Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills | Gabrielle Brickey | Skillshare

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Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills

teacher avatar Gabrielle Brickey, Portrait Artist - ArtworkbyGabrielle.com

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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.

      Drawing Shapes


    • 3.

      Breaking Things Down into Shapes


    • 4.

      Seeing Angles


    • 5.

      Drawing the Negative Space


    • 6.

      Drawing Upside Down


    • 7.

      Measuring Techniques


    • 8.

      Drawing Forms


    • 9.

      Breaking Things Down into Forms


    • 10.

      Value Scale


    • 11.

      Shading Forms


    • 12.

      Drawing Rhythmically


    • 13.

      Experimenting with Materials


    • 14.

      Class Project


    • 15.

      Drawing from Photos


    • 16.

      Drawing from Life


    • 17.

      Copying the Masters


    • 18.

      Quick Sketches


    • 19.

      Drawing from Your Imagination


    • 20.

      Closing Thoughts


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About This Class

In this class, we’ll walk through basic fundamentals to build your drawing skills!

You'll learn how to see your subjects as basic shapes, how to place your subject on your paper with simple angles, and how to draw by seeing the negative space. I'll share measuring tricks that will help you draw accurately, exercises that will help you activate your creative right brain, and I'll share how you can find beautiful rhythms in your subjects.

We'll also go over five project ideas to help you practice the techniques learned in class. From drawing from life to drawing from the masters, I'll demonstrate my personal approach and how I apply the techniques in each example.

If you've always wanted to learn how to draw, but have been scared to start, join in today to learn new ways of seeing the world around you.

I'd love to help you in your journey of drawing. This class shows examples in both traditional media (pencil and paper) and digital media (Procreate app and iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.) So grab a pencil and paper, or whatever drawing media you're comfortable with, and jump into class! 

Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on drawing.

Meet Your Teacher

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Gabrielle Brickey

Portrait Artist - ArtworkbyGabrielle.com

Top Teacher

Hey there! I'm Gabrielle Brickey.

And I'm so glad you're here!

I teach artists like YOU how to draw and paint portraits and characters you can be proud of. I'm so excited to help you improve your art skills, gain confidence, and create the art you've always dreamed of!

Jump into class. Let's get started. :))

