Drawing skills are essential.
Shapes must be good - note I didn't say "perfect".
"Good" can also mean interesting, unique or beautiful.
Design your artwork with design principles in mind.
Accomplished drawers/designers/artists can and do paint without drawing on their paper BUT 99.9% will have mapped out their design idea as a sketch first and will have spent much time studying and researching and planning.
Some watercolour tutors disagree with this, it shows in their work.
Drawing can become a 5 minute exercise in order to create a good painting (oil, acrylic, watercolour, sculpture, pastel), it doesn't matter the medium, art is art.
It takes skill and practice - draw everyday, start simple.
an eraser is not an essential tool but your sharpening device is.
"wrong" marks are full of character and shouldn't be erased.
there are many different purposes for drawing, some for me are:
- thumbnail design sketch
- thumbnail value sketch
- observational study
- full formal value drawing/design
- a map onto my watercolour paper
the word "perfect" must be stricken from your vocabulary - it is meaningless because it can't be articulated, is subjective and stops us from doing what we really want to do!