Drawing definitely needs to be learned (studied and practiced), yes you do need understand quite a few skills and techniques. There are methods and art rules that you can use to help you draw better almost immediately if you apply them properly.
Drawing isn’t something that people are born to be able to do. Whether they practice on their own or study courses (the right one can really speed up your results ten-fold.) Realism drawing is a result of a combination of all four major areas of study
- Outline Drawing (contour of the shape itself and the shapes of all the shadows and highlights)
- Shading (with a full knowledge of the five major areas of where to draw the highlights and shadows as well as what level of tone to draw them.
- Proportion (perspective rules really help with this)
- Composition (where to position all the elements in your image and why you choose to put them there.) There is a lot to learn about this one, and its so interesting.
Then of course there is also all the rules of color theory to add if you choose to work in color.
Basically, in a Complete Drawing Course you will find all of these things covered. I make it a focus to be sure that all of my students learn these basics; concentrating on one major area at a time so as not to be overwhelmed through trying to learn them all at once. It works really well. Here are some examples of drawings by students of my art course. Everyone was a beginner when they first came to study, you can see their effort on the left of each set of images here. On the right you can see their ‘after’ image created just 64 hours into the course. You can see from these examples, that art rules really do help people learn to draw. There are more examples created by other students of my course below these.