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4 Easy Ways to Warm Up Before Sketching

Everybody has a stress outlet and for a lot of people, it is sketching. It doesn’t matter if you are good or bad, like to draw hour long projects or just doodle on your notes during class. Everybody can enjoy a good artsy moment. Unfortunately, what a lot of people don’t know is that you are supposed to warm up before sketching in order to prevent long term damage and arthritis in your joints. For those who want help figuring out how to prevent this, here are 4 easy ways to warm up before sketching. 


A lot of people assume that the best way to warm up is to do a “warm up sketch”. This thought process often leads them into drawing something that takes much longer than needed and is honestly poorer work than they are capable of. Instead try drawing circles. Big circles, little circles, it doesn’t really matter. Just make sure that you are drawing from your shoulder, not your wrist (meaning your shoulder is moving to make the shape and your wrist is staying still). Honestly, try to draw from your shoulder as much as possible. The wrist is so so weak and easily damaged. Protect it!


Once you get bored with circles, lines are the next great choice. Draw them vertical, horizontal, and diagonal. Try to make them as straight as possible or drawing them freely, whatever works best for you. A good idea when using this one is to keep your pen perpendicular to the paper and try to use your elbow more than your shoulder here.

Connect the Dots

These next two are more for refining and warming up for more detailed works. Connect the dots is a really fun exercise for this, and it is about just how you remember doing in coloring books as a kid. Draw two dots and try to draw a straight line between them. Draw three dots and draw a perfect curve connecting them. Go wild with the number of dots just try to make the line connecting them as precise as possible.

Spheres, Cubes, and Cones

Finally, play around with volume a little. Draw some spheres big and small. Try cubes that have maybe been a bit squashed and cones that don’t have a perfectly flat bottom. Play around with angles and volume and size and just go wild. 

Try these out. See what works best for you. If these don’t work there are a whole bunch of other warm ups out there to try so just have fun and take care of yourself.

Kat McIntosh

DePauw '23

Hey It's Kat. My photo sucks but at least my teeth are white.