Learning to Draw With Pub Draw

Learning to Draw With Pub Draw

Want to draw your beloved Dragonborn cleric but feel like you lack the skills to do so? Since you’re telling me you have no prior training, we’ll have to start from square one. Or should we say, “circle” one? *Draws terrible circle.* But, if you’re not as artistically inclined as Spongebob, checking out the Arts category on Twitch. You’ll find countless streams of artists working live and chatting away with the audience. This is good exposure to the writing process, but it still isn’t the best for easy step-by-step drawing for beginners. There’s a channel specifically for that purpose, though.

A Channel for Beginners

Created and hosted by the Kickstarter-breaking Critical Role team, Pub Draw is a mixture between a hang-out stream and TTRPG Bob Ross illustration class. If you’ve ever wanted The Joy of Painting, but for learning how to draw D&D characters, this is the channel for you. Each week, Batgirl artist Babs Tarr teaches cast member Marisha Ray and various guests how to draw using characters from Critical Role. They start at ground zero and lead the audience and guests through the absolute basics of drawing. Tarr encourages the audience to use what’s accessible and to practice as often as they can. When it comes to drawing, all of us are worthy.

Dragon drawing

 Positive Reassurance

Positive Reassurance is Pub Draw’s greatest strength as a show. During each hour to two-hour long stream, the audience is encouraged to follow along. That’s right, you get to be a part of the show. It’s like virtual reality, but better, because there’s no motion sickness. And, there’s no better way to easily learn drawing step by step as a beginner than to be guided along, while still being forced to participate. Wanna craft a sheet of skeleton heads and eyeballs? Great! Now you have them in your inventory! Does your drawing look wrong to you? That’s all right! As long as you keep trying, you’ll improve and be making art that you love in no time. Artists are overly critical of their own work, anyway.

Everything is Content

Pub Draw uses an “everything is content” philosophy that makes it ideal for learning how to draw D&D characters and being instantly accessible to all viewers. Tarr never uses her training and experience as a professional to have high expectations or look down on beginners. That’s right, she’s the anti-Karen. And she’s going to take care of you. Her show isn’t about her, it’s all about the audience. Week-by-week watching Marisha Ray continuously learn and improve alongside the audience is another wonderful point of accessibility. Put simply, this is a great and accessible community to be a part of. 

Drawing materials


Pub Draw is an amazingly helpful show, but it’s not without its drawbacks. These are mostly derivative of its Livestream format and will be inherent to any shows on the platform, though. Those looking for a more structured course may have issues following along as Tarr floats back and forth from serious instruction on how to draw D&D characters to helping her guests, to jumping ahead to more advanced techniques. If you don’t care about structure, or are as impatient as most internet users are, then that shouldn’t be an issue. The instruction may feel disjointed, but it keeps you on your toes. This is an online class you won’t fall asleep during.

Lack of Numbers

Pub Draw’s other major drawback is its lack of episode numbering. If you, like myself, find yourself too busy to watch the show live (seriously, how do people have time to do anything?), you have to rely on YouTube uploads later. However, it can be difficult to figure out which episodes go in what order. It took me 20 minutes wandering through videos to find a good starting point. Luckily, I’m not the first person to have this problem. There are ready-made playlists on YouTube so that you can enjoy and learn in order. Easy step-by-step drawing for beginners is easily findable thanks to playlists.

Drawing digitally

So Much to Learn

Even for experienced artists, there’s a lot to learn from Pub Draw. Speaking from experience, I’ve been an illustrator for years, but most of my training is self-taught. Starting with the raw basics of how to draw D&D characters from a professional illustrator showed me all kinds of tricks and shortcuts I can use in my personal work. Now when I draw, all the right shortcuts are stuck in my brain. It’s like a whole different kind of cheating! Plus, it’s a great excuse for carving out some time to draw some of my own favorite characters. Kazak isn’t going to draw himself.

Check it Out for Yourself

Want to learn how to easily draw amazing fantasy characters? Pub Draw is live on Twitch every Wednesday at 5 PM PST. Too busy to watch live? See the whole catalog of videos on YouTube. Become the artist you were always meant to be. There’s a Bob Ross inside all of us.

Brittany Lindstrom is a mixed media illustrator out of ye olde Boise, Idaho. Under the banner of Spice & Rose, Lindstrom is oftentimes left dreaming of deep dungeon dives while chained to her studio. On the rare occasion that she's let out, you can find her presenting panels on art and Artist Alley at conventions all around the Intermountain West. She has a deep love for playing randomized characters. 

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