Don’t know what to draw? Here’s a list of 53 drawing ideas for beginners ranging from easy to more difficult subjects.
I spent two weeks gathering ideas and drawing a lot of the examples for this list. Before the list, I’ve included some key ideas like margin of error to help you understand why some subjects might be harder to draw than others.
I’ve also added some quick tips along the way to help you out.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend starting with easier subjects to build confidence before moving on to the harder ones.
We will be covering:
Things to Know Before You Get Started
Before you get started it is very important to understand what makes a subject easy or hard to draw.
What makes a subject easy or hard to draw? One of the things that make something hard to draw is the margin of error allowed. How much error you can make and still make the drawing look good is one key factor in drawing difficulty. For example, a crooked eye on a human face is much more noticeable than a slightly off eye on a turtle.
Familiarity also affects drawing difficulty. Most people are more familiar with what a dog looks like than what a beetle looks like. So, if you made errors in drawing a dog, they are much more noticeable than in a beetle.
Another thing to look for is if the subject you are drawing has cool structures or details that make your drawing more interesting. For instance, a tree trunk has more interesting forms and patterns than a regular round sphere. So, it would be easier to make the tree trunk look more interesting than the sphere.
Be sure to use reference photos. Especially if you are just starting out since you have not developed your visual library yet. You likely don’t have memories of all the details of the object you want to draw. Having references would make your drawings much more accurate and interesting. I usually use Google, Pinterest, and Instagram to look for reference pictures.
Lastly, I recommend learning and studying realistic objects before you dive into stylization. This will allow you to learn what an object looks like before you try to exaggerate or change its features.
Without rambling on, let’s dive into the list!
Trees and plants
1. Tree Trunk
Here are two sketches of tree trunks that I drew. Tree trunks are good for beginners to draw because you can make some proportional errors and still make the drawing look interesting. Try to pick tree trunks that have interesting shapes and shadows. You can draw in contour lines to show the shape of the tree trunk.
2. Bonsai Tree
Bonsai trees have interesting shapes and come in many different types. I found these pictures on Instagram and drew them using pencil and ink. They’re like normal trees, but bonsai trees usually have more interesting shapes.
Quick tip: start your drawing with a lighter pencil (like HB or 2H). Then use darker pencils like 2B or ink pens to commit to final lines.
Flowers are great when you are trying to practice lighting or colors. Drawing flowers allow you to learn how to make each petal vary in depth through the use of line weight or shading. You can draw a single rose or draw multiple roses.
Quick tip: try to pick objects in odd numbers when composing your art. This is called the rule of odds. Having an even number of objects might make it hard for the viewer to focus on a particular one. Read more about the rule of odds in our article on composition in art.
4. Cherry blossom
If you like drawing flowers, try drawing cherry blossoms. There are a lot of different types of cherry blossom as seen in the drawings above. Cherry blossom is also a good choice if you want to include some branches with flowers in your background
Insects are sort of like robots where each limb and some body parts have separated joints. They are also easier to draw since many of us aren’t familiar with what a lot of insects look like.
Spiders are a cool subject to draw since there are many variations. They also can look more aggressive and fascinating. Spiders are also seen in many fantasy or gaming settings if you want to dive into more concept design stuff.
If spiders are too scary or gross, you can try drawing ladybugs. They look quite cute and are more simple to draw. I always try to start with geometric shapes. Then rough out the main shapes and details before refining the drawing further.
Quick tip: break down the subject you are drawing into simple geometric shapes.
Buzzzzz buzz buzz. Bees can be cute, but you might hate them if you’ve been stung a few times. They look a bit aggressive up close, but they can look cute from farther away or from the top-down angle. There are also different types of bees like the bumblebee or honey bee. You can also draw wasps if you like an even more aggressive look.
The praying mantis is an awesome-looking insect. It has aggressive claws and has a predator look. But, you might find it challenging to draw the long, straight lines for the mantis. This is a great practice for drawing lines.
Beetles are great since there are a lot of variations like spiders. You can use a lot of aspects of the beetle, like the horns or armor-like shell, to design characters. In the photo above, I drew the rhinoceros beetle which looks quite different from stag beetles (that have two horizontal horns).
Animal skulls are also another topic that most people aren’t familiar with. They are easier to draw and come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the different skulls and skeleton structures also helps you draw actual animals.
10. Boar skull
I quite like the boar skull because the long shape and the tusk make it look more interesting. They also have more teeth than I have thought. Drawing skulls like these help you learn how to shade better to make the form of the object look more 3D.