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: My name is Gabrielle Brickey, in today's class, I want to share with you my journey on how I learned to draw. Drawing didn't come easily or naturally to me as a kid. But my passion for it drove me to want to get better. Through learn skills, and time, and effort, I can now say, I know how to draw and I want to share with you what I've learned along the way. In this class, we'll walk through basic fundamentals to build your drawing skills. This class is filled with drawing exercises that you can start implementing into your drawing routine today. You'll learn how to break things down into shapes, how to see angles, and how to place your subject on your page, and proper proportion. You'll also learn how to draw and shade forms for 3D believability, how to draw gracefully with rhythmic lines, and much more. This class, is packed with every little technique I find useful in making a drawing. I'll also share projects that you can create every day to put these techniques into action. If you think you'll never get better at drawing, this class was made with you in mind. I still remember how it felt to struggle through a drawing, but I hope that these solutions learned over years of study will help you too. If you're a beginner, feel right at home. Since we'll start with just simple shapes and then build upon them. If you're more advanced, join in for a new perspective or a refresher on drawing techniques. These are still all the techniques I use in my art every day when I draw and paint. In class, I'll be dealing with two of my favorite drawing mediums. Sharing examples were regular pencil and paper, and also my iPad Pro and Apple pencil. Whether you choose to use pencils, pens, or digital tools, you'll be able to walk away from this class with foundational skills that you can apply to any subject matter. Ready to start drawing? Grab your favorite medium and let's get started. 2. Drawing Shapes: These are flat 2D enclosed shapes. They are the geometric shapes you probably learned in school as a kid. These shapes are important for artists because we use them in designing compositions. Shapes are the basis of all types of visual art, and being able to draw them is crucial. The good thing though is with just a bit of practice, drawing shapes will become second nature. Let's warm up and draw some shapes. To begin, here I'm using pencil and paper, and I also have another piece of paper folded in half to put it under my drawing hand. This is great to rest your hand on while drawing because it will prevent smudging, and it will also keep the oils from your hands from getting on the paper. Now, I'm just drawing these basic shapes. I'm just playing around with any size and proportion. For me personally, I find it easiest to draw shapes with several lines versus just one line. I find when I only draw one line, I don't get it right. I tend to go too slow and overthink it. But with several lines, I can make a better shape. This is the pace I go. It's not too slow and not too fast, but comfortable for me. You'll find what pace works best for you as you try this out for yourself. But I would say to aim for something similar, not too slow that you're overthinking it, but also not too fast that you're getting sloppy. The main shapes you'll want to practice are circles, oval, squares, rectangles, and triangles. It'll be important to be comfortable drawing these. If you get to the end of a full page and you still don't feel like you can draw these shapes, grab another piece of paper and start again. I promise that with time, you'll develop a muscle memory for drawing these shapes. If you want, fill an entire page with circles, and another with squares and rectangles, et cetera. Work until you feel confident in this. Many of you will be ready to go, and this will only act as a warm up. But if you're a beginner, draw each shape at least 50 times, then you should be feeling more confident in your abilities. Pause the video if you want to and take some time. Pick back up in the next video, where we'll learn how we can apply these shapes to all subject matter. 3. Breaking Things Down into Shapes: You may have seen books before that show you how to break down animals and objects shape by shape. This was a great learning tool for me growing up because it taught me how to break down complex subjects into easier to see and draw 2_D shapes. You can break down nearly anything into shapes. Learning to see like this, will be essential if you want to make something like stylized illustrations. If you're more interested in realistic representations, this will be important for arranging your subject on your canvas. When I'm beginning to set up a drawing, my brain will focus on simple shapes. The more I draw, the more I realize that simplicity of shapes is what can make a subject so beautiful. Even looking beyond the shapes of the subject and into all the shapes in the picture. Even the background shapes around the subject, which we'll talk about later. Shapes can really help us breakdown subjects into simpler parts, making them less intimidating to draw. Let's take a look at this monkey and break him down into shapes. The first thing I see here, is the oval around his mouth. That wraps from the top of his nose to the bottom of his chin. The next thing I observe is his circle shaped head. It wraps through that line of the mouth. Don't be afraid to draw through other shapes, that will actually help you in continuing the line of the shape better. Then I see the teardrop shaped ears. They angle out and curve back in. Now I'm just darkening up some of these lines a little. Now I'm looking at, how his body can be simplified into a big oval. Going through his shoulders, down to about the end of his waist and through the arch of his back. Again, if you want, you can draw all the way through to make sure it connects from one side to the other. Now I imagine his belly through to his bottom, is like another oval. This one's a bit rounder compared to the one I just did. Almost circular in shape. Now I'm trying to see this upper arm as a simplified rectangle. On this side, where we can see the whole arm, I add a circle for the shoulder and a rectangular shape coming off of that. I decided to slice it here where the elbow is. At the bend of the elbows, I decide to draw squished ovals and then coming off of that, I draw the forearm as a tapering rectangle. I add an angled rectangle here for the wrist. On this forearm, I see it as something between a rectangle and a triangle, so I tapered again as it goes down. I add another similar combination shape to the tilt of the wrist. Then for this hand, I draw a skewed rectangle and for this one as well. Then for the bend of the fingers, I do a little rectangular shape with the triangular point at the tips. Thinking through a little bit, I imagine the shape of this is similar to an oval and over here on this leg, another oval. On this foot, this part is like a rectangle and this part like a rectangle and a triangle simplified into one. Over here, it's hard to tell what's going on, so for now, I draw a line to indicate the break. Here in his face above and around his eyes, it reminds me of the top of a heart. That helps me draw that. His eyes are something between circles and ovals. This is how you can break things down into shapes. You can draw your whole piece this way. Although, it will result in a more illustrative style, which is perfectly fine if that's the look you're trying to achieve. In most of my works however, I use this mostly in the setup phase, for getting started and placing my subject. But usually since my goal is to make things look 3_D in my work, I'll employ the techniques taught later in class in combination with shapes, to bring the piece altogether. Let's run through another of these on the iPad. Here on this crate, this part is like a rectangle and where it attaches, is like a trapezoid and then this part is like a circle and then this little handle to me is like an oval, with another arcane line for the outer edge. Moving onto the tangerines, they're like circles and the opening of the basket is like an oval, with a trapezoid shape here for the sides and the bottom. The handles are like half moons or crescent shapes and this part of the table, is like a long rectangle. Zooming in, these almonds are like ovals. To draw the leaves, you could simplify with an oval and a triangle or even a diamond shape or a simple triangle. I think it's important to note that there isn't only one way of seeing things. Every artist will see in slightly different ways. For example, with these pairs. One artist may see this pair as a circle connected to a half of an oval. While another may see this pair as two overlapping ovals with connecting lines and yet still, another artist may like the idea of simplifying this pair into a diamond and then adding on the half oval shapes and curves. It's up to you and what feels right and what is most helpful for you in getting the subject up on the paper. I've added