Drawing Course for TOTAL BEGINNERS - Compose and Draw Your Own Still Life | The Artmother | Skillshare

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Drawing Course for TOTAL BEGINNERS - Compose and Draw Your Own Still Life

teacher avatar The Artmother, Professional Art Teacher and Artist

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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 (46m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Compose Your Still Life

    • 3. Measuring - Defining Standard Units

    • 4. Observing - Finding Basic Geometric Shapes

    • 5. Supplies

    • 6. Measuring - Placing Your Objects

    • 7. Geometric Shapes - Expand Your Measurements

    • 8. Contouring - Outline the Picture

    • 9. Refining Outlines

    • 10. Defining the Shapes of the Shadows

    • 11. Shading Shadows

    • 12. Midtones

    • 13. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Welcome to the Drawing Course for TOTAL BEGINNERS - Compose and Draw Your Own Still Life!

This is a follow up class for the Drawing course for Total Beginners - From Line to Still Life, but it can also stand alone. In this second case, it is recommended to have some basic drawing experience, or take a look on the previous class!

In this class we are going to compose our own still life. I will guide you through the process of choosing the right objects, arranging them and the very important part of observing the composition. We will discuss the process of measurement - finding standard units and using them to keep right proportions through the whole drawing.

We are going to LIVE DRAW!!! This means that we are going to observe the composition in real time, so there will be no photo, no grid method, but we are going to LEVEL UP our observational skills, relying on our eyes. 

We will follow my process of drawing: defining standard units, placing the objects with measurements, finding and placing geometric shapes, morphing them to contour lines, refining  the outlines, finding the shapes of the shadows and highlights. When shading I use a reverse method: first shading the shadows, then adding mid-tones. in this class, we are going to use more levels of mid-tone, giving us 5 different values in our pencil drawing!

If you loved the Drawing Course for Total beginners - From Line to Still Life, this class is a perfect continuation. If you haven't done it, this class will help you understand the process of Live Still Life drawing. 

Why is it important? - You might ask....Drawing fundamentals are essential for any kind of creative work/job. Illustration, digital art, painting with watercolors or acrylics - all rely on these fundamentals that can be learned through a practice like this. It gives you observational skills that you will need and use in you whole life!  

So, are you ready to draw with me?



Meet Your Teacher

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The Artmother

Professional Art Teacher and Artist

Top Teacher

Welcome! My name is Alexandra Finta - a passionate artist, a happy mother and an enthusiastic teacher - in short The Artmother. I am a professional art teacher with a Masters Degree in Art Education with years of experience in teaching in person and online. As an artist, I am creating in all different kinds of mediums from acrylics, watercolors, graphite and digital. I have years of experience in graphic design and photography. 

For more info check out my website here: www.theartmotherart.com

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook:)

I am very passionate about helping very beginners to explore their artistic abilities and to build their confidence in creating art... See full profile

