ZenART's Membership Plans Terms & Conditions

(Updates effective 17/08/2020)

These terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) govern the ZenART Supplies Rewards & Referral Plan as well as Subscribe & Save Plan (“Membership Plans”), and members of the programs will earn zen coins in connection with the purchase of qualifying online products and online activities that are redeemable towards the purchase of certain products online. For the re-occurring members (Subscribe & Save Plan) this includes exclusive gifts & content.


  • Free. No purchase is necessary to obtain membership in the Rewards & Referral Program, but you must establish an account at https://shop.zenartsupplies.co/account/register . Please see our privacy policy, located here, to understand how information you provide us will be used. This program is void where prohibited.
  • Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rewards & Referral Program, you must create an account as outlined in these Terms and Conditions. You may create an account if you are at least seventeen (17) years of age, have Internet access, and have a valid mailing address. If you are between the ages of 17 and 18, you must have your parent’s permission to register for an account. If you choose to create an account, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account, username and password and for restricting access to your account. You are responsible for keeping such information current, complete, accurate and truthful. You agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account, username and/or password. You agree to provide only current, complete, accurate and truthful information. If you are accessing and using the Site on someone else’s behalf, you represent that you have the authority to bind that person as the principal to all Terms and Conditions provided herein, and to the extent you do not have such authority you agree to be bound to these Terms and Conditions and to accept liability for harm caused by any wrongful use of the Site or Content resulting from such access or use. You may only have one member account per natural person. Persons who are discovered to have more than one account forfeit their zen coins and will be unsubscribed from the Loyalty Program.
  • How To Enroll in the Rewards & Referral Program. (a) Create an account: Visit www.zenartsupplies.com (the "Site" or "Online") and become a registered user of the Site. Click here to be taken directly to the registration page. You will be asked for your first and last name, your email address, and a password. You will also be given the option to sign up for our newsletter. Once you have submitted the requisite information, you will be sent an email to the address you listed confirming your membership. Once you have confirmed your email address, you are automatically enrolled in the Reward & Referral Program and are a member (“Member”).
  • How to Access/Change Your Member Information. You must keep your personal information on your Account up-to-date. To do so, click on the "My Account" section and access your account by entering your registered email address and current password. From your dashboard you can access your account information; review your current and past orders; change your profile; manage your subscriptions and applications, and access your previous purchases.
  • How to Cancel Your Membership. You may cancel an account at any time. To cancel your account, please send an email to support@zenartsupplies.co and write “cancel membership” in the subject line. The email must come from the account currently listed on our servers as being associated with your Rewards & Referral Program. If you no longer have access to that email address, please email our customer service department and we will verify your status and cancel your account. Upon cancellation, you are no longer a member, and any unused zen coins accrued in your account will be forfeited and cannot be redeemed. Zen coins maintain their value only on valid accounts in good standing, and except as otherwise provided here for redemption, have no cash value outside of their redemption value on the Site.