some worksheets to the class resources with animals, if you'd like to give this a go. But also try this out on people, objects, cars, houses and more. 4. Seeing Angles: Now let's talk about seeing our subjects with simplified angles. When we look at an image, it's easy to become overwhelmed with intricacies. But when you simplify curves and indents into straight lines, things become a lot easier to see in place on your paper. This is another great method for getting your subject started. It gives you a clear silhouette instead of a complicated one, which is hard to copy correctly. So I'm going to try and place this little statue on the canvas with angles. I start by angling out the shape of the head. Instead of thinking about the circle shape, like we did in the video before, I'm thinking in clear cuts. Here I'm not worried about those details on the wings, but I'm making one long straight. Again at the bottom, just thinking straight across. I'm keeping it super simple. It's easier to copy simplified angles than it is to copy intricate curves, and when it comes to placing your subject on the page, you want it to be as easy as possible. Here's how I see the basic angled silhouette. So now I'm going to head to the inner angles, placing the arms about here. The point of this is to keep things angled and simple because, in doing so, we keep ourselves freed up to make changes if we need to. Imagine I'd spent the time to get all those little details on the wings with all its tiny curves. Do you think upon discovering I had it in the wrong place, that I would have the heart to move it after all the time I put into it? It would be tough, and I'd probably fight against it for awhile before finally moving it in favor of something more proportionally accurate. Straight angled lines, however, are easy to move around because we're not attached yet. But once we start putting details in and lots of time and effort, we can become very attached and stubborn to move things. This will be especially important if you're working with pencils and paper. So it's good to keep it simple at the start so things don't become too precious to soon. So now with a new layer on here, I want to compare what I did to the actual angles on the photo. Now that I have done the major points, let's compare. I can see the wing could come down, the knee pushed up, and the angles along the right side could take a closer, more careful look as well. So this is just one method you can use alone or combine it with other methods to get your subject up on the page. You may find this particularly helpful when working in traditional mediums, when moving things around is not as easy as simply grabbing the Lasso Tool. Here, this little bunny can easily be broken down into angles, even though he's all curves. Seeing and drawing angles is just another way to simplify complex objects. Now drawing freehand, I can get a pretty good idea of how to draw the bunny's silhouette. Just like with shapes, your unique methods will depend on what's most useful to you. You may find it most helpful to find super simplified angles or perhaps something with a little more information is most useful. It's up to you on how you decide to use this technique in your workflow. I've added a few worksheets in the class resources, if you'd like to play around with this for yourself. 5. Drawing the Negative Space: Drawing the negative space, is one of my favorite tricks for drawing accurately. I find I use it all the time. In this photo, the dog is considered the positive space, while the background is considered the negative space. Here, you can see more clearly, the white area is the dog, the positive space and the shaded area is the background or the negative space. When we think of a dog, our brain often comes up with a symbol for a dog. It comes up with a preconceived idea on how it thinks adult looks. If we draw a dog, oftentimes we may struggle because our left brain will take over and just draw the symbol. We'll draw what we think we see versus what's actually right in front of us. But when we draw the negative space or the negative shape, our left brain doesn't have any preconceived symbol for this. So it checks out, allowing our creative right brain to take the wheel. This is what we want to happen in a drawing. The right brain takes pleasure in breaking down the shape into what it uniquely is. Now, this isn't a geometric shape like the ones we learned earlier, but it's what's called an organic shape. Organic shapes are irregular and you'll find them in negative spaces like this all the time. The shape is still pretty big though. To break the shape down even further, I add straight lines to the edges of my paper. If we ignore the dog and just draw these shapes around the dog, in the end, the dog will appear almost like magic. Negative spaces aren't only secluded to the backgrounds, you can also find interior negative spaces on your subject. For example, when drawing eyes, instead of focusing on the circular iris shapes, look instead to the shapes surrounding the irises. Drawing the shapes instead, can help you better place the irises and avoid generalizing and symbolizing them. Sometimes with things like this that we see all the time, we can become too generalized. Looking at the negative space, helps you see what's really there. Let's practice drawing negative spaces. In this demo, I'm going to focus exclusively on the white shapes I see all around the edges of the chair. I'm going to try my best to ignore the fact that my subject is a chair. To start, since the object is not touching the edge of the border of the paper, I'm going to make up some lines to break this big negative space up into smaller shapes. As a note, when it comes to the actual drawing process, I mentally project these lines rather than actually drawing them. Now, no real rhyme or reason here, just trying to section it up so it's easier to draw. Now, I'm going to begin and to start, I'm going to start with this shape right here. It looks almost like a chunky L-shaped to me, so I do my best to draw it. Making note of where it falls compared to the negative spaces around it. Random side note, sometimes I'll turn my paper in a different direction just because it's easier for me to swing a line in this direction. Now, I start on one shape, but then I decide I want to do this one first. Trying my best to only look at the shape of the negative space. Checking out the height of it compared to the width. Also considering the very subtle curves it has. Now, I'm going to work out this rounded triangle shape, taken into consideration where it lands compared to the previous shape. Now, let's do this shape. I noticed that the bottom edge of the shape and the previous one swing into each other. I'm really carefully considering each piece of this, constantly looking back and forth from the reference to my drawing. At this point, I'm getting into the zone as my right brain is taking over. I see this little triangle here, so I put that in. Then this leaf-like teardrop shape here. Now, I'm going to draw this shape right here. I see the left edge of the shape and the one above it lined up, so that helps me place it. There are some interesting little things happening here that my brain is having fun discovering. This is definitely an exercise that makes you slow down quite a lot, but you probably won't notice the passage of time as you work. This took me about 20 minutes. I got distracted by the positive space of the chair leg here, so I drew this wrong, but that's okay. I erase out and try again. Now, I'm going to the shape here, which reminds me of Batman's ears for some reason. I think when drawing negative space, it's okay to compare the shapes to things you've seen in real life. It's only bad when something's a symbol in your brain. For example, if you said, "That's a chair, I know how to draw a chair. It's like this." You stop looking at what was actually right in front of you, that's when it would be a problem. Now, I'm sneaking ahead to a measuring trick, I'll show you later. But basically I'm just imaginarily drawing across the paper to see where about this line would land and just placing this shape here. Sometimes tracing over the image with your pencil, without the lead in it, can give you an idea of the size of something. I make this a bit bigger. Now, I'm looking at this shape right here. Then this one here. Now, just three more negative spaces here, so I'm almost done. This one here, reminds me of a side profile of an ostrich, so I draw that in. Then this one over here, which is a little wider than the other and mirrored the opposite way. Then I go in with this loop in the middle. Now, I'm just tweaking these shapes a little bit and erasing my helper lines. This one's done. This is really an excellent exercise to do. I've included this one in the class worksheets if you'd like to give it a go. A chair works great for this exercise, but try spotting negative space in any image you draw. I think you'll find it and it will make drawing more fun and less challenging