Become A Better Artist: Drawing Essentials | Ria Sharon | Skillshare

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Become A Better Artist: Drawing Essentials

teacher avatar Ria Sharon, Practice Makes Better.

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.

      Just Start


    • 2.

      Get to Know Your Tools


    • 3.

      BONUS: Physics for Artists


    • 4.

      Make Your Marks


    • 5.

      Find Your Edges


    • 6.

      Shape Up


    • 7.

      Now Draw! (DEMO)


    • 8.

      What Next?


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About This Class

Every artist starts with making one mark. Good artists are the ones who keep making marks, over and over! In this class and in all my classes, my goal is to get you to keep making art by making it fun! What better place to begin than with drawing essentials?

In this class, I’ve created science-based exercises that will help you become a better artist.

Drawing is the foundation for so many things in the visual arts—lettering, portraiture, character design, surface patterns, illustration, graphic design—being able to draw is essential to all of them.

By the end of this class, you’ll know how to get better at making the marks you draw on paper match the vision in your mind! Together, we’ll set up and draw a still life to practice everything we’ve learned.

This is a perfect beginner class for artists of all ages or a refresher class for more experienced artists who want some structure for their art practice.

You'll need:

  • Your brain! :D
  • Starter pencil set or equivalent with different pencil grades
  • An eraser that you like
  • Paper

You can also follow me on Instagram and sign up for Secret Sketches, my free weekly behind-the-scenes/inspiration email.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ria Sharon

Practice Makes Better.


There is no path to mastery that does not involve doing something over and over -- that's been my experience as an artist and illustrator!

So I encourage my students to take small consistent steps by creating bite-sized classes that make art a simple, easy, daily practice -- one that is joyful and fun!

I occasionally post what's in my own sketchbook on a brand new Instagram page. If you're interested in what goes on in my art-making process behind-the-scenes, join my private Secret Sketches group. That's where I share things that are not ready for the interwebs yet. :)


