Learn To Draw: A Beginner's Guide To Sketching Anything! | Mel Rye | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Learn To Draw: A Beginner's Guide To Sketching Anything!

teacher avatar Mel Rye, Illustrator & Teacher ✏

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (1h 20m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Class Project + Overview

    • 3. Tools + Materials

    • 4. Pencil Grip + Warming Up

    • 5. Drawing Lines

    • 6. Drawing Shapes

    • 7. Observation

    • 8. Mini Exercise

    • 9. Choosing Subject Matter

    • 10. Putting Everything Together

    • 11. Finishing

    • 12. Next Steps

    • 13. Thank You!

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this drawing for beginners class, I'll walk you through all the fundamental drawing skills and observation techniques you need to get started with the basics of sketching. 


Learning to draw can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What should you draw? How should you draw it? How can you make your hand draw the shape youre trying to create?! 

These are all very good questions, and in this class, I’ll answer all of them, and more, as I’ll guide you through some simple steps to get you started with sketching anything.

This class is aimed at complete beginners, but if you have a little drawing experience you may find some of the exercises and tips give you some fresh perspectives.


 W H A T   Y O U   W I L L    L E A R N 

  • We will begin by warming up and exploring how the way we hold our pencil affects how we draw

  • Next we will practice drawing straight and curved lines – the foundations of every drawing - and I’ll show you some techniques to help you achieve better results with those

  • Then we’ll use our straight and curved line drills as we practice drawing some commonly used shapes, which act as building blocks when we come to drawing from a reference

  • We’ll discuss the holy grail of drawing – observation – and explore why it can be difficult for us to draw what is actually in front of us, and I’ll show you some strategies to help you observe better and more objectively

  • Next, we will explore subject matter, and we’ll look at some good and bad examples, with tips to help you choose subjects that will give you the best chance of creating successful drawings

  • Finally, we’ll put all the theory and practice together by going through the step-by-step process of creating a sketch from start to finish


 W H A T   Y O U   W I L L    N E E D

The materials for this class couldn’t be simpler:

  • A Pencil
  • A few sheets of paper
  • An eraser

When we’re starting out learning to draw, the overwhelm can often stop us in our tracks before we've even got started. The aim of this class is to give you a guide you can use to help you cut through the overwhelm and get started drawing any subject, within the class and beyond!

 So if you’re ready, let’s dive in!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Mel Rye

Illustrator & Teacher ✏

Top Teacher

I'm Mel, an illustrator, artist and a qualified Art & Design teacher. 

I love teaching, because I adore that lightbulb moment when something falls into place for someone - when there's a realisation that you CAN do this!

I believe we learn best when we're not really thinking too much and are excited about the thing we are creating, so I like to create Skillshare classes which will show you how to make awesome class projects, teaching you a ton of skills along the way.

