The second week of my  drawing course with was completed this Friday, and in summary; I learned the methods and importance of being able to accurately draw ellipses, and received a fairly in-depth and practical introduction to construction drawing. I also spent some time practicing drawing freehand curves using my arm instead of my fingers, and I learned the secret to drawing a perfect circle. See the feedback sections below to find out how I got on, and don’t forget to click on the thumbnails by each section to see the cool drawings I created in more detail. My drawings were submitted to Cindy, my course instructor at, and I’ve included her feedback (in italics) below each assignment.

Unit One: Outline Drawing: Week Two

Warm-up exercise: Practice drawing curves

Practice Drawing Curves

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I had some great feedback from Cindy regarding last weeks exercises, so I began my studies by following her  instructions on posture, paying careful attention to using my whole arm, from my shoulder all the way down to my wrist. To begin with, it all felt a little peculiar, especially to hold the pencil as Cindy had advised, but after about fifteen minutes it began to feel quite natural. It was brilliant advice because the curves that I ended up drawing seemed to flow out from the movement of my body rather than being painstakingly drawn. The end result was much more expressive, leading me to understand how it’s possible for artists to express themselves through their work.  Take a look at my drawing of curves opposite to see how this turned out.

Feedback from Cindy

Hi Ian, Well done on another fantastic week of work here. I can see that you are really doing your best and that you have read your course materials perfectly. Everything is correct and my suggestions here are to help you to improve and move to the next level of drawing ability.

Please refer to my feedback drawings here, and the corresponding letters as you read my comments below.

Feedback - Drawing Curves

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Your sketching is great, you have used your whole arm here and the result is some great professional looking curves! Well done. You can practice this exercise as often as possible to further free up your sketching motion.

A: In these places your pencil has left a dot behind, to avoid this try to begin with less pressure on the paper and end with less pressure, it’s a graceful motion right from the moment that first stroke the page. We often stroke just above the paper too (before we touch the paper) and motion the stroke in the air to get a feel for it before we touch the page.

 Construction Drawing: Copying shapes

Shape copying practice

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The course notes then introduced the concept of construction drawing, and how shapes can be used to create an approximate outline drawing of a subject. This section also came with a brilliant four step technique for drawing perfect circles every time. See my practice sheet opposite where I had to copy some shapes and put this new technique to good use. I’ve left the construction lines in so you can see the details of how I managed to copy the shapes. I know they’re not perfect and that they’re all slightly different, but I’m sure things will tighten up with more practice and experience.

Ellipses practice

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Exercise One: Drawing an ellipse

I hadn’t appreciated until I started studying this course, the importance of being able to accurately draw an ellipse. The notes were very thorough and ran through all of the individual stages required, and gave practical examples of where these would be needed. I also picked up some good tips that will help me to improve the accuracy of my drawing, particularly when drawing the outside edges of the ellipse.

Ellipses submitted

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See opposite where I’ve included the two sets of ellipse drawing I did for these exercises. The first one was my practice drawing, where you can see I’ve numbered the ellipses in the order I drew them. The second one with two ellipses is the drawing I submitted for feedback from Cindy.

Feedback from Cindy

Your ellipses are fantastic! You certainly have the right idea here Ian. See my technical ellipse in red outline to notice the tiny places that that needed to be different.

Feedback - Drawing Ellipses

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All you need to do now is practice and when you are assessing whether or not your ellipses are correct, just notice that sometimes just one or two quarters will be slightly incorrect by only the width of the graphite part of your pencil. Its always best to correct your ellipse before erasing out the area you don’t need. All you do is just sketch in on top of the existing ellipse until it looks right to your eye. You can also place a ruler along the top and bottom of the ellipse, rule a horizontal line to check to make sure that the ellipse never reaches its full width (height of the central vertical line) until it gets to that point.

A: In these areas you have come out a bit too soon at the mouth area (this is the curve at either end of the horizontal line.

B: This vertical line must be exactly centred, it was a little too far to the left side here.

C: in this area you needed to come out more.

Great work overall here Ian, please continue to practice ellipses as much as you can and I will be keeping my eye on your ellipses throughout the entire course.

Exercise Two: Drawing the Frog Dog – part 1

This was great fun, and I really enjoyed doing this. The study was broken down into two parts. In part one I learned how to use my “Artists Eye” by making measurements with my pencil and replicating these measurements on my paper. In part two I used the construction drawing as a guide to draw the finished artwork, the Frog Dog.

Drawing the Frog Dog part 1

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There are ample photographs and notes explaining how the measuring system works which also detail some practical examples to make sure everything is perfectly clear. I was quite tempted to use a ruler to make the measurements (because I like it simple!) but that would have been defeating the whole point of the exercise. I stuck with it, and I was amazed at just how accurate the system is, because when overlaying my finished drawing over the original, my version wasn’t too far out! I’ve included my version of the construction drawing here for you to see how I worked everything out.

Feedback from Cindy

This is really impressive work here Ian, I can see all of your logical processes and this exercise also required the use of your spatial skills which we are not really learning in detail here. It’s a skill that we learn during unit six in more detail, however with this system of construction we are able to utilise whatever spatial skills we have just as a result of living our everyday lives. You must have a great awareness of where things are positioned in space. For example when a room feels a little crowded you may have good ideas of where to position things in relation to one another and then adjust those things accordingly. You may also have some great skills for arranging other things too. This is really good work, its tidy and its thorough.

I have a few little suggestions to help you even more but this is the highest standard that I would expect at this stage of the course Ian.

Feedback - Frog Dog Construction Drawing

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A: These markings show that you have carefully considered the width of the snout area, well done! This is not an exacting method at all and you have used the method correctly by the evidence of these markings.

B: At these areas your measurements are slightly different to the original but nothing to be concerned about as they are close to. You can hold your drawing up to the light with the drawing from your notes positioned behind it to see where your drawing is different.

Great work again and I am happy to see that you have fully understood this method. You can also practice this using the process towards the end of your course notes on page: 21.

Exercise Two: Drawing the Frog Dog – part 2

Drawing the Frog Dog part 2

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Here is my completed outline drawing of Frog Dog in all its glory, and I even added a little shading!

Feedback from Cindy

Fantastic work again this week Ian, I just love your cute tubby little Frog Dog, he has a great smile! You have successfully understood the process of outline drawing after creating the construction shapes.

Well done Ian, have a fantastic week and remember to just show up at the table…the rest will take care of itself.




Coming up

Again, some really constructive feedback and pointers from Cindy. I’m already looking forwards to next weeks study where, according to the course notes I’ll be doing more construction drawing, but this time with more accuracy by using a ruler instead of a sighting by eye with a pencil. It seems that the main drawing I’ll be working on is a table lamp, it looks relatively simple, but I’m sure it won’t be! Please follow my Drawing Journey to see how I get on 🙂

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