Drawing: Lines with Life | Melissa De Nobrega | Skillshare

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Drawing: Lines with Life

teacher avatar Melissa De Nobrega, Digital Painter

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.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Approach 1: Light and shadow


    • 4.

      Approach 2: Weight


    • 5.

      Combining approaches


    • 6.



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About This Class

In less than 20 minutes, illustrator Melissa de Nobrega, is going to teach you how to enhance your drawings with specialized tips and tricks. She’ll take you through two different approaches to drawing with line quality. While she’s working digitally, you're more than welcome to use traditional mediums such as pen and paper.

For the class project, you’ll have a go at applying these techniques yourself by picking any household object and drawing it.

Through this process you’ll learn how to:

  • describe the form of your objects and create a sense of depth in your drawings
  • use light and shadow in your linework
  • convey a sense of weight/weightlessness
  • combine both approaches through one ultimate method of drawing!

This class is for anyone who wants to upgrade their drawing abilities. No prerequisites are required, though if you're working digitally, a tablet is recommended.

Meet Your Teacher

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Melissa De Nobrega

Digital Painter


Hey! I’m Melissa and I create classes to help artists get better at digital painting. I focus on teaching traditional techniques like inking and sketching, but using software like Procreate and Photoshop.

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Melissa De Nobrega and I'm a Freelance Illustrator. In this quick class, I'm going to teach you two different approaches to enhance your drawing abilities. We're going to cover the topic of line weight, which is varying your lines from a thick to thin. I'll be drawing this banana about three or four times in different ways so that you can see how these different approaches affect the same subject matter. Before we talk about the two different approaches, I'm going to quickly cover the topic of form. For the first approach, we'll be utilizing light and shadow in our drawing, and then for the second approach, we'll be conveying the notion of weight. By the end of the class, you'll not only understand why it's important to use these techniques, but you'll also understand when to use them. For the class project, you'll attempt to one or both of the approaches yourself to get familiar with the techniques. You can pick any household object that you have lying around. You'll begin drawing that using the methods that I've described. If you're excited about upgrading your drawing abilities then stick around and I'll see you in the next video. 2. Form: Before we begin talking about the approaches, first I want to introduce to you the notion of form. Form is the visible shape or dimension of an object. Form is going to play an important part in our image while we're drawing, no matter which approach we're using. Whether we're drawing with light and shadow or with weight. For example, when we have a monoline drawing, and I'm just going to do a very bad tracing of a banana. Let's say we have a drawing like this, and we might want to shade it in so people get an idea of what our banana looks like. We have something that looks like that, and it's not a bad start, but it doesn't do the best job at communicating what our object actually feels like in real space, in three-dimensions. What we could do when taking form into consideration, is to actually draw our lines in such a way that they trace the contour of the object. On looking at the banana, you'll notice that it has different planes. It's got one plane moving in this direction and another one like this, and it's also round. They curve a bit. By drawing our lines in such a way that actually follows the banana, we create a drawing that looks a lot more realistic. Let's just do that one more time, really quickly. You can see the difference that following the form will make. Here I'm not worrying about any shading, any light, I'm just drawing lines that are following the form of the banana. If you're having trouble figuring out the form of the object that you are drawing, a good way to help you distinguish where to put your lines is to actually pretend that you're touching it. If you have your finger on this point, how would your finger move in real life in order to trace the contours of that banana? Your finger would start here, probably go up a bit, and then it would drop down and around. Now when I take away the picture of the banana, you can already see that we've got an object here that turns. It's round, it's moving in space, as opposed to this original drawing where it's just completely flat. Again, neither one is wrong. Just one does a better job at communicating what the object actually looks and feels like. We're going to keep the notion of form in the back of our heads as we attempt the two different approaches. 3. Approach 1: Light and shadow: Now I'm going to introduce the first approach to you, which is drawing with light and shadow. What you're going to want to do initially is distinguish where the light is in your image and where the shadows are. Essentially wherever there's light, we're going to make our lines thin and wherever there's darkness, we're going to make our lines thick. This is because wherever there are shadows on our objects, they're always darker than wherever there is light and we're going to communicate that notion simply with line. A thicker line is darker than a thinner line. I can see that the banana has bright spots over here and mostly over here. Then I've got my shadow right in here and the shadow works its way out in this direction. I can see because the shadow gets a bit lighter in this area than it does over here. All of these little hints tell me that my light source must be coming from this area. With that in mind, I can actually start drawing. To show you the approach, I'm going to trace over the banana, again. This is simply so that I don't have to worry about what my drawing looks like at all. I don't have to worry whether it's good or bad, I'm just getting used to the approach. I would encourage you to do the same just to start off with. Again, making my line as thick and dark as I can in here and if it's easier on your hand and you're using Photoshop, you can rotate your canvas by hitting R as the keyboard shortcut. Up here, I'm going to make my line a bit thinner of course, because that's where the light is. Already we've got a varying line and it's not a pointless variation. It's actually communicating where there is darkness and where there's light. If we continue with this method, we'll complete our image. I also like to draw inside of the object, not just around the outlines because this helps give indication, again, of form where the planes change. In here I'm just going to put a light and then line because I want to indicate the plane change, but I also don't want to dirty up this spot too much because that's where the highlight is. The more lines you put into a highlight, the darker it will look, because your lines will start to look like tone and you don't want your highlights looking gray. Even in here where there's this curve, I feel like the light coming from this direction isn't hitting this little curve in here as intensely as it's hitting up here. I'm actually going to darken this line up just a little bit, but not as dark as down here, because this is the darkest spot. I wouldn't want to go beyond that thickness. Thin again up here. If you want, wherever there is a strong highlight, you can omit your lines entirely and that's what we have so far. Banana with varying lines. If you want, you can also shade in your object a little bit. I would recommend using lines that actually follow the form of your object. Instead of just using straight lines that go like this to shade in your object, I would recommend doing the curved lines for shading to give it that feeling of roundness. You can even do some in here and if you like, because right now it looks like our banana is just floating in space. We can anchor it by giving it that shadow, let's scribble it in messy. Now, we have an image of a banana and of course, if you'd like, you can refine this and clean up the ink work. I'll do that a little bit later and show you the results at the end of the session. Stick around for the next video, which is the second approach and we'll be drawing with weight. 