It would be great if we can connect on Instagram or Facebook, and if you post any projects from my classes please tag me with #melryeskillshare as it absolutely makes my day to see your work! Make sure you follow me to hear first about my new classes and why not sign up for my... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Welcome!: [MUSIC] Learning to draw can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What should you draw, and how should you draw it? How can you make your hand draw the shape that you're trying to create? These are all great questions and in this class I'll answer all of them and more as I guide you through some simple steps to get you started with sketching anything. [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Mel and I'm an illustrator artist and a qualified teacher with over 15 years of experience in teaching others how to draw. I've worked with students who have started out absolutely terrified of the blank page and seen them blossom into illustrators, graphic designers, architects, fine artists, and everything in-between. Drawing is a skill which everyone can learn. This class is aimed at complete beginners but if you've got a little drawing experience you may find some of the exercises and tips give you some fresh perspectives. We will begin by warming up and exploring how the way we hold our pencil affects how we draw. Next we'll practice drawing straight and curved lines, the foundations of every drawing and I'll show you some techniques to help you achieve better results with those. Then we'll practice drawing some commonly used shapes which will act as building blocks when we come to draw from a reference, and I'll share some approaches to help you draw them with ease. We'll discuss the holy grail of drawing observation and we'll explore why it can be difficult for us to draw what is actually in front of us. I'll show you some strategies to help you observe better and more objectively. Next we will explore subject matter and we'll look at some good and bad examples with tips to help you choose subjects which will give you the best chance of creating successful drawings. Finally, we'll put all that theory and practice together by going through a step-by-step process of creating a sketch from start to finish. By the end of this class you'll have a framework you can use to help you cut through the overwhelm and draw any subject within the class and beyond. So if that all sounds good let's get started. 2. Class Project + Overview: [MUSIC] In this class, we are going to go through a series of quick drills and exercises which will gradually build up your skills to tackle a more complex sketch from a reference photo. For your class project, I would love to see your completed sketch along with your reference photo, and feel free to share any of the practice drills and exercises we complete in the run-up to creating your sketch too. You can either follow along exactly with the examples and references I'll be using, or you can use your own. You'll find all the references I'll be working from in the class resource which is located under the Projects & Resources tab. When you're ready, this is also where you can create your class project by hitting the "Create Project" button. Here you can add the contents of your project, adding images which could be photos or scans of your drawings, as well as text to reflect on the process. Once you've added content there, you can also give your project a title and a cover photo to polish it all off beautifully. Don't forget to hit "Publish" once you're done and you can come back anytime to edit or add to your project. I know that it can be daunting to put your work out into the world particularly when you're just starting out with drawing. But I would encourage you to be bold and share. Sharing your work and getting feedback from others is a great way to accelerate your progress. When you post your class project, if you would like constructive feedback on how to improve your drawing, please indicate that in your project. Alternatively, it may be that you prefer to share your work more as a celebration of what you've achieved and if that's the case, fantastic, I'll be right there high-fiving you. I'd highly encourage you to take a look around the project gallery and just drop a few likes and comments on some other student projects too. An encouraging comment has the power to absolutely make someone's day, so don't miss that opportunity to spread a little bit of joy. In the next video, we'll discuss the tools and materials you'll need for this class, so join me there when you're ready. 3. Tools + Materials: [MUSIC] The materials for this class couldn't be simpler. All you're going to need is a pencil, eraser, and some paper. A sharpener and ruler can be helpful, but they're not essential. You might like to have a pen later on, but that's optional too. We won't be covering tone and shading in this class, so you can use any color or hardness of pencil. I'll be using an HB. In terms of paper, you can really use anything to draw on. Cheap printer paper is great for what we'll be doing because it's got a nice, smooth surface which is easy for the pencil to move across. It's good to have several sheets so we've got lots to practice with. If you like drawing digitally on your iPad, you can definitely join in with that too. Just try to choose a brush which behaves like a pencil, and switch off the Drawing Assist so that you can get an experience, most like using analog materials. Grab your supplies and join me in the next video, where we're going to explore how the way we hold our pencil affects how we draw. We'll do a few quick warm-ups too. see you there. 4. Pencil Grip + Warming Up: [MUSIC] When it comes to drawing well, there's more to pencil grip than you might think. There are several different ways of holding your pencil, and they will each give you a different effect. It's normal to switch between the different grips. So give them all a try as you warm up to see how each of them feel and the different effects that they create. I'm going to show you three of the most common grips. The first is the one that you'll be pretty familiar with, as you'll likely use it for writing, which is the basic tripod grip or standard grip. This grip will give you a lot of control, but not much freedom of movement as your hand is in contact with the drawing surface and as we sketch, we want the movement to come from the shoulder and arm with the wrist locked. So, this grip is great for detail, but not so good for sketching. It also encourages us to use the point of the pencil which will make darker, more defined marks. When we begin sketching, we want to keep our marks as light as possible. The overhand grip is a much better way to grip your pencil for sketching. This is because it allows us to use our whole arm and shoulder to create the movement, giving us the ability to create more fluid movements. Using the side of the pencil can allow us to make softer marks which are perfect for sketching and later on adding shading. This way of holding your pencil also works great if you're working on an upright surface like an easel. You can also move your index finger to rest on the tip of the pencil to put more or less pressure on the tip, which can give you more control and allow you to play with line weight too. This is considered the best way of holding a pencil for drawing. But it can feel really strange at first and take quite a bit of getting used to. This is why warming up can be so helpful. Try it out and make as many marks and shapes with it as you can. If you find this way of holding your pencil feels too strange, a compromise would be the extended tripod grip. This is the same way that you'll be used to holding your pencil in the basic tripod grip for writing. But the grip is further up the pencil and try to hold your pencil quite loosely. This will give you more freedom of movement as your hand is either resting very lightly on the drawing surface or not touching it at all. Top tip. On the whole, it is best to try not to have your hand resting on the paper as you draw because your hand will smudge your drawing. If you do need to rest your hand down when working on details, for example, just use a bit of scrap paper under your drawing hand. That's a really good way of saving your drawing from smudges. That's something that I would highly encourage you to do right from the beginning when you start to draw. Because a nice clean background really makes such a big difference in how great your drawings will look. We'll now do some warming up with whatever materials you have to draw with, or this could in fact help you decide what you'd like to draw with if you have a choice of different types of pencil. I'm just using an HB pencil. That's