too. 6. Drawing Upside Down: Another exercise that will help you rely less on symbols and more on what's really in front of you is drawing upside-down. It's no longer a specific object, but a bunch of random shapes. Again, you see what's actually there because your brain doesn't have a preconceived idea for it. So you can look at it more objectively. This exercise can also help you become better at spotting proportional distances between things. If you struggled at all with seeing negative space in the last lesson, this will be another great practice for that. You can do this exercise before starting a new piece. This will help you make the brain shift to your creative right brain mode. Or you can do this when you've been looking at a piece for a while, and you need a fresh perspective. For this demo, I'm working in the Procreate app on the iPad Pro, and I'm drawing with my Apple Pencil. I'm using the 6P brush to roughly lay on the shapes. I find myself leaning into thinking about negative shapes again for this. It looks very rough, and although I'm tempted to look, I'll wait until it's all up there. That's another thing. You don't want to look at the image right-side up if you do this exercise. Keep it upside down, and unknown. Now, I'm lowering the opacity of that layer, adding a new layer on top, and adding cleaner lines with my willow charcoal brush. According to Procreate's canvas information track time, this took me 39 minutes. So take your time. Again, it probably won't feel like it's taken that long because our right brain tends to lose track of time. Here it is. My finished truck. I've never drawn a truck before. Although this is not perfect, I think it's actually more like the reference than what it would have been if I had done it right-side-up. I've included another one of these in the class resources. If you'd like to try this exercise for yourself, or you can pick another image to work from. Line drawings work really nicely for this project. 7. Measuring Techniques: Now I want to show you some go-to measuring methods you can use in your drawings. I like to set up my drawings with shapes, angles, and by drawing the negative space. But once I have something up on the canvas to work with, I find it's good to go in and check my work with measuring. I find it's easiest to do this before too many details are in place. Then I can push things around with freedom since I haven't invested much time yet. First, I'm going to show you how I would measure in a digital piece in the Procreate app. If you're working in traditionally, you can use a ruler or straight edge to measure. For this first measuring method, I add a new layer and I grab this white color so it'll show up on the drawing. Then I bring down the size, so it'll be a nice small line. Then I drag a line horizontally across the reference in my drawing, tapping with my other pointer fingers that it snaps to a perfectly horizontal line. Basically what I'm doing is I'm dropping horizontal lines across the major landmarks of her face. So at the brow line, at the root of the nose, at the part of the lips, and at the bottom of the chin. I also had one across the eye line. Now I can see how things fall on the reference in comparison to these lines, and also how they fall on my drawing compared to the lines. They should be the same. When things don't line up, that's when I know that something has to be adjusted. For the most part, things are lining up. But I do see some discrepancies. If it's ever important to get a likeness, you'll want to fix these, especially on something like a portrait. Be sure when it's time to paint, you go back to your painting layer so you don't accidentally start drawing on the layer with the guidelines. I noticed that here her brow goes quite a bit over this guideline. But my painting, it barely does. So if I want to get an accurate arch to her brow, I'll need to fix that. Dropping horizontal lines is great for checking distances between things. So keep this in mind if something looks off. Also, it's important to note that for this to work, the reference in the drawing must be perfectly side-by-side. Another way of measuring lengths and widths is by measuring one basic unit and then comparing it to all other objects in the picture. Adding the new layer, grabbing a red color, and making the size of the brush pretty small, I measure her eye side-to-side. This can become a measurement now that I can compare all other things against. With magnetic checked at the bottom, I can carefully move this around and compare her other features. So now I can see the width of her nose from side-to-side here is pretty much equal to the length of her eye. The length of your lips is larger than the eye, about, one and half that measurement. Then of course, we can also compare to our drawing. I can see here that I could do with making her eyes a bit longer side-to-side. This is just another way to make comparisons and see if you're on the right track with the size of features. Here's another measuring technique you can try. I'm adding a new layer, a new color, and grabbing the mono-line brush. Now I'm just adding a border to the image. Tapping with my pointer fingers that it snaps to a perfectly straight and vertical line. I do this around the whole image. Then I draw a vertical line down the middle, and a horizontal line across the middle as well. What we've done is we've broken her down into four quadrants. Sometimes breaking the image down like this into smaller parts to focus on can be helpful in placing things. I duplicate the layers so that I can put this on top of my painting as well. Now I'm clicking the arrow, and click Magnetic on. Now I can drag this right over my drawing and try to place it in the exact same spot. With Magnetic on, you'll see a blue line show up, letting you know that you're pulling it straight over. Now instead of looking at the piece as a whole, you can take a break and look at it in smaller sections, and make sure things are falling in the right spots. This also works to break up that negative space of the background nicely. You can merge these two grid layers together and lower the opacity as well. Just be sure when you go back to drawing, you're on your drawing layer and not the grid layer. Another accuracy check you can do is to compare angles. Adding a new layer and a new color, I draw on top of this angle of her jaw. Then I duplicate the layer and carefully drag it over to my drawing. Now, I can see how I did. If your angles off, it will be clear since it won't line up. This is another great little check you can do. The last measuring trick I want to show you is dropping vertical lines. Again, I add a new layer, and grab a color, and let's say I want to check what the inner corners of the eyes would hit if I drew vertical lines down. I see that they land here about the lips. I want to make sure my drawing does the same. Let's do another. How about from the end of the eyebrow straight down to the shoulder? Again, be sure to tap with your pointer finger to make it a perfectly vertical line. Then over here, if I do the same thing and compare, I see that the negative space is not the same, so something's up. Either the eyebrow I've drawn needs to be moved over or perhaps the neck needs to go inward more, or maybe a touch of both. Again, another great way to check proportional accuracy. So to recap, you can use horizontal lines, a basic unit, a simple grid, angles, and vertical lines to compare your reference to your drawing for better proportional accuracy. If proportional accuracy is not your intent, then no big deal. Just use these techniques when they're useful for what you're drawing. You can use these techniques and traditional mediums too. Just make sure your reference and you're drawing our side-by-side. You can set this up with tape if you need to. Here, I'm ghosting over the reference to get the placement of the features with horizontal lines. When drawing a new subject, it might be nice to get down these basic lines. You can use a straight edge like a piece of paper or a ruler. Now, say I wanted to check this measurement here. First, I would eyeball it, and then I could take a straight edge piece of paper and make a little tick mark at where the start of the wolf's neck is. The top of the paper will act as the top corner of the reference. Then I can bring that over to my drawing and make sure things line up in the same way. Now I can more accurately place that negative shape here. Here I'm doing it again, measuring out this distance and making a tick mark. Then I can bring it over to my drawing and mark the spot where the wolf's neck comes in over here. I would recommend drawing freehand as much as you can and then checking your measurements. Just because if you do too much measuring at the beginning before anything is up on the page, it can bog you down and you might lose some of your creativity trying to stay inside strict boundaries. So draw freely and then come in with measuring, I say. But of course, do what's best for you. Everyone's process is different. Even one drawing to the next can be different. So experiment. 