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1. Just Start: People often ask me, "Were you always good at drawing?" The answer is no. I don't know anyone who came out of the womb good at anything. Even the masters had to start somewhere by picking up a pencil or a paintbrush and making their first mark. In my case, I made my first mark and then I made another one and another one. With each mark, I'm sure I got more and more comfortable with the tool in my hand, comfortable enough to try new things and see what kinds of marks I could make with it. I enjoyed this process so much that I just did it over and over without even realizing I was getting better and better until my parents and aunts and uncles and teachers and friends started telling me that I was talented. Eventually people started asking, "Were you always good at drawing?" Everyone starts with their first mark. The artists who progress are the ones who keep going. My goal in this class is to help you to keep making art baby steps a little bit every day because practice makes better. That's not just a personal belief, it is a scientific fact. I'll be prompting you with science-based exercises that will help you improve your artistic abilities with drawing essentials, the very basics, which are the foundation for so many other skills in the visual arts. Whether you want to explore lettering, portraiture, character design, surface patterns, illustration, or graphic design, being able to draw is essential. In this class, you'll learn how to get better at making the marks you draw on paper match the vision in your mind. I'll end with a demonstration in which I share all the choices I make while I draw still life so you can hear how I make the decisions that are second nature for me now from having done so many over and over, and soon it'll be second nature for you too. We'll go over things like what pencils to use in order to achieve the kind of marks we want, how to visually define each object in a drawing, how to establish the structure of a drawing with value ranges, and how to create depth and volume with light and shadow. We'll use all these techniques to draw still life together so that you can apply these principles to anything else you want to draw. But most importantly, I want you to enjoy drawing. I've broken down the lessons into bite-size videos. You won't just learn theory, but you'll actually get to learn by doing. The brain researchers say, is the best way to learn anything. So let's get to it. 2. Get to Know Your Tools: As I covered in my sketchbook magic class, you can make marks with anything. But for this class, we'll focus on pencil. Pencil is accessible and affordable. You'll be able to learn so much just by working with a reasonably price starter set and an inexpensive pad of drawing paper. Speaking of paper, a drawing sketch pad is great with a medium smooth surface. But if you don't have that, don't let that stop you. I do a lot of drawing on plain old printer paper. You also need an eraser. There are several kinds that I have here. Gum erasers are the softest. They're almost like feta cheese. They actually crumble when you erase with them and the crumbs pick up the pigment. Kneaded erasers are also pretty soft and they lift pigment off the paper because it's slightly tacky. What's nice is you can also knead them or shape them to fit into those tiny areas. Vinyl erasers are the cleanest, but that's because they're hard, so they can tear up your paper when you use them. You have to be a little more careful with them. Try them out, see which one you like best. You might find that you like one kind over another or that it will depend on the project that you're working on. Finally, pencils. There are two different grading systems, the numerical one and the HB system, which is what the sets you'll find in art supply stores we'll probably use. The set I have today comes with six pencils. Because graphite core is graded from 2H to 6B, 2H being the hardest and the 6B being the softest. B stands for black. The higher the number, the softer the lead, so the darker or blacker the mark. 6B is pretty soft. H stands for hardness. HB is supposed to be like the middle of the board, the equivalent to a number 2 pencil in the US. Then the higher the number that accompanies the H, the harder the lead, so the lighter the mark. 2H is already pretty light, but I've used up to a 9H pencil before. Since there's really no industry standard for how dark or soft any of the grades are between brands, it's important to get to know the specific tools you're actually going to be using, which brings us to our very first assignment. The goal of this exercise is for you to know the range of your tools. I have two sets of six squares because I have six graded pencils, you may have more or less. We're going to make a value chart, so that not only will we get to know our pencils, but we'll also be able to refer to it later when we're doing our still life. It's a really simple exercise but really important. As an artist, I call it embodiment. The scientists call it myelination. Myelination is what happens in our brains when we do something intently and regularly. It's an actual physical process that's been documented by researchers. When we do something, the structure of our brain actually changes. Here is what's happening in your brain when you take action. An electrical signal is created by that action and certain brain cells sense the signal and grab hold of a nerve fiber and start wrapping it with myelin, which is a substance that insulates the cell so that signals can travel faster and more efficiently than on a cell that isn't insulated. This makes that neuron better, more efficient at doing what it did, so you get better at that particular action. I used to refer to it as embodiment because I felt like it was as if my body was learning. I also felt that this type of learning seems to stick more than just holding something in my mind. It turns out that it's true. Whatever you call it, what it actually means is in order to learn how to do something, you have to do it. You can't just watch the video. Otherwise, your brain is just getting better at watching videos, not drawing. In his book, The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle explains that the greatest athletes, musicians, vocal artists, composers, authors, all share something in common. It wasn't talent, as we've previously understood it. They weren't born that way. Instead, their talent was grown through regular practice. This is the secret to becoming better at something. It's not as much talent as building a skill. But the active verb here is, to do. The firing of the circuit is paramount. Myelin is not built to respond to fond wishes or vague ideas or information that washes over us like a warm bath. The mechanism is built to respond to actions: the literal electrical impulses traveling down nerve fibers. It responds to urgent repetition. Let's just do it already. Shade in each area similar to how I'm doing with medium pressure on your pencil. Don't bear down on it forcefully, just whatever your natural writing pressure would be. I usually work right to left because I'm left-handed and that minimizes smudging. I'll work from my 2H pencil and then use the same pressure for each grade. This isn't exactly the result I wanted, but it demonstrates something important about the process. It's actually pretty amazing. The more you screw up, the better. What? Coyle says, "Struggle is not optional. It is neurologically required: in order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the circuit suboptimally; you must make mistakes and pay attention to those mistakes; you must slowly teach your circuit." This is what's called deep practice. Doing something imperfectly is actually a good thing because it's the only way to get better. As I watched the footage, I see that it's because I'm trying to stay within the borders of the rectangle, so trying to conform to the shape changed how I was moving the pencil. For this reason, I'm going to make a second row under the first. I'm making tiny fixes to my technique. This time, no rectangles. I'm just going to shade in an area with each pencil with this even pressure as I can. That looks way more natural than the first time around. In the second row of six boxes, we're going to create gradients. Using my 2H pencil again, I'm going to make the darkest possible mark I can with this pencil along the right edge. Then, I'm going to make the lightest possible mark along the left edge and I'm going to blend them. Again, I'm making tiny fixes as I go all along this process so that these gradients get better and better. I'm going to repeat these for each of the pencils in my set. Your turn. Get off your computer or phone and do this exercise instead. It's time well spent because as you're doing it, you're getting better and wouldn't you rather get better at drawing than get better at scrolling through Facebook? The last thing we'll need for our project is some inspiration. We'll be doing is still life, so I've set up a few different composition specifically for this class. I'll share the inspiration image I used for the demonstration in the classroom, so you can draw along with me. In the last video, I'll also share more still life images that you can work from. 3. BONUS: Physics for Artists: I want to do a quick demo for you that illustrates how the different pencil grades affect the paper surface, and what effect that has on your drawing, specifically on the smoothness. If we zoom into cross section of the paper surface, it has a grain to it. It has these microscopic ridges made up by the paper fibers. So a soft pencil like a 6 or 4B will be dark, but the lead isn't hard enough to indent the surface. So it will sit, just on the tops of the ridges, the result being that the valleys will stay light. A harder lead will actually indent the paper, so the pencil will flatten out the ridges. The result of that is that the whole area, not just the ridges, will get filled in. So with the softer lead, the valleys stay light creating contrast. So you actually see the grain of the paper, and with the harder lead, it will be lighter overall, but smoother. So let's see what that looks like from a bird's eye view. This is a 6B, and you can see the highlights there unless I really bear down to get rid of them. What I do, is go back over areas I want really dark and smooth with a harder lead, like in this case, the HB pencil, which will fill in even more and get rid of those white spots. So the ultimate effect is really dark. Let's see that again. I'm making a bigger dark area here, so I can demonstrate this technique that people use, to make really dark, smooth areas. Start with a soft lead, then go over it again with a harder lead, and go over it yet again with an even harder lead. A couple of things that also happened though, this is real commitment. You are making physical changes to your paper. So even if you get all the pigment out with an eraser, you'll never be able to get rid of that shaded area completely. Also, you'll want to work from soft to hard, not the other way around, and you can test this yourself. See what happens if you shade in an area with your 2H, and then try to go over it with the 6B. Anyway, you will see me do this in my [inaudible] demo later. I'll use this technique a lot, to blend dark and light areas together, because regardless of the value, regardless of how light or dark the area is, I want a consistent smoothness to them, so that they look like they are part of the same surface, which means that eventually, even the darkest areas that I shade with the softest pencil, will need to be reshaded, with the hardest pencils to match the lightest areas of those same surfaces. 