  • General Members can earn zen coins on the purchase of qualifying online products at zenartsupplies.co. To receive zen coins for your Online purchases, you must be signed into your account. You may check at any time to see if you are signed in to the Site by looking in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Gift cards do not qualify for zen coins. Other products that do not qualify for zen coins are noted on the Site.
  • Earning Rate. Members earn 5 sen coins for every $1.00 spent on qualifying purchases (in other words, one (5) zen coins for every one dollar ($1) spent). Zen coins are based on your order subtotal, after any discounts, only. Zen coins are rounded down to the nearest whole number. For example, if you spend $9.99, you will receive 9 zen coins. The calculation is as follows: $9.99 x 1 zen coins per dollar = 9.99 zen coins, which is rounded down to 9 zen coins. This program started on August 17, 2020, and initial levels were set on the 2020 amount spent on ordering products. Note: Shipping and Taxes are not taken into consideration. If an item is return and/or price adjusted that will also be removed from your rewards calculations.
  • Gift Cards. Gift card purchases are not eligible to receive zen coins. However, once a gift card is redeemed, zen coins will be awarded to the recipient for the subtotal after any gift card values, provided s/he is logged into the account, as outlined in these Terms and Conditions.
  • Addition of Zen Coins to Accounts. Zen Coins will be added to your Account under the following conditions, and will generally show up immediately. You will receive zen coins:
    • At the time of account registration
    • During the purchase of qualifying products
    • For other activities outlined on the Site that may show up from time to time. Note that for these other activities, including “bonus zen coins” accumulations and other zen coin promotions, zen coins may show as “pending,” depending upon the activity.
    • Joining the Birthday Club. Birthdate must be entered 30 days before your Birthday to qualify.
    • For Liking the ZenART Supplies Facebook page and sharing the ZenART Supplies Facebook page with your following. This is good one time only.
    • Following ZenART Supplies on Instagram. This is good one time only.
    • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Your account will be automatically awarded the discount only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying purchase. Discount will automatically be applied to account if stipulations are met.
  • Exclusions. Members earn zen coins only on the purchase price of: (i) qualifying online products. Calculation of zen coins excludes payment by the Member for shipping charges and all taxes, including without limitation, federal, state, and local taxes or use taxes. Zen Coins will not be earned on any discounts or other credits offered in connection with a product or service. For example, if a product that is normally $50 is on sale for $25, a Member will only earn zen coins on the purchase price of $25. Purchases of gift cards, redemption of vouchers, and any type of price adjustments, including merchandise returns, are not eligible for zen coins. All purchases made: (i) by a Member prior to such member joining the Program, (ii) Online without a Member being logged onto the Website with the Member's Account number linked to the Member's Online account, are not eligible for Reward & Referral Program credit. The purchase of ZenART Supplies products outside the Zenartsupplies.co website are not eligible for the Reward & Referral Program.
  • Returns/Order Cancellations. Zen Coins earned for a purchase that is then the subject of a return, cancellation, refund, declined credit card or gift card, or other credit will be deducted from your account in an amount equal to the zen coins earned for the original transaction, including any bonus zen coins that may be applicable. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return. Zen Coins redeemed on an order will not be reapplied back to your rewards account for any reason on a returned order. If a return/cancellation will cause your account to have a negative zen coin balance, you will not begin earning zen coins again until your zen coins balance is returned to zero (0), by making purchases, or engaging in other promotional activities offered from time to time. If an item is exchanged (different product) any redeemed rewards on the initial purchase may be transferred to the exchange one (1) time only. Rewards used on an order that is canceled cannot be reapplied as they are good for just one use.
  • Bonus Zen Coins Promotions. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may run certain bonus zen coin promotions. Under bonus zen coin promotions, Members can earn additional or "bonus zen coins" in connection with the purchase of certain online products. When you purchase these specially marked products or make the purchase during a bonus zen coins time period, you will earn bonus zen coins on each product, as specified in the offer. Bonus zen coin promotions are subject to the terms and conditions of the offer and may be offered at any time in ZenART Supplies sole discretion. Bonus zen coin offers cannot be combined with any other offer.
  • Limitations on Bonus Zen Coins and Zen Coins, Generally. These terms apply to zen coins and bonus zen coins accruals. If you purchase a product during a promotion and the product comes with an additional, free product, zen coins will not be issued on the retail value of the free product. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product and pay a portion of the retail price after the zen coin's redemption, you will receive zen coins only on the leftover retail amount you pay, and not on any value attributed to the zen coin you used. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product in an amount equal to the full price of the product, you will not earn any zen coins.
  • Non-purchase Options for Earning Zen Coins. You may also earn additional zen coins on non-purchase activities. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may offer you the chance to win various prizes, and earn zen coins, for entering into promotions. For sweepstakes promotions, there is NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO PLAY OR TO WIN. Rules and restrictions will apply to such promotions and may be found on the entry page of any promotion.
  • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Email a friend an $8 off coupon on $50 order by clicking “ Earn Zen Coins” then “ Refer a Friend”. Enter the email address of a friend who has not purchased with ZenART Supplies before (if your referral has shopped with us before the referral link will be automatically voided by the system). A referral link will be sent to your friend with an $8 off coupon on a $50 order. $8 off coupon on $50 order will automatically be rewarded to your account only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying first-time purchase with ZenART Supplies. Your Referral friend will receive an $8 off coupon on $50 order, 200 zen coins for signing up, and zen coins from their first purchase made while signed into their new ZenART Supplies account.