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Welcome to the drawing course for total beginners. This class is a follow-up class to the drawing course for total beginners from line to still life, which focuses on the absolute basics of drawing from drawing a straight line, contouring, outlining, finding basic geometric shapes, shading, and it takes a total beginner from a single line to an appropriately drawn still life. It also explains how our brain works. How do we see the world, and why do we see it like that? It contains exercises to level up your observational skills and also there are some amazing students' work that show real amazing progress. In this class, I would love to continue to grow on these skills. In the previous class, we were drawing by the grid method, which means that you draw a grid on the picture you are going to draw and on the paper you are going to draw on, and use these lines as the reference lines to place your object. In this class, we are going to compose our own still life and we're not going to use the grid, we are going to live-draw. In the previous class, we created an artist's Window and you can actually use this in this class. But basically, we are going to try to rely on our eyes. This course is ideal for those who have finished the drawing course for total beginners from line to still life. If you didn't, you should have some basic drawing skills. I will guide you through the whole process from composing the still life, finding the best light, finding the basic geometric shapes, measuring, placing your object, contouring, and of course, shading. I will also give you tips on life drawing because it is different than drawing a still picture. If you're seeing me for the first time, my name is Alexandra Gabor and I'm a professional art teacher with a master's degree in art education. I'm also an artist and an online educator. You can find me on social media by the name, The Artmotherer, and you should definitely check out my website. Are you ready? Let's get into it. [MUSIC] 2. Compose Your Still Life: In this video, we are going to compose or still-life. You first thing you'll need to do is to choose three objects and as you can see, there are three different sizes. There is one big one, a middle size one, and a small one. From the small one, you can choose more so if you remember the previous still-life had these grapes, they were like fillers. They were not the central object. If you have something like, I don't know, I have this parallels, you can take them down and just throw them around so that you have some interesting elements. I'm not going to use it right now so my basic and central biggest element is this weighs and then I've chosen a mug and a small box. As you can see, I didn't place the elements like desk. It is absolutely not interesting it leads the viewer out of the picture you need to do something else. You need to place something at the back, something at the front, and something good the middle, not facing like everything gets front. But please at least one element in a different angle so that it is a bit more interesting. About the color of the objects, I've chosen white so that I can differentiate between the highlights and shadows a bit more with more colorful objects you need to observe things better. I recommend you to choose any colored objects, what you have, but try to make them like similar so that you can actually really see the shadows and the highlights. Your task is to choose three objects one big object, a middle sized object, and a small one or more small ones. About the background I've chosen this black background because my objects are white and the wall is white. I didn't want to blend it into the background but stand out so I can really see the shapes of these objects. You can see I have a light source here. When you are drawing live, still-life, you need to take in consideration the weather if you're using natural light. If you started in the morning, the light is going to be different than it's noon. Maybe you are not going to draw like four hours of sleep, but actually the Sun changes a lot in this time frame. It is good to have a steady light source if it is the light you have in the room, or I have this length. I'm just going to turn it on and it actually helps me to have more harsh shadows so that I can observe them better. I think that's all about the composition. Let's get to see the supplies and what you need to do before even starting drawing. 3. Measuring - Defining Standard Units: In this video, we are going to define the standard unit. I tried to put a camera approximately to the place where my eyes will be while drawing. Measuring is the key for the right proportions of the still-life. Defining a standard unit, we are going to use a pencil. When measuring, try to keep an even distance from yourself so make sure that your hand is fully straight and that you have a pencil. When measuring, we're going to define a standard unit. It can be smallest object, if it is too small, I advise you to write a goal for the the middle object. I tried to focus the camera on the pencil. When measuring, you need to use the tip of the pencil and your finger to define the end of the standard unit. I'm just going to measure around this thing so now I'm going to take my mark for the standard unit, and this is the height it is like. You can see, I'm not taking this as the top of the mug, but it's highest point and its lowest point. I'm taking this as a measurement and I'm going to find out how big the waist is. You can see here it is the bottom of the waist so the exact same height I'm going to place like there and you can see that one mug is at this line of the waist approximately. Now, place it up to the line you have measured, and now see that the waist is not exactly, double of the mug, but a bit smaller. There is the mug. I know that now. Now, let's see the box. I'm going to take this height of the box now. This is going to be the standard unit. I can see that it is approximately twice as big as the box. I mean, the mug is twice as big as the box , a bit higher. Now, you can just close one of your eyes and focus and just measure things around, so that you can know approximately how big these elements are. Our second thing we're going to do is to find the basic geometric shapes in these objects, and then we're going to just place them around our drawing. 