Drawing tutorials.

The best drawing tutorials in the whole world, are created by you, you are the learner, needing or wanting to improve your skills, so it is about your needs.

We can learn in many different ways but the most advantageous of all learning experiences, are the ones you take part in, have you ever heard the expression, practice makes perfect or you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink?

Practice makes perfect.

The Neuroscientists tell us, that the human brain works like this, the more you use it, the better it works, when you remember something, you make it stronger, the more you remember it or think about it, the stronger it gets. When you do something you remember parts of it, so if you do it again, then you do it with the memories of having already done it before.

This means you have some understanding, no matter how small, of what will happen next, so when you do it again, you reinforce your learning and perhaps learn some more, about what happens as an outcome of your actions, this is learning.

This has a down side also because if you repeatedly, do things the wrong ways, then you run the risk of reinforcing, the negative learning as well. This is not good for you, especially since it seems to be more difficult to undo any learning, than it is, to put it there, in the first place.

So practice makes perfect but only if it is good practice because bad practice, will kill your confidence, motivation and drive, rendering you useless, to your self or you’re drawing.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Do you realize, that I do not like others telling me what to do, I respond much better to encouragement, don’t you, of course you do, so it’s not just the horse, who will not do what you want it to do, is it?

Most human beings like to be able to decide things for themselves, they like to be in control and do the things, that they want to do because they like to have ownership of their actions, and it’s important for them to do so.

When people do things because they want to do them, they usually do them much better, so it is vital to your learning, that you learn, what you want to learn, from doing, what you want to do, that way, you will do it better.

The method.

This is a way to teach yourself, you do something, then you think about it, as with most things, we usually think about them, as we are doing and drawing, actually is highly dependent on having to be done in this way. It is worth thinking about your drawing, even after you have completed it but most likely you will anyway, this will reinforce your learning, as well as help you learn about what worked, and what didn’t work well, so you can use it, again or not later.

If you draw or learn the things that you want to, then you will draw or learn them better, and with more gusto, giving you good feelings, that are encouraging because we all like to feel good.

The best way to help yourself in your learning, is to find somebody who is good, at what it is, you want to be able to do. Ask them questions; tell them about some of the problems, you might be having, ask them for advice, even if they don’t offer it. Most people, will be more than willing to help because most people like to be helpful, even in selfish ways because they also like to feel good about themselves.

Listen to what these people might tell you, think about it, try it out, so as you know what they are saying and also if it works or not.  You are the one who wants to learn, not them, so all the tutorials in the world, will only teach you what others want you to learn or think, you should learn, without even knowing what you want or knowing you at all, and at the end of it all, it is your learning, and can only ever be yours.

Much of this guidance, help and information can be obtained online, by asking people where they hang out, on forums or in communities centered on what ever it is you want to do, as well as drawing.

Drawing tutorials are not completely worthless, so long as they fit your needs or contain something of interest but remember, most of them really are only basic, the best way is talking to people, ask questions and leave no stones unturned.

Practice drawing human.

I hope that this will always be true but I also worry, about there being increasingly, less and less of the human elements, in our lives on a daily basis and at the same time, I embrace the machine for it’s ability, to deliver greater instantaneous gratification, when drawing human.

Can machines draw like a human, could this ever become a reality or is it already partly real because machines can be programmed, to copy every single human movement, with extremely fine precision, every single time.

So the one attribute, a human has over a machine, is we make mistakes and we are never going to be perfect but we are also good at hiding them or adapting them, for our purpose because after all, when drawing we are creating illusions anyway. To add to this, according to the esteemed Greek philosopher, Aristotle, art and science are created in the struggle for perfection. I will add to this and say in a perfect world, there would be no struggle for anything because it is perfect. Drawing is a struggling, to perfect the perfect illusion, where as all illusion is seemingly something it is not, so it is far from perfect. Perfection would serve no purpose anyway because it is the struggle for perfection and the lack of the same, that is the motivator of all action. Conflict is the motivator of the reaction and is the action, that drives further reaction, so perfection is the road to doom. In the struggle between order and chaos, one cannot exist without the other, in theory but within order, there is no chaos and chaos exists, with or without order, order is only a tool, with which to measure chaos. Chaos I believe is the engine of action or reaction, so therefore exists with or without order and it is the fact, that you can’t draw, that makes you human, which makes you good at drawing human, so remember that.