4. Make Your Marks: Our next assignment is even simpler than the last one, if that's possible. Make marks with your different pencils. See how many different effects you can make with the same pencil. How light, how dark, what happens when you scrub, shade, cross hatch, switch hands when you stand up and use big strokes, or hold your tip close and make teeny tiny strokes. Loose, light pressure, choking down on the pencil, drawing with the tip. See what happens if you use the same physical strokes with your different pencils. Pay close attention to the correlation between how you hold your pencil and the kind of mark you make. Take the marks you like and make them again several times just so your muscles get used to what is required to make them. This is where the magic happens, when the process becomes embodied. Actually, it's science, right? Myelination, but it seems like magic. If you're geeky like me, you'll imagine all those neurons firing up there and the little myelin sausages wrapping around the axons. The process of doing something of taking action, the signals in your brain go faster. Practice really does make better. We've already been doing it, but for the rest of this class, I'm going to show you what actions to take to train your brain how to see and how to draw. Watch the videos at whatever speed feels right to you. But what I really want you to do is take out a sheet of paper and make some marks for about a minute. Just one, that's it. Set your timer, make a bunch of marks, and share that with us in the classroom. Of course, you can keep making marks for more than a minute for the next day or so. Take a break from whenever you're doing, step away from the computer and set your timer for a minute, or two, or three, or four, but not more than five. Why? Because at this point, this should not be labored. This shouldn't be a chore, it should be fun. A restorative break from that spreadsheet that makes you want to poke your eyes out. This should be something you can look forward to in between your to-do lists. Again, why? Because the other component to becoming a better artist is called ignition. That's the fancy term the researchers used for having fun. When you have a page full of marks, share them with us in the classroom to encourage your classmates. Everything is better together. Snap a picture of your random marks, upload your pics to the classroom from your computer, and we'll see you in the next video. 5. Find Your Edges: Here's the thing, if you look around you, really look, you'll start to notice that things aren't exactly what we think we see. That's normal, it's not our brains trying to trick us. In fact, it's our brains trying to be efficient because we can't possibly process all of the visual information that's coming in. It's editorializing and getting us to pay attention to what it thinks is important, like that saber-tooth tiger, or whatever. For example, here's a lemon and here's an apple, they're two objects on a table. Generally, we don't think about where the lemon ends and where the apple begins, where the molecules of one meet the other, blah, blah, we just see two distinct objects. Our brain processes this data and tells us this is one object and this is another. But why? There isn't a hard line that separates the two. What are we really seeing? What stimulus are the cells in your eyes receiving and sending to the cells in your brain that makes you see two different things? If you just take the raw data, what you're seeing, you see one object as distinct from the other because there is a difference in value. If I zoom into the pixels of this image, you can see what I'm talking about. There is no line here, but we recognize it as an edge. That's why my line drawing is totally different because in reality, there are no lines in the real-world, just values. Edges are created by those differences. So we have to learn how to recreate those values that define the objects in our composition. Thank goodness, we already know how to use our pencils to make a whole range of values. I'm going to do a little warm-up sketch now to demo how we can use values to define our edges, and in the process of this demo, I'm deep practicing and myelinating. I'm paying attention, I'm focusing on the subtle differences even in this small area that I've chosen to render. Could I capture the differences in value in the apple? Can I recreate the reflection off of the lemon? I'll leave this image at the end of the video so you can practice with it as well. 6. Shape Up: Let's talk shapes, specifically, basic shapes; circle, a rectangle, a triangle, super simple, right? nothing to them. It can be really intimidating to look at a vignette or a scene and tell yourself, "I am going to draw that." Well, guess what? Everything is made out of elemental shapes. So if you look closely and identify those elemental shapes, it's not so overwhelming. Let's take a look around and look at the shapes and all the things around us. I'm going to snap a few pictures around my super messy house, then look closely and see what shapes I can find in them. Go head, look around you, snap a few pics with your phone and see if you can break them down into their component parts. Because ultimately, if you can draw circles, and rectangles, and triangles, you can draw anything. But again, these shapes aren't made up of lines, they don't look like this obviously. Let's assess what's going on here. What input is been sensed by our eyes and sent to our brains that make this seem more real than that? They have volume. What does this mean for our still eye? How do we create the illusion of volume on a flat page? This my friends, is created by highlights and shadows. The cool thing is that you already know how to create the illusion of light and shadow, because they're nothing more than different values, which is what we did in the first two exercises. We're going to keep doing more exercises because practice makes, well, practice makes myelin. I ask myself, where is the light source coming from? That's where the lightest point will be. An opposite of that is the darkest part, the part that's in shadow. In my earliest studio Art classes, my teachers set up scenes similar to this one with strong light sources in dimly lit rooms, to isolate this concept very clearly. I'm going to ask you to do the same, see If you can't set up a simple still light with a strong lamp, maybe just stick with something simple like a ball, or a piece of fruit. Play around with the position of the light so that the difference between light and shadow is very dramatic. Or you don't really need a darkened room. In this setup, I have bright natural light coming in from the window, and I am arranging the fabric's so that it creates dramatic shadows in the Apples. This setup is great because look at all the interesting shapes, try to train your brain to forget about what you know it is, Apples, and just dive into all the abstract shapes