4. Observing - Finding Basic Geometric Shapes: In this video, we are going to find the basic geometric shapes. We're just simply going to talk about the box. It is obvious that it has rectangles. One rectangle, two rectangle, and the third one up here. Then we have a trapeze in this mug, as you can see. We're going to draw the trapeze. I'm just going to draw the trapeze right through this hole. I'm not really going to go for a really around the shape at first for a trapeze, but to define the real shape of this element. After that, I'm going to add this oval shape up here as the top of the mug. Here we have a circle and a triangle. For this, as you can see here, is a really nice circle here in the waist. There is a trapeze again and an oval again at the top. As I'm going to progress in a drawing, I'm going to place at first these elements to see which I think is where. 5. Supplies: About the supplies I'm going to use, at first I'm going to show you the paper I'm going to sketch on. This is a Fabriano sketching paper. What is the difference that it is a bit thicker than the office paper and it has a really nice texture and it really makes a difference. It's just similar as with watercolors, that if you have more quality paints like even your worst painting is going to look better than on the same one with the worst paints. The paper makes difference. However, you don't need to buy sketchbook only if you think this drawing thing more seriously. It is really useful to draw on a nice paper like you will value your work with your supplies. We're going to use the same pencils as we did in the previous class so I'm going to use 7B for shading and 2 or 3B for lines. I have some sketching boxes here. This is a Daler-Rowney artist pencils. They're actually really for sketching. There are different types of pencils here, and what's my favorite? It is the creator color. It is an Austrian brand. This pencils are made in Vienna and I just got this new sketching box and I'm going to try it out. They are really nice supplies and I'm going to use this for shading. [NOISE] We will need an eraser. You can have any eraser, but I'm going to just use this one. The one that looks like Play-Doh. It's really [NOISE] at least nice and you can plan the edges with it pretty well and a sharpener. I think that's all for supplies. There is another thing I wanted to talk to you about and as position, you're going to sit in. Usually when people are drawn stillized, they're standing mainly in art schools. Maybe you don't have opportunities for that. For example I don't have it in this office. I'm going to sit and what you need to think about when you're drawing, that if you are drawing in a sitting position that is not natural for you, for example for me, it is really straight back, I'm going to see in different angles because while I'm drawing, I'm going to get tired so I'm going to sit like this. This is comfortable for me. It is not really healthy, but this is how I sit. If I sit like this and like this I'm seeing the still-life in different angles so try to keep the same sitting position throughout the whole drawing process. 6. Measuring - Placing Your Objects: Now as a first step, you need to define the height of the highest object and to leave actually a space to place the other elements. Now I'm going to measure with my pencil and approximately set the highest point on my drawing. [NOISE] Yes, approximately this is going to be the vase, the top of the vase. I need to take in consideration the high objects so that they have space to fit in the paper. I'm going to take the vase and I'm going to measure the mug. The mug is actually almost the same size the top of the mouth of the vase. I'm going to take it like this. Here is the top of our vase. Now what I'm going to measure is how many times this size makes up the height of the vase. I'm measuring again, my hand is straight. I have the pencil and I'm measuring 1, 2, and something. 1, 2 and 1/2. If I'm taking this size, I'm going to draw a line here. This is going to be the axis. [NOISE] Put these things inside. I said, 1, 2 and approximately 1/2. This is the bottom size of my vase. Actually what I can see is that if I take this size down here to the bottom, this is where actually my mug is going to start. We learned about perspective the things that are further away for example on a desk start further. Our mug is going to start here. This is my standard unit. Something about the standard unit it's, when you are observing your still life, you will see what size is the size that is approximately can be found in every object. Under this size of this mouth worked for me for defining the size of the waist and actually the size of mug. I would say that the golden rule is to use the smaller objects. But as you process in the drawing, your standard units can change. It is good to keep the same standard unit throughout the