I am sick of hearing it said that drawing the human form is no easy task because in that context drawing anything is no easy task, when in fact I know full well, that drawing is easy, we all do it all the time but just don’t realize.

Lets get real about this, if you can move a drawing implement, around on a drawing surface and make marks with it, that is drawing. If you can make symbols, that look like other things, then bully for you because that’s not drawing. Drawing is being able to make marks, with a drawing implement on a surface, capable of retaining those marks, everything else is about being able to see and organize, those marks so they represent the symbols.

I hear people taking gobbledy gook and they can’t help it because it is wholeheartedly encouraged, by the arty farty brigade. You see the one thing all drawings are is illusions, one thing organized, to look like something else, which is an illusion, a trick or even a lie, what ever you think it is, it is not because it is an illusion.

Many, many people like to make out that drawing is this special, wonderful ability, that people are blessed with, well it might be true of some people but not me. God gave me a pencil and said there you go son, you can draw now, so then all I had to do, was organize the marks into illusions, I then spent my whole life organizing marks into illusions because hey, nobody’s perfect, and isn’t that the point.

Now if you want to get good at drawing human, then go away and make a few mistakes, it’s the only way to draw.
Nothing but the sun and the stars, graphite pencil drawing image.

More drawing people rules.

The manikin is a great tool for drawing people or figures, it is a wooden doll, that can be set up to give you the basic out line, for a figure posing in any position and a great place to start any figure drawing, especially if you don’t have a real figure to draw from.

Images of a wooden manikin figures with one showing how a head can be used to judge proportion.
Image of a wooden manikins, used for figure drawing, when you don’t have access to a figure to draw from, showing how a head can be used, to judge proportion and measure size.

There are variations on how many heads tall an average man is, Leonardo de Vinci’s (Vitruvian Man) is almost eight heads tall where as I have seen statements saying that it is seven and half heads. The truth is this, if you measure the head of the person you are drawing, then measure how many heads it takes, to make up the distance or height of the body, it will be closest because most people vary in size anyway.

Doing this is how drawings are constructed, it is how they are measured for accuracy, mapping and recording from the information you gather, then regurgitating it into the next mark you make, to impress an idea in the viewers mind, even if the only viewer is you.

Drawing people as in the faces of people or portraits, are a very different story completely or at least they could be because I don’t use heads for measuring, when doing faces, I sort of use eyes.

The first thing you need to decide, is where you want the head to go on the drawing surface, so where does the top of the head go and where should the bottom go, in relation to the top?

You need to look at the face your doing from side to side, up and down, horizontally and vertically, whilst leaving some kind of marks behind on the drawing surface, to remind you next time around of where these elements go, in relation to each other. I look for markers, as to where the most prominent features go, on the horizontal and vertical plains, now I look where the eyes go and they are usually, half way down the head.

How far from the outer edge of the face, do the eyes start, horizontally and vertically where do the eyes start, on both sides of the face. The distance between an average persons eyes, is usually the same as the distance, from one corner of the eye to the other.

Now you can use this, to re check the other marks, from the outside of the face outline to where the eyes begin, you can use the eyes to also measure, the distance to the end of the nose, from the center point right between the eyes. This distance is usually one and a half times the distance of one eye, from corner to corner.

Image of a girls face showing how an eye can be used for drawing a face.
Image of a girls face, showing how an eye can be used for drawing a face, to help you to be more able to judge size, distance and proportions.

The distance of one eye, usually takes you to the bottom of the bottom lip with the mouth closed and the distance of two, and a half eyes, takes you to the chