Basic Shapes Beautiful Designs | Jane Snedden Peever | Skillshare

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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

    • 1.

      Basic Shapes Beautiful Designs


    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Lines & Curves


    • 4.

      Circles, Petals, Leaves


    • 5.

      Insets & Outsets


    • 6.

      Combining Shapes


    • 7.

      Freeform Drawing


    • 8.



    • 9.

      The Mandala Framework


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Have you always wanted to enjoy drawing as a fun way to pass the time and relax?

Have you admired the wonderful designs you see people draw and wish you could draw them too?

In this class, I will show you how to draw a few basic shapes and then we will experiment with ways to use them to create a multitude of simple and beautiful designs. We will play with filling a page with our creations and make drawing a daily habit. The more you draw the more you will find ways to add design and creativity into your life.

In the second part of the class I will show you how I use containers and frameworks to create more ideas with the shapes we learned and then we will walk through the process of creating a mandala design with these techniques.

What you will need:

  • pencil
  • felt tip pen or marker
  • paper, drawing pad or sketchbook
  • eraser 

No drawing experience is required.  The purpose of this class is to inspire you to just pick up the pencil and draw.  The more we just allow ourselves to play on the paper, without judging our designs, the better we will become at drawing and the more open we will become to our own creative style.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jane Snedden Peever

Living the Creative Life

Top Teacher


- Create Some Space For Yourself, And Enjoy Simply Creating Something From Your Heart-


Hi I'm Jane and my favourite ways to relax are crocheting and doodling.

I love exploring creativity through texture, colour and shapes

and sharing this with you through

Simple and Fun Classes.

One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to carve out some space everyday for a little creativity. 

It doesn't have to be elaborate or complicated, just simple and fun and speaks to... See full profile

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1. Basic Shapes Beautiful Designs: Hi, my name's Jane, and I'm going to show you how to get from basic shapes to [MUSIC] beautiful design. In this class, I'll walk you through the basic shapes I use and the techniques I use with them to create unique and beautiful designs. The project will be to use these shapes and techniques to just fill an entire page. What I hope to inspire you to do is to use these simple ideas to get you drawing every day for fun, relaxation, and of course, to create beautiful art. Once we practice using these shapes in the last part of the class, I'll show you how to use these techniques to create my Mandalas. Click and roll and join in on the fun. 2. Getting Started: In this class, I'm going to show you how to take basic shapes and put them together to create some great designs. We're going to learn to put pencil to paper and draw on a daily basis. It's pretty simple what you need for this class. The only supplies that you're going to need are a pencil. I use a mechanical pencil, then I don't have to worry about sharpening it. Any kind of a felt tip pen will work, usually a fine to medium tip as good. An eraser. I use both a white eraser and a putty eraser. Because with the putty eraser, you can shape it into any shape that you want, which is really good for getting into small areas. Any kind of paper will do the trick for you. I use regular copy paper. Right out of my printer most of the time. I'm also going to encourage you to get some kind of a notebook. It's nice to get a smaller size. The smaller the page, the less intimidating it is when you look at it to fill it. Just a simple, inexpensive spiral bound book is all you need for your daily drawing. You don't want to get a beautiful expensive notebook that you'll never use because you think every page has to be perfect. The whole point of drawing every day and drawing in your notebook, is just to let whatever comes through you onto the page. Using your basic shape ideas, see what comes out. Just draw them. It doesn't matter if you feel that you've ruin the page. The nice thing with the notebook is that it's still there and if you go back and look at what you drew like a week or even a few weeks ago, you'll be surprised at how much more you like it now than when you first drew it. We tend to be really critical of our drawings when we draw them, so it's nice to have kind of a record of what you've been drawing. You can also see how far you've come. The more that you draw, the more your designs evolve and you'll start to see a real difference from the beginning of the notebook, to the end of the notebook. In the first part of the class, we're going to start by working on the basic shapes that I use in all my designs. Then we will experiment with combining these shapes to create our own unique designs. I'll then show you how I use these techniques to fill a page in my notebook. I use my notebook every day to practice new ideas and experiment with different shapes. It's a great place to get my ideas out and a great relaxing way to spend my time. The class project will be to fill a page with shapes and designs using the techniques we've worked on together and hopefully to inspire you to create some of your own unique designs. In the last part of the class, I'm going to show you how I use these basic shapes and design elements and place them into my Mandala designs. Ultimately, I end up using these designs and I put them into the frameworks that end up being my Mandala's. I will provide the framework as a download in the class project section so you can follow along with me as I add the shapes and designs into the Mandala. You can see more of how I create my Mandala designs in my other two classes on Mandala drawings. So now let's get started. 3. Lines & Curves: Now I'll get started with the most basic shape, a line. A line can take you pretty far. So you can do one straight line, you can do diagonal lines. You can stack them on top of each other. You can put them in different directions and create an X. Or you can do a stack of lines in different directions which gives you a grid, or also referred to as crosshatching. You can use the lines to create very basic shapes. You can do a square. You can do a triangle. You can also do a rectangle. So you can get a lot of mileage out of just a straight line. Now you can take that straight line and add some curves into it. That'll give you a nice little S-shape. You can get a little fancier with your S and go around a few extra times and the top and the bottom. That gives you a kind of a nice little scroll lock. You can lie this on its side and create another little effect of a scroll. You can use half of the scroll and create a nice spiral that you could go around many times with. Or you can just create wavy lines and then you can just stack them one on top of the other. So you can do pretty much a lot of stuff with just a street or a curved line. 4. Circles, Petals, Leaves: So now we'll explore the circle. So we can have just a plain circle, or we can do an oval which is a circle that's been stretched out. We can do a circle that has an oval inside of it. That creates the look of a reflection of light. We can do a small circle with small circles all the way around it, which creates a bit of a flower effect. We can do a line of circles. That creates the look of beads or a necklace. It makes a nice border on things. We can create the same look with spaces in between the circles, or we can alternate the sizes of the circles that we put in the line. We can also do a circle within a circle, and we can do these centered, or we can do them offset so that the circles emanate from one point on the circle. So there's lots we can do with circles. Next, we'll work with a petal. We'll start with a simple one that's rounded at the top and pointed at the bottom. You can put it on a slant but this like curved and create a teardrop effect, you can cluster them together to create an organic look, whether you cluster them similar or whether you mix them up. You can stack them one on top of each other so they curve around each other, or you could give them more of a toss, look where they emanate out from a center, all different shapes and sizes, and again, you're giving the look of either water splashing, or again, a plant growing, and then lastly, we're going to work with a leaf appearance. So this one, I have a point on the top and it's rounded at the bottom. You can also have points on both ends. You can make them narrow, and slightly curved. You can stack them again, so they curve around each other. Or you can have them emanate from a single point, and this gives you the look of either an organic look of a plant, or it could also look like flames leaping up. So these are the shapes that I use in my drawing. So let's explore some more techniques I do with them. 5. Insets & Outsets: The first technique that I'm going to discuss is insets and outset. You're inset is basically an outline that's drawn within the shape and you're outset is your outline drawn outside of the shape. You can draw a petal and inside you put another little petal that's the inset and then outside you outline the entire petal that's your outset. You can use this when you're doing groups, so if I did a group of petals stacked on each other and then you put an outline inside of it, which is your inset little petals, and then you would use your outset as your outline for the entire unit and it creates another object. You could do the same thing with your circles surrounding your circles that give you the flower look, but you use your outset, which outlines everything on the outside of the group and it defines your flower a little better. You can create a scroll and then the outset is just following around the entire outline of the scroll and it defines it as well. You could draw a square if I cut it in half diagonally, my insets would be inside each half, so they'd be the little triangles, and my outset would surround the entire outside of the square. So there's all kinds of things that you can do with this technique. 