  • How To Use Your Zen Coins. Zen Coins must be used in increments outlined in these Terms and Conditions. The maximum number of zen coins that may be used in a single transaction is 10,000 zen coins. Zen Coins may only be used Online at the ZenART Supplies website. Zen Coins towards Products: Members can use their zen coins to reduce the purchase price of a product or to receive a product for free based on the following scale:
    • 500 zen coins = $5.00 off
    • 1,000 zen coins = $10.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 1,500 zen coins = $15.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 2,500 zen coins = $25.00 off your at least $50 order

    Zen Coins can only be redeemed in any combination of the zen coin and increment amounts set forth above. Redemption of zen coins towards purchases of products is subject to product availability. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return.

  • Gift cards. Once available, zen coins cannot be used towards the purchase of gift cards. Gift card redemption, however, is eligible for zen coins. Zen Coins accrued pursuant to the use of a gift card will benefit the gift card user, provided the user has an account in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
  • To Redeem your Zen Coins. Before you begin shopping with us, sign in to your Shop account on our site. Select “Redeem Zen Coins” from the red tab housed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and select the amount of zen coins you would like to redeem. You will be issued a custom code that you can copy and paste into the discount bar during check out (Please note - only one code can be used). Your total payment amount will be discounted by the amount of zen coins you allocate to the purchase. Note that zen coins may only be redeemed for the purchase price of the product. Sales tax, shipping, and other handling charges assessed in addition to the price of the product are your responsibility and zen coins may not be used to discount these additional charges.
  • Exclusions. Only one account per natural person. Only one discount code can be redeemed per transaction. Rewards redemption codes may not be combined with any other discount codes. Zen Coins may not be transferred or gifted at this time. Zen Coins cannot be used on past purchases. Zen Coins accumulated on different accounts by different members may not be combined or aggregated to make purchases of products or for any other reason. Zen Coins earned in a transaction cannot be redeemed in the same transaction. Redeemed zen coins cannot be retroactively applied to any past order or receive a price adjustment on any order where redeemed zen coins were not applied. Zen Coins have no cash value outside of the ZenART Supplies website and are available only to members in good standing.
  • Zen Coins Expiration and Time Lapses. All zen coins acquired, whether standard zen coins or bonus zen coins, shall expire 180 days from the date the zen coins are added to your account. Zen Coins expire 180 days from the date in which they were assigned to your account. Specific onsite activities in which zen coins will be awarded are set to accrue zen coins based on a time-lapse at the discretion of ZenART Supplies.
    • Sign up: zen coins are added to your account instantly
    • Order: zen coins are added to your account when your order is placed.
  • Once zen coins are redeemed, a discount code will be assigned and we are unable to cancel the discount code and reapply the zen coins to your Reward & Referral account. Discount codes generated by redeeming zen coins do not expire until used. They are a one-time use code, so once it is used it is gone. If an order is returned zen coins will not be reinstated.

