9 Hardest Things for Artists to Draw (And How to Draw Them)

Artists often discuss their challenges when trying to draw difficult subjects on paper. 

Among the countless choices an artist might attempt to sketch, certain subjects are particularly daunting due to their complexity and required skill level. 

Notably, most artists agree that drawing hands, faces and eyes is arduous and takes too much time. 

In this article, I will list nine things many artists find difficult to draw and the solution to learning to draw them.

Key Takeaways

  • Drawing and painting hands and eyes is a significant challenge within the artist community.
  • The difficulty often arises from the complexity and lack of practice in capturing hands and eyes.
  • Understanding the challenges artists face can provide insight into improving their art skills.

9 Hardest Things To Draw

1. Hands

Drawing hands is hard for many artists. Their different positions and small details make them difficult to draw and paint accurately.

This is often because artists don’t practice drawing hands enough. Many beginner artists focus on practicing drawing faces instead of hands. Drawing hands is not a fun thing to do.

When attempting to put pencil to paper to depict hands, artists encounter significant challenges due to a combination of cognitive habits, a lack of experience, and the inherent complexity of the hand itself.

Despite being intimately familiar with our hands, this familiarity can impede rather than assist artists in drawing hands.

As a result, artists often find that their mental representation of hands lacks the specificity needed for precise rendering. 

Tips for Drawing Hand better

  • Focus on observation. Artists new to drawing hands should strive to draw what they see rather than what they assume they know. A helpful tactic is to sketch from an upside-down reference image, which encourages a greater focus on the forms and lines rather than the hand itself.
  • Draw the basic shapes of the hand first.
  • Start drawing simple hand poses. Artists can improve their skills methodically by gradually advancing to more complex studies and maintaining patience.

2. Eyes

Eyes are a fundamental aspect of art, especially portrait art, yet artists frequently encounter difficulty when attempting to mirror one eye with the other

This difficulty applies to both realism art and non-realism styles like anime. 

Proportion and symmetry play crucial roles in this task, where achieving the likeness in size, shape, and gaze between both eyes can be quite challenging.

Tips for Drawing Eyes

  • Measure and compare the dimensions of both eyes to ensure consistency.
  • Don’t pursue perfection. Real eyes are not technically symmetrical to each other.
  • Use Symmetry Tool if you use a drawing app like Krita, CSP or Procreate. If you use Krita, follow our advice in the Symmetry Tool Guide for Krita.
  • Keep practicing drawing eyes every day

3. Faces

Loomis book on how to draw faces
How to Draw Face by Andrew Loomis

Capturing a face requires more than replicating faces; conveying the person’s essence, including facial expressions and subtle facial features, is vital. 

The difference in drawing skill is especially noticeable in portrait art, where capturing the likeness and character of the subject is paramount.

Tips for Drawing Faces

  • Draw the basic shapes for faces first. 
  • Follow the Loomis guide for drawing faces. Loomis’s books are in the public domain, so that you can read them for free. You can access Loomis’s book at the archive.org
  • Pay close attention to the distance in faces, which can significantly affect the likeness when compared to the actual subject.

4. Hair

Illustrating hair with all its textures and forms tests patience and skills. 

Hair varies in style, flow and volume, and an artist must render it to add life and movement to the figure without overwhelming the composition.

Tips for Drawing Hair

  • Start by blocking in general shapes and tones before moving to individual strands.
  • For digital art, use specific hair brushes to draw hair faster
  • Practice all kinds of hairstyles, from curly to straight, from short to long, experimenting with various colors and textures.
  • Consider using accessories such as ribbons, clips, and headbands to add an extra dimension to your character. 

5. Perspective Drawing

Perspective drawings need artists to understand spatial reasoning and how objects interact in three-dimensional space. Maintaining the correct scale and angle can be particularly hard for those not well-versed in perspective principles.

Many artists don’t study perspective drawing seriously. I can attest to this from personal experience.

Learning perspective drawing is boring but a must to improve at drawing.

Practicing Perspective Drawing

  • Practice using vanishing points to create depth and accuracy in renderings.

6. Architectural Structures

The exactness required in sketching buildings requires a good grasp of perspective, proportions, and geometric forms. 

Often, the complexity comes from the repetition of elements and the need to maintain architectural integrity so it looks like a real building.

Tips for Drawing Building

  • Follow the Draw a Box exercise. It’s a free online course to learn drawing
  • Work on breaking down complex structures into basic geometric shapes before detailing.

7. Vehicles

Vehicles like cars or buses take a lot of work to draw. You need to grasp basic shapes, proportions and perspective well.

Because most cars have curvature, perspective is essential to make it look three-dimensional.

Try to draw a sports car. It will heavily test your drawing skill

Tips for Drawing Vehicles

  • Follow the Draw a Box exercise. It has a guide for drawing car
  • Pay careful attention to symmetry and the vehicle’s contours for a realistic depiction.
  • Make sure you can convey fluid movement to the watcher for moving vehicles.
  • Practice drawing vehicles from different viewpoints – side, front, three-quarter, and top-down views. 

8. Animal

An animal is as hard to draw as an actual human. Every animal has a different anatomy, making drawing another animal a different experience.

In my experience, the most challenging animal to draw is a bird. You need to draw feathers that look beautiful and realistic to draw a bird.

Tips for drawing animal

  • Practice drawing a different animal every day. You only need to sketch them. No need to color it
  • Observe the basic shape and animal and start refining from the basic shape
  • Follow the principle of anatomy drawing of humans and apply it to animal

9. Dynamic Poses

If you want to draw a manga or webtoon, you must grasp dynamic poses well. 

Illustrating dynamic poses involves accurately portraying human figures in motion and understanding gesture drawing, movement, and the influence of force on the human body. 

Dynamic poses are one of the art fundamentals that artists must learn after learning anatomy and figure drawing.

Tips for Practicing Dynamic Poses

  • Practice quick sketching of people in motion on a sketchbook or iPad to develop a sense of natural flow.

Wrapping up

By knowing nine difficult things to draw, I hope you can spend your time learning how to draw them.

You will need to draw these nine subjects if you want to have a job as an artist. So, by learning them, you will slowly become proficient in drawing from real life.

Photo of author
Kenny HD
Hi, I’m Kenny. I’m a digital artist who began learning art at the age of 21. I enjoy drawing cartoons and fan art.

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