8. Drawing Forms: Forms are 3D geometric solids. Unlike shapes which only communicate length and width, forms convey a third dimension of depth. Think spheres, cubes, cylinders, cones, etc. Instead of working with shapes like circles, squares, and triangles, the next step, if you want to evolve into more three-dimensional drawing, is to work with forms. You can convey form with light and shade as the forms are here, but you can also convey form with line. People, animals, and objects can all be simplified into forms. Today we're going to look at three major forms that you'll be able to spot everywhere around you, and they are the sphere, the cube, and the cylinder. Let's construct a sphere together, but let's use only lines to do it, no shading yet. This will be a good illusion to know how to make, this is great for sketching out ideas and communicating depth of forms quickly. To begin, start with a circle, don't worry about it being absolutely perfect, just draw your best circle, use a couple of rapid lines if you need to. Then divide the circle with two perpendicular lines like this, basically across the middle so that the quadrants of the circle look as close to equal as possible. I've tilted mine to the side, but you can add perfectly horizontal and vertical lines or tilt to the left. Then along this line, I'm going to add an oval, or what we'll call in the scenario in ellipse. Since we're working with 3D forms now instead of shapes, this is called an ellipse. You'll notice that the sides of the ellipse are the same distance from the line, that's what we want. This line acts as a line of symmetry to place the ellipse, on this line, I'll add another ellipse, the width of it doesn't matter, all that matters is that both sides are equidistant from their line. You'll notice how on both ellipses, one side is darker than the other, the darker line represents the part of the sphere that's visible to the viewer. It comes forward because it's darker. The lighter line pushes back in space. Those are the parts of the sphere the viewer can't see, they're on the back of the sphere. Erasing the perpendicular lines, we can see the illusion better. It looks like a ball facing upward and to the left. Try making lots of these spheres, change of the size of your ellipses, in which sides of the ellipse you choose to make darker. Also experiment with the tops of the perpendicular cross errors, you'll get all sorts of spheres when you do, this type of sphere will be helpful in many scenarios. Like when constructing a head in space with solid believable form. Now, let's draw these cubes. To start, we want to draw a long, straight horizontal line across the page. A large piece of paper or a white canvas will work best for this, put two dots on both ends of the line, this will be our vanishing points. In perspective drawing, parallel lines like the parallel lines of a cube, when turned away from us, will appear to converge to a vanishing point, so these points will collect our converging lines. But first, draw a vertical line, this will be the cubes closest edge to us. Then from both ends, draw perfectly straight lines to this vanishing point, then draw perfectly straight lines to the other vanishing point. This is the beginning of the two-side planes of the cube. Now, draw two more lines going downward and ever so slightly inward. There's actually a third vanishing point down there, it's just so far down that we can't see it. So we'll hint at the convergence with these ever so slightly tilted lines. Now, on the top of this line connected to the vanishing point on the opposite side, then at the top of this line, connected to the vanishing point on the opposite side. Now darken the lines that belong to the cube, and erase the guidelines. Now you have a cube drawn in three-point perspective that conveys the feeling of looking down on it. Now let's draw another one, but this time looking up at the cube. So we draw a vertical line and from both ends of that line, draw perfectly straight lines to the vanishing point, then perfectly straight lines to the other vanishing point. Now this time, the third vanishing point we can't see is off the page way above us. To all add two lines that ever so slightly tilt inward towards each other. Again, this will hint at the eventual convergence in a slight way. Now, at the bottom of this line connected to the vanishing point on the opposite side, and at the bottom of this line connected to the vanishing point on the opposite side. Now, darken the lines that belong to a cube and erase the guidelines. Now we get the feeling of looking up at a cube. Experiment with this, until you get the hang of it. This is something that frustrated me for a long time. It's one of those things that takes a bit of time before it clicks. So take your time and be patient with yourself, if you're the same way. Now, let's construct a cylinder with lines. Draw vertical line with two horizontal lines crossing it. Adding ellipse across the top line. Use the horizontal line as a line of symmetry for the ellipse. Draw two lines down to the other horizontal, converging ever so slightly inward. At a slightly wider loops on the bottom horizontal line, erase your guidelines, and if you want to, erase the backside of the ellipse, we can't see. Now, you have a cylinder constructed with lines. Communicating forms and perspective can be challenging, frustrating, and confusing. But once you get the basics like this, you'll be able to rely on your instincts in a more informal approach to perspective using measuring tricks. If you'd like to learn more about this though, there are lots of awesome teachers on Skillshare teaching this, and there are also a lot of great books on perspective drawing. More in-depth information will likely be most essential if you plan on making drawings that include full scenes. In that case, taking the time to delve deeper, we'll definitely be worth it. But you can get by with drawing many subjects, just knowing these basics. So continue to practice this, and see if you can come up with different perspectives too. 9. Breaking Things Down into Forms: We learned the basic forms, but now I'm going to demonstrate how I would break down more complex forms. I like breaking down my subjects into forms when I need help understanding how the form turns away from us or how it sits in space. Thinking with this mentality will give us more dimensional drawings versus something that's more flat. You can use wrapping lines to help create the illusion of 3D forms in space. It helps me to get down the contour of the form, and then to imagine rubber bands and how they would wrap around each form. Or you can think of them as sticky strings that would cling to the curves of the object. Let's consider this seal together. The first thing I notice is this spherical head, and then I go right in with the wedge shape of his body. Then more clearly than probably anything, I see this tube-like cylindrical body, so I wrap some lines around from his back to belly. Again, you can draw all the way through to the other side if you wish. See how that helps give the illusion of form. Now with his little flippers, I noticed this part is flat and then it turns flat, turn, flat, turn. How the light and shade falls on your subject can give you clues for this. Where the light falls off will be a direction change, and over here it's similar. Just imagining rubber bands and how they would fall. Coming back to his face, I noticed the roundness of his muzzle, and then back here I do my best to show the round quality of this form with wrapping lines so that the head isn't just a circle, I turned it into a more spherical form by adding some curving lines, imagining how they would wrap around the form. Now with his back flippers, I'm doing my best to guess at what the form would be doing. Although this might take a little further study of seal anatomy to get right. When you're sketching, you'll want to think this way if you want your subject to have depth. Here, I'm just thinking about wrapping lines again, imagining if they started at the core of the apple, where they would flow to get to the bottom of the Apple. Here in these forms, we can use ellipses to show how they turn away from us. Not everything will come out to a perfect sphere, cylinder or cube. In fact, rarely they do. But you can combine from the forms to invent new ones. Here the cylinder of her leg is very unique, but we can see that cylindrical quality still. Here the truck is like a cube or a box and the wheels like chopped short cylinders. Here the horse is filled with cylindrical forums and also spheres. This can be very fun to explore and will be really beneficial in your work. Grab some of those worksheets from the shapes section earlier and see if you can turn them into 3D forms instead. 