May 29, 2021

Drawing Basics: Drawing a box and understanding its shapes

A drawing of a box.

If we draw simple or basic forms to set up the underlying structure of our drawings, we need to make sure that we can draw those forms accurately. In this lesson, we'll look at drawing a box. More accurately, we'll learn to identify the critical elements that go into creating a precisely shaped box.

We'll look at some tricks to help draw a box to appear as if it is a three-dimensional form. Those tricks are all derived from the linear perspective guides.

We'll discuss one of the guides, but we won't be using any perspective grid in this demonstration. We will look at the edges of each side of the box and examine how and why we draw each edge to fit the structure correctly.


Drawing a Box

We will, first, do a quick walk through some steps to draw a box. The steps below are not the only way to draw a box. However, if you have never drawn a box before, these steps set a simple process that makes drawing a box easier to do.

May 22, 2021

Drawing Basics: Drawing using the Simple Forms

A drawing using the simple forms
We can improve our drawing skills by drawing the things we see around us.  Drawing from observation helps us by refining our observational skills and teaching us how to organize our drawing method. 

We can organize our drawing process by focusing on well-defined chunks of information at each step of completing a drawing.  Rather than simply trying to mimic what we see, we can approach drawing conceptually by organizing these tasks around separate bits of visual information. We can use conceptual frames of reference to understand what we are drawing. 

One way one frame of reference we can use is to identify the underlying structure of our subject and draw that first. If we can learn to identify the underlying structures, we draw we will improve our ability to draw more accurately. Our accuracy improves because we can lay out some fundamental features of our subject matter correctly before investing time in the details.

A great approach to identifying and drawing the underlying structure is to illustrate that structure in simple or basic forms. Let's look at why this is and how to do it. 


The above video explains the simple forms, why we use them, and demonstrates drawing an object using the simple forms to set up the underlying structure.

May 14, 2021

Drawing Basics: Line weight

To draw, one way to hold the pencil is the writer's grip

A simple technique we can employ to add variety and direct our audience's attention is by varying the weight of the lines within our sketch. 

Line weight is the visual strength or intensity of a line. We can achieve different line weights or intensities by changing the thickness of a line or changing how light or dark a line appears. We can even do both by changing the thickness and the darkness of a line. 

May 8, 2021

Holding the pencil to draw

Two ways to hold a pencil when drawing.

There are a few differences between using a pencil when drawing versus writing, and I want to cover a few of the basics of using a pencil as related to drawing. Understanding these basics will make drawing and sketching easier and more exciting.

As many of us are self-taught artists up to this point, we could benefit from the information below to improve our drawing technique. As self-taught artists, we may not have been introduced to these techniques.

Let's start by looking at how to hold a pencil.

How we hold the pencil is an often overlooked but essential part of a good drawing technique. I am sure that we all have struggled with drawing a line or mark as we sketched at one point in time. This struggle happens because we put our hand into an unnatural position to draw a line angled in we couldn't otherwise draw. If we find that we are rotating the sketchbook often, we are doing this for the same reason. We can't position the pencil as we need to move the pencil in the direction we want. Anyone who has drawn before has developed cramps or pain in the fingers and hands as they draw. There is a solution to all these problems. That solution is to adjust the way we grip the pencil.

When we hold the pencil appropriately, we will have more control and flexibility as we draw. We find that the pencil becomes easier to use as there is a greater range of movement within the fingers, wrist, and elbow.

We can hold the pencil in a variety of ways to help us when we draw. Let's look at the two basic types of grip.