Free Drawing Lessons

For The Absolute Beginner

Easy To Understand, Easy To Use, Easier Than You Think

cartoon of artist at easel paintingArtis at Easel Painting

Learning how to draw with these free drawing lessons is doggone easy. Really.

In these free drawing lessons - and there are tons of free stuff on the internet, some very good, some just okay and others poor.

If you are a beginner you will probably be a little overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information on drawing lessons.

This tutorial is really for beginners—so we'll start at the beginning.

(At the moment I do not have any videos to show you but you can find a lot on YouTube and I do not know which are good or bad—there are so many to choose from.)

The first thing we have to have a look at are materials. It is better to get the best quality you can afford.

This tutorial is really for beginners—so we'll start at the beginning. (At the moment I do not have any videos to show you but you can find a lot on YouTube and I do not know which are good or bad—there are so many to choose from.)

The first thing we have to have a look at are your materials. It is better to get the best quality you can afford.

Pencils
These are usually made of graphite or bonded lead and range from very hard 9H to very soft 9B. H is for the hard pencils and B the softness. My recommendation is you should start off with an HB and a 2B, that is all you need. Staedtler is a good choice and Derwent is another. Keep your pencils really sharp, the soft ones do go blunt very quickly so keep your sharpener handy.

Paper
Paper quality is not critical initially if you are starting off your drawing career. Reason? Gaining confidence by not thinking you are wasting expensive drawing paper. Get a cheap "newsprint" sketchpad which costs a few dollars. When you have gained confidence in your drawing get a more expensive sketchpad, one that has a "tooth" or a slightly rougher paper. (The "tooth" is known as the surface of the paper from smooth to coarse.) Another thing to note about paper is there are 2 sides a "right" and a "wrong" The best side to use is the one with the rougher surface—it is easy to compare the two sides.

Charcoal
Charcoal has been around forever and is a very versatile tool. It is usually made from the willow tree and therefore grease free. You can obtain charcoal which is mainly soft to very soft but the sticks are not hard like the pencil. Why use charcoal? It is inexpensive and ideal for quick sketches and also for applying large areas of your drawings with shading (sometimes called tone value.)

You can blend or fade charcoal giving your drawing a more professional look similar to some of the old masters. I used to use charcoal extensively in gesture drawing where you can draw the main elements rapidly with little or no detail. This can sometimes create an effective drawing.

Charcoal can be a bit messy and smudges easily so hold the stick between your thumb and middle finger—this takes a little practice but you will get the hang of it fairly soon. Go to Drawing Techniques which will show you how to hold charcoal. Once you are happy with your charcoal drawing, get a fixative so your charcoal will not rub off.

Start Drawing
The very first steps should be drawing straight lines by hand. A straight line drawn with a ruler looks very mechanical whereas a freehand straight line has vitality. Please try both to see the difference. If you are right-handed as most people are, your strokes should come from top right to bottom left—that would be the most natural movement of the arm and wrist. Obviously, lefties would go from top left to bottom right. (see the straight lines in Leonardo da Vinci drawings as a left handed artist.)

All you have to do now if you want a vertical or horizontal straight line, is to turn your paper to correspond with your most comfortable position. Try them all, from left to right, right to left and anyway that feels more comfortable for you.

Once you have practiced this, let's go on to the basic structure or form of anything in this physical world of ours.

The Four Basic Forms
Every object you see in front of you is based on these four forms which is the cube, the sphere, the cylinder or the cone. That's it. These are fairly simple to draw as you can see in the illustration, just copy these four and we'll go onto the next item in our free drawing lesson.

perspective drawings of cubesTake a Perspective Note All Your Drawings

Perspective
Perspective basically means a viewpoint or a point from which to see things. Everything you see whether a cube, cone or even organic shapes vanishes in the distance to a point—this is termed VP or vanishing point—it converges into the distance.

Worth remembering is that the horizontal line is, in most cases, at eye level. Eye level refers to anything at the height of your eye. Not being aware of things at eye level is one of the fundamental errors made in drawing.

Notice that when you are sitting down, the table in front of you has a different "plane" compared to the one when you are standing up and looking at the same table. If you were to climb onto a step ladder and look down at the same table it would look as if it was almost square, so the "plane" changes shape according to your eye level. See the illustration here.

The easiest thing to draw in perspective is the cube which is a three-dimensional object showing height, depth and width. This can be seen clearly in your 3D drawing.

See in the first drawing above, the cube is at eye level, number two is where you see the cube from the top and number three, the cube is seen looking at the bottom, from below eye level. These then are the basics or drawing and should be known without ever thinking about them.

There is a lot more on the basics of drawing. We've hardly scratched the surface with these basics. So stay tuned here for more free drawing lessons.

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