Beginning Artist: Basic Lessons : Drawing

Every artist starts somewhere. If you ever took art class in school you might remember some of these lessons.  If you did not take art classes these lessons will be new.  Either way they teach you different things and can be quite fun.

Some of the first lessons that any art teacher will teach you are; Blind contour drawing, negative space, and basic shapes (for lighting.)

P.S. I apologize for the cellphone photos.  One day I will get my scanner fixed any you will get to see some awesome images.

Blind Contour

Blind Contour Sample. I drew some camping gear that was on an overstuffed leather love seat. Can you find the sleeping bag?

Blind contour drawing is pretty much like it sounds, you do NOT look at your page and draw the edges of a still life. I recommend something like a cup with some pens for beginners. Once you get the hang of it start adding more sophisticated shapes like flowers or fruit to your still life.  Blind contour drawing teaches you to keep your hand, eyes and brain going at the same pace.  If you are not keeping pace you will end up with very odd looking items.

Negative Space

Negative Space example. I drew the edges of a spray bottle. It was fairly simple yet had some interesting bits.

Negative space is a drawing of the space around your still life. If you are using the cup and pen still life you would draw the edge of the tallest pen at the very edge of the top of the page. Draw the edge of that pen until it touches another pen, you then follow the pen that crosses.  Continue on until all the pens and cup are done.  As you practice try adding detail to the back ground, a line where the table can be seen behind the cup, a door way or window that is behind, but leave the still life empty.  Try making the negative space more interesting by drawing the edges bigger so the top of the pens touch the top of the page and the bottom of the cup touches the bottom of the page.  Maybe the pens lean out over the cup and can touch the left or right edge of the page.


Shading: Observe basic shapes and see how the shadows fall. Combine the shapes and make new images.
The goal is to have NO lines. Only light and shadow.

Shading basic shapes is key to understanding how light will effect your drawing.  This is good to practice on simple shapes with direct light sources to start. As you learn more about light your can move onto more complicated shapes and indirect light sources.

Drawing can be a learned skill.  It takes time and practice to develop.  Yes, some people seem to have innate talent but they still have to practice to stay good and grow as artists.

Most art teacher recommend drawing for 30-60 minutes a day.  Something I agree with.  Practice all three basic lessons for 10 minutes each and you have your 30 minutes.  Do two or three of each and you will have your hour.  Once you are comfortable with the lessons and subject change it up.  Use more complicated subjects. Draw for 30 min but only Blind Contour and the next day do shading.

If you find yourself on a tight schedule, doodle.  Just like going to the gym, every minute of activity counts to your daily total.

Have fun!


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