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Lesson 0: About Drawing

Drawing is arguably one of the most ancient creative acts. Drawings on cave walls date back 32,000 years. Though unprovable, these drawings probably arose from a human will to depict if not record the world and its various forms. These cave drawings are decidedly representational in nature. However, representational drawing is only one of many ways to draw from the world. The artist places these bits of experience on paper, a cave wall or any other substrate. The complexity to which someone can interpret and then produce from experiences of the world are limitless. There is no right way to draw. There is only what the world is and then what one wants to say about it. Drawing is a way of making sense of what we see. It is also a way of communicating. Drawing can be private, to be seen only by one's self. It can also be a method of illustrating a feeling or an idea or an experience to someone else or to an audience.

The act of drawing is often very immediate. It can be a way of taking notes to be revisited or refined into a painting, an architectural blueprint or a sequence to be used in a short film. It is for many the first step to any project.

Drawing is an extreme art that can convey to the viewer a clear idea about the scene and subject (scene is the situation in the drawing and subject is the main part or action of drawing). Drawing requires more flexibility of finger joints and also the palm. An artist with tremendous ideas can have good creative drawings in his account.

In the simplest form, drawing is seeing and replicating this as accurately as possible on some medium. This works because the eye works as a pin-hole camera, capturing the view in the retina plane at the back of the eye. The task of the brain is to put together an understanding of the three-dimensional world and all objects within from the two-dimensional retinal image. If you want to draw the view, you just have to draw what you see, while ignoring what the brain tells and knows about the three-dimensional world, because that knowledge will not work in the two-dimensional drawing.

First, one has to learn to see. This requires some practice, because the brain interprets a lot of things and this makes it harder to see what there actually is. For instance, when you see a face, you categorize it and parts of it a face with eyes, a nose and a mouth. In your mind, you have some simple idea of the basic, symbolic shape of the eye. You can try this by drawing an eye. You probably draw it as a line drawing, with a circle inside an oval, not as a photo-realistic drawing. You possibly draw it like it would be in a face directly looking at you. You might also know how to draw a symbolic eye directly from the side. The problem is that every eye is different and you should be able to draw what you see without your brain telling you what things should look like. You should see and draw what things look like.

There are some exercises that you can try to make your brain ignore what things should look like. It is possible if you draw something that your brain does not know how to categorize, name or symbolize.

  • Draw the wrinkles on some part of your your hand. Do not look at your drawing. Just very slowly follow the lines in your hand and draw the same lines. This is an exercise to make you see the little details, the drawing itself probably is just a bunch of lines and does not need to be accurate.
  • Find a line drawing of some subject that does not have too much detail. Turn it upside down and draw it. Occlude parts of the original drawing so that you do not see the whole picture at any time. While you draw, compare the angles of the lines and the different shapes they make. When you are finished, turn them over and compare. You may be surprised how accurate your copy is.

Lesson 1: Materials Required

Drawing requires few supplies. Pencil(charcoal or ink can be used for shading), clean paper, cloth, eraser.

Pencil :- Pencil is used to make an outline sketch of the subject. Pencil of variant grades are used for different purposes. 2B can be used for sketching, 3B is used for light shading, 4B or 5B are used for dark shading and HB or 1B can be used to create sharp and fine lines.

The H - 6H pencils are harder and leave a lighter line. These will also work well for lightly sketching in your composition. A 2H pencil with a light hand leaves a barely visible mark. This allows you to map everything out without having to go back and erase and construction lines. Working from light to dark will help you avoid erasing and leave you with a more cohesive drawing.

(charcoal and ink can be used for shading) :- It gives much darker impression than a pencil shading.

Clean paper :- Remember to look for the right kind of paper for the medium you are using.

If you are planning to use graphite, then a harder, smooth paper works best (Bristol is a good sturdy paper). Inks require different paper depending on the tool that you use. If you are using a nib tipped pen or a ball point you will need a smooth hard paper (again Bristol is a good choice). If you plan on using just a brush a sized paper will work best. Water color paper is good choice. If you want to use both nib and brush a Hot Press Water Color paper will work well for both tools. Charcoal requires some tooth. Unlike pencils, charcoal has little (in the case of compressed charcoal) to no (vine charcoal) binder so it will not stick as well to a smooth surface. There is a huge array of charcoal/pastel papers to choose from. Finding the kind that you like will take some searching. To begin practicing, a pad of Rough Newsprint will work until you are ready to move on to the nicer (and more expensive) fine art paper.