one that I use a lot for sketching. If you're wondering what the H and the B stands for, they relate to hardness and blackness, and that relates to how dark the pencil looks. On the whole, HB is quite a common sketching pencil. As you get into the Bs, those ones will be a little on the dark side. Now it's your turn. Try creating a page full of different marks with each handgrip. Try straight lines, curved lines, and geometric or organic shapes, and see if you can get very light lines and very dark lines with your pencil by pressing hard and lightly, play around with those grips and adjust them in ways which feel right for you. You could add some notes to your warm-up sheet if you find that helpful for reference. For example, as I've been using the standard or tripod grip, I've noticed it's making my drawn lines tighter and darker and the shapes that I'm making are smaller because my movement is a little more restricted. So I could add those notes onto my sheet to remind me of that later. One of the key things I'd like you to take away from this class is that warming up should become as much a part of your drawing process as the sketch itself. As beginners we'll be keen to dive straight in, but starting a sketch cold without getting to know drawing tool and feeling how the different hand grips might feel or practicing a few different lines and shapes will almost certainly produce a less successful drawing than if you spend a couple of minutes warming up, believe me. Once you feel pretty comfortable with your drawing tool and those three different hand grips, join me in the next video where we'll be working on some drills to help us practice the foundations of drawing. Drawing straight and curved lines freehand. I'll see you there. 5. Drawing Lines: It can be intimidating to look at drawings which have really detailed textures or a range of tonal values because these are things which have been added to the drawing on top of the sketch over several layers and with a lot of practice and some different skills which we're not going to cover in this class. What we're interested in, in this class is actually where we begin to get that first foundation sketch, or the outline to look like the objects that we're drawing. To do that, we need to get comfortable with and proficient at drawing straight and curved lines, which can then form into shapes, which can then become the foundation of a more resolved drawing. Will begin with drawing straight lines first. Take a fresh sheet of paper and draw a straight line from one side of the paper to the other. Your first attempt might not be very straight and this is okay. This is why we're practicing, so don't be hard on yourself. Here are a couple of tips to help you draw lines straighter. Draw pretty quickly. It's actually harder to draw slowly. Try for yourself and you'll see what I mean. Just use one continuous movement so try not to create a hairy or feathery looking line. Lift your hand off the paper to allow you to move freely. Try to keep your wrist locked so the movement comes from your arm and shoulder. If you notice that you're creating a slightly curved line, it may be that the movement is coming from your wrist or elbow, like a pivot instead. Try to tune into what parts of your body that you're using to draw your lines as you draw them. Because this is a really easy task, it's quite likely that your mind might wander off. When that happens, you might notice that your lines get a bit wonkier. So try to keep focused on your drawing. You might find it helpful to do something like count in your head as you draw, which can help to keep your mind on the drawing. Keep drawing straight lines and just try out different hand grips and pressures to just see if there's anything in particular which might make it easier for you to draw a straight line. We're all different and have our own ways we like to work. For one person the overhand grip might make it easier, but another might prefer the tripod grip. Try drawing straight lines horizontally, vertically and at different angles too. I seem to be able to draw straighter lines vertically, but you might find a different angle suits you. Most importantly, don't get disheartened. It can take a lot of practice to be able to draw straight lines. Next we'll try drawing some curved lines. It's quite easy to draw curved lines using your wrist or elbow as a pivot. But what if we need a much smaller or tighter curve? It's helpful if we can learn to draw a curved line, say between two points, as we might do when we come to draw an object. On your paper, mark two points roughly three inches apart, and try to draw an even curve between them. Then try a few different distances to practice. Here are a few tips for drawing curved lines. Get to know your pivot points. These are the areas of your fingers, hands, and arms which you can use to pivot, almost like using a compass to create curves. Experiment with putting different parts of your hand or arm on the drawing surface to see what kind of curve you get. Play with the position of your pencil too, to see how these work for you. For smaller, tighter curves going towards circles, I recommend taking your hand off the paper and trying to make the movement from your arm and shoulder. Always make sure your hand is inside the curve you're drawing. The other way round is really quite difficult. When we come to using curved lines in drawing our objects, this might mean moving your paper. Sometimes even moving the paper as you draw a curve can help to achieve a more even effect, so have a play with this too. Curved lines can be a little different from drawing straight lines in that rather than one smooth, continuous line, you will likely find it easier to use several lighter strokes joined together so that feathery hairy line can come in more helpful for curves. Now it's your turn. Try drawing curved lines for all sorts of different distances to see how you find drawing tighter and broader curves. Try to tune into what works for you. You could add a few notes to your sheets of lines if you found something which really worked well for you, which you can refer to later. In the next video, we'll use what we've learned here to draw shapes. I'll see you there. 6. Drawing Shapes: [MUSIC] Shapes and specifically geometric shapes are the building blocks of drawing anything. Every single drawing no matter how complex can be broken down into a collection of shapes. Shapes become like our vocabulary in drawing in the same way as using language. If we can use our vocabulary with ease and fluency, this makes forming a sentence, in other words, constructing a drawing much easier for us. It's really helpful to become comfortable with drawing shapes with ease. The most helpful shapes for us to be able to draw are circles, ovals, triangles, squares, and rectangles, which will be formed from those straight and curved lines that we've already been practicing. Let's go back to our straight lines and first try drawing a square with four sides of equal length. I quite like to put four little dots where the corners of the square are going to be, then connect those dots with a straight line. I actually find it easier to rotate the paper, so I'm drawing the straight line vertically. For some reason, that normally gives me a better result, but you might like to practice different ways of doing that to find out what works for you. Think back to what worked best for you during those straight line drills. Repeat this with a few rectangles of different proportions so that you can see how it feels to draw these straight sided shapes. Try doing it without using the dots to see if you prefer that too. You can use the same approach to practice drawing triangles of different sizes and angles too. As I'm drawing triangles, I'm finding that I'm alternating between the overhand grip and the extended tripod grip mostly and the angle that I like to draw them at is slightly different. I like to draw the overhand grip and go vertically with a straight line, but the extended tripod grip, I quite like to go at a 45-degree angle. It feels natural for my arm movement. It's worth just playing around with the different hand grips as you try out practicing some of these shapes because you might find that something works well for you. Next we'll practice using our curved lines to create some circles. Before we do this, please bear in mind that no one can draw circles perfectly, not even artists who've trained for years and years. It takes a lot of practice and patience with yourself. We're just aiming to produce a circle like shape. We'll try drawing several circles on our paper to see if tweaking different things about how we do it might help us. This is quite a personal thing as different things work for different people, but