Make Even Simple Drawings Eye-catching

The secret ingredient that makes even simple drawings eye-catching?

The answer is definitely eye of newt.


Well…maybe not definitely.

Okay, in reality the secret ingredient is definitely not eye of newt…nor is it even secret.

The elements that make even a simple drawing eye-catching are the same ones that make a painting eye-catching.

And those elements all reside in the word DECIDE.

DEsign, Color values, Idea, Drawing, Edges.

Look at my drawing above.

It’s one of the drawing hints and tips I’ve included in my Mastering Proportion and Learning to Draw program.

And I included this drawing and others for one specific reason.

I wanted to show aspiring artists different ways to think creatively at the same time they are learning to draw art accurately.

Using your creativity is the whole point of becoming an artist.

So how does my boat drawing use the not so secret ingredients in DECIDE?

My Idea was to Draw the boats correctly but not draw them all completely. In other words, to allow some Edges to disappear.

Your mind doesn’t need to see every line and every edge to recognize what everything is.

Having some things incomplete attracts your attention. Engages your imagination.

And draws you into the art, making even simple drawings eye-catching.

In addition, I wanted to create an eye-catching DEsign that used Color values in an unusual way.

So I drew the water as one diagonal area of tone. Why? Bottom line because I wanted to create visual surprise.

By handling parts of the drawing in ways you don’t expect I make this simple drawing eye-catching.

And all the same elements of DECIDE apply to this next drawing as well.

The model is Drawn correctly but again not completely. 

Realize that some Edges are more important than others.

Some areas are more important than others.

You don’t need to see every detail.

In fact, drawing art can be most exciting when you don’t.

My Idea while drawing her was to make her head the star of my picture.

To tell you that, I made her hair the darkest Color value in the drawing.

That single dark value creates contrast and attracts your eyes to her head.

I also created a DEsign that used loose diagonal strokes of Color value to add a feeling of energy and action to what might otherwise be a static drawing.

All these things I’ve described are neither magic nor secret.

They are just little things that make even a simple drawing eye-catching.

Best Wishes,
Gary Gumble
Founder of
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernard Shaw)

P.S. Do you naturally tend to make your art complex and detailed?

If you do, you are not alone. It took me years to learn how to simplify and get away from drawing every detail.

And give more freedom to my creativity.

These are such vital skills.

That’s why I emphasize them in my Mastering Proportion and Learning to Draw program. And include examples of ways to use them to make your drawing art more exciting.

These are the skills that pave the way to better art, whether in drawing or painting.

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