Originally Answered: I want to learn how to draw?
Reading art/drawing/painting books will teach you important skills and the technical stuff. Drawing from books/magazines will help you, but more importantly it is DRAWING FROM LIFE that will speed up your progress because you can see the full dimension of the object/subject.
Sketching EVERYDAY will improve your drawing skills. When it comes to sketching, you are not doing a detailed drawing, but you are doing a quick sketch of the object/person, capturing the major details such as accurate proportion and simple shading.
To sharpen your memory, look at an object/person for a few minutes. Study it and mentally keep the image in your head. Now look away and draw it. No peeking at the object/person again! Try drawing the image in your head on to paper. Doing this exercise everyday will sharpen your memory and eventually you will be able to create images in your head and naturally know how to draw it! Draw each object/person from every angle and different viewpoints.
Draw the pictures and study the information in the following books. You will learn how to draw anything and learn the fundamentals of drawing. Buy books at Amazon website.
1. You Can Draw In 30 Days by Mark Kistler
2. Mark Kistler's Draw Squad
3. Drawing For Dummies by Brenda Hoddinott
4. Lifelike Drawing With Lee Hammond
5. Exploring The Basics Of Drawing by Victoria Vebell
LEARN LIGHT AND SHADE:
In order to draw/paint something realistic you must understand how the subject is lighted:
1. Side Lighting
2. Three Quarter/Conventional Lighting
3. Frontal/Front Lighting
4. Top/Overhead Lighting
5. Back/Rear/Rim Lighting
6. Diffused Lighting
7. Stage Lighting.
As you observe how the light falls on the object, your next step is to draw/paint it. The 7 lighting arrangements mentioned above are shaded in 7 different ways on an object using 5 values. In order to make something look realistic, you must use a variety of values from light to dark. Read the book Light, Shade, & Shadow by E.L. Koller for a thorough explanation of light and shade.
Learn to draw/paint the 5 values on an object.
The book, Cast Drawing Using The Sight-Size Approach by Darren R. Rousar uses these 5 terms for the values:
5. Reflected Light.
The book, Lifelike Drawing With Lee Hammond uses these 5 terms for the values:
1. Cast Shadow
2. Shadow Edge
4. Reflected Light
5. Full Light
In order to draw/paint something realistic, you must learn perspective, which is the illusion of depth and dimension on a flat surface. Things look different when viewed from various positions, which is called one point perspective, two point perspective, three point perspective, or foreshortening. If you learn to draw/paint things as it really appears to the eye when looking at it, then your object will be in correct perspective. Read the book, Perspective by William F. Powell.
Graphite Pencils come in the following pencil grades:
9B 8B 7B 6B 5B 4B 3B 2B B HB F H 2H 3H 4H 5H 6H 7H 8H 9H
Reading left to right (9B to 9H), the color range goes from dark to light. The B pencils are dark. The H pencils are light. 9B is the darkest color (black), HB is the middle color (medium grey), 9H is the lightest color (light grey).
Reading left to right (9B to 9H), also shows how soft or hard the graphite is. The B pencils are soft graphite. The H pencils are hard graphite. 9B is the softest and it smudges very easily, HB is in the middle, 9H is the hardest which doesn't smudge at all.
For a beginner, I would recommend buying 2 dark/soft pencils (4B 2B), 1 middle pencil (HB), 2 light/hard pencils (2H 4H).