here are a few little tips which might help. Lift your hand off the paper to have more free movement, make really light marks so you can build up lots of marks which will eventually look more circle like, similarly to how we approached curve lines. One technique that I've found works for me is to start making a circular motion in the air with my pencil to get the movement feeling right and then gradually lower my hand down so that the pencil is in contact with the paper. It's also worth experimenting with those hand grips to see if any of them work better than the others for you. If you're finding that your shapes aren't looking quite circular yet, you can try using some guidelines to help you. Start out by lightly sketching a square and put a little point halfway along each side. This point marks where the circle would touch the edge of the square. With your hand inside the curve, then create a curved line between each set of two points until you've drawn a circle. Another method is to draw a plus sign with two intersecting straight lines or you could add two more to make a star if you like. Trying to keep all the lines the same length, then you can use those outer points as guides for the edge of your circle. You'll probably find yourself needing to draw more ovals than any other shape as we start constructing our drawings, so it's good to practice them. They are essentially just a squashed circle. How squash they are can vary, for example, if we are drawing a cup from a low angle, the oval is going to be very squashed, but as the angle becomes higher, the oval will become wider and more open. Ovals are in many ways trickier to draw than circles because they're not even. There are a few ways you can approach drawing ovals, so here are a few techniques to try on your paper. Try drawing the oval freehand at first. Just lifting your hand off the paper. You might find that you can get a really good shape this way, but if not, don't worry, there are a few other techniques that you can try. Another method is to draw two touching or overlapping circles and then just join them with a line top and bottom. Another method is to lightly sketch out a rectangle of roughly the right width and height of your oval and then use this as a guide to draw your oval inside, the edges touching the sides of the rectangle. Another method is similar to the last one, but instead of drawing a rectangle, draw a cross of roughly the right height and width, and then use that as a guide and use your curved lines to sketch in the oval shape. Another method is to go back to using a circle of the same height of your oval and then add a curved arc or egg-shaped to either end to create your oval. Have a try with these different methods to see which one feels the most natural or gives you the best results. It may be that you end up switching between them for different types of oval, so it's good to have a play with all the different methods. Remember to be patient and try not to judge your drawings. We're learning and you're doing really well. Keep practicing these lines and shapes until you feel reasonably comfy with them. Bear in mind though that you won't master them perfectly and they do require regular practice to be able to draw them consistently. Practice as much as possible and then join me in the next video, where we'll delve into how these lines and shapes all fit into the bigger picture of learning to draw. See you there. 7. Observation: [MUSIC] You've probably heard before that the key to drawing is observation. It absolutely is. Observation is the holy grail of drawing. We need to be able to observe and make judgments about which shapes and lines to use on the paper which will match what is in front of us. The issue we face when observing a subject to draw is that our brains get in the way. Our brain is always trying to help us in whatever task we're doing. If we're drawing say a bird, your brain will check its memory bank for all those images of birds you've ever seen and give you an image of a bird. This may not actually match up to the exact bird in front of you which you're trying to draw. You begin to draw from memory combined with what you can see in front of you and the combination will often lead to, let's say a result that we're less than happy with. How can we say thanks but no thanks to our helpful brain and really, really observe what we're drawing? One thing I'd recommend when you're just starting out drawing is to work from reference images to start with or if you're working from a real object take a photograph of it on your phone. The reason for this is that it immediately makes your reference 2D instead of 3D. It won't change if you move position which can make it much easier to identify those shapes and lines and check what we draw against our reference. Drawing from life is a great skill and a really important one too. But it's something that you can move on to later. I really recommend that when you're just starting out with drawing just work from reference photographs. When we're translating a complex image such as this one to a simple sketch, there's an awful lot that we're having to do to simplify all those shapes and marks and colors and textures into a simplified collection of shapes that we can sketch. If you're able to just removing one of those factors like color for example, by turning your photo black and white can help to reduce the overwhelm. Spend time looking at your reference without actually drawing anything. Try not to look at the whole image at once because this will just make your brain cut in and scream, Ooh! It's a bird. Instead, trace your eye around the edge and just look for shapes which make up the overall structure. Pay attention to any angles that you can see. Another technique which can be helpful at this point is turning the reference image upside down. It's much harder for your brain to jump in with its helpful birds suggestions if it can't interpret the bird reference. It's then much easier to look at the bird as a collection of shapes and lines and angles which you can observe and translate into shapes and lines on your page. You may actually find it easier to construct your whole sketch like this with your reference upside down so it's a great technique to having your back pocket. Another tip for observing well is to look at the shapes of the negative space. That is the area around the bird. Sometimes that can be a little easier to connect with than the shape of the bird itself. You can use the negative space shapes to build up your sketch. When looking for shapes, first just try to identify one or two of the largest shapes making up the object. They don't need to be completely accurate to the detail but a simplified form of what you can see because we'll refine the details later. I like to think of this a little bit like sculpting. If you were going to make this bird out of blocks of stone, what shapes would you like to start with before carving away sections to begin to see the detail? When you actually come to start sketching one thing I always encourage my drawing students to do is to keep your eyes on the reference way more than on your drawing. We will naturally want to look more at our drawing to check that what we're drawing is right. The more time we spend looking at our drawing the more our brain takes over and starts telling us what we need to do instead of actually observing what is in front of us. Aim to spend at least 75 percent of your time looking at your reference and then only 25 percent of your time looking at your drawing. In the next video, we'll practice all these theoretical tips around observation by doing a quick mini exercise to sharpen our observation skills. Join me there when you're ready. 