4. Subscribe & Save Plan

  • Re-occurring purchase. Purchase is necessary in order to participate in this plan. The plan is worth $6.95 and will be charged to your account on the same date of the month that you purchased the plan, i.e. if you purchased the plan on 19th of January, you will be charged for the plan on the 19th of each month you are a Subscribe & Save Plan member.
  • 15% re-occurring discount. As a member of the subscribe & Save Plan, you are eligible for a 15% discount every time you put an order in place. You are qualified for the discount as soon as you purchase the plan.
  • Cancellation. After a purchase made with a Subscribe & Save Plan, you are not able to get a refund for the plan for the month the purchase was valid for but you can cancel for the following months.
  • Free samples & accessories. These are included for members of Subscribe & Save Plan only. These are not included in each order but the member will be informed when they will receive "extras" in their order.
  • Access to exclusive content. Exclusive access to tutorials, guides, tips & tricks in video, pdf, or audio format will be part of the membership program. Not all exclusive content is available but what is and will be available is up to ZenART Supplies sole discretion.


  • By registering with Zenartsupplies.co and joining the Reward & Referral Program, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions set forth in these Terms and Conditions, as well as any other terms that may be associated with the Reward & Referral Program. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to cancel, modify, suspend or restrict the Reward & Referral Program, your account, the redemption of zen coins, or any aspect of the Program, including, without limitation, the zen coin conversion ratio and the zen coin expiration policy at any time. Any changes can be made without advance notice. ZenART Supplies may make these changes even though such changes may affect your ability to use zen coins already accumulated. You are responsible for remaining knowledgeable about the Program Terms and Conditions. A Member's zen coins balance, as reflected in ZenART Supplies records, shall be deemed correct. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to determine the amount of zen coins in any Member's account based on ZenART Supplies' internal records related to such Member's account. In the event of an inconsistency between the amount accrued in a Member's account as stated on any Member's receipt and ZenART Supplies internal records, ZenART Supplies internal records will control. ZenART Supplies assumes no responsibility for errors caused by incorrect Member information. Your right to transfer zen coins earned or granted under the Program is strictly limited. The sale of zen coins is prohibited and may result in the confiscation or cancellation of your zen coins as well as suspension or termination of your membership, which in each case shall be final and conclusive. All transactions involving zen coins and all Member accounts are subject to review and verification by ZenART Supplies. The zen coins balance in a Member's account may be unavailable for use when an account or transaction is under review. ZenART Supplies may revoke any Member's membership in the Reward & Referral Program at any time if such Member engages in abuse of the Reward & Referral Program or fails to follow the terms and conditions of the Program. Fraud or abuse relating to the accrual of zen coins or redemption of rewards may result in revocation of membership in the Program and may affect a Member's eligibility for participation in any other ZenART Supplies program, present or future. Zen Coins are non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. The interpretation and application of the Program's Terms and Conditions are at the sole discretion and determination of ZenART Supplies. For more information or other questions, click on Contact Us.
  • The Terms and Conditions of the loyalty program are subject to change at ZenART Supplies’ sole discretion at any time and without notice to customers. Upon customer’s at-will termination of their Zenartsupplies.com registered account, or if a customer is termination for violation of these Terms and Conditions or other activities in violation of the intent and good faith intended use of this Site, all zen coins will immediately be forfeited and will no longer be redeemable. ZenART Supplies will make reasonable efforts to award zen coins as outlined above to all 1. registered and 2. qualifying Zenartsupplies.co customers but is not responsible for any technical or unforeseen errors that may occur.
  • Zen Coins are nontransferable, nonredeemable for cash, are nonrefundable and are not valid outside of Zenartsupplies.co. Purchases made outside Zenartsupplies.co are not valid for zen coin accrual (this includes, but is not limited to Facebook resell groups, Ebay, and Amazon).
  • Employees of ZenART Supplies are not eligible to participate in the Reward & Referral Program.

Subscribe & Save Plan

Membership Benefits for Just $6.95/Month

For other currencies, the respective conversion applies.


