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Learning How to Draw: A Mindset, Method, and Exercises

Yuko Shimizu, Illustrator, Instructor at School of Visual Arts

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12 Videos (1h 6m)
    • Introduction

      2:03
    • Materials

      2:03
    • Exercise 1: Blind Contour Drawing

      8:20
    • Exercise 2: Drawing Hands

      10:02
    • Exercise 3: Drawing Small Objects

      7:25
    • Exercise 4: Using Anchors

      5:41
    • Exercise 5A: Drawing from Memory

      3:38
    • Exercise 5B: Drawing from Memory II

      6:06
    • Exercise 6: The Rodchenko Challenge

      6:20
    • Yuko's Work

      12:18
    • Conclusion

      1:26
    • What's Next?

      0:37

About This Class

This 65-minute class shares an accessible, enjoyable, and practical approach to learning how to draw so that everyone can enjoy the process of drawing!

Based on live workshops developed by award-winning Japanese illustrator Yuko Shimizu, every short lesson is filled with explanation, demonstration, and critiques of real student work so that students gain tactics for growing their own creative illustration practice. Plus, the class includes Yuko’s 6 favorite prompts for those starting out.

This class will not explore traditional inking techniques or media, but it will cover the essential drawing skills and eye training necessary to becoming an artist or illustrator. While the class is designed for the beginning illustrator, all creative enthusiasts are welcome to participate and revisit the joy that comes from drawing with confidence. These exercises are a great resources to remember and return to year after year, whenever you need a refresh or a way to relax and keep drawing.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Drawing with pen and paper. Yuko will show you how using inexpensive materials make the best drawings. Beginners — and experts — make mistakes, and pricey materials can scare you away from taking risks in your art. While you’re at it, you’ll learn to forget the eraser, too.
  • Blind contour drawings. This exercise instructs you to draw a face without looking at your drawing. You’ll learn to sit with a partner — or in front of the mirror — and capture the contours of a face with simple lines.
  • Drawing hands. Hands are notoriously tough to draw. Using the blind contour method, you’ll learn how to focus on looking at the most important part of drawing something complicated.
  • Drawing small objects. You’ll work on observational drawing with the most mundane item in the room — the eraser you’re not using? — to practice transforming a boring shape into the start of a full still life.
  • Using anchors. Learn how to turn that small object into the anchor for a more complex image by exploring the spatial relationships between multiple items. If you’re struggling with landscape drawing outdoors, you’ll learn how to anchor that landscape by drawing through a window frame inside.
  • Drawing from memory. You can improve your draw-by-memory game through observational drawing. In part I of this exercise, you’ll draw a common image from memory before you try it in real life.
  • Drawing from memory post-observation. Now it’s time to head outside. You’ll learn to strengthen your visual memory by drawing the same object, this time from observation, before trying again to draw it from memory.
  • The Rodchenko Challenge. Based on the famous 1920s-era Soviet Union photographer, this challenge will have you use unexpected viewpoints to draw everyday objects.
  • Take it from the expert. Yuko will walk you through some of her professional work, featuring botanic illustration and bringing color technique into the mix. You’ll find that her techniques stem from the lessons above!
  • Enjoy the process. Embrace drawing and make sure you keep it fun. You’ll find that when you love drawing, you’ll want to do it more, and the more you do it, the more technically accomplished you’ll become.
  • Practice, practice. Yuko encourages you to practice whenever you can. Take your sketchbook everywhere, join a figure drawing class in a classroom or on Skillshare, and draw blind contour sketches with friends.

279 of 282 students recommendSee All

really good exercises to break free from fear of drawing!
Marcia Eman-Kolodziej

Passion about Art & Design

I loved this excellent, fun, and inspiring class!!!
This class is great for beginners and experienced creators alike, as an introduction and a refresher. It helps us to see and connect our eye with our hand, one of the most important and fundamental relationships that we need to nurture and exercise in order to draw confidently. These exercises can be practiced again and again to help strengthen our drawing skills. I am grateful Yuko has taken the time to share her insights and experience with us. Take the class, do the work and see your confidence grow.
Julii McMillan

Illustrating

3,390

Students

42

Projects

Yuko Shimizu

Illustrator, Instructor at School of Visual Arts

Yuko Shimizu is a Japanese illustrator based in New York City and a veteran instructor at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Newsweek Japan chose Yuko as one of "100 Japanese People The World Respects" in 2009. Her first self-titled monograph was released world-wide in 2011 and her first children's book, Barbed Wire Baseball, published in 2013.

Her work has appeared on t-shirts for The Gap and NIKE, on Pepsi cans, on VISA billboards, and on Microsoft and Target ads, as well as on b...

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