8. Mini Exercise: [MUSIC] Before we start working on our sketches, let's do a quick mini exercise to prepare us just by drawing shapes and lines over a reference image. This can help us to simplify the forms and identify the shapes to just sharpen our observation skills. You could find some images to do this with in newspapers or magazines or you can use the examples that I've provided in the class resource. First, just take a moment to observe your image and you might find it helpful to turn it upside down as well. Then, first try to identify the main largest shapes which make up that example. I'm just starting with this cup and saucer, which is from the class resource. The main shape which is jumping out to me is this oval of the saucer and the cut is almost like half a circle is, it looks like a sphere that's been cut in half. Those are the biggest shapes that I can see. I'm going to draw over my photo just with a marker pen because it shows up better for you on camera, but you can just draw over it with pencil or whatever pen you've got to hand. I'll start with a big oval, don't worry about these shapes being accurate. Ovals and circles and rectangles and things is just an exercise in observation. It's not about refining those shapes which we've been working on already. You could do a big oval and then I'm actually going to make this a complete circle which are then think about cutting afterwards. Once you've got those first big shapes in, now look for the smaller or connecting shapes and lines, or how you would need to reduce those shapes are like carve away at them if you're thinking about carving them out of stone blocks like we spoke about in the last video. The shapes can overlap and they don't have to follow the outline exactly. We're not trying to trace your object, we're just trying to think about simplifying it into its very basic forms. For me, the next shape that I'm going to do is to cut off the circle that I've drawn by drawing an oval in the middle. I'll draw something around like that, and then for the handle, it's not a perfect oval or perfect circle. It's almost like a half heart shape. You will come across shapes that are going full strictly into those categories of shapes that we've been practicing of the ovals and circles and rectangles. It's really just about trying to identify the closest thing that you can. I'm just going to draw like a half heart there. Then I'll draw another oval inside that saucer shape, which will identify the inside of the source and the outside of the saucer. [MUSIC] We're not aiming to trace your objects, just identifying the main shapes which make up that object. It's really quick to do, and once you've done that, you could definitely just try again with a different reference. It's a really good exercise just to help us identify those shapes. I personally do find that it helps me to turn the reference upside down to start with. Sometimes I do then put it up the right way, but I think initially just seeing the shapes upside down, it just really helps me to identify them. The first one I can see this vase is almost like an egg shape. Rather than just drawing an egg shape off the bat, I'll start with a circle and then add a curved end onto it. A bit like we practiced with the ovals. [MUSIC] One one of the easiest ways of drawing an egg shape, I think. Then there's a triangle for the top there obviously got a curved lip, but I'm just going for the very simple version of the shape first and then I'll refine it in a moment. Flowers very often look like circles as a very simplified version of the shape. This one is got two circles, one that would follow the outside shape of the petals and one for that inside part of the flower. I'll simplify it first as a big circle, before I then start thinking about actually I would curve that circle into the triangle shapes of the individual petals. So I will gradually, just add and then I would do things like just refine everything a little bit more by thinking about the fact that actually the bottom of the vase and the top of the vase, because of the perspective that we're looking at. They are slightly curved so I can add ovals onto the top and the bottom to give it that slightly more curved shape. Then just a rectangle or some straight lines there for the stem. I can see that the perspective of the flower, it's going in because it's got a large, would you call that bit of a flower kind of a large funnel section so I'll draw a smaller circle in there and there's a triangle shaped with a circle on it. That's really going to help me, but to have those shapes when I come to refine my sketch in more detail. I'll try one more reference, I have a picture of a boot. This again is from the class resource. I'm going to turn upside down. This is a slightly more challenging reference to work from because there's not one obvious shape that's jumping out at me. The first shape that I'm really noticing is the shape here of the front because it's quite curved, there's a large oval-shaped going on there. I would start with something along those lines and then I think I would simplify this shape here. First down into a rectangle of this blocky shape at the end and then think about the shape that joins them. I'm going to think about simplifying that into a rectangle. Now, you can see that this is when it's helpful to think about negative space. If I drew this shape as a triangle, can see that it's not actually strictly a triangle because there's a curved shape here. I could start with a triangle and then actually looking at the negative space, there's a triangle shape, but I'm going to put a curved bottom onto my triangle. I'm using those curved line techniques that we used with my hand pivot there. That's given me the main shape that I was looking for. I know that there are parts that I need to refine, so I know that I need to cut off part of the oval here to get rid of that part of the shape. I know that I need to add on a hill, which again, I'll start with a rectangle. But I can see that I need to add a curve into the corner of that rectangle to create that right shape. Then there's a very tiny triangle here which shows that overlapping part, where we can see the other side of the boot. These are the main shapes that I can identify in these particular examples. I think it's been quite helpful just to have a go with that, to think about trying to identify those shapes and then really making the connection with my brain as to how I might actually draw those shapes as best as possible. Bearing in mind that practice we did with straight and curved lines and the shape practice as well. It's also just helped me to pick out some of the shapes a bit more clearly than if I just looked at the picture straight off the bat and thought, I'm going to start drawing it. It's really helpful to just give us something to start with. It's like where do you start on the blank page. It's great to practice this as it will really sharpen your observation skills in being able to identify what shapes make up your sketch when we come to do this in your drawing. It can also help you to identify good references to draw from all those to avoid because if you're finding it really tricky to identify any shapes in a reference image, the chances are that it won't make a great subject for drawing. Now it's your turn to try out this quick observation exercise. Gather a handful of images together and just give it a go. We're going to delve a little more into your choice of reference image and good subjects for drawing in the next video. So when you're ready, join me there. 9. Choosing Subject Matter: [MUSIC] Your choice of subject matter has a big impact on how well your sketch might turn out. There are a few simple rules that you can follow to give you the best chances of success. When you're starting out pick something either with no background at all or a very plain background so it's much easier to identify the shapes within your object. Subjects which have a clear outline you can identify straightaway will also help to make your sketch more successful. Look for objects with easily identifiable edges. Avoid greenery bushes, landscapes or anything with a soft, fluffy or translucent edge. You also want to avoid any objects which are too simple such as something spherical like an orange, apple, tomato, for example, because it's difficult to make a sketch of something so simple, clearly identifiable. If you want to work with fruit, which is a really popular subject for drawing, just try cutting it in half to get a little more complexity into the shapes. As well as the subject being easy to identify in terms of its shape, it's also helpful if we can easily interpret what the object is. Avoid drawing from artworks, sculptures or items of jewelry or perfume bottles, which can often seem like interesting subjects for drawing, but actually they're really difficult to draw well. Instead, choose objects which we can immediately identify such as a cup and saucer, a shoe or a jug, for example. I would encourage you to work from objects around you, even when working from a reference photo just because you'll have more connection to those objects. And you can really start to mentally sort through what surrounds you and identify good and bad subjects for drawing, which will be really helpful when you come to draw from life later. But of course, sometimes it's not so convenient to work from your own photographs. In which case, you may want to work from a reference you find elsewhere. The Internet makes it very easy for us to find a photo of pretty much anything. But that does not mean that it's okay to use it. Every photo that you can find on the Internet has rights attached to it. It's not okay to copy it even as a drawing. There are a range of websites which exist specifically to share royalty-free photos for