red and green or orange and blue, or similar colours such as pink and red for a softer feel to the illustration.

Challenge yourself. Draw with your ‘wrong’ hand for a wobbly drawing. Perhaps you want to develop your skills and perfect this talent over the coming weeks.

Start a scrapbook or drawing journal to document your time working from home. Take five minutes to do a quick sketch of something from your day. Maybe you made a really tasty lunch or went for an evening walk and the sky looked particularly lovely.

A work in progress of a still life drawing of a kitchen.

Words make for great drawings too! Choose a word of the day to draw on the page – perhaps you could add patterns or shapes to decorate it.

The main thing is to have fun, and not put pressure on yourself. Remember you don’t have to show anyone if you don’t want to.

If you give it a go, and decide drawing really isn’t for you, why not try some colouring pages instead.

I’ve got a whole page on my website, including some buildings you might recognise.

Have you started a new hobby at home? We’d love to hear about it! Drop us an email at