4. Approach 2: Weight: Now we're going to be drawing with weight in mind. For now, we're going to completely forget about light and shadow entirely. We're only going think about form and we're only going to think about weight. What do I mean by weight? I'm talking about the weight of the object and I can see here, a banana is fairly light, but right at this point where it's touching the table is going to be about the heaviest part. Because the banana is curved, these end parts give a feeling of being a bit light or weightless as opposed to right in here where it's anchored down. The reason why they're appearing a bit weightless is because they're curving it despite gravity. We've got a force of gravity which is pushing down this way and we still got these parts which are moving up in this direction. The weight of the banana then seems to converge to this point right here and that's why right here where the shadow is, seems like the heaviest point of the banana. Keeping that in mind, wherever our object is heaviest, that's where we're going to make our lines thick and wherever our object appears to be weightless is where we're going to make our lines thin and now I'm going to begin drawing with that in mind and a good thing to do is to establish the thickest part of your drawing, the thickest line that you're going to use versus the thinnest one. Right in here where I said it was heaviest, I'm going to right away start by putting in the thick line. I know that since this is my heaviest point, no matter what, none of my lines can be thicker than this line and if an object is hollow, then it would also be lighter in that area as well and since I know what a banana feels like when I hold it, I know that this part in here is quite light feeling and in here where all the fruit is, it's actually quite dense. I'm going to, again try to communicate that, so this part up here, I don't know, call it the handle of the banana and these little fibers in here, these are all going to be very light, scratchy lines because they aren't heavy at all. Then over here where the fruit is, is going to get heavier. Again, I still like to indicate the different plane changes and again in here where it's curving, I can make it heavier because I've got that force pushing down called gravity. Here is going to be a bit lighter and there we have a drawing of a banana just taking weight into consideration. In the next video, I'm going to actually show you how to combine both approaches together and use them at the same time and this creates an even more realistic and even more dynamic drawing. So stay tuned. 5. Combining approaches: Okay, so we've got our fabulous banana here one more time. Now, what I'm going to show you in this video is actually, how to combine the two different approaches. What we're going to be doing now is, we're going to draw with light and shadow, weight and form. We're going to keep all of that stuff in mind. It sounds like it can be a bit much, but it actually comes quite naturally and easily, the more you practice and the more you do it. If you start drawing and you stumble, or you make a couple of mistakes, and you make some lines that shouldn't really be there, that's okay. It's all part of learning, so just don't even worry about it and keep going. Looking at the banana again, we already know where the light is, we already know where the shadow is. We know where it appears to be heaviest. We can just start drawing with all of that information now. Usually, the two approaches can actually work together. Sometimes you'll run into a spot where it's light, but it's also heavy. When the approaches seem to clash, then you just get to pick what you want to communicate. This can be intuitive. That's why I say, really, don't worry about making a mistake at all. Just keep drawing. If you want to erase something, erase it, or you could keep it in, the happy mistake. Right in here, I like how it curves. I'm just going to accentuate that curve a bit. With this final approach, it's all just about experimentation. You have a good basic understanding of the object that you're drawing. You can just vary your lines as you please. I still think they're right in here. See, this is where the approaches work together; right in here, it's darkest, that's where the shadow is, and it's also heaviest. So that's clearly for me going to be the thickest line. If you're drawing traditionally with pencil or with ink, you could just do one initial drawing as a monoline, so just no variations in your line weight at all. Then put some tracing paper on top and try the different techniques. Like I said, you really don't want to worry about how good or bad your drawing is. What you really want to understand is the two different approaches, or the one approach if you choose to smash the two together. I'm just going to continue drawing in different lines. I'm making in here just a tiny bit darker because that's where it's curving down where that weight was. But also to me feels a bit darker, not as illuminated. I'll finish up this drawing, and I'll refine it. Then in the last video, I'll show you all three of the bananas together, and we can compare. 6. Conclusion: Now to finish up, let's take a quick look at the three different drawings we've got. I've brushed them up a bit to enhance what we were describing each one. So, as you recall, the first one to the left is all about form, light, and shadow only. I've added a few marks to make the shadows a bit darker. On our second drawing to the right, we're describing weight and form only. I've even added in small details near the middle of the banana, where it was the most dense and where it was resting on the table. Lastly, we've got both approaches and all of the information conveyed in our final image, the one on the bottom. What I actually did here was just overlay my first two drawings on top of the old combo sketch I did, and that's the end. So now we've covered a couple of different techniques for how to boost the overall impact of your drawings, and now it's up to you to start practicing and applying these techniques. Remember that if you're working digitally, you can always take a snapshot of the object that you're drawing and trace over it just to get familiar with the techniques, just like I did with the banana. On another note, if you found this class to be helpful, then please take a second to just give it a thumbs up and recommend it. Don't forget to post your class project in the project section below. That way you can get some feedback and also just some recognition for your awesome work, and that's it for me. So thanks for taking the class and I'll see you next time.