personal or professional use. Unsplash is a great one, but there are others too. I highly recommend that you get into the habit of using these fantastic resources to source your reference images right from the start of your learning to draw journey, as it can save you a lot of pain later. Taking your own photographs is also a great way to create your references and it can be a lot of fun too. Here are some ideas for subjects you may be able to find around your home to photograph which would make a great drawing reference: a piece of fruit cut in half, a cup and saucer, a kettle or jug, a shoe, a kitchen tool like a grater, corkscrew or can opener, a spray bottle or a simple flower in a vase. If you feel confident too, you could begin to put more than one object together to create a simple still life. If you're taking your own reference photos, make sure you've got plenty of natural daylight, but not direct sun because harsh shadows can make things quite tricky. Try to keep your background as plain as you can. If you found a tip on removing the color from your image helpful, which I mentioned earlier, you could print out your photo in black and white if you've got a printer. You use Photoshop, if you have it on your computer to remove the saturation or if you're using your phone, a free app I really like to use is Snapseed, which can easily edit your photo to make it grayscale. I've included several reference images in the class resource you're very welcome to use. These are arranged in order from simple to more complex. You can pick something which feels appropriate. If you'd like to follow along with my example, I'll be working from this reference image, which is included in the class resource. Now it's your turn to choose your reference. Then join me in the next video where we will begin sketching out our shapes for our final sketch. I'll see you there. 10. Putting Everything Together: Now we're ready to put everything that we've practiced together. I've got my reference and drawing papers side-by-side. We're not covering scaling and proportion in this class. That's a whole new topic for another class. I'm going to aim to draw my sketch the same size as the reference image. For this reason, it can be helpful if it's possible for you to have your photo printed out because it makes it easier to check our progress against the reference. You can also draw over your reference if that mini exercise was helpful in working out what some of those basic shapes are. I've got two versions of my reference image. As I mentioned earlier, you might find it helpful to have your reference photo in black and white. If so, feel free to use a black and white version. I actually quite like using the color versions. It helps me to identify shapes a bit more clearly. So I'm going to use the color version. I'm going to start just by observing. Before I start observing too much, I'm straightaway going to turn my reference image upside down. I really do find that that helps me in terms of identifying clearly what the shapes are rather than my brain taking over and me going straight away, it's a pair of scales. Then drawing something which my brain thinks it should look like. Straight away, I'm noticing a fairly strong triangle shape. We've obviously got a couple of fairly obvious circles. They're slightly squashed circles there's this big circle here for the main dial. Then this shape is a half circle going towards an oval. We've got a bit of negative space here, some interesting shapes to look at in the negative space. There's quite a lot that we can start with. First, I'll draw the main shapes. What I'm going to start with is this large triangle shape here. I'm going to go really lightly with my pencil. I'm going to start by using those overhand straight lines. When you're drawing your sketch, it's good to draw as lightly as you possibly can. I'm going to go a little bit darker than I would usually just so that it shows up on camera. But I would usually actually draw a bit lighter than you're seeing today. So just go as lightly as you can. I'm noticing that vertical edge. Then that triangular shape, which is cut across here, somewhere like that. Actually, the end of that triangle is cut off so I could draw the whole thing in and then cut it off. [NOISE] Then next draw this really big circle shape because that's quite a dominant shape in the whole thing. I'm just going to lightly think about where that goes. For me, I have found often in practicing my circles and ovals, sometimes actually sketching out a box first very lightly and then drawing a circle in has worked really well. So I might just try that approach and do a really light box and the circle shape itself it's a little bit oval and it's slightly slanted. I can see that because if it was a perfect circle, it would actually come out a bit more this way. I'm going to start with a big circle, like a perfect circle, and then adjust it. Sometimes if you have a circle like this that is a slight angle, it can actually be easier to draw a normal circle first and then adjust it as you go. I know that that is roughly in that location. Then I've got some negative space here, I've got a rectangle which is about roughly that size. Then we've got this semicircle. I'm just going to roughly draw it with an oval to start with. You can see why it's helpful to have the reference image printed out to start with if that's possible for you because as I'm drawing out these shapes on my sketch, I'm looking alongside where does that oval finish? I can see that it finishes roughly about that far away from the edge of the paper. So there are a few things that you can check with as you go. This bottom shape, we need to add on another almost rectangle at the bottom. In actual fact, I might need to adjust that first triangle because it's gone a bit too large and I might actually start to turn the reference around. Now I've started upside down and I can see the main shapes. It's helpful to then have a look at it in a different way. Fairly happy with the bottom angle here. The circle needs quite a bit of adjusting. I can see so because it's a slanted circle, I'm going to need to do it fair between a circle and an oval. That's looking a bit better. This is where I'm using lots of lines over each other. It gives you that opportunity to correct as you go. You won't get it right in the first line that you draw. That's completely natural. As you get more comfortable with drawing and more experienced, sometimes you might get it right first go. But it's quite unlikely when you're a beginner. That's why it's good to use lots of lines to start with, which we can then refine down and rub out and draw over later. If you do have a ruler and that's something that you brought with you from your tools and materials. At this point, it can be helpful to actually use that if you don't have a ruler, you can actually just use your pencil and just check things like the angles. I can see, for example, if I lay my pencil along this angle of the straight edge of the scales and then I just slide it across, I can see that I need to just adjust a tiny bit, the angle, it actually needs to be more like that angle. So I've just drawn it a little bit at the wrong angle. It's quite helpful just to have things that are straight lines, even if it's just a pencil or a scrap piece of paper, just to help you with lining things up. I can see that the top here should be about that height. I'm almost there with that circle shape. But it's obviously quite a complex shape because it's got lots of circles within it. But I'm not going to worry too much about that yet at this stage, I'm just worried about the very basic shapes to sketch in. I can see there's this little what you call that little dial in the middle, which I can see that it's not central on that oval shape. It's actually more towards this side here. That's a way of helping to check and measure as well as you can look at things in relation to other shapes that you've drawn. I can see from checking as well that that rectangle that I drew initially is actually a bit too long. If I look at where that side of it is, it's actually going pretty much through the center of the circle. If not maybe a little bit to the right of the circle. So it should be more like that size of rectangle. Then the oval shape. I'm now going to refine a little bit more because you can see it's not really an oval, it's almost a half-circle with that ellipse on there. This part is pretty good in terms of shape. So I'm going to use those [NOISE] curve drawing techniques that we use before. See, I'm switching my hand grips a bit just to try and get a better result with some curved shapes for straight lines. That feels a little bit better and now it's got more of a curved top to it, like a circle