11. Cat skull and skeleton
If you like drawing cats, drawing the cat skull and skeleton will help you learn about the different structures of cats. You will be able to draw more realistic depictions of cats. Animal skeletons have many parts that resemble the human skeletal system, but they also have a lot of interesting variations to study.
12. Dog skull
One interesting thing I found when drawing the dog skull is that the pattern inside the dent of the nose is quite complex and interesting. Again, drawing dog skulls would help you with drawing dogs. You will know where to place the eyes and nose more accurately.
Vehicles like trains, cars, and airplanes are a big part of our daily lives. We see them quite often so it is a good idea to learn how to draw them. One word of caution, though. Drawing smooth, accurate lines can be quite hard if you are attempting a very sleek-looking vehicle like a sports car.
Trains are easier to draw since they have a lot of parts that most of us can’t remember off the top of our heads. You can mess up and misplace a few things and the drawing would still look fine. In my drawing above, the door is a bit smaller than what it should have been, but the sketch still looks interesting.
You can draw real spaceships or break away entirely by designing your own spaceships. If you like videogames or sci-fi movies like me, then spaceships are a super cool subject to draw. Mix and match different shapes to come up with a design you like. It also helps to start with a theme like a destroyer or a cruiser before you start brainstorming.
Cars are hard to draw because you need good proportions and good control of lines to draw. I sketched the Volkswagen beetle, but there are quite a few areas that can be improved. Even though it is harder to draw, you should still try it out. Drawing cars help you practice your lines and proportion control.
Like a car, you’ll need more precise lines and a good understanding to draw bicycles well. Start off with simple geometric shapes like circles, rectangles, and cylinders in the correct perspective. Then flesh out the details. Drawing bicycles will also help you draw motorcycles later on.
Environments cover everything from castles to landscape paintings. Whether you’re doing fine arts painting, concept art, or illustration, knowing how to draw objects from our environment is an important skill.
Castles are often seen in everything from games like Skyrim to shows like the Game of Thrones. They have a lot of interesting shapes and patterns which makes it easier to make your drawing look good. It’s also quite hard to spot mistakes. One castle that is a bit misproportioned among others would not stand out.
18. Messy/worn-down interiors
Again, the concept of margin of error comes into play. These types of drawings need less precision when it comes to perspective and proportion. Errors are harder to spot because of all the details. Objects that are slightly deformed can be seen as intentional. This subject is much easier than clean, modern interior designs where you need perfect lines and perspective to make things look good. Try drawing a post-apocalyptic interior or a futuristic one.
19. Buildings with more organic shapes (ex: stone hut)
Like the example above, sharp lines are not as important since the building has a lot of organic shapes. This gives you more room for error, and stone buildings are pretty cool to look at. You can also draw things like clay or wooden huts.
20. Landscape drawing of your favorite view
Pick a photograph from your favorite view or places that you have been in the past. You can draw or paint your favorite place from a trip or a place that you love to go to. It’s always great to practice landscape drawing, and you can hang it up on your wall after you are done! Landscapes also allow for more margin of error compared to things like animals or humans.
Learning how to paint or draw still life objects is a good practice for learning about lighting and forms that make up the object. You also get to practice drawing the perspective of different objects and observation skills. Draw objects from your everyday life.
Fruits are quite simple to draw because they are mostly made up of simple geometric shapes. It’s also a good practice for perspective, proportion, and lighting. Mistakes are a bit more noticeable since they are made of simple shapes.
Draw your favorite pair of shoes or an old pair of boots. Shoes have many interesting details like the laces, stitches, texture of the material, sole, and edges. You should be careful with the perspective though. A shoe drawn in the wrong perspective can look odd and out of place. Try plotting out the shoes with geometric shapes before adding important details.
23. Flower vases
You can paint a transparent vase with some water and flowers in it or an opaque one. Drawing vases and flowers teaches you how to make the object three-dimensional. You also learn how to make one object look like it is in front of another object.
Quick tip: objects of the same size that are closer to you appear bigger than objects that are far away.
24. Musical instruments
If you have a guitar or violin laying around the house, it is a good object to include in your still life drawing. Instruments are a bit harder to draw since they need more precise lines and the correct perspective to make them look good. But, they look quite interesting if you draw them well.
Animals and baby animals
Animals are good practice and are often seen in a lot of artworks. You can also incorporate animalistic elements into your drawings. For example, a spaceship that looks like a hawk or an elephant with a human body.