that make up the composition. I'll include these images at the end of the last video too, so you can work from them if you choose. Do some quick five minute sketches of your vignettes. Keep the lightest part of your composition paper white so don't draw in that area at all. Find the darkest part of your composition and use your softest pencil, in my case it's 6B, to establish that area as the darkest of dark. That's what my drawing 101 instructor used to say, "Establish your lightest light and darkest dark, then sketch in the different tones in between". I'm going to do another one just for fun. Sometimes I annotate drawing an arrow that indicates where the light sources coming from. That's especially important if I'm illustrating a story, let's say in each frame has to have a consistent light source. You can see how just adding tonal values changes everything, the objects are no longer flat. I mean, they are flat because it's really graphite on paper. But we've tricked our eyes and our brains so that they look like they have volume. You can also see how my second sketch is a little better than I first one. 7. Now Draw! (DEMO): Okay, you guys, we learned about drawing supplies, how to make marks with them, how to make a whole range of values, and then how to use those values to define our objects, which are actually simple abstract shapes, and how we can also use those values to give dimension to those objects. You now have all of the building blocks to drawing a still-life, so let's do it. I'll be demonstrating how to synthesize all these concepts with my still-life. Remember, I'm sharing my inspiration image in the classroom so you can follow along with me. So feel free to hit Pause here and go download the image now. If you're enjoying this class, please leave a review. That really helps other students decide if this is a class they want to take. For your convenience. I'm adding several others still-life images at the end of the last lesson, so you can simply stop the video on those frames to work from them, or if you're comfortable setting up your own composition, I encourage you to do that too, because that's fun. As I'm setting up my still-life, things I'm thinking about are, what mood I want to create. I want this to be bright and cheery. I also want this drawing to be something I can complete in a certain amount of time, so 1-3 elements will help contain the complexity of the composition. I want the background to be fairly simple, but to have some visual interest, so I'm using a drape to block out the busy-ness outside my window. I like that, even though this is lit naturally, there's some great bright spots and cast shadows in it. The first thing I do is rough out where the objects are on the page, and yes, even though my hands don't show it, I do feel some apprehension at this point in every project. This feeling is normal, and I remind myself, I'm not being graded. This is supposed to be fun, so I take a deep breath and keep sketching. Also remember, mistakes are good, that apprehension I'm feeling means I'm flexing my drawing muscles, I'm stretching beyond my comfort zone, which also means that myelination is actually happening. I'm getting better already. I'm still not committing right now. I'm using my HB pencil to sketch the position of each element as lightly as possible, so it's going to be hard to see my marks in the video until I commit. The key here is I'm not making any marks that will permanently change the surface of the paper yet, in case I want to change it. At this point, I'm checking the different shapes relative to each other. How close is the apple to the pitcher's handle? Is the negative space between the three objects the right size and shape? The lemon seems a little far to me, so I'm going to nudge it over slightly to the right. But again, since my marks are so light, I'm not even going to bother erasing and risk damaging my paper surface. Instead, those straight lines will be covered up later. As I sketch the shape of the pitcher, this is important, I mentally toggle from seeing the whole thing and the component parts. Remember Coil's idea of deep practice? It's like that. It's not a continuous flowing movement here, I'm stopping and starting, and making adjustments. First, I train my eyes to zoom in and only see the smaller abstract shapes, then I zoom out and look at the whole objects. I can almost feel its shape. I try to sense what this pitcher would feel like if I were holding it in my hands. What would the curve and the slope feel like? If I were to drop a marble down this slope, how fast would roll down its edge based on the degree of the slope? Then I zoom in again and I see how the curves and shapes that make up the background interact with the other curves and shapes at the foreground, creating smaller spaces and abstract shapes that I can use as reference points. To me, it's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I go from examining the tabs and pockets of each puzzle piece and how they fit together, to stepping back to seeing the big picture on the puzzle overall, and then going back in again. What this does is similar to our very first exercise, where I can make tiny fixes, adjustments to my technique along the way. My drawing holds up as a whole and inside its component parts, I know that I can keep going. Since I feel like my sketch of the relative position of things is correct, I commit by establishing my darkest points, the shadows where my objects meet the table and the stem of the apple. Then since the apple is really the darkest area of my composition overall, I'm going to focus on that first and allow myself to set the overall tonal range and establish the structure of the drawing with it. I've trained my eye to pick out the subtle differences in value in different composition. So in this case, in the surface of the apple, I'll use my softest pencil, my 6B, to go over the very darkest areas. The ones closest to the lemon are dark because the lemon is casting a shadow on it, as is the area closest to the pitcher because of the pitcher's shadow. I'll use the 6B pencil's full value range going from most dark to medium dark to fill in the darker areas of the apple. Then I'll use the next softest pencil, the 4B