Sketching Techniques For Beginners

Sketching Techniques For Beginners

Basic Sketching Tools You Need | Sketching Techniques Step By Step | Useful Sketching Tips To Remember

Sketching is the most basic and fundamental art skill that most artists start with and continuously hone through the years. And with good reason! When an idea pops into mind, we make quick sketches and studies of it for record keeping and for further refining later on. It's the foundation upon which we build our paintings on, where we explore and finalize our compositions. Granted that some do paint straight away minus the sketch. You'll thank yourself someday just by learning the basic sketching techniques at the very least.

 ZenART's Artist's Sketchbook has a 180 degree lay flat spine for full ease of use.

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Looking for something in particular? Jump ahead using the links below:

Basic Sketching Tools You Need
Sketching Techniques Step By Step
Warm Up Line Exercises
Different Shading Exercises For Sketching Techniques
Useful Sketching Tips To Remember

You can easily practice sketching anytime and anywhere. All you need is a sketchbook and a pencil or a pen, and you're good to go. Sketchbooks are a must for any artist that wishes to learn and improve their sketching skills. When I know I'm going to be spending a lot of time waiting somewhere, I always make sure to have my sketchbook with me. As you become more confident, you slowly add various pens and other whatnots to your sketching arsenal.

A quick 15 minute sketch of sunflowers. I'm still pondering whether I should add watercolor to it since I used water resistant ink to sketch it.

Basic Sketching Tools You Need

Having a good working knowledge and better understanding of the various tools is important. For example when I teach drawing to my young students, I ask their parents to buy a specific graphite pencil grade - 6B. It's not because I'm being picky or anything, there's a perfectly good reason for it. 

Graphite Pencils

I'm sure you've seen those labels on the pencils - H, 2H, HB, B, 2B, 3B, F and so on. But what do they mean exactly? 

These are the graphite pencils that I have in my collection. The most used ones are HB, B, and 6B.

H stands for Hard. B for Blackness. And F for Fine. The lead in the graphite pencils are not actually lead. They're a mix of finely ground graphite and the binder that's clay. 

H graphite pencils have more binder than graphite in them, creating a harder lead that's more grayish in color. This also means that they maintain their sharpness longer.  It's ideal for light precise strokes (think of those basic sketching techniques for watercolor painting for example) and technical drawings. You won't get much blackness no matter how much pressure you use, it will just leave deep grooves on your surface. So keep that in mind when using H pencils.The higher the number, the harder and lighter it will be. 

B pencils have less binder and more graphite, making their lead softer but also blacker. They dull much more quickly than the Hs. But they're the best for creating expressive and dramatic sketches and drawings. By simply adjusting the amount of pressure you use, you can modify the blackness and the line weight of your strokes. These are the pencils you use for shading and creating those beautiful contrasts. The higher the number, the softer and blacker the lead is. 

F pencils are very firm, and so make very fine, sharp points when sharpened. So for even more precise strokes, this one is perfect. It's just like HB but much harder.

And then there's the EE. Where Hs and Bs have clay as their binder, Es are a mix of charcoal and graphite. They create even darker marks but have a more matte finish because of the charcoal.

My favorites are the HB for light sketching and the 6B for drawing and shading. For me, 6B is the best all around graphite pencil for all those pencil sketches techniques. You can also try out the woodless pencils if you don't enjoy sharpening.


The usual suspects here are ballpoint pens, technical pens, drawing pens/art pens, brush pens, and fountain pens. And let's add the water brush pen to the sketch supply list, too!

Ballpoint Pens allow you to shade similarly to pencil shading and are quite versatile. The ink is seemingly endless and you don't have to worry that it won't write if you use it on a vertical surface.

Technical Pens and Drawing Pens are great for precise lines and strokes. And they come in a multitude of point or tip sizes. Most drawing pens already come with permanent or waterproof pigment. They come in all sorts of colors nowadays, so you can totally play around with them.

Brush Pens make it easier for you to cover shaded areas in a short amount of time. With just a few sweeps, you've got your black areas down to pat.

