The “How to Draw” Series, Part Seven: How to Cheat At Drawing

Creativity isn’t about rules.  No one is standing behind your back with a scorecard or a grade book while you work on these Friday exercises.  These lessons are for fun and should be used to grow our creativity!

So today, I am going to tell you how to cheat.  You’ve learned a lot about drawing so far.  We’ve done contours and blind contours, and we have even drawn upside down!  We have covered a lot of ground, and we will cover more ground in the future, but for now - let's cheat the system!

Why cheat?  Well, maybe you are pressed for time and need to get a drawing done really fast!  Maybe you have tried drawing the same thing over and over again, but you are still having trouble with proportions.  Rather than give up completely, cheating is also an option!  Be sure to use cheating as a learning tool and don't rely on it too heavily.  We still want to make drawings completely on our own without cheating, but it is a nice option when you are in a crunch.

Here's How to Cheat:

You will need:

*tracing paper 
*carbon paper
*a pencil
*some paper or a sketchbook 
*a xerox of a photo (preferably one you took yourself)

Cheating Method One: Tracing Paper

This method is really simple and pretty obvious.  Basically, you are going to put the tracing paper on top of the xeroxed photo (we are using a xerox so we don't hurt the photo with pen pressure) and make a contour (or, an outline only) drawing onto your tracing paper.  

Next, you can shade in your drawing.  

The only downside to this method is that your finished drawing will be on tracing paper and not in your sketchbook or on drawing paper.

Cheating Method Two: Carbon Paper

This method is super easy and is probably the best way to do it if you are planning on cheating!  Simply grab a blank sheet of paper or a sketchbook, and sandwich your carbon paper (transferable side down onto the sheet of paper you plan to draw on) in between the new sheet of paper and the xerox of your photo.  The sandwich should look like this:

Now, make a contour drawing while by drawing directly onto your xerox with a pencil, and the lines should transfer onto your new sheet of drawing paper and will look like this:

Using your photo as a reference, finish the drawing by adding in some shading.

Cheating Method Three: DIY Carbon Paper

Don't have any carbon paper?  Let's make some! All you will need is a pencil and the xerox of the photo you want to work with.  
Simply color all over the back of your paper with your pencil.  The back of the photo you want to draw should now look like this:

Now turn that piece over and put it on a new piece of paper, and it's time to do a transfer!  Just make sure the shaded part is touching the new sheet of paper.

Now you can trace your photo onto the new piece of paper in the same as described above in Method Two.  Make your traced contour drawing, then create a finished piece using that as a foundation!

Hope you had fun cheating this week!  Come back next week for another fun drawing lesson! :)

This post is part of the “How to Draw” Series, a free E-Course I offer on my blog with new lessons every Friday.  I create these totally free of charge in order to help get people making art and enjoying their creativity.  If you like these lessons, please leave a comment below or help me grow my audience by clicking the orange Stumble Upon icon below.   

Thanks so much for joining me!


  1. Perusing your blog and flat out loving it! You're one talented lady.

  2. Oh, thank you! You are so kind!! :)

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