10. Value Scale: Value refers to how light or dark a color is. Values also communicate the effects of light on our subjects. What is in light will be lighter in value and what is in shadow will be darker in value. Values helps show our subjects three-dimensional form and recording them accurately in our drawings helps us in creating the illusion of depth. You won't see every value and every subject. In fact, consolidating your values to simplify your design is often desirable. Simple, readable shapes of value often lead to good design. If you need help simplifying, squint down at your image. Here on our subject the details can seem overwhelming. But if we squint our eyes down at the image, we can see a simplified lighting statement. We see that similar values merged together, simplifying the shapes and making the whole thing more readable. It will likely look something like this when you squint. Not only will it make it easier to draw, but it will also make it easier on your viewer in the end, if you keep these clean shapes in mind. If you're new to the idea of values, I think it's beneficial to draw out a value scale, especially in a medium like graphite. With digital tools, you can get to a very rich black. But with a medium like graphite, your black will be considerably lighter. The darkest dark you can get won't reach all the way to black. Creating value scaling your medium will show you the full range of values that are possible so here I'm using my pencils to see the range I can get. I'm keeping one side of the scale simply the white of the paper. As we move along, I'm adding more and more graphite until I get to the other side of the scale, which will become the darkest value my graphite can achieve. Whatever comes out to be the darkest value here will end up being used for the darkest grays and blacks I see in references. You may want to try this when working with a new medium, like charcoal or paint or ink or whatever you're using, just to see the range you can get. 11. Shading Forms: If you want to make our pieces that communicate a sense of light, then a good first step would be to practice on simple forms. Shading with values will give the appearance of light and will add a further sense of depth in your pieces. Practicing on forms like this is a great first step because it will prepare you for more complex forms. Since more complex forms when broken down are just a combination of basic forms. If you can render lightened shade on a simple subject, then you'll have an easier time understanding how light falls on more complex subjects. Since basic forms will receive light in the same way complex forms do, in an orderly series of tones. If you draw those values improper relationship to each other, you'll be able to achieve a 3D realness in your drawings. There are an endless amount of light in scenarios that can occur. But it's good to know the most basic scenarios you'll often see. These examples were all shot with direct lighting. Direct lighting scenarios are common and worth studying and since they lead to simple clear value statements. Direct lighting scenarios consist of one main light source with no diffusion between it and the subject. For example, the sun with no clouds in the sky, or in this case an electric light with no lamp shade. Direct light sources tend to result in a clear distinction between light and shadow. For these examples, I'm drawing in the procreate app. If you use a digital tool for this exercise, don't use the color picker, since that will do a lot of the hard work for you, taking away the learning experience of values. You can also try this with pencil and paper or whatever medium you must prefer. Let's go over the series of values you will get in a direct lighting scenario. First, let's find the distinction between light and shadow. If you squint your eyes, this will become easier to spot. I'd say it's about here. Just looking at this simple breakdown between light and shadow alone has a huge impact. Always keep that in mind. Oftentimes less is more. Breaking down the light side a bit further, you'll notice that some areas are quite light in value, but then other areas start to get darker. These areas are called half-tones. They're not receiving a full blast of light, but they're still receiving some. You'll want to remember that the half-tones belong to the light side. Now breaking down the shadow side a bit further, shadows have two main parts, form shadows and cast shadows. Form shadows are those that belong to the form itself. It's those planes of the form that are turned away from the light source. Cast shadows are shadows produced because the form is blocking the light from hitting this other form, which is the table in this case. Looking at a couple more parts that belong to the shadow, the occlusion shadow is that really dark bit you'll get right under objects where the edges of surfaces touch. It's really hard for any amount of light to get in there, so it's quite dark. You'll also find reflected light in the shadow. Confusingly named as it's called reflected light, but it belongs to the shadow side. Basically what's happening here is light is striking the table and then bouncing back up into the ball, causing that later value. You'll also see the core shadow, sometimes the darkest part of the form shadow. These are just the basics. Lighting is a huge topic and it takes a lot of practice and time to understand. I would highly recommend drawing from some of these forms for yourself. You can screenshot these references or grab the files from the class resources. Share in the project section if you need some help too. 12. Drawing Rhythmically: Encouraging rhythm in a piece will help your viewers eyes flow around your artwork and it'll be pleasing to look at. To find wear them in your references. Look for swirls, stretching lines and arcs in one direction that could pick up and keep going in another direction. Look for edges that flow gracefully from one into the next. Rhythm is found all throughout nature. Look for flowing S-shaped curves and C-shaped curves, then encouraged that flow in your piece, even enhancing it. This is a perfect way to balance out a stiff drawing and to create unity. Here I see the connection from the foxes belly to the back of his tail. Here she has a beautiful long seeker from her head to her toe. As well as the long lyrical line of the bow. Here I see a flowing connection between her hand, the cloth, her head, and back down. Here with this pose, these lyrical lines go really nicely I think, juxtaposed against the more boxy shape at the top. Here again, there's a lot of beautiful curving connections, that I imagine if drawn would go nicely against the structure of setting up her forms. I think it's important to have both: structural form and then also rhythm which brings that freeness back unto it, so keep this in mind. Once you start seeing rhythms, it can become a very exciting aspect of the drawing process, that'll be fun and inspiring to explore. I have some rhythms found in the face in my class, Drawing and Painting Portraits: A Guide for Artists. If you're interested in a more specific look at portraits, check that out. If you'd like some inspiration for this, look up sketches by Glen Keane, who's a master at rhythmic drawing. Also the artist Mucha, who adds a beautiful rhythmic grace to his pieces. I'd also like to touch briefly on line quality. This is something that'll be a personal decision and will likely come naturally to you. There are different ways to put down lines and I think it's good to explore all so that you know what you like. I found that I can most easily achieve a rhythmic line quality, when I use lost and found lines in combination with broken, sketchy lines, but one is no better than the other. Absolutely experiment and see what comes naturally to you as an artist. 13. Experimenting with Materials: When I get a new art tool, one of the first things I do is explore. Without any outcome in mind, to experiment with the tools and see what sort of marks I can get. One of the first things I did when I got Procreate on the iPad Pro was I tried out all the brushes. This showed me the ones that for me would just take up time I process since I don't have a use for them and show me the ones that I love. I noted the names of my favorites and many of the ones I discovered that day are still my trusty go-to's. You can also create a special folder for your favorites in Procreate, which is a great little feature. If you've tried Procreate, you might use the awesome smudge tool they have for blending. I love this tool, but every brush we'll do something a little different and some are better than others. What I'm doing here is I'm setting out patches of value that I can experiment with and try different smudge brushes on. These are some custom brushes I've made along with some standard brushes that come with Procreate. With each experiment, I make sure to label it with the brush name. That way, when I look back when I'm done, I can analyze them together and find those that I liked the look of best. I also see that some are more suited for a painterly look, while others would look better used in a drawing. Try this out for yourself, whatever your medium is. There's no limit on what you can experiment with. Play around with mark-making, different blending materials, creating textures, et cetera. Record your findings and then use the techniques and tools you discover in your next piece. 