Famous Artists School

Famous Artists School on Facebook FAS FREE interactive art quiz: test your art knowledge
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by FAS grad Christina Cooper

by FAS grad Pam Rice

by FAS grad Robert Heindel

by FAS grad Charles Reid

by FAS instructor Dolph LeMoult

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How to Draw

The old cliche “I can’t even draw a straight line” overlooks the fact that artists use rulers for this purpose. But great drawing seldom relies on straight lines, anyway. It combines free-flowing lines to weave magic tapestries, and is a skill that anyone can master.

The tools for drawing are simple ones: a pencil, pen, or a piece of charcoal make wonderful drawing mediums. And any paper you have available will do.

Learning to draw is a matter of learning to see. When you look at an object, are you really aware of it? Think about it. What is it made of? What does it do? Is it wider than it is tall? Is one part larger than another? A tree has a distinctive shape, but not all trees have the same shape. A tall pine is cone-shaped; a maple may be fat and rounded; an old apple tree in winter is gnarled and angular. Be alert to these descriptive differences.

Practice drawing what you see by making many sketches of objects around you. Sketch commonplace things: a chair, table, fire hydrant, your house. In all your sketching, try to find the expressive characteristics that make the object unique. In addition, try to make the function of the object clear to anyone looking at your drawing. Let’s say, for example, that you’re drawing a pencil sharpener. Notice the size of the handle in comparison to the overall size. Where does it attach to the back of the sharpener—near the bottom or near the top? When you’ve trained your eye to see proportions and construction in this way, you’ll draw convincingly.