that's been cut off. Again, I'm going to check my angles with my pencil because it's quite a tricky angle in there to try and work out. It's actually starting from just above where that little dial is poking out. I'm now getting more into the details. You can see because these shapes that are forming these like where the bowl is resting, they're not really falling into the category of ovals or rectangles, so I'm just trying to sketch them as they appear to me. [NOISE] I'm going to need to just go in with my rubber a bit. If you find that your sketch is getting a bit too dense in places, you just need to loosen it up again, make it a bit lighter. That's how I think about the shape at the bottom. I haven't really dealt with yet, So we can have a think about that. Let's see where it starts to stick out from the side. It's about two-thirds down, that dial face there so around there. As we scan down, another helpful thing to do with your straight edge tool, whether it's pencil or ruler, you can scan down and see what hits it first, so I can see that that comes out before the other side comes out. You can go in with your rubber and rub out some of the overlapping shapes as the detail starts to emerge. You can even notice certain things like that curved line practice that we did is quite helpful in even doing things like this. Front edge here isn't actually a straight line. I can see if I put my pencil against it that actually the edges are curving away from my pencil, so I know it's actually a curve rather than a straight line. Even when things appear as though, they're very angular is helpful just to check sometimes with your straight edged tool. As I'm now seeing this take shape, there are some things that I can now do at this stage. I've almost got all the main shapes drawn in, and I can really start to check things and make some adjustments before we get to the final part of finishing our sketch. The first thing I'm going to check is negative space. I'm going to actually turn it upside down again because I think that can be quite helpful. I'm looking at things like the shape here around the edge where it dips in there, and I can see that it's got a curved corner which I haven't put on there. Then I think it actually does go in a little bit further than I've sketched it there, so I can just refine that. Notice that there's a flatness there to the beginning of that silver part, so I will just adjust things there a little bit. The other thing that I'm noticing in terms of the negative space, that's why it's really helpful to use is actually these lines are not parallel because of the angle that the photograph is taken at. This line here should actually be dipping a little bit because it's going away from us, so I'm just going to adjust that shape. I'm going to use some scrap paper under my hand because I'm pressing quite hard as well so that sketch shows up. I can notice that I'm starting to smudge my drawing a little bit. [NOISE] We're going to use this and now I'm also checking negative space on this side. I can see again, that should be a nice curve, horizontal and a curve there going onto that shape. I'm pretty happy with the shape of this part and obviously there are some other shapes that I need to draw inside. I feel as though this actually needs moving over a little bit. As I'm looking at it now upside down and checking, it feels as though I just need to bring it out a little bit. I'm just going to adjust that. Fairly happy with this. What I'm essentially doing here is I'm just tracing my eye around the edge of my reference and just comparing it to what I've got. In this way, I've already got my base sketching and all those shapes, but it's quite helpful to use this negative space as a tool to check what I've ended up with. I'm going to just start tidying up this circle a little bit because I need to draw more shapes within it. It's going to be helpful if it's got a little bit more definition because I had quite a few attempts to get the shape right. I think, particularly with these circles where you've got several shapes within each other, it can be quite helpful to actually turn your image upside down because this is a classic example of where our brain will just tell us, that's a smaller oval inside of another oval. But actually, if you look at it, I can see where it's joining the outside oval. We'll cut this shape around here, but actually it's joining from here round to about here and then we can use this distance from the edge to try and complete that correct shape. It might take a few attempts because it's drawing circles and ovals. I always think is the trickiest thing to try and get right. There we go. That shows us the depth of that silver part. Then the other shape that goes all the way around, it feels as if it's actually fairly consistent from that inside shape. Now, let's just very lightly sketch that in, and then we'll compare and see how it looks when we turn the image around. I'm fairly happy with that. Now, you don't have to draw all the tiny details from your reference. There will be this little points and numbers, but I do want to just sketch in this main outline of where the scale information is printed because it just helps to give the whole thing a bit more context and depth. I can see that this circular shape is starting at around about here and then it's finishing, got some light hitting it. It's hard to see exactly, but I think it's finishing around about there. We can see the widest part is this area here, which is about the same distance again as that first one, maybe tiny bit wider and then we gradually bring it in. Now, that's going to also take a little bit of trial and error and practice. I can see in-between that line and the edge, there is another line where you can see the very edge of the structure there, so I just try to get that in. Now, in the very center, there is a circle and there's obviously the hand, so I'm going to start by trying to identify where that center is. If I go down from that side of that rectangle, it's just to the left. I think it's about there. Again, I'm just going to start with some very basic main shapes and then refine down. I can see is these are side-by-side as well. There's something a bit off about this, so I'm just going to change the shape there at the top. Now, we have all the main shapes sketched in fairly lightly. I feel confident that they're pretty accurate in forming the very base layer of my drawing. Now, it's your turn to lightly draw in the main shapes you can see in your reference photo. To recap, here's a list of things to try. If you're finding it difficult to identify the shapes, turn your reference photo upside down. Try to identify the largest shapes first, and then look for the smaller shapes. Take a look at the negative space to see if there are some obvious shapes there that you could use to construct your drawing. Check the rough distances of objects from the edges of the paper or edge of the photo if you're working digitally, and lightly mark those in to help you get things in roughly the right place. Look for any lines and angles in your reference by using a straight edge, which could be a ruler or a piece of scrap paper or your pencil to identify them and then translate those angles to your sketch. Don't forget, keep it light and don't be afraid to check and correct and check and correct again. That's what this stage is all about. Try not to be too judgmental about your drawing as you draw it. It will go through some phases if not looking quite right, and it won't look like a finished drawing at this stage. In the next video, I'll explain where to go from here to make a more finished looking drawing. When you're ready, I'll see you there. 