Fountain Pens come in a variety of nib width sizes and hardness. Steel nibs are cheaper, but harder. While nibs with gold have more flex to them but of course make them more expensive as well. If you're looking to make smaller sketches, then go for extra fine nibs. I myself prefer a fine to medium sized nib. With fountain pens you have the option to use non-permanent and water soluble ink. You can create sketches and use a water brush pen to create some shading by letting the ink bleed.

I have water brush pens that I fill with ink, one which I'm fond of using lately is filled with the Japanese Sumi ink.

Paper For Sketching Techniques

Your choice of paper will also affect the end result of your work. Thankfully you can easily buy sketch pads and mixed media sketchbooks that are specifically designed for drawing nowadays just about anywhere. They will just vary in size, the amount of smoothness or toothiness, tone (some are creamier than white, and there are also grey and sepia colored ones), their thickness, and whether they are acid-free or not.

The texture and the tone are mostly a matter of preference. If you're going to be doing heavier and darker sketching, choose a thick enough paper to be on the safe side. 

Featuring ZenART's Artist's Sketchbook, B5 size in plain grey. Acid free paper with an engineered leather cover that is lightweight, water-repellent, and scratch-resistant. Built to keep your art safe while on the go.


Erasers are quite useful and not just for correcting mistakes. I use my kneaded eraser to create soft highlights here and there by dabbing softly on those spots. And a hard eraser for sharper highlights.

I highly recommend that you have a sketchbook that you can bring along with you anywhere. The not so secret thing to becoming good in sketching is practice, practice, practice. Continuous and habitual daily practice, and this is where that handy sketchbook comes into play. If you have it with you all the time, then there's no excuse not to practice. 

Sketching Techniques Step By Step

The thing to keep in mind about sketching is to let go of the idea of perfection. The goal is not to be perfectly accurate, but instead to capture the essence of what you're sketching. If you make a mistake, no worries, keep the wonky line and just draw another over to make corrections. Sketching is not meant to be refined like a finished fully-rendered drawing, think of it as the bare bones of that. 

Let's start with some warm up line exercises for our hands. After all, sketching is all about lines!

Warm Up Line Exercises

Pencil sketches techniques will slightly differ from the pens. With pencils you can easily vary the tone and line weight by simply adjusting the amount of pressure you exert on the pencil. While with pens, you need to go over the surface areas that you wish to darken repeatedly. 

Graphite Pencil

Divide your paper into 8 equal sections, one for each line exercise below. Use a 5B or 6B pencil, they're the most versatile of the whole lot. You can go from the lightest line by hardly applying any pressure and holding the pencil far from the tip. You will have less control, but your lines will be lighter. For very dark and heavy lines, apply more pressure to your pencil and hold it closer to the tip.

Vertical Lines - draw vertical lines from one end of the paper to the other end. Vary the line weight, from heavy and bold and slowly working towards light and thin, and then back again. Try to draw them as close to each other as possible to practice your hand eye coordination at the same time.

Horizontal Lines - draw horizontal lines this time, you can start from the top or the bottom, it's up to you. Do the same method as the vertical lines exercise above.

Diagonal Lines - start from one corner of the box and work your way towards the opposite corner. Again, continue with the varying line weights and keep them close to each other.

Zigzag Lines - draw at least three peaks to practice your zigzag lines. Continue with the same line weight and distance practice as before. Try to follow the zigzagging of each previous line to create a uniform pattern.

Wavy Lines - draw soft waves with no peaks to practice soft curving lines. Do the same process as the previous lines.

Scroll - start from the center of the box and slowly work your way outwards. You don't have to vary the line weight, just try to keep the spacing of the lines evenly apart. But don't stress too much about it, just keep practicing. Good sketching techniques take time to master.