pencil, to fill in the areas that are just a little bit lighter than those most dark areas. But here's a trick that I've learned over the years, is I'll go over the very dark areas again, the ones that I used the 6B pencil on, with the 4B pencil too, this helps blend them together. Around the edges of the apple, I want to make sure I capture the dark mask that surrounds it, which almost looks like a line, but it's not. It does help to define the apple. I'm not as much aware of how I'm holding the pencil as much as the effect it has on my pencil strokes, and I adjust as necessary. What I'm looking for is a certain smoothness so that no one individual stroke is visible, but it all blends into the value that I want. I'll repeat that process again with the 2B pencil now, shading in the darkest areas and then the next lighter areas, the part that I've already blended. You can see how this technique that I happen to use will take some time because some areas of a drawing will end up being covered and recover three, or four, or five times with different pencils. But I really think it makes a difference, especially with smooth objects like this apple, because the harder pencils smoothens out the surface of the paper and it makes the drawing of the apple look smooth. I'll do the same thing with the lemon and the pitcher, establishing the darkest parts for those objects. Since I'm left-handed and I decided to work on the apple first, I have to protect it now from smudging, as I work on the pitcher. The darkest parts of the pitcher though are much, much lighter than the apple, so again, I'm training my eye to see all the subtle differences in the component parts. Not so much the overall thing that I'm drawing right now, but the smaller shapes. When I think about it, I really don't even see the object as much as these abstract areas, a lump here, a curvy area here. It's not until I have almost all the puzzle pieces fit it together that I assess if it looks like the thing that I'm drawing. Even then, I have to advise that I find it helpful to let go of the result and just focus on the process. It becomes meditative for me and I can get lost in the shapes. They become almost like their own little worlds. I also have to say that even though I'm working from an inspiration image and I want it to resemble the thing that I'm working from, I don't feel like it needs to match it exactly. If you choose to work from this image as well, I really, would encourage you to not judge it based on how your project looks versus somebody else's, like in yoga. I don't no why I'm thinking about this, but in yoga, they say, "Don't look beyond your own mat." I feel that that's important to say because as artists, we have a tendency to be really judgy about our work and that isn't very kind to ourselves as artists. I feel like, if we wanted to just capture the visual of what it is that we're seeing in our inspiration image, we would just go with the picture and end there. But the wonderful thing about art is because it's a physical process, because you're actually taking something with your hands and making something on the paper, there's just a way that the process allows you to appear on the page in some way, and that's what accounts for the differences in people's styles and that's what makes your work unique. So instead of saying, "But her apple looks so much more like that apple than my apple," it's a matter of embracing those unique qualities of your own work. There are also a few things that I know from years of drawing and I know this from an intellectual way, that each of these objects are not highly reflective, like glass or metal, which means that the surfaces will have softer transitions. So as I establish my values for each area and I look closely into those abstract areas, I know that there will probably be soft blends between them. All three of these objects also have a spherical element to them, which means that light wraps around them in a gradual curve. It's another reminder that everything will eventually have to blend softly. So when I'm looking close in, zooming in as it were, I have an expectation and know that the transitions will be soft. In contrast, along the top of the pitcher, there will be some edges and to render those, there will be sharp and distinct changes in value along those edges to help define them. I'll follow the same technique I used for the apple, using the full range of each of my pencils. But because the pitcher is lighter overall, where I used 6B, 4B, 2B, and HB on the apple, I'm using mostly, 2B, HB, B and 2H for the pitcher. The pitcher, and all the objects, really are also defined by their relationship to the background. So just like we covered in the earlier video, the edge is actually, our two different values butt up against each other. I'm shading in the area next to the pitcher, being mindful of its relative value. This is a case where again, I lose myself in the process. I'm not thinking of the pitcher as a solid object or the foreground object and a background of white, as much as I'm looking at the smaller areas and comparing how dark one is to the other, and using any visual reference points to check whether I'm in the right place. So that's why it's nice to have this drapery in the background, because it helps to establish space and position. The tricky part about this particular composition is that I have to really extend my HB and 2H range, since pretty much all of the pitcher and the white fabric are in similar very light value range. Yet I still have to create subtle contrast within a much narrower range. As I switch pencils, I go over the previous area again, just like I did with the apple, and it smooths over those ridges and valleys in the paper to make a smoother looking drawing. It can feel tedious, but the nice thing about this part of the process, is that it can be almost meditative. Again, you don't have to pay attention as closely. So I find myself spending this time processing whatever else is happening in my life. It can be really relaxing. I remind myself that even though this composition has a pitcher and two pieces of fruit, it's not just about those three objects. It's really about how the elements interact with each other. That's