25. Baby hippo
Baby hippos are very cute. If you are already drawing realistic objects regularly, you can break away from that and stylize some of your drawings. You can make a drawing more cute and cartoony by simplifying some details like the eyes or exaggerating a certain part of the body.
Quick tip: draw a realistic version of the subject you are drawing, then draw another stylized version. This allows you to learn what the subject actually looks like which can help you stylize and bend reality.
26. Baby deer (fawn)
Fawns are also cute. You can draw realistic versions or cartoony versions like Bambi. When drawing animals, it helps to pick ones that people are less familiar with. You can make more errors and still make the drawing look good. Try drawing animals like elephants, tortoises, and rhinos.
Cats are harder to draw since most people have seen a lot of cats. If you make their eyes a bit off-center, most people will be able to notice it. It’s also harder to find reference pictures of cats in motion. Draw them often and learn their anatomy to improve at drawing cats.
28. Dogs (or your pet)
Dogs, like cats, are also hard to draw since people are familiar with them. You can draw puppies or grown dogs in a large variety of breeds. I find it helpful to break them down into simple shapes before drawing them. If you have any other pets like a hamster or a goldfish, try drawing them!
Foods you love
Try drawing your favorite foods in various styles and forms.
I probably eat too many hamburgers so I sketched a few digitally. You can draw a burger realistically or you can stylize it or make it into a character. Try thinking of a story behind your character to make it more interesting. You can also add things like soda and fries.
Who doesn’t love pizza? Pizza is one of the only things in the world that can make everyone happy. You can draw a flat pizza or one with a cheese pull. Try drawing the different ingredients that make up the pizza.
Here’s my watercolor painting of a pistachio milkshake. If you are bored of drawing with pencils or drawing digitally, try some watercolor. Watercolor is great for bringing out all the different colors in your food.
Sushi is a food that’s pretty simple to draw and is mostly made up of simple shapes. You can draw nigiri sushi with different toppings or your favorite sushi rolls. Don’t forget about hand rolls and sashimi! You can also draw things like plates, soy sauce bottles, and chopsticks to accompany your sushi.
Drawing people is probably one of the hardest things to do. A face that is slightly off or an arm that is a bit longer than usual can make the drawing look awkward and unrealistic. However, learning about the body and practicing are the only ways to get better at drawing them!
33. Different components of the face. Ex: eye
It’s a good idea to start off by studying the different parts of the face if you are trying to draw a portrait. Find a reference photo and look up tutorials on how to draw an eye. Then try drawing an eye step-by-step as I did for the painting above (I drew this for a digital painting class). Then try drawing other parts of the face like ears, mouth, or nose.
34. Portrait drawing
Once you get a hang of how everything on the face looks like, you can pick a portrait photo from Google or Pinterest of a man or woman to draw. Learn the different proportions to know where to put the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Here’s a great article on how to draw a face. Also, don’t be frustrated if your drawing does not come out well the first time. The human face is a hard thing to draw and takes a lot of practice.
Quick tip: don’t add details until you have drawn things in the correct proportions. This gives you the chance to fix proportion mistakes.
35. Hands in different positions
If you ask artists what is the most challenging thing to draw, most of them will say hands! Hands are tough because we see them every day, and we notice very slight mistakes. Perspective and proportion are very important in drawing hands. Challenge yourself to draw some hands. Again, don’t be frustrated with your attempts because it is a hard topic. Be sure to use references.
36. Different parts of the human body. Ex: Torso
Learning the different parts of the body is a key component if you want to draw humans well. I personally recommend taking some anatomy drawing classes or buying a book on anatomy/figure drawing. Learn how to draw simple skeletons, how muscles insert into different joints and tendons, and the forms of each body part. Draw things like feet, shoulders, butt, etc.
Quick tip: use a tracing paper or a new layer in photoshop and draw on top of a picture of a human (ideally from straight on. Then from angles and different poses). Try to identify key landmarks like the rib cages, shoulders, elbows, knees, feet, etc.
People in motion
One of the few things harder than drawing the human body is drawing humans in motion. You have to worry about the right anatomy. And, you also have to focus on getting the right perspective and placing each body part in the right place.
37. Boxer throwing a punch
I’ve been practicing martial arts since a young age so anything relating to fighting is pretty cool to me. Boxers in motion can be quite beautiful and interesting. If you practice martial arts, you can draw the art you practice or draw famous fighters like Mike Tyson or Conor McGreggor.