Broken Lines - start with broken lines of the same length, with even spacing. Then slowly vary the line weight as you work downwards or upwards. Do this until midway through the box. For the other half, use broken lines of varying lengths. Broken lines are great for creating natural looking textures.
Pattern - and now for the fun part! Create your own pattern using lines, this is totally up to you. For mine I'll create the Seigaiha, the Japanese wave motif that is just simply beautiful.


Draw 12 good sized boxes or circles on your paper, 9 will be for the line exercises listed below and 3 for your pattern creations. With pens, drawing your lines quickly and slowly makes a difference. It's a way to slightly change the intensity of your lines and strokes. Quick strokes result in less controlled looking lines that have a more natural textural finish. There's no better way to fully understand it than to try it out for yourself. I suggest you first do these exercises using drawing pens or technical pens. I'm using a 0.4 sized drawing pen, it's the perfect size for these basic sketching techniques.

Slow Vertical and Quick Short Vertical - first try it out with slow vertical lines. Apply an even pressure from one side to the other end, draw your lines closely together. Then follow with quick vertical lines but with shorter strokes. You can cover the entire circle or vary the placement as I did with mine.

Slow Horizontal and Quick Short Horizontal - do the same as above but instead with horizontal lines this time.

Slow Diagonal and Quick Short Diagonal - still the same as before but now with diagonal lines.

Quick Long and Short Vertical - now it's time to mix them up. Start with quick long vertical lines covering the entire circle. Then add short vertical lines in between the spaces of the long ones.

Slow Cross Contour - cross contour lines are curved lines that help define the form and volume of the object. Instead of an outline, cross contour lines help the object take a more solid form by mapping how our eyes move across the surface of the object/s before us. For this exercise, create lines that follow the form of the circle, to turn it into a sphere.

Broken Curved Lines - alternate curved lines of dips and hills, vary their lengths as well. With this exercise you can create organic looking textures. 

Patterns - create your own using various lines and just have fun with it!

Different Shading Exercises For Sketching Techniques

This time around let's do the pencil and pen exercises side by side for a closer comparison.


With Hatching, you shade using parallel lines that are drawn close to each other. They don't intersect. The closer the lines are to each other, the darker your shading will be.


Cross-hatching are lines that intersect each other, whether in crosses or exes - or both. The more lines that cross over each, the darker your shadows will be.


Scribbling uses hurried and seemingly haphazard circular lines to create shading. To deepen the shadows, just overlap scribbles over scribbles until you reach the desired value.


Stippling is when you use dots to add shading to your form. To darken the shading, add dots that are close to each other. This is by far the most time consuming sketch technique. I don't often use this but it does come in handy every now and then for certain effects.


Don't be confused between scribbling and circling. Where scribbling is more haphazard, circling is the refined version. Use controlled small circular strokes to do some finely blended shading, the circular lines shouldn't be clearly visible. This requires good constant control over the pressure you apply.


When blending, your lines should smoothly transition between the values. You can blend by fine shading with your pencil, this requires patience and practice. Start with evenly applied pressure, and simply pass over the areas that require deeper shading again and as often as needed. It's much easier to maintain the smooth blending when slowly adding the additional shading in smooth layers. You can also use the tips of your fingers or a blending stump to smudge the pencil marks for a very smooth shading. 

A tonal value scale rendered using only a 6B pencil from the darkest to the lightest (1-9). A tonal value scale rendered using only a 6B pencil from the darkest to the lightest (1-9). The trick to getting the smooth blending on the value scale is to control the pressure you exert on your pencil and to slowly work in layers.

Useful Sketching Tips To Remember

Place a clean piece of paper under your hand when drawing over finished sections

This is especially important when using graphite or charcoal. You don't want to unwittingly smudge all those parts that you've already worked on. 

Practice and become familiar with how you handle your sketching tools

How and where you hold your pencil or pen will make a difference. What happens when you hold it at an angle? How about gripping it near the tip or loosely holding it at the other end? Experiment and try them all out in various ways, that's the only way to become familiar with how you can use your tools and for what effects. 

