Five drawing tips help you learn how to simplify shapes of the body.

Practice by drawing gesture sketches with your non-drawing hand.

Practice drawing the basic arm and leg structures by thinking of them as cylinders. Simply refine these basic shapes with detail.

The basic form and positioning for feet, draw them starting with a rectangle in 3D. This is good exercise drawing feet in perspective and in various positions.

When sketching the head, I draw circular motions. Once I get the correct position, I begin lightly indicating the shape and position of the nose, eyes and ears.

Sketch people passing by.

Drawing from life is always the best approach.




Contour lines serve as the foundation for constructing diverse types of artworks, and are the base on which all drawing styles and techniques are built. These roles that contour lines play in preliminary sketches is the key in starting a drawing. Study straight and angled lines in drawings this will help you figure the correct proportions when drawing the human body.

 Blind Contour Drawing

Will enhance your observation skills by drawing objects without looking at your paper

Advance your ability to see as an artist by analyzing a straight-sided shape to find clues to draw it accurately freehand

Accurately sketch the proportions of straight-sided shapes and objects, and then outline their contours with continuous lines

Set up intricate proportional guidelines to draw an image and then add shading with hatching lines

When sketching animals use short and long lines

 Sketch a Simple Scene

Sketch the proportions of hills, a lake, and trees, outline their shapes, and then add shading with straight hatching lines


Blog 8 Paris rain sketch

Understand, interpret and organize.
Concentrate on the subject’s basic shapes.
Simplify, stylize and arrange shapes to strengthen composition and design.
Pay attention to the shape, size and placement of forms.
Layer the shapes to build your painting. Start with the object that’s closest to you and work back to the furthest, underlapping as you build front to back.
Intense to neutral colors, light to dark and change hue but keep in mind layering opposites will neutralize the hues

Sketching and Value

value study farm house

Simplify your subject you do not have to be a slave to nature. What I mean by this, if you are painting outside you do not have to show every tree or shrub. A strong composition showing the value changes and details, and just create a great design.
Scale your values, remember lights, middle tones, and dark.
Shapes defines the area from surrounding areas by line, value or color. You will use line to create shapes but, from that point value will define the shape you drew and value can be altering at any time.

Drawing Techniques

Leaving Avila

  • Combing pencil strokes helps you to create a texture-rich drawing.
  • Use the pencil mark of scribbling to create short, random marks
  • build additional layers, working from the darkest shadow areas to the lighter
  • with each layer, add more definition and texture to the drawing
  • use the kneaded eraser to lift off highlights
  • crosshatching great technique for pen and ink
  • squiggle lines give enormous energy to line

Drawing the Human Body


The human figure is a very challenging feat to draw in perspective, but once you accomplished what a great achievement. No two shapes are the same. Drawing is about what you see. You are forced to look closely in order to figure out the perspective. This also helps you to understand what you are seeing.
There is no particular formula in drawing but there are steps; such as, to visually measure the subject from head to feet.
1. make a mark from the head to the feet on the paper
2. draw a line from the shoulders to the waist
3. after these lines are implied, the structure can be planned out
4. remember you are drawing shapes (think geometric shapes)
5. Now with the basic proportions defined on the surface, you can draw the contour lines of the figure
6. Detail of the figure can be described through the addition of a range of value
7. Foreshortening if done correctly creates the illusion of space and form in the drawing. The point of view in other words the angles where foreshortening can occur.

Note: Always keep in mind the position of the figure and the vantage point of the viewer will help you figure the location of these lines, especially if the figure is foreshortened.

Shadow and Shape

Washington and Grant

The quick anatomy of light logic’s four main parts:

  1. The Highlight. The Highlight is the brightest light on the page or object. This is the area where light falls at its most direct on the object.
  2. The Crest Shadow. This is the shadow that falls on the curved portion of a rounded object. It covers the zone between the highlight and the reflected light. Rarely is it one shade of shadow like it looks here. It’s usually darkest at the point farthest from both highlight and reflected light. It’s also the key in conveying three dimensionality in an object.
  3. Reflected Light. Look for this tricky and somewhat sneaky light on any surface. (It’s actually light reflected from the environment and other surrounding objects.)
  4. Cast Shadow. The object stands between the light and its foundation (i.e. what the object rests on.) The cast shadow is usually the darkest shadow.
  5. Squint your eyes.
  6. Notice howshapes of light and dark – not lines – suggest roundness, curvature and depth of the subject
  7. the contrast of light and shadow that contribute a great deal to your perception of depth
  8. Degas copy: Highlights run from the brightest white (actually manila) of the paper to near black – which is just the piling on of layer after layer of pencil lead (look deep in the beard section).
  9. Shades or valuesof tone range from everything in between made by simple cross-hatching, rubbing, and even erasing into the paper.
  10. cross-hatching, you’ll see areas where the pencil is just layered over and over to achieve a near black
  11. Adding ground-To create highlights, all you do is erase into the ground and the natural brightness of the paper comes through.
  12. one or more tones that forms a shape
  13. value scale of grays from dark to light – or low value to high value: 

            From black to white and nine shades in between

  1. Seeing shadow as shape



line drawing animals

The brain often unconsciously reads near continuous lines between different elements and subjects at varying distances.
Straight lines are called linear when used in a piece of art work. Straight lines add affection and can make it look more detailed and challenging. Horizontal, vertical, and angled lines often contribute to creating different moods of a picture. The angle and the relationship to the size of the frame both work to determine the influence the line has on the image. They are also strongly influenced by tone, color, and repetition in relation to the rest of the photograph. Horizontal lines, commonly found in landscape photography, can give the impression of calm, tranquility, and space. An image filled with strong vertical lines tends to have the impression of height, and grandeur. Tightly angled convergent lines give a dynamic, lively, and active effect to the image whereas strongly angled, almost diagonal lines generally produce tension in the image. Viewpoint is very important when dealing with lines particularly in photography, because every different perspective elicits a different response to the photograph. By changing the perspective only by some degrees or some centimeter lines in images can change tremendously and a totally different feeling can be transported.


Eastern Europe 1072

Natural Light travels in one direction. Form shadow is right angles perpendicular giving a soft edge. Cast shadow is parallel giving a hard edge. When painting you have to determine your details either one or the other. You either want form or cast shadow.

Areas of less light if you see crescent form you are going towards the gray.

The negative space is defined by the edges of the positive space. What it important also to note is that the negative space also defines our subject. For every positive shape, there is negative shape surrounding it. This is important for a successful composition. Organizing your composition is looking at the entire picture.

Becoming more aware of the negative space will help you accurately capture the relationships between the objects.

Washington and Grant

October 2017
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