whole drawing, but if it changes, it doesn't hurt to you. Try to be as proportional as you can, but be also flexible. When I'm measuring the mug, the height is a bit bigger than this mouth of the vase and a bit bigger. This is going to be the height of the mug. Now I'm going to place the box. Now I'm going to take again my standard unit, measure the height of the whole box. So not just the height of the front, but the whole. I want to know where it starts and where it ends. When measuring you can also find angles. Let's say that my mug is approximately here, and where's my box is going to be starting? Here is the axis of my vase. The box starting; the side I have to put this spot something here. It is like this. If my mug is here, I have just angle approximately this line. Like I need to measure this again. The height of the box is like 2 1/2 times of this. So this height is the box. Exactly, and it works. Amazing. Now let's find angle of this box and go with something like this approximately. Where the box ends? Exactly aligning with the end of this mouth. You always need to find these reference points. I'm going to erase it, don't worry. We always need to find these reference points. Here we're just my box. What I also need to know is these four points approximately. I think I will need to measure this height. What else? Somewhere here. [NOISE] But it is also in an angle, so somewhere here. I'm going to follow this line and copy this line here. Now I have approximately the box. I'm saying approximately because it will change if we did something wrong. These are my measurements and now I'm going to look for these basic geometric shapes. 7. Geometric Shapes - Expand Your Measurements: I told that there is an axis also in the mug. This is the height of the mug. I will just see how the width of the mug, how wide it is. I can say that it's width at the bottom is approximately a half of this. I'm going to add the axis approximately. I already drawn an angle down here. This is the trapeze. We have the box and let's see now this base and we found that there is a big circle and let just see. The circle is approximately here. We have a hollow here, and the trapeze here. Yes, we will have this thing here. Now we have the basic geometric shapes. Let's just take a look on the contour lines. I forgot this hollow here and this one here. Let's morph them to more organic and realistic contour lines. 8. Contouring - Outline the Picture: What is crucial here at the waist, it has really nice shape, so we need to try to find it. This curve is pretty awesome. This circle is not really perfect, so I'm just going to measure the width of the waist, how many times this mouth can fit in. As I can see, it's one-and-a-half. Approximately like this. [NOISE] We have a nice curve here. This curve continues down to this bottom. Here we don't really see the things because here we have to mug. About a mug, it is just a bit [inaudible] Where is this site? It is curved, [NOISE] so I'm going to try to find this shape. This is the right. [inaudible] skills. Then the box. When I say that, it doesn't need to be like absolutely realistic. But what I can see now is that this box is more fat unlike here, but a bit lower, so I'm just going to make it a bit bigger. [NOISE] Nice. What I'm going to do now is to erase these reference lines and refine the outlines a bit more. 9. Refining Outlines: What I'm going to do now is to refine the contour lines a bit more. I'm going to speed up this process because there's nothing interesting about it, I'm just going to observe and draw and try to draw what I see, what I know. For example, here I've drawn what I see and here I've drawn what I knew when I was drawing this line. I really need to just look and draw what I see but it takes time. I'm going to use my eraser to correct things that I did wrongly. 10. Defining the Shapes of the Shadows: What we did was I first find the shapes of the highlights. Now what is going to be the easiest is this box. If you see, this is absolutely in shadow, this is in highlight. This is approximately mid-tone. But here is a light mid-tone, and here is a darker mid-tone this is going to be the darkest. With this mark you can see that this is in shadow like this, approximately. Then the shadow continues outside. Of course it is not sharp like this, but we are going to play with it. I'm not going to draw this texture on the mug when I'm looking for is now the shadow. Approximately the shape of the shadow, and it has some rounded shape. Here it is very dark. Of course this is dark. Here it is dark. Got here. This is very dark. The highlight is here. I'm going to draw this windows actually, because here is the window and I'm going to draw its shape on this drawing. Here is the shadow, but there is highlight here, everything else is a mid-tone. Here is the highlight, here is the highlight. This is highlighted, and let's go for the waist. Under this, here is a sharp shadow. The shadow is here. Up here. It is going actually like this. This part is even more dark. There are several well use with it, but we're not going to go for that much. This shadow is following the shape of the objects. I'm not going to draw the fraction of these objects in it because I can see them, and I'm not going to draw this red light round thing here. Only this highlight. It can be a window. I know it's a window, but when you will look at it you will know. There is also a highlight following the shape of the waist like this. Up here there are some spots, and here. I think that's all. 11. Shading Shadows: What I'm going to start with is filling out the shadows, and I'm going to use this