38. Basketball player slam dunking
Dunking requires a lot of athleticism and there’s a lot of different poses you can draw. They also look more dynamic and alive. If you’re not into basketball, you can also draw people playing your favorite sport. Try drawing a soccer player kicking a ball or a golf player swinging a golf club.
39. Ballerina dancing
Ballerinas and dancers move in a beautiful and artistic way. Try drawing them and see if you can capture that beauty in your drawing. This is also a good challenge to improve your proportions and perspective of the human body.
Once you’ve got the hang of drawing some realistic subjects, you can try mixing it up with fictional creatures or objects.
40. Futuristic Robot
Try drawing different robot designs that might not exist yet but may exist in the future. Draw robots from your favorite shows or video games. You can also pick an animal and turn them into a robot. Robots have a lot of cool shapes and details, and you get to make up whatever robot you like!
Aliens come in many different shapes and sizes. They range from scary-looking ones like H.R. Giger’s Alien (the ones you see fighting Predators in movies) to cute ones in the photo above. An easy way to make an animal or creature into an alien is to add and subtract eyes and/or limbs.
42. Mythical beings
You can draw things like griffins, dragons, phoenixes, and unicorns. One easy way to create a mythical creature is by mixing and matching different types of animals. For example, a griffin is a creature that has an eagle’s wings and heads and has a lion’s body, tail, and back legs. It helps to start drawing existing ones before you create your own mythical creature.
Descriptive word + animal/creature/object
Try combining a descriptive word like “fat, skinny, happy, sad, old, or futuristic” to a noun like “cat, car, airplane, or elephant”. You can come up with an endless list of interesting ideas!
43. Fat cat
Although they should probably lose weight to be healthier, who doesn’t love fluffy and chubby cats! You can draw them realistically or characterize them as I have. Find your favorite chubby cats and draw them.
Quick tip: When drawing fur, try to use shading as a base and add some strands to indicate fur. You don’t have to draw every single strand of hair in.
44. Happy girl
You can draw people with different emotions. They often look more interesting than a face with no emotions. Learning how to draw people when they are sad, happy, or experiencing other emotions is a good skill to have.
45. Post-apocalyptic car
If you love to draw vehicles, try drawing them with a story behind them. For example, a zombie car or a Fallout-ish style post-apocalyptic car. This is also extremely cool because you can give different functions to your vehicle.
Verb + animal/creature/person
Here’s another formula to create new ideas. Combine a verb like “sleeping, eating, crying, or shooting” with a noun.
46. Running Man
You can see people running in your everyday life or very often in animations or video games so knowing how to draw them is important. Draw a man running at different speeds (jogging, running, sprinting). You can also draw a running child or a running animal.
47. Sleeping dog
Dogs are cute, so are sleeping dogs. This is actually easy than drawing normal dogs or dogs in motion because you don’t need to worry about drawing their eyes. But, you might find it tough to draw them in the correct perspective since their limbs are often bent and partially hidden.
48. Crouching ninja
Ninjas are a bit easier to draw than characters with tight-fitting clothing. They usually have clothes with more slack which allows more room for errors. Their clothes also have many interesting details like fishnet patterns or ropes. Similar to the sleeping dog, you might find it challenging to draw the limbs in the correct perspective.
49. Fighting samurai
Samurais are also cool because they have a lot of cool details and weapons. You can draw them fighting another samurai or a creature, or you can draw them riding a horse. You can also add different weapons like bows or even an old musket handgun.
Your favorite cartoons, movies, tv shows, or books
50. Star Wars characters
Star Wars is one of my favorite things to draw, you can draw a lot of different characters, weapons, and spaceships. Draw Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Yoda, your favorite character, or someone that looks cool. You can also try designing your own spaceship in the Star Wars theme.
Pinocchio is a classic Disney character you can draw. Pinocchio looks basically like a stylized child with a longer, cylindrical nose. Drawing animated characters allow you to practice some stylization which you can use for your own characters.
52. George Orwell’s 1984
If you haven’t read that George Orwell’s 1984, give it a try. It’s a great novel that explores the manipulation of truths and facts in politics. You can illustrate a scene from the book you like, or a character you like. If you find it hard to turn descriptive words into your own drawing, try to Google some art to see what others drew.
53. Game of Thrones
Try drawing Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen. You can also draw creatures like dragons, giants, or wights. You can also draw scenes or places like King’s Landing. If you’re not into Game of Thrones, you can also draw characters, scenes, creatures, or places from your favorite show.
What to do next
Now that you have a few ideas for your drawing, try it out and see how you like it. If you’re having challenges drawing, check out our article on beginner art techniques.