11. Finishing: [MUSIC] What we have now is a fantastic foundation for a more resolved drawing. I'm going to show you how to finish this off as a line drawing. But this foundation sketch would also make a great base for working on with tonal values, mark-making to add texture, or even adding color. Hopefully your basic shape sketch is still fairly light. If it did get a little bit dark, you can use an eraser to lighten those lines up, but make sure you can still see them. The main difference in the layer that we are about to draw is that the line quality needs to be more confident and defined to show that this is the completed drawing. There are different ways that you can do this. You could draw over your sketch using more pressure, or you could use a pen to draw over your drawing, and if you feel confident too, you could stylize your line in some way too. Now that we don't need to worry about getting the lines in the right place, it frees us up to maybe experiment with how we make our final lines. For example, you might enjoy drawing with one continuous line, or perhaps using a pen with a brush tip, which can give you varying line thickness. I've got a class about developing line drawing confidence. You might find that helpful if you find this part of the process a little daunting. I'm going to draw over my sketch with a pen. I've got a pen which has actually got two thicknesses. It's got a brush end and then a finer end for detail. I often use pen to finish off my drawing, so it feels quite natural for me to do it in pen. You could use anything. It could be that you do it in a colored pencil, or you could just define it a bit more by using more pressure with the pencil that you've already sketched with. I'm going to keep my reference out because although I've got all those main shapes in the right place, it is going to be helpful for me to refer to that as I start to add some detail. I'm going to use the brush end of my pen mostly. I want to create a fairly fluid and confident feel to my drawing. I feel quite comfortable with a fairly thick pen. I do recommend you just use whatever you're most comfortable with really when you're finishing off your drawing. As I'm drawing these lines in, I'm just checking against the reference photo basically just to make sure that I'm happy with where things are. This rectangular part, you can see I just sketched in the main shape of that, but you can see there are actually a few more lines I need to add in to show its three-dimensionality. Because we've sketched in a lot of the detail in our base sketch, it's also just quite nice to not have to worry about where everything is. We can just make these really lovely fluid lines without thinking that we might have to actually rub it out and start again. It's still helpful to bear in mind all these techniques that we've practiced and the drills in thinking about how to move your hands and arm with those curved lines. Even though we're going over the shapes and not creating them from scratch, it's nice to be able to create a really strong fluid line. For example, lifting my hand off the drawing surface to get just a little bit more freedom of movement so that I can get a slightly straighter line with the curves, hopefully a slightly better curve too. Like I mentioned earlier, there's a lot of detail on the front of this object, where all the numbers are for the weight. It's completely up to you how much of that detail you put in. You could leave it as just the outline of the object and that might feel enough, or you might want to get into the detail. It's completely up to you, what appeals to you. Just go with your gut. There's some elements of stylistic decision making here as well. If you're someone that loves detail in your work, then you might really enjoy getting into all those little lines and measures. Whereas if you're someone that's a bit more loose and expressive, just some squiggles or suggestions of those might work really well. I'm going to just do some of the main shapes and see how I like it. I'm just adding in suggestions of the measures. I'm not getting too hung up on whether they're absolutely in the right place or spaced evenly. I just quite like how that difference in detail helps to identify the objects a little bit. I've got most of the things drawn in. I don't think I actually want to add any of the numbers and text to the face. I feel like it would just be a bit too much detail. I don't like really going into loads and loads of detail. I'm going to just have a look at the top here because I've got a little bit of a shape to add in, and then I'm pretty much there I think. I finished my line drawing layer now. I'm pretty happy with it. This is quite representative of how I usually draw and illustrate. I tend to use a fairly defined line. You can see that I've decided to leave out some of the really small detail. That's totally up to you, if you want to add all the detail or leave some of it out, is entirely personal choice. I've also erased my pencil lines from underneath. If you erase your pencil lines, I highly recommend that you just test a little bit in the corner before you erase over the whole thing to check that your pen isn't going to smudge. Now it's your turn to create your more finished line drawing. To recap, connect up the shape layer with a more defined, darker line. You could use more pressure with your pencil or a pen to do this. If you feel confident too, you could play with stylizing your line to suit the subject. A more broken, hairy line would suit the softer outline of an animal like a bird, for example, whereas a smoother continuous line would suit a defined edge of a kettle or jug, for example. Remember to continue to observe your reference as you complete your final line layer. It's up to you whether you want to keep your base drawing showing the shapes or not. It can be really interesting as a reminder to be able to see them or you can erase them if you prefer. Join me in the next video where we'll discuss what next steps you might take to continue your drawing journey. See you there. 12. Next Steps: [MUSIC] Congratulations. You now have all the tools you need to pretty much draw anything. Remember though that drawing is a skill as is observation and as with any skill, both take a lot of practice and patience to master. Keep on observing the world around you, notice those shapes and keep sketching. Remember to always be kind to yourself as you're learning to draw. You will make terrible drawings and this is absolutely necessary in order to learn and progress. See every drawing as an opportunity to learn. Analyze what aspect of your drawing isn't working so that you can learn from that for the next one. If something just isn't working but you just can't work out what, then use your class project to ask for feedback. With practice as drawing begins to feel like more of a natural process, you can build on the skills that we've covered in this class in so many directions. Here are a few ideas for you to explore next. If you have just drawn one object in isolation, consider drawing a small collection of objects next. From here, you could start drawing from life using real objects in front of you. As you begin to draw from life, it would be helpful to learn more about proportion and perspective so that you can easily translate what you're seeing in 3D onto paper in 2D. You might enjoy delving into mark making to add texture or perhaps you're more interested to learn about adding shading to create tonal value. These are both great ways to develop your drawing practice. Once you're pretty comfortable with drawing multiple objects together you could explore composition to make your drawings more dynamic and exciting. Of course then there's the wonderful world of color that is so much to learn and explore around drawing. Every step of this process can lead you in lots of different directions. It's a really exciting journey and I'm so excited for what you've got in store. 13. Thank You!: [MUSIC] Thank you so much for spending time drawing with me. I hope that you now feel that you have a framework to help you next time you're faced with that big blank page. To recap, always remember to include warming up as part of your drawing time. It's as important as the sketch itself. Don't forget to try out those different hand grips too. Practice your straight and curved lines and drawing shapes in different ways regularly. These are the building blocks of making good drawings and they require practice to get good at and to understand how they work for you. Observe, observe, observe. Be wary of how your brain will try to take over and use all those techniques and strategies that we covered to help you observe objectively what is in front of you. Be selective when choosing what to draw. Remember, the reference can make or break a good drawing. Practice, practice, practice, and don't give up. You will improve the more you draw. If there's one thing you take away from this class, I hope it's the confidence to get started with drawing and to keep it going too. I would be thrilled to see your class projects and hear about your process so if you feel comfy please do share a class project with us over in the Projects and Resources tab. Don't forget, if you'd like some constructive feedback on your drawing please do indicate that in your project. If you'd like to hear about my new class releases, competitions, and giveaways then give me a Follow here on Skillshare. If you'd like to hear about other projects, workshops, behind the scenes, and other fun stuff then you might enjoy my newsletter. If you share any of the work that you've created from this class on social media, tag me and use the hashtag melryeskillshare so I can see your posts. Thank you so much for being here, and I hope that I'll see you in another of my classes soon. Bye for now. [MUSIC]