Cloth :- A cloth wrapped on a finger can be used for broader shading and to smudge lines and curves.

Eraser :- An eraser can be used for lightening any point on a drawing, so as to make it brighter than surrounding part. There are a few different kinds of eraser and it is important to get the proper eraser for the medium. The Pink eraser is the same kind that is found on a standard yellow pencil. They work well for erasing light marks, but be aware that as they age they will harden and leave pink smudges on the paper. The Plastic or White eraser is a good all purpose eraser. It can easily and cleanly remove light and dark marks. It removes both graphite and charcoal. It is flexible and with an a sharp knife or razor blade you can carve the eraser into a delicate point. The Kneaded eraser will work on graphite but works best with charcoal. This self-cleaning eraser will allow you to delicately lighten areas of your drawing. By kneading the putty to a soft consistency you can then press it gently against the surface of your drawing and remove small amounts of material. Erasers easily become a crutch for the novice. It is important to think of the eraser as another drawing tool and not a correction device.

Lesson 2 : Warmup & Sketching

Many people consider sketching to be even more rough and fundamental than drawing. They are essentially the same thing, but perhaps a finished drawing has more validity to be displayed than a sketch. This is arguable.

Sketching a form in nature should begin loosely. Artists often warm up the same way an athlete, a writer or pianist does. They get loose. Get yourself in character. Mood is half of what will sustain a healthy drawing habit. The second thing is an order of operations, like in math. To draw well you need both the emotion but also the skill. Artists have a set of rituals that they perform before beginning any serious study. Drawing is a process like any other and the tradition of drawing has refined certain methods that can be learned and practiced. Over time these methods become second nature. It is surprising how quickly this happens and should not be feared.

Use 2B (or 1B) for sketching.

When sketching, try to sketch whole figures without losing their proportion. That is, if you are drawing a man, try keep the same ratio and position of his body parts. This gets easier in time.

Draw and shade a sphere, cone, cylinder, and cube. These are the main forms which make up the basics of most other 3-dimensional objects. Then try drawing some natural 3-dimensional objects:

(Try to make drawings of some photographs, so that you can improve sketching skill.)

A sketch is the skeleton of a drawing, so try to have a good sketch by practicing more.

Seeing and Practical Tips

It is less important that you make a good drawing than learn to experience and practice a love of using one's eyes. A common way of teaching drawing is to avoid looking at one's paper at all in the beginning. The reward of drawing is not the drawing itself, it is the memory of the experience of seeing the real thing. A true master of drawing is one that practices this integration. Copying is a great way to develop technique. It is also a way of avoiding the more difficult job of being original. Be careful when finding this balance. When in doubt err on the side of observation.

To have your hands flexible, to draw any shape with out using a scale or any other things, do the following exercises:

Draw a long straight line, then try to draw parallel lines of same length. -By doing this repeatedly (both horizontally and vertically) you can draw straight lines easily.

Draw a small circle without releasing pencil from paper, then try to draw concentric circles around it as you did before. -By doing this repeatedly you can draw complicated curves easily.

Try to draw more free hand designs, to improve your sketching skill.

The above exercises can be done on a rough paper with a smooth pencil.

These exercises can be done any time to maintain your finger flexibility.


To practice proportion, get a picture you are interested in drawing and draw a grid on it.

Once you have done that, draw the same grid on a blank piece of paper. Cover everything up except for one grid space.

Look at where the eye ends in relationship to where the halfway mark is on the piece from the grid. The right corner of her eye ends at right about the half way mark, the bottom of her eye ends a bit above the mark. Draw that on the grid. Do this for each square until you are finished. The grid will only help with features like the eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, hair, and shape of head. The grid does not actually help with anything that does not have an outline. Shading is needed for space without shapes.


-Study how Picasso divided the face into halves. Find a center line for a face in 3/4 view as well as tilted back and down. Avoid drawing heads facing front and looking into the camera.

-Try to think of the head as a 3D form and not as a recognizable face. The further you get from being able to recognize them in a crowd the closer you will be to capturing their individual personality.


-Try covering your paper with a middle tone. Use an eraser to remove the light areas and charcoal to fill in the dark. This play of light and dark is called Chiaroscuro. Your first try may seem to be messy, but just go along the lines, and shade in one direction. Keep practicing!



  • anatomy for artists
  • material comparisons
  • Andrew Loomis books are freely available on the internet.

Student Gallery

This is a simple exercise for you who want to learn to draw. Draw the tube first, then the body, and at last the clothes.

--Esbjorn 07:51, 11 January 2007 (UTC)