Knowing how to draw things requires a lot of work; a lot of studying. If you want to know what an apple looks like, you need to do as many drawings of apples, from as many different angles as possible. More importantly, you need to draw real life apples - either from your kitchen or from photos... DO NOT USE OTHER PEOPLE'S DRAWINGS as references, or you run the risk of inheritting their mistakes.
If you want to know how to draw skulls, fill page after page with quick sketches of skulls. If you want to know how to draw roses, fill page after page with quick sketches of roses. That's how you begin to fill your head with what things look like.
Practice drawing quickly - no more than a couple of minutes per sketch. Don't think about what you're doing, just do it. Drawing quickly burns the shape of the image into your brain without slowing down progress by thinking about it too much. Also, make your quick sketches messy and overlapping one and othe...
There are two main types of artists. Let's call them Billy and Bonnie for illustration purposes.
Billy can draw anything he sees, but struggles with drawing from his imagination. Give Billy a piece of paper and a pencil, and he'll stare at it blankly. Hand Billy a photo to copy or a bowl of fruit to draw and he will fill that paper with every detail he sees.
Bonnie, however, is ready to fill the paper with fantastic creatures before the pencil hits her hand. But if you hand her a photo to copy or a bowl of fruit to render, she will be immediately frustrated and it will take her twice the time it will take Billy. Are you a Billy, or a Bonnie?
If you hold your pencil in a clenched fist like you're preparing to stab the paper to death, that's how your art will look: harsh lines that are difficult to erase and shading that is rough. If you hold the pencil correctly, you will have the range of motion of your shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers at your disposal. Hold it in a clenched fist, and you cut off the ability for finesse that your fingers and wrist allow. If you already hold your pencil correctly, give yourself a jumping high-five! If not, work on it and stay tuned for the next lesson.
I love being asked to give advice to young artists. It not only feeds my ego, but also teaching a lesson forces me to revisit the basics for my own review. I've added this BLOG to the Envy Ink website to record these lessons for any budding artists out there. The primary function of 'art' is to reflect life. The function of an 'artist' is to reflect life in a way that is pleasing to the eye and/or makes us think. Enjoy!