6. Combining Shapes: Now the fun begins as we take all these shapes and techniques and we put them together. We have a simple circle, and we surround it with our petal shapes. You'll end up with basically a daisy-like flower. You can also take that simple circle and you can surround it with the leaf, and it gives you a different look to your flower, or it can even look like flames shooting out like in a sun. You can take a basic circle and you can divide it in half with the S curve, and then you can put the petals into each of the insets. Now you have a Yin yang look. You can use the scroll, and then on each end of the scroll you can put a pedal, and that gives it more of an organic feel. Your basic flower uses all these shapes. So you have your circle, you surround it with your petals. You use the S curve for the stem, and then you add your leaves to the bottom. You can just put them all together, following these curves of the shapes and adding in all the different kinds, and you can end up with some pretty beautiful designs. Use your creativity and see what kind of combinations you can come up with. 7. Freeform Drawing: Now we're going to start filling our page. I'd like to start in the center and work my way outward. But the shapes flow around each other and don't worry about repeating shapes and designs. If you find your tensing up and stressing on what to put in next, then just fill your a whole page with the same shape. You can't let that inner critic win. Show it you can fill this page no matter what. You will start to find the flow happens once you break past your need to criticize your drawings. Draw like no one is looking. Your sketchbook is your place to experiment, try new ideas and see how they work. I often find, I end up flipping back through my book and find ideas that might not have worked at the time. But now they spark new ideas in me that I hadn't occurred to me before. Resist ripping anything out and throwing it away. In drawing, there are no bad ideas. Now it's time to try your page, put anything you want on that page, and then post it in your projects section. We're all here to encourage each other and it's so much fun to see the different ideas that people end up putting out on that page. Other people see your work very differently than you do. Now we're going to move on to the next section where I'm going to show you that how containers and frameworks can change the look of your designs and inspire new ideas. 8. Containers: One of the techniques I use to draw my Mandela's, is to use a framework or container within which I draw the design elements. I'll show you here how using these containers, can help you to focus in on your drawings and how the size and shape of the containers can alter the look of your drawings. So I'm starting here with a circle, square, and a triangle. I'm drawing a flower shape into the circle, making sure that the petals touch the line that defines the circle shape. Then I'm going to move on to the square and do the same thing, the same flower, making sure that the petals touch the line that defines the square shape. Then when I'm done with this, I'll move on to the triangle and draw the same flower shape, making sure again that my petals touch the line that defines the triangle. You'll see you when I'm done that the shapes define what the flower is going to look like. So drawing them within the container, gives you a variety of flowers. Now I'm going to stack some petals, one on top of the other. The rectangle is acting as a guide to help define the final shape of the group. Once the initial group is created, then I can add details inside and outside of it. Now in this last one, I'm using an S curve to divide the shape in half. Then I'm adding petals either side of the S curve and staying within that defined space of the original container. What this has helped me do, is create a unique and complex design element that I might not have been able to do if I didn't have that define shape to start out with. Then you can just add your outset line and you can add some detail into the petals. You end up with a really beautiful design that started with a simple shape. Try experimenting with different shapes of your own and draw these design elements within the shapes that you create and see what kind of fun and creative ideas you come up with. 9. The Mandala Framework: Now, we're going to put it all together into our Mendelow framework. I've started adding designs in, in pencil to each of my framework sections. I'm going to show you what I've done as I ink them. I've given you the Mendelow framework as a PDF in the download section of the class project. You can download the basic framework, print it out and work along with me or add your own ideas. I'm using all the basic elements that we discussed in the first half of the course. I'm doing insets within shapes. I'm doing S curves. I like to divide the sections in half and then I can create designs in each half of the section. Petals are easy to add in, and when I do curve my lines, I like to curve them with the shape of the section. It gives them more organic feel to the design. In the top half of this section, I'm going to add in a flower as I've already penciled it in. I am going to make the petals touch the outline of the shape and that will define the shape of my flower. When I do the flower beside it, I'm going to do it a little bit differently. In this one, the petals are touching each other. But when I move to the next section, the flower I've chosen to do there, the petals aren't touching each other and they aren't touching the center or the side. They kind of float in the air. I wanted to do this to show you that there you can use really similar flower shapes but depending on how you place the petals within the section, you can create a really different look. In this next section, I'm going to use more of a leaf idea. Again, I'm going to let them float in the air. They are still defined by the section that they lie within, but they don't touch each other or the outside line. Then in the outer sections, I'm just going to use simple curved lines that create a little bit of a tiling overlap look with each other. Then on the outer rim of my Mendelow, I am going to use circles to create a bead like border and that I will do around the entire Mendelow. I will post these progress pictures in the class project section so you can see where I chose to add in the design elements and where I added in even more detail with some of them. Take all these things that we've learned, the basic shapes and the techniques that we used and go have fun with them and be creative drawing yourself some amazing artwork. 10. Final Thoughts: Now that you have the basic shapes and the techniques to help you explore new ideas. The sky is the limit. You can use your designs to embellish your own greeting cards. You can create inspiring posters, or you can create beautiful Mandela's. I'm so glad that you took this class with me and I hope that you take all these basic shapes and designs that I've shown you, and you take your notebook, and you draw every day. The more you draw the more your style will evolve. Over time, just like with anything with practice, you will become a better drawer. So go and explore and create and have fun drawing.