green color. If you remember from the previous class, we are not shading with a tip that would assign and I'm going to start shading this. Let's move on. Let's go here. I try to create two well-used within this darkest shadow. Because there are only three tones, highlights and middle tone and the shadow, there is a white midtone and a dark midtone. Now, I'm trying to work with this dark shadows into two values. You might need to sharpen your pencil. I'm going to darken this part of the waist because of obviously there's a shadow. You cannot forget about the cast shadows. As you can see, I'm using a really soft pastel and I did the mistake of going over it with my hand. You might need to fix this with an eraser. The big thing but still let's keep things neat. As you can see here it is the darkest part and it is really going to be black. This is cast shadow and I'm going to add here. There are some artists who are using like, how it called? I'm not sure. Gloves. Yes, gloves. Here's a cast shadow and it is actually a reflection here of this object. Here, I'm just going to add a little bit. There is a cast shadow and here is again, a reflection of the subject. We don't really need to care about it, but so we can add it. If you can see, we already have a pretty nice drawing. We are not really finished. Shading makes a difference and it doesn't really need to be totally 100 percent identical but still. I'm going to add shadow here. This is the background, I'm not going to make the background black. I could but I don't really want to over like this. I'm just going to draw this line of the desk here approximately. Just like continuing and I'm going to add a shadow like this. We have already a nice shading. Let's get to midtones. 12. Midtones: For this, I'm going to use a medium scratching pencil. You can just simply use the 7B and push it less onto the paper. What I'm going to do is to fill out the spaces. Actually, I need to fix this box a bit because by shading, I removed a bit. I need to make it a bit smaller and more proportional. I'm just going to spend a second doing that. As I start, the top of this box is going to be in a midtone. What I'm doing is actually just going over it with this pencil, not really pushing hard. But still, I want to make this part of the box a bit darker, not as dark as the side of the box, but just a bit. Go lighter here and this is going to be highlighted. With this mug I'm going to leave out highlights. What I can do afterwards with a pencil. But keep in mind that the sketching pencils are not easily erasable most of the times. I'm just going to [inaudible] I want to highlight. This is why this play doh eraser is good because I can just take a piece that I made. I can erase it but not that well. I'm going to add [inaudible] here [NOISE] I forgot this part. I'm going to back to my soft pencil and just add to the shadow inside this mug. [NOISE] Sorry for forgetting it. [NOISE] Now, I have my midtone and I'm going to just go over this part. I'm going to go over the edge of this dark shadow to soften it because shadows are not too harsh usually. They can be. I'm going to play with the undertones a bit here too. Even though this is not a highlight, I'm going to basically make it lighter. [NOISE] I think I'm going to do this one last step. Just really, really light layer of the graphite. Up here, I'm going to do the same. Here we have shadow, which I forgot inside. I'm going to fill it in, try to make a nice blending of this dark shadow and the midtone. You can still play with adding more or less shadows. To be honest, it is good to observe, but this is the time where you also need to keep in mind that this is a drawing and this is a piece of artwork so you can make it look as you wish. I'm making you available, the picture of this still life in the resources section so that you can copy the still life. It will be still life drawing which I really want you to try out. You can start with this, refreshing your skills and then try it on your own. So the best thing is to do your own still life, to compose your own still life, but you can just try out to draw this one. [NOISE] As you can see I'm leaving out the highlights. What I'm going to do else as well [NOISE] is that I'm taking my little eraser and just go over this highlights once again. I can of course, also a bit pull end or take out off this layer of graphite, which will make the drawing a bit more lifelike. I can erase still. [NOISE] I'm going to add [NOISE] one more layer here to make it a little round. [NOISE] What do I say? I really love this, I think it looks really great. Now you can see that it is very easy process and I'm sure you can do this. Just don't be afraid and get your pencils and paper and compose your own still life and just practice. 13. Final Thoughts: We have now finished still life, completely created by us. How amazing is that? I would love to take a second to criticize my artwork because self-reflection is just really important if you want to get better at what you do. When I look at my drawing from the front because I was drawing in an angle I realize that the waist should have been taller and the neck also a bit longer, so I have my proportions a bit off. My otherwise here is not to draw from an angle, but always from the front, but I was drawing from an angle so that you can see at the camera what I'm doing. The project for this class is to compose your own still-life and draw it following the process I was presenting to you. Good luck and I wish you a wonderful day. Please, don't forget to leave me a review. I really appreciate it and it is a great reward for my artwork. [MUSIC]