How Long Does It Take To Learn How To Draw? From a Beginner to an Expert

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram, seen amazing drawings, and thought oh man! I wish I could do that? You get that urge to become Michelangelo in a short amount of time and create awesome drawings!

How long is it going to take you to get to that breathtaking art level? How can you get there quicker? What if you’re too slow?…

Stop worrying!

This is what we’re going to address. So sit back, grab a pen and a notepad and read.

But before anything else, know this.

Drawing is a skill. It’s not magic and it’s not always a talent thing. It’s a skill and like every skill, you have to learn it and practice it to be proficient.

Now we know you want to get better at drawing, let’s find out how long it’ll take you. As much as time is important, other things affect it like how quickly a person learns or how consistent they are. For now, we will be quantifying artistic growth into 3 groups:

  1. Better than just a complete noob. Takes a year or much less.
  2. The Intermediate. Takes 1-5 years.
  3. The Boss. Many years of hard work / 10.000 hours

Below I will discuss how long it takes to move up this ladder of drawing skill.

#1 How Long To Move From A “Complete Noob”

You want to learn how to draw. Good for you! Have a gold star!

You know what, just clap for yourself right now, don’t mind if people are looking at you. This is good. This is the first step.

As a complete noob/newbie, you know little to nothing about drawing. You have probably never done a piece of artwork in your life except maybe the colorings you did as a toddler.

How long will it take you to the complete novice stage? A year or way less.

It doesn’t take much time, that is if you put in the effort. I know someone who left the noob stage in a week but don’t compare your progress to someone else’s.

At this point, you need to be learning about art fundamentals and how you can use them in your drawings.

#2 How Long Till I Think “I’m Okay”

I think I’m okay category is what you may know as an intermediate. Intermediates aren’t experts per se but they make art that is still pleasing to the eye.

They have a decent knowledge of art fundamentals and apply them in their drawings well.

You can see Intermediates as the huge gap between beginners and experts.

How much time can it take you to be an intermediate artist? About 1 to 5 years.

#3 Getting To Be A Boss

They say to be an expert at anything, you have to put in 10,000 hours into learning that. So if you were to draw an hour a day, this would take you 27 years and 145 days. You could use this value if you want to measure progress.

However, I would say it can take till infinity and beyond (or until you die). In drawing, you never stop learning. Even though you may master most aspects of drawing, there’s always something new or ahead of you.

Even the so-called experts claim that they don’t know everything. So don’t always rush to be an expert.

Think It & Do it

As you can see, I gave time ranges for each of these categories. Some people can learn pretty quickly while others need extra time.

Either way, these figures are based on certain factors like

  • Consistent Practice (like at least 5 days a week.)
  • Determination. (How badly do you want to grow)

Tips On Becoming ‘The Flash’ in drawing

Technically, no one can draw as fast as DC’s Flash but these tips are here to speed up your drawing progress!

1. Art Fundamentals

These are the basics. They are what you need to know and grasp for better drawings. You either learn them or don’t but eventually learn them later on.

What are they?

  • Perspective,
  • Construction,
  • Coloring,
  • Anatomy,
  • Gesture,
  • Rendering (Shading),
  • Composition, and
  • Perception.

With these things in mind, you can learn to draw almost anything.

I know they are a lot but you don’t have to cram them all up in a go. Take it one aspect at a time. This video by Mattias talks briefly about each one and how they help.

2. Practice

This is not a new concept.

You can’t be better at anything without practicing. Practicing once in 5 months will NOT guarantee growth and neither will practicing just when you feel like it.

If you don’t want to spend extra years to be better, practice often. Practice daily. If you got time to draw every day for at least an hour? DO IT!

If you don’t have enough time on your hands, make time for it. Even if it’s 10 minutes. What you see as important, you make time for it.

Get to work and practice, practice and practice. I can’t emphasize this more than enough.

3. Goals

What are your goals? Where do you want to get to artistically? How bad are you willing to get better?

Drawing well is boiled down to you and what you want. Get a paper and write down your goals.

Do you want to get better at shading? Or drawing cats? Or anime? Pick a niche and focus on it.

4. Challenge

Though the practice is great, doing the same thing over and over is insanity. Courtesy of Einstein. As you practice, you also have to challenge yourself.

Always try to leave your comfort zone because if you don’t, all your hours of work will just be a huge waste.

Whatever seems too tough for you, get at it. That’s how you learn!

Here’s a video that talks about how you can make your practice more effective.

5. Art Courses & Teachers

Joining art courses helps you learn systematically. You learn things step by step since there’s like a curriculum.

Or you can learn from the one and only YouTube. There’s so much content out there and Proko is a good place to start.

6. New Drawing gear

They may not be the most important but are still effective.  Having better quality art materials also contributes to your drawing improvement.

I remember when I started realism drawings and drawing the skin was always tough. Then I got a blending stump and that little dude changed my drawing experience. I had better-looking realism drawings.

You might need higher-quality color pencils or a better drawing tablet. I have linked some resources below on drawings tablets.

In The Market For A Drawing Tablet?

Do you have a specific budget? then check these out:

Something else?


Drawing well is subjective. What looks good to someone might not be so good to another. So instead of looking at other people, see what you want to achieve.

Don’t rush yourself! Just be sure to make those little improvements day by day and you will definitely get there.

With that, happy drawing!

About the author: My name is Marcus, I am a lawyer (LL.M.) and the founder of this website. Besides sometimes doing lawyer stuff, I like to draw and improve my skills as a “digital artist”, and I write about what I learn on this website. If you want to know more about me or reach out, then you can click here.

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