The absolute importance of continual drawing, sketching and even ‘doodling’ – from the artists perspective – cannot be overstated.
While it is (somewhat) possible to ‘draw’ digitally in this era of ‘advanced’ computer technology, actual pencil-on-paper ‘old school style’ drawing is still the best method to develop true artistic skills and competence.
Like ANY ‘learned’ skill, practice, practice, practice – and persistence – will pay off in developing visual perfection via one-dimensional artistic endeavors. Graphite on white or toned paper is the traditional method; and of course, charcoal – or any number of dry mediums can be utilized, but pencil-on-paper using tonal variations to achieve light to dark (visual) effects via blending and when necessary, erasing, is in many respects the preferred method of developing hand-eye coordination and drawing proficiency.
For tyro artists, a regimen of DAILY drawing time – at least 30 to 45 minutes or more (if time allows) will lay the solid foundation for ongoing artistic endeavors. I would strongly suggest that ALL such drawing and sketching – no matter whether you think it good or bad – should be dated and kept in file folders or envelopes so that you can track your developing skills.
Note that one needn’t use large format paper when beginning to learn to use pencil and paper to achieve any drawing style or subject matter; in fact, quite often it is the quick, simple ‘gesture’ drawings and sketches that have a spark of freshness – “thumbnails” is the term used most often to describe those quick impulsive pencil gestures that catch the eye and say: “paint me IF you can”! Ah, THAT is the trick…. HOW does one enlarge those special ‘thumbnail’ doodles and retain the spontaneous freshness? I wish I knew!