Always bring your sketchbook with you

As I mentioned earlier - constant practice is the best way to hone your sketching techniques. Choose a sketchbook that's handy and easily fits in your bag, that way you always have it with you wherever you go. Just like ZenART's Artist's Sketchbook that's specifically designed for artists on the go. Try to make sketching a daily habit, you'll see a great improvement in your skills before you know it. If you find yourself at a loss or you're feeling uninspired, here are some sketchbook ideas to help you out.

Let go of the concept of perfection

Sketching is not about getting everything as accurate as you can on the first go. It's about training your eyes to observe and see  things correctly and to quickly capture the form, the rhythm, and the movement of your subject. Embrace the wonky lines, the accidents, and the mistakes. All of these contribute to your development as an artist. You can always work on the finer details and make corrections at a later time. 

I used a 0.1 drawing pen to quickly sketch out the entire facade of the house. Then I used my water brush with the Sumi ink to fill in the dark sections.
For the final shading and filling in of other details, I used a 0.4 drawing pen. 

Simplify complex forms into basic shapes

When viewed as a whole, the human body for example just seems so complicated. But there's a secret to it. You can break it down into simpler shapes that you fit together to create the whole. Instead of focusing on the complexity of the big piece, simplify the process by dividing it into more manageable smaller parts.

How drawing the hand can be broken down into an easier step by step process. 

Become familiar with the composition rules to guide you 

To become even more savvy with your sketching, I recommend you also get acquainted with the rules of composition. Knowing the golden rules of composition and learning the various composition tricks you can use will greatly improve the quality of your sketches. Your choice of composition can make or break your final work. 

Using a mobile phone's camera settings to overlay a rule of thirds guide.

Don't be afraid to experiment and explore new things

By nature we instinctively gravitate towards things that are familiar and comfortable to us. There's nothing wrong with that. But for an even deeper growth as artists, we have to train ourselves to go out of our comfort zones. It can be scary or challenging at first, but the rewards will be well worth it. You get to learn new skills and eventually develop your own process.

This is a blind contour drawing I did using my left arm as the reference, done in 5 minutes! Explore different ways of sketching as well to expand your knowledge and experience.

And don't feel that you need to be confined to the sketching materials listed above. Using mixed media for your sketching is so fun, try doing watercolor and ink sketches, too! And anything else that you want to explore.

Here's another quick one using watercolor and ink. I started with the sketch of the buildings using permanent ink and then added the watercolor washes of color later on. ZenART's Espresso Palette is the perfect compact set that you can bring with you on the go. With 12 half pan colors that you can use to mix all the other colors you'll need and it can literally fit in your pocket! Watercolor brushes seen above are from the Turner Collection of ZenART.

And that's the end of the line for the basic sketching techniques, I hope you learned something useful. Take your time and try them all out, remember that we all have different learning curves. So I hope you don't get too frustrated and disheartened when you don't get things right as quickly as you expected. Just keep at it and I promise you will get better one step at a time.

We'd love to hear back from you!

Which technique are you already comfortable with? How about the ones that you'd like to try out? What do you find yourself sketching the most? What future content would you like to see from us? Let me know in the comments below! Join our friendly art community Painting Inspiration Daily on Facebook. You can share your art and ideas, watch LIVE tutorials, and be inspired to paint! 

Next on Toolkits - Best Travel Watercolor Set featuring ZenART's watercolor palettes. Find out what makes them pretty handy to bring along. Meanwhile, have a wonderful time trying out the various sketching techniques!


Kathleen is the Wordsmith at ZenART, resident artist and art editor. When God sent a shower of talents, Kathleen made sure she got a basketful of them! She's a visual artist with practical knowledge on various fields from painting and sculpture, to costume and set design which comes in very handy when writing about various art techniques and theories. She also shares her passion for the arts through teaching. She runs her own brand of handmade wirework jewelry designs.

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