Constantly Growing...

Constantly Growing...
- A fantastic blog from here to where the rainbow ends...

Total Pageviews Since This Tree Was Planted:

This Magical Tree is Most of all Filled With::

Most Fertile Branches Lately:


Find Fantasytree recommendations and see what other readers recommend at the bottom of this page or HERE

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Learn To Draw, Lesson 1 - Start Drawing!

Learn To Draw Lessons:
1. Start Drawing! (this post)
2. Pen Sketch From Life
3. Draw a Fantasy Beast/Animal - Introduction
4. Draw a Fantasy Beast/Animal Part 2 - Start to Sketch

Simplified Fantasy Drills:
1. Simplified Citadel

Welcome to the first lesson in the "Learn to Draw" series here at Fantasytree.

First, I'll give a brief summary of the various topics I have gone through in order to improve myself, then comes the actual lesson. Please give me feedback and let me know if these drawing lessons have helped you improve your drawing.

These lessons will primarily be based on drawing basics related to subjects covered by Glenn Vilppu, Andrew Loomis, George Bridgman, Robert Beverly Hale, Jack Hamm, Rudy de Reyna and other great drawing teachers. Once again, welcome, I hope you'll learn a lot and have a good time while doing so.

The Way I've Followed

I'll start with an overview of the five first aspects of drawing as I learned them - and the order around which these lessons will be built. I believe that most - if not all beginners - would benefit from doing/reading/watching the assignments, books and links that will be suggested along the way.

1. Line
2. Basic perspective

3. Basic shape: The Cube
4. Basic shape: The cylinder

5. Basic shape: The sphere

I will be honest with you though: In order to improve quickly, I have drawn and painted A LOT these last months. On a daily basis, hours a day. In addition to working with these five foundational building blocks, I made my own "practice plan". This underlines the obvious and fundamental truth when it comes to drawing (and anything in life):

The more time you spend on drawing, the faster you will improve and the more will you learn!

If you hope to improve very much in a short time, then you will have to spend a lot of time every single day drawing. If you're a real beginner you are probably not willing to do that - and then you probably won't improve that fast. But you will improve, though, I guarantee it.

These lessons are meant for even the absolute beginner, though (as well as more experienced artists wanting to focus more on the very basics). I suggest you take them at the pace you find comfortable. Hopefully you'll soon find that you have an "urge" to draw (I sure have) just because you enjoy it so much. If you don't - you should probably reconsider why your pushing yourself on to do this against your own instinct.

Anyway, this was my background and philosophy on practice. lets now take a first, very gentle step towards learning to draw: Learn to draw, Lesson 1!

Learn To Draw, Lesson 1 - Start Drawing

FIG. 1

Material needed:
1. Something to draw with, preferably a regular pencil (HB) but even the cheapest pen, marker, crayon etc. will do
2. Something to draw on, preferably a notebook (unlined) that you can use as a "sketchbook" and collect all your drawings. That way you can easily follow your own progress.

This first lesson is probably the most important, simplest and most difficult of all the lessons you will find here. If you follow this assignment - that can be done every day, for the rest of your life, you will improve your drawing skills.

Assignment: Take what you plan to draw with and what you plan to draw on. Relax. Draw something. Just relax and start drawing. Anything. Tomorrow do the same thing. And keep doing it. Make sure you draw something every single day, anything, for as long as you wish to keep improving.
If you don't know what to draw: Just draw lines. Straight or curved, hard or soft. Doesn't matter, as long as you draw.

The way I suggest you do this is that you take your sketchbook (my favorite size is A5, since it's easy to bring wherever I go). Write the date at the top of a new page. Draw something on that page. Tomorrow you take a new page, write date and draw.

What this simple everyday activity will achieve is:
1. You will improve the way you hold the pencil (or whatever you draw with) and find the natural way for you to hold it

2. You will improve the way you handle the space of the paper (or whatever you draw on)

3. You will improve the way you draw whatever you draw, simply by repeatedly drawing it.

4. You will get bored of drawing just lines (or whatever you draw) and start changing direction, shapes, patterns. In order words: You are becoming creative! (In a fundamental sense you are becoming the artist you have always been). Art is all about creativity and personality.

5. You will learn things about yourself as you let your subconscious guide your hand into creating shapes, patterns, images.

6. You will start observing the world in a new way. Sooner or later you will most certainly draw something that reminds you of something - in that moment a tiny interest in that particular object is born and you will look at it just a little more closely the next time you see it. In a sense, you start building relationships to the things you draw. To the world around you.

7. You will feel a wish to improve the way you draw even more, by looking at how others draw, learning from others (searching for lessons like this one) and immersing yourself more and more into the rewarding hobby that is drawing (and painting - which is actually just drawing with added complexities)

I write "will", because it is my firm belief that these things do occur. When they will occur and - even less obvious - when you will discover that they occur, that's an entirely different matter.

(FIG. 1 is a simple illustration of the process)

I am aware that this became a very long post and that the lesson may confuse you and make you question the reason for even doing it.

I ask you to put all doubts aside and just give it a try. Give it a week, a month, whatever you feel suits you. And if nothing at all happens with your drawing, please let me know (and if something does happen, let me know that as well).

If you learn only one thing from me, I hope it will be this - actually the most important advice I will give in any of these lessons:

Draw something every day

Good luck and please let me know how you are doing.

Happy drawing!

Lesson 2 - Pen sketch from life

(Lesson last updated: January 2010)


  1. Thank you for detailed instructions!
    I will get an A5-pad and start drawing as soon as I can.

    Good instructions!!!

  2. That's great. Looking forward to hear about your progress. Thanks for the encouragement.


  3. Hallo!
    Sorry to say, I haven´t started drawing yet. Longing for it. Your "Cave-picture is really fantastic! The best you have ever painted.
    See you!

  4. Too bad.

    I actually adress the "time issue" in Lesson 2. Know you can find at least a minute a day to draw - if that's something that you really want.

    Thanks for the encouragement. Really glad to hear that you like it that much.



Don't forget to visit Golden Leaves - The Fantasytree Store below

Find Fantasytree recommendations and see what other readers recommend at the bottom of this page...