The third week of my  drawing course with was completed this Wednesday, and in summary; I learned a more accurate way to create construction drawing from a photograph with the ruler measuring method. I also spent more time this week practicing drawing ellipses, freehand curves, and the pencil measuring technique to create a construction drawing of a wren. 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 will include her feedback (in italics) below each assignment when it comes in.

Unit One: Outline Drawing: Week Three

Warm-up exercises: Practice drawing freehand curves and ellipses

Drawing ellipses practice

Click to enlarge

I began my studies this week by practicing my freehand curves and ellipses. I was having difficulty in trying to gauge the sweep of the curves (which are like the little mouths on smiley faces on their sides – marked “A” on the image opposite) at the ends of the horizontal lines in the centre of the ellipses. Some of my efforts were too narrow and others were too wide which was resulting in some rather unusual looking ovals, so I sent off a quick email to Cindy to see if she had any advice that could help me.

Hi Cindy,

These ellipses seem to be catching me out.
The problem I’m having is knowing how wide or narrow I should make the “Smiley Faces” at the ends of the horizontal lines. If you have any tips you could share on taking some of the guesswork out of that, it would be greatly appreciated!

Feedback from Cindy

Hi Ian,

For the ellipses mouth area; it really does take practice to deeply understand that opening.

Basically though, think of it this way; The opening of that mouth curve area mustn’t be too wide to begin with because that curve has to continue widening as it gradually makes its way up towards the central vertical axis.

On the other hand, it must be opened wide enough otherwise you will have a diamond or football shaped ellipse. You don’t have that problem with yours. Your ellipses are up there with the best I have seen a student create at this level of the course.

Practice them daily and you will very soon be great at them, for sure.
It doesn’t take long to get good at drawing ellipses if you practice them often.

That was great advice Cindy, thank you. I’ve been practising them every day this week, along with my freehand curves. Even though I may be getting through a ton of paper it’s certainly worth it,  I think I’m getting the drawing of ellipses and curves nailed now!

 Construction Drawing: Little lamp

Little lamp construction drawing

Click to enlarge

The course notes took me through the process of preparing my workspace, and studying the image to be copied using the ruler measurement method. Most of the work and measurements had been done for me in order to explain the principles. It all seemed pretty simple stuff, but I had to read through the entire process to make sure I understood the principles behind what I was doing  before I actually put pencil to paper. Using my ruler and the measurements provided in the course notes I built up my construction drawing of the little lamp complete with all of the ellipses. I had to stop and scan my work at that point and send this off to Cindy for her critique before I could continue. See the image opposite for how my construction drawing of the little lamp looked at this stage.

Feedback from Cindy

Hi Ian, this is great work!

You have correctly created a construction drawing of the lamp then created the final outline afterwards. This is a great method that you can use whenever drawing objects that require precision and most importantly it just shows you how important it is to have both sides of a man-made object drawn evenly. It also demonstrates the importance of the ellipses. Correctly drawn ellipses can really improve our drawings.

I have some suggestions to help you develop your construction drawings a little more but already this is a very good drawing of the little lamp.

Construction Drawing;


Feedback for my Little Lamp Construction Drawing

Click to enlarge

A: The ellipse does take practice to get right so please persist. The good news is that with practice we can quite quickly learn to draw this extremely important shape. At the letter A areas here you have just slightly sketched out a bit wider than you needed to, and it was often by the width of your pencil line. The key to success with ellipses is know when they appear wrong. This will only come with practice. The more ellipses you draw the more you will see when there is an incorrect area. The main thing is to keep in mind that there should never be any flat places at all. An ellipses has no angles, it is just one continual curve. The really narrow ellipses like the one at the top here are extremely challenging to draw without creating flat lines so you did an incredible job here in the bottom right quadrant. Excellent work Ian!

B: In these areas you have just come out a bit too wide.

C: When we position some diagonal lines into the base of the lamp here, it helps us to see the difference between the two halves of the lamp. Notice at letters D to E the curve is very beautiful, graceful and rounded yet at the curve from letters F to G it is a different shape. You can rule the diagonal lines at C like I have done to check your work and to compare the curves to each other.

H: This area just needed to curve out a bit more.

Overall this is really a fantastic lamp and you should be proud of yourself Ian, that you have learned a brand new method for drawing so many different man-made objects. If you get time, have a practice drawing some simple man-made objects like a tea cup for example. Great work here!

Little lamp: Outline drawing

Little lamp outline drawing

Click to enlarge

The final stage of this weeks exercise was to erase the construction lines and create an outline drawing of the little lamp from the shapes I had ended up with. As I had been fairly careful with my construction lines they were really easy to erase, and using my HP pencil I created the finished drawing of the little lamp. I submitted my finished drawing to Cindy for her feedback, and if you click the image opposite you can see how my version turned out.

Feedback from Cindy

Outline for Construction Drawing:

Well done on successfully outlining your construction drawing of the little lamp Ian! In this drawing you can see where your initial construction drawing errors have carried over to affect the final image. The differences are minute and you could think that I am perhaps being a bit pedantic but really its those tiny differences that can make the big difference in our drawings. It takes us into that professional level of drawing once we understand that the changes take place in the tiny details.

Your work is great and you are doing so well, those tiny changes will slowly become refined over the weeks and months as we work more together. Its all about slowing the mind right down and constantly comparing. We compare angles, lines and curves to the sides or top and bottom of the page and then to other guidelines within the drawing.


Feedback for Little Lamp Outline Drawing

Click to enlarge

A: At letter A and all the lines in Blue I have drawn on some guide lines as examples of how we can add angles to our curves to check our drawings. Curves are very challenging to draw evenly, however, if we draw with angles we can then check our curves. We can even go a step further and draw in these angles here, to help us to draw the curves more accurately. There is no rule that says how many angles and lines are allowed to draw, however we don’t want to hinder our creative experiences by over-doing it because too many lines and angles could become a little bit too logical and technical.

If we become too logical and technical then we begin to rely on those processes instead of developing our artists eye and our work can be stiff and mechanical too. The best thing is to use these blue lines to check our work with if we can see errors occur. That way we rely first on our artist eye to do the sketching but then use those mechanical tools of guidelines and rulers to check with. In fact this entire exercise can be just sketched by eye; yes even the lines can be sketched and the halving marks all approximated. It just takes practice that’s all.

B: At letter B to C your curves are a little bit different in these areas, and we can see that now because of the guide lines that I have just put in there to demonstrate.

Overall fantastic work Ian, well done!

Have a great week,

Coming up

More encouraging feedback from Cindy, with some great pointers to how I can improve my drawing skills further.

Next weeks study is all about using the grid method for drawing, and according to the course notes I can choose which one of three images to copy from, ranging from simple to complex. I might just  do all three so I can get in as much drawing practice as I can. Please follow my Drawing Journey to see how I get on 🙂

Next Steps

Join me!

You too can learn the fundamental drawing techniques that Professional Artists use. Download the course notes here> The Complete Drawing Certificate Course

Please note my  e-commerce: Disclosure