14. Class Project: Now that you know the basics of drawing, let's put these ideas into practice with actionable projects. Here are five project ideas to help you get started. Draw from a photo that inspires you, draw from life, copy an art piece by a master, create quick sketch gesture drawings, or draw from your memory. Start with one project today, and then go from there. In the next few videos I'll explain why I think these projects will be useful for you to do, and I will also share how I personally implement the ideas talked about in class. Knowing the information is crucial, but putting it into practice is the next essential step, to learning and developing skills. Be sure to share your project with the class. I can't wait to see, and if you have questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Be sure to ask along with your project upload. 15. Drawing from Photos: As we work on our drawing projects, we want to remember that we won't just use one idea on its own but instead, use a combination of many techniques. Using angles, forums, rhythms, and everything else to bring the entire piece together. Starting on this drawing, I begin by seeking out the general angles of her face and jaw line. Then I go into the shapes of her hair and neck. I try to also capture the angle of her brows. It helps me to consider the negative space of the background to place her on the canvas. Here I'm considering the rhythmic swaying from her cheekbone to under her nose. Now, I look at the measurement from the side of the canvas to the start of her hairline, to accurately place that on my drawing. Now I'm thinking about the form of her forehead, which is like a block and how the edge of the eye sockets where it rhythmically connects to her cheekbone. Now am marking out the major shadow shapes. Now I'm considering the wedge-like form of her nose and again, just darkening up some of those shatter shapes. This shapes also work well as points to compare when dropping horizontal lines. I want to begin to think in the bigger value statement, so I darken the value of the hair and then I add a grid to make some quick comparisons before I go too far into detail. For the most part, things are in place but there are some trouble areas I'll need to fix if I want to draw her accurately. Now I'm dropping horizontal lines for another check, vertical as well and now I'm checking the distance from iris to iris and it looks like that could use some fixing. I'm just making some of those changes, looking back and forth all the time between my reference and my painting. Now with the sketch pretty much in place, I begin adding in some value changes. Then I lightly use the soft pastels merge tool to lightly blend, this can often help me unify the piece. If you're using pencils, you may like to blend with tissues. Now am trying to re-establish the forms, this time thinking in value changes. From here on out, as I continue this piece, I'll mostly be thinking in terms of forms, values, and edges. I like to get photos from these websites whenever I can. These are either paid resources or from photographers that allow the use of their photos for free. Sometimes I'll be so inspired by a photo that I can't help myself. In those cases, if I post online and it's not from one of these resource sites, I respect the rights of the original photographer and if they would ever ask me to remove it, I would. I also like to credit the model in these cases if I can. Just keep that in mind if you're working from photos that you didn't take yourself or aren't technically authorized to use. I like to practice from photos because it's probably the most accessible of all the options. There's also the benefit of the subject staying completely still throughout the entire drawing process. Drawing from photos helps us get a lot of practice under our belts, which is important for improving. Now in Photoshop real quick, I want to show you how you can add a quick texture. You can do this in Procreate as well. So I grab this drawing paper I scanned and put it onto my drawing and then I turn it, grab the move tool and stretch it out, holding the Shift key so it keeps its proportions. Then I press "Enter". Now I lower the opacity a bit and change the blending mode to multiply. Now it will make it so that only that nice texture shows through. Real quick, I just want to adjust the levels to make it a little bit brighter and I press "Okay". You can see how that adds a bit of a more traditional feel even though it's digital art. Draw from some photos and share your work with the class, I'm looking forward to seeing your work. 16. Drawing from Life: I think drawing from life with the subject right in front of your eyes is one of the most valuable things you can do for your learning. There's just something about your subject being right in front of you. You can't get any more real than that. Color, shapes, edges are all going straight from your subject and into your eyes with no camera translating the information in between. I think there's real value in that. For example, I realized how much richer in color all skin tones were when I started working from life. Photo's going off and wash them out. Also from life, you can invent your own rhythms. Being able to move around the subject for yourself allows you to find the most inspiring rhythmic feel. There's also more information you get about the perspective and the 3D quality of objects since you can move left to right around your subject seen in real life how it turns in space. It can be uncomfortable to get out of the house though and drawn front of people. You can feel vulnerable. But once I get going and get into the drawing, I'm always happy I took the chance. With a simple Google search, you should be able to find drawing groups and open studios in your area. Community colleges also offer this type of class non-credit, if you'd like some instruction to go along with it. If you don't want to join a group though, life is all around you and you can create still-life setups at home. Geometric forms are great to study and you can buy these on Amazon. I painted mine gray instead of the wood that they came with. You can even paint them different values though and use them for value and form studies. If you're perhaps a portrait artist, you might like working from objects which are portrait specific. Studying the skull and the planes of the head are excellent ways to learn. You can set up still lives, work from life outdoors or if your cats really going to posing like mine is, you can draw them. Draw from whatever subjects inspire you. Here's some quick tips for measuring while working from life. Imagine a flat plane in front of your face. Almost like a clear pane of glass parallel to the vertical plane of your face. Inciting angles, you'll want to keep your measuring stick flat against this imaginary plane. If you poke through the plane, this will distort your measurements. You can use a straight edge like a skewer to cite angles. So with a locked arm and your skewer flat against the imaginary plane and not poking through, you can see angles and compare them to your drawing. This is easiest if you're working on an easel and you can compare your drawing directly to the subject. You can also make measurements with the point of your skewer in your phone. You can compare those measurements to others on your subject. So here I'm seeing the corner of the eye to the bottom of the chain is about the same length from eye socket edge to eye socket edge here. I can compare that measurement to areas on the skull as well. Then I can see if my drawing has captured those same relationships. Now, let's run through a couple of life drawings together and I'll try and explain my thinking while I worked. Here on this cube, the first thing I tried to do was work out the cube and perspective. Thinking about where the parallel lines would appear to converge to. Then I block in the major colors of the light, the half tone, and the form shadow, as well as the background color and the cast shadow color. Then I blur some of the edges with a smudge tool, take a second look and clean up the perspective and the simple study is finished. It took just around 15 minutes to draw but was a good little study for lighting, values, and perspective. So this next piece I did over the course of three sessions. I missed drawing and painting the portrait from life. I went to an art class in my area. Lots of artists were there and we worked around the live model together. This class was especially great because it was held by an awesome teacher who could come around and give me great ideas on what I could focus on. It's nice to get out of your own head sometimes and allow someone else whose work you admire and respect to come alongside and give you