what will make this feel real. I paid just as much attention to the background, as I do to the foreground. Again, what's the difference? At least from a visual data perspective? It's our brain in the story where you're telling that's a pitcher on a blanket that makes the pitcher any different than the blanket itself. All of it is visual input. One is not more important than the other. So if we want another person's brain to receive that input in a similar way, we have to translate it into data that would be comparable. Does that makes sense? Remember when we zoomed in on the image, all of it was just made of black and white pixels. It's only when we take a step back that we see it's an actual thing. That's what I mean by getting lost in the process. Imagine yourself in that zoomed in view as you're imagining each area and shading. This keeps you in the moment in the process rather than judging whether or not your pitcher is too fat or too skinny or whatever, if the parts are proportionally correct and the bigger the thing will be too. If proportion is something that you're working on right now, embrace that part of your artistic journey. That's an accurate record of where you are right now. Believe me, you'll look back on this. If you make changes or you change the way you render things in the future, it's nice to see that record or a documentation of how you've grown as an artist. Now I've essentially bookmarked my lemon by the dark apple in the light picture, which means I know roughly value-wise what I have to do with this lemon, in order to replicate roughly what I'm seeing in this image. I'll probably be working in the 2B, HB range. So I'd do the same thing again, establishing the darkest areas of the lemon first. Now you can see the difference between my drawing and the inspiration image, and how important the background texture is to the composition. The drawing really does look incomplete without the folds of fabric around the fruit. But we're going to fix that. I'm going to start to fill in the values between the two areas. After doing all this, you can see how important it is to know your tools, and to be able to control your mark making so you can make and shade in an area relatively evenly. You'll also notice how sparingly I've used the eraser throughout this process. That's because I draw in layers, which makes it easier to correct mistakes. You'll find as you go, that you have your own natural style approach to shading. You've probably noticed that I tend to make tiny circles. Some people cross hatch. Whatever feels comfortable to you to get the effect you want is fine. You'll be doing it a lot, so it's important that it actually is physically comfortable. If you're drawing from the same inspiration drawing, and it doesn't look exactly like mine, like I said before, I don't expect it to. That's the beauty of drawing. It's a physical process, so we can't help but influence our work with our physicality, how our body moves. Even my own drawing will not match my image exactly. You'll see that very clearly at the end of this video. But this is the magic. Just like I said before, this is part of what makes our unique style as artists. This is something I actually explore at my discover your art style class. If you just wanted a picture of an apple, a lemon, and a creamer, you could just print out this image and frame it. But a drawing captures not just the visual data, but the artist's energy as they made it. That's pretty cool. I'm going over the lemon again, with the 2H pencil, this time using it to accentuate the texture of the lemon's surface. Instead of making it smooth like the apple, I'm pressing harder on some areas and lighter on others. It's just a subtle theme. I also use my finger to smudge certain parts of the drawing. Try that out and see what effect you can achieve. In this case, I'm using an HB pencil rather than a 2H, because even though that would probably be the correct value, it would be too hard. So to compensate for the softness of the lead that makes darker marks, I smudge to soften the stroke marks on the paper. Putting the finishing touches on the composition now, seeing how it's all coming together, what's missing, what I need to fill in still? Then I step back and assess if I like the final result. If it captures the mood I was going for with the inspiration image in this setup. I like it. Over the course of this class, we got to know our pencil set really well. We did some value charts, we made marks, we practiced defining edges with tonal values, we practiced creating volume with tonal values. Finally, after all that practicing, we set up and drew a still life. But truly, the most powerful thing that happened here, we did a lot of drawing together. Now you know, the scientific proven process to becoming a better artist requires making a lot of art. Once you're done with your still life, I would love it if you would post it in the classroom. You learned so much from looking at other people's interpretations. When you have a minute, snap a picture and upload it from your computer. Also, feel free to post your project on Instagram and tag me @riasharon, so I can check it out. 8. What Next?: Before we part ways for now, if you only remember one thing from this class, I would like you to remember one word, myelination. This is the scientific process through which we all become better at drawing or better at anything. Up until recently, most people have believed the talent was based on nature or nurture, or some combination of the two, but research shows that this actually isn't the case. You can become a better artist through regular deep practice. Practice really makes better. So keep drawing and growing that myelin, and if it helps you to have regular prompts to stay focused. by all means, keep taking classes or find other ways to keep making art and having it be fun. Thank you for joining me, and as promised, the last few frames in this video will include some additional still life setups so that you can keep practicing. If you're looking for more prompt so you can keep up with your regular myelination, you might enjoy 10 days of selfie sketches, make your own coloring page, or discover your art style. Hope to see you in another class soon.