The first week of  the complete drawing course with was completed this weekend, and in summary; I learned how to hold my pencil, the correct posture for drawing, and how to observe, analyse and reproduce what I could see in pencil on paper. There were two exercises to complete this weeks course unit, the first was about sketching curves, the second was to copy a pattern from the course notes. 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 sent off to Cindy, my course instructor at, and I’ve included her feedback (in italics) below each assignment.

Unit One: Outline Drawing: Week One

Drawing a series of loose curves

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Draw a series of loose curves

This was a fun exercise to do and I found it very relaxing and therapeutic. I started by following the drawing course instructions on the correct way to hold my pencil, the correct posture for drawing, and I experimented with the suggested drawing techniques by letting my forearm and wrist create the curves randomly on my paper. As I was drawing these I thought it might be fun and interesting to try and join them up with even more curves. When I had finished I decided to take it a step further by adding some simple shading to suggest the curves as strands that were interwoven and passing through each other at different levels. I know this went way beyond the brief that I was given in my course notes but I learned a lot about drawing from doing this and it’s given me some exciting new ideas for future drawing projects.

Feedback from Cindy

Hi Ian, wow what a great start you are off to by the looks of these great exercises you are going to do so well in this course. I have admired your creative pattern in the first exercise where you were presented with the technique of learning to sketch. The addition of shading looks like you had loads of fun. This is an exercise that you can do continuously to stretch the important muscles in your wrist and forearm that are needed for more expressive drawing; particularly with curves.

I have a few little suggestions to help you further develop your drawing ability and this is where the changes in your skill is going to take place Ian; in the tiny baby steps. These are very fine adjustments that are needed for you because you can already draw well. So lets look at these improvements that are needed.

Just before I begin I want to say how wonderful your work is already and that all of these suggestions that I make from now on in this course are to help you to develop even more. Learning to draw curves is one of the most important things you can do for your art practice. Please see your image of curves opposite, with letters of the alphabet on it, then read the information below with the corresponding letters;

Feedback on How to draw curves

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A: When we are first learning to sketch we tend to draw with many short lines, as you see here, however what we need to do differently is draw longer lines by moving our full arm and keeping our elbow out to the side more. Take a moment to look at the motion of your wrist with your arm tucked into your side and move only the wrist (on the hand that you draw and write with.) Flap your wrist back and forth for a minute. You will find that the motion can create and arc with a radius of about 45 degrees. Now place your elbow out away from your body and include your entire arm from the shoulder and elbow as well as wrist in the process…see how much more movement you can create. What we need to do for sketching is involve that shoulder more. Your pencil strokes here appear similar the ones I have drawn (slightly exaggerated though to explain my point) at letter A. This means you are using mostly your wrist. There are times and places where you have moved around a bit and included more of your elbow but your shoulder wasn’t used as much as it could have been.

Our goal is to achieve more motion so that our curves can flow more. Even when sketching small curves, if you place your elbow out away from your body and clear your desk so that you can rotate your drawing a full 360 degrees it will really improve your sketching.

B: Try to curve outwards and upwards more with your wrist and keep your hand on the inside of the curve at all times. Take a look at where I have positioned the letter C: This is where your hand should be when drawing the curve. If it begins to feel uncomfortable turn your page around.

I would love to see some more sketched curves from you this week if you can make time, but this time please have a try at sketching longer lines to create your curves, smile while you work, it relaxes your entire upper torso. You are very creative Ian and I am excited to see more of your works. It will be better for me though if you just sketch the outline rather than shade this time 🙂

My drawing of a copied pattern

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Copy the pattern

I thought that this drawing exercise was too easy to be true, until I started to follow the instructions to the letter! The challenge was quite simple, just copy the diagram in the course notes stage by stage. Observation was key in my attempt to reproduce an exact copy of the finished diagram, and I think I did a fairly reasonable job of this. This was a very clever and well thought out task because it forced me break down what I was seeing into individual points, shapes, components, and their relationships to one-another. This was all part of learning the “Artists Language”, by teaching me how to break down and carefully analyse what I saw, and interpret this into shapes on paper, which is a very important artistic skill to learn.

Feedback from Cindy

Well done on this pattern exercise Ian, you have successfully compared the positions of the individual dots to the sides of the square in most places. I can see that you have deeply understood this exercise and that all you needed to do differently was move a few dots and adjust your ruler. I have a few tips to help you even more with this exercise.

Throughout this course you will be presented with a combination of logic based processes; often using a ruler to measure with and more creative free-flowing processes. Both will come with their own set of challenges, however the combination of this presentation of skills will help to develop all areas of your brain needed for drawing.

This exercise required mostly logic based thinking and the use of a ruler in the first instance with great accuracy would have made the second stage of the process more easy.

You will notice that the pattern in your notes is not drawn to scale and this is to prevent people from tracing that pattern, I can see you didn’t do that so I am impressed. You had to rely on the process of visual comparison to achieve the exact position of the dots. With a very accurately drawn square and halving marks this would have been a little easier for you.

Feedback on Copy The Pattern

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A: One thing I did notice is that the square was a little bit shorter at the top; see letter A than it is at the bottom. Therefore your halfway mark at the bottom (see letter C) is different to the half way at the top (see D.)

This has affected the position of some of the dots for example at letter B.

E: At letter E you needed to run a horizontal line (from the left side of the square) just above the 1/8 mark to find the position of that dot, but its spot the 1/8 mark along the top measurement well done!

F: this little dot was out as a result of the square not being divided correctly. Never mind, lesson learned; its best to divide the square correctly in the first place, then positioning the dots is really easy.

This pattern is actually a part of the process of using the grid method to a very high and accurate professional standard. Imagine this square as just one square within a massive rectangle containing many smaller squares; a grid. This is the tiny baby step of learning before you move onto the grid method in a later week of the course. For now, it’s a great thing that you have learned it is important to measure the half way marks with the ruler when dividing the smaller squares for a grid. You can then compare the positions of curves, lines and shapes within the square more accurately.

Oh and its always harder in the early weeks of learning this method, later you will be able to draw things so much more accurately than you can now and you won’t have to draw the dots first, you will just be eye-balling the position of the dots, this is just to train your eye to begin with . Well done overall this week Ian, you are doing absolutely fantastic and right on track for great success with learning to draw. I can’t wait to see your work again next week.

Happy drawing and remember to ‘Just Show Up At The Table….the rest will take care of itself.’


Coming up

Again, more very encouraging feedback from Cindy this week and I’m feeling quite proud and truly inspired! According to the overview for next weeks study, just as in any sport, hobby or profession, I will be learning how to practice my drawing in order to better learn, and improve my drawing skills. Follow my Drawing Journey to see how I get on 🙂

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