guidance. The first thing I did was create a rough sketch where I laid in the shapes, general angles, and some of the rhythms of my subject. I also added a little color palette with my first impressions of the main colors. Then I moved on, thinking through the forum, attempting to construct the forms of the head. With digital mediums, it's nice because you can be very sketchy as you find your way through your drawing. Then simply lower the opacity of the layer when you need to and add a cleaner liner layer on top. But you can't do this in traditional drawing. What you can do though, is you can be very expressive and then once you're done, trace your sketch over to a nice clean sheet of paper. Just be sure to transfer over your best expressive lines to the final drawing too. Continuing on, looking at the negative space helps me draw her better, as does dropping imaginary horizontal and vertical lines to help me see where things fall. Now I'm making a quick color study. We haven't covered this in this class since it's about drawing. But you can work in black and white and take it as a study for values. Continuing work on the drawing, I added toned over here because I want to see the values as I seem in her life. She had dark hair, so this helps me see that shape better than just an outline did alone. Now I've made both my drawing layer and my color layers visible so I can start working up both parts at once. This isn't how I typically work, but I like how the sketchiness of both were able to come together. That's what's fun about life drawing too. Lots of room to experiment, and try new processes, and ways of tackling things. Also what you learned from the teacher and students around you is a great benefit too. Now I'm thinking most in terms of value, color, forms, and edges. Some of this is outside what we've talked about in this drawing class. But I do cover all these elements in my other classes if you're interested in learning more with me. I'm trying to think things like, how do these stripes on her shirt curve around the form from front to back? How does the forehead turn away from me? How light is this value? How dark is this one? It's all about comparing and contrasting. I feel I spent about the same amount of time observing the subject and seeking to understand what's happening as I did looking at my screen and actually drawing. So keep that in mind. Keep your eyes on your subject and observe. I can't wait to see if you're up for the challenge of drawing from life. If you set something up at home, try on one light setup. Set your subject up by a window with natural light coming in or set up under one electric light source. 17. Copying the Masters: Copying a piece by one of your favorite artists can be an amazing way to study. When copying a master's work, problems have been solved for you. Instead of struggling through certain decisions yourself, you can see what the artist did and then hopefully bring those learned solutions into your own drawings. You'll learn new techniques and methods from art making that you can then add to your list of skills too. You'll also learn good composition. Since you'll be spending some time looking at the piece, you'll begin to notice how the artist has set things up, simplified things, and balanced the piece. Instead of just looking at a piece for a few minutes and observing it, copying forces you to physically go through the motions, helping you gain muscle memory and knowledge. Who do you copy? If you want to learn how to arrange your values better, copy an artist who's doing this well. If you want to learn how to draw with a softer touch, copy an artists who does this well. If you want to learn new ways of putting down lines, copy someone who's lines you think are cool. You can continue on like that through any element of design. Here's some amazing artists you may want to consider taking a look at. Start saving works you like in a folder or on Pinterest. If they're an artist who's passed away, it's usually okay to post online and credit the artist. If they're a living artist, it's better to keep the work for yourself and for your own practice. Or ask the artists before posting online to get their permission. If you do, of course, give them credit. Here on this one, since it's just from my practice, I decided to have the image lightly below so that I could focus less on learning proportions and focus more on mark-making. Here on this piece by John Singer Sargent, I love the effect of using quick strokes for quick shading. It does a good job of making something darker in value, but in a quick artistic way. Now, that I've tried this out for myself, I can put it in my [inaudible] of techniques and try it out again on a future piece of my own. The benefits of copying amazing artists are great. If you've never tried this before as a method of study, give it a go. I think you'll be glad you did. 18. Quick Sketches: Quick sketches or gesture drawing is a great exercise to do. These are awesome to do at the beginning of a drawing session. It's also a great way to teach you how to make confident decisions, helping you learn to draw quicker. It's also a great lesson in rhythmic drawing. I like the website, line-of-action.com. You can pick from lots of subject matter and also choose a custom time interval. For this quick exercise, I'm going to set it to 90 seconds, then its draw time. Ninety seconds to put the most essential things up on the paper. I'm trying to capture the squirrel's pose with shapes and rhythms. I'm trying to find long connections. It can also help to look at the negative space. This won't be a perfect sketch by any means, but it's warming me up and teaching me to draw instinctively. So often we get caught up on the little things, but there's no time for anything too little in this. It's all about capturing the impression quickly. Now, on to this bee, I'm making a quick assessment of the shapes. Again, doing my best to note the negative space to place them. For this type of drawing, your eyes will likely be flashing rapidly back and forth from your drawing to your reference. This leg could have done with assessing the negative space for better placement. But that's okay. This is an initial quick sketch. If I were to continue on with this later in the piece, more accurate proportions can be now done. Now for this last example here, let's draw this dog. I see the rhythmic connection from one side of his arm to the other. So I put that in. I do my best to quickly capture this unique gesture. Again, not perfect, but I'm getting something up on the canvas to work with, and that's sometimes the hardest part. Ridding yourself of the fear of starting. If you ever feel you're drawing too tight or being too rigid, take a break and do some quick gesture drawing like this. It will bring some fresh liveliness back into your work. 19. Drawing from Your Imagination: I think sometimes it's good to just draw from your imagination or basically your memory. Here I'm just sketching some loose figures from my head without references. I'm basically having to rely on my memory bank and my imagination. This can be a great way to assess where you fall short in your knowledge. If you find yourself struggling with something, you'll notice set aside some time to study those areas. For example, with me, you can see I don't give a great amount of attention to hands or feet. Sometimes even hiding them behind backs or leaving them out of frame. I recognize that as something I need to work on. Subjects that are always great to draw from your imagination are simple forms and space. So spheres, cubes, and cylinders. Drawing these in different perspectives will reveal to us how much we really know and understand. Whether it's to see where you stand in your knowledge or simply to have a little creative fun, give this a try. 20. Closing Thoughts: Thank you so much for joining this class. Please let me know if you have drawing questions, I'd be happy to help. For further learning, I'd recommend you study with any artist whose works you admire. If you'd like some recommended reading, I have some links to some of my favorite art books on Amazon. If you're interested in learning more on the topic of drawing, I think you might enjoy Betty Edwards' book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" as it gives great insight into how our creative right brains work. You can find these class resources on a computer in the "Your Project" tab under the videos. You'll also find the class worksheets mentioned and brushes are there as well. If you'd like to learn more with me, I have more medium specific classes for Procreate, Photoshop, pencils and markers, subject based classes where we draw characters, portraits and more, and also foundational classes for big topics like color and lighting. Be sure to check those out. I'd love to see you there too. Thank you very much again for joining this class. Please be sure to share with the class if you create something. I'd love to see and help you if you need it. Until next time guys, happy drawing.