08 Nov 2022Mont Marte
If you’re looking to push yourself with a challenging new project, but still need a bit of creative inspo, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled 12 challenging drawing ideas for you to pick up the pencils and try for yourself.

1. Experiment with scale
Realistic drawing of a macaw bird painted in watercolour with a ruler underneath to show the drawing measures 2cm.

Image: suria.the.art.addict

Sometimes it’s all about the details. For a challenge, try scaling up or down your artwork like this idea! This mini macaw was finely illustrated and then brought to life with watercolours and we reckon it worked out wonderfully. Shrink down your subjects and give something like this a go.

2. Close ups
Realistic drawing of an eye with pink shading and white highlights drawn on a book next to a white pencil.
Image: barnashri.draws

Even an eye can be a stunning source of inspiration, like this challenging drawing idea, that’s taken an eye and added a whole lot of detail! Experiment with shading using portrait pencils to add shadows and highlights to your works, but most of all, have fun with it!

3.Back to basics
A still life of a jug sketched using graphite pencil on paper.
Image: sujal_art_

You certainly don’t need a huge amount of fancy equipment or ornate objects to create a challenging drawing. Simply grabbing an object such as a jug, vase or a cup can work as a stunning still life by focussing on rendering, tone and light. After adding the outlines, add your tones, definition and detail and add textural background details too; think tiles and splashbacks in kitchens or skirting and wooden floorboards in living rooms.

4. Drawing glass

A realistic drawing of a glass with pastel pencils and a watercolour brush next to it.

A reflective surface like glass can be tricky to conquer, but it’s worth giving it a crack (the idea, not the glass). We’ve created a step by step project on how to draw glass with coloured pencils, so you can follow along or watch it first and then have a play around yourself.

5. Coloured pencil drawing

Hand holding a yellow-coloured pencil adding in coloured detail to the fur of a baby duck drawing.
Image: emilylcassidyart

Coloured pencils aren’t just for scribbling, you can create challenging drawings with them too and use them to bring life to your realistic drawings, like this idea. Once you’re happy with your details, try burnishing your coloured pencil drawings. To burnish, layer and layer until there’s no sign of paper underneath, a sheen will be created from the pencil wax that’ll lock the colours in. It’s difficult to build anything up afterwards, so it’s best to use this technique on the final layer, once you’re happy with the look of things!

6. Portraits with pen

Progress photo of a drawing of a face in blue pen.
Image: mickart_zw

Facing a challenging drawing? Try using a pen for a monochrome drawing and experiment with textures like this idea. Whether it’s a pen or a pencil, it’s often all about texture and shading with monochrome drawing. Crosshatching, hatching and scumbling are all important techniques to show tone and definition. Set the challenge and give it a go!

7. Amazing architecture
Monochrome realistic sketch of a mosque using pen and ink.
Image: salwartistic

Tackling a realistic architecture drawing can be another fun and challenging drawing idea. Immerse yourself in the beauty of a building far away or stop by one and draw what you see. Get detailed and sketch the nooks and crannies, add the tiles and brickwork or try a monochrome drawing like this pen sketch.

8. Get fruity

Photo realistic strawberry drawing on paper with a 8B pencil.
Image: the_artwarrior

It’s amazing that this strawberry drawing was made just by using an 8B graphite pencil and some paper! Play around with lighting and once you have a light source established, you can add highlights and shadows to your drawings. Don’t forget to add the texture. This strawberry is all about the details in the texture, from the strawberry seeds to the leaves, it can really make a difference.

9. Diving deep

Progress drawing of realistic waves drawn with pencil.

Image: studiosophielin

It’s well known that nature can be a great source of creative inspiration. So, if you’re stuck for ideas, why not dive deep into an ocean drawing. Realistic drawings can take some time to get the hang of, so it’s important to take some breaks in between creating. We love that this challenging drawing idea, shows the progress of creating an artwork because it’s important to take time out to stand back and take a wider look at your drawing. Give yourself time and grace for tackling a new challenge.

10. Wine glass pour

Realistic drawing of a wine bottle pouring red wine into a wine glass.

For a challenging drawing idea, that’s good enough to sip on, try this wine glass project using pencils and graphic fine liners. This idea not only shows how to draw a reflective surface using glass, it also shows water in action. However, we haven’t left you in the dark, you can follow along with our project here.

11. Sunny side up

Hand holding a coloured pencil and colouring in a realistic drawing of a fried egg.

Image: sushantsrane

Food’s always inspiring (and yummy) to draw, so why not have a crack at drawing a breakfast food like this realistic fried egg drawing? We love the detail in this challenging drawing idea, from the air bubbles to the fried crust around the egg, plus it’s all brought to life with coloured pencils. Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas that can be the most effective.

12. Eye portrait

Realistic drawing of an eye close up drawn using charcoal.

Image: ayush.__.__

Check out this realistic eye using charcoal. You can try an idea like this for yourself by focussing on one area of the body and adding as much detail and precision as you can including hair, wrinkles and fine skin detailing like this.

Looking for more? Grab your markers and try crosshatching a black cockatoo in fineliners with this project, or if you’re looking for a challenging painting, learn how to paint glass in watercolours.

We hope that you feel inspired to create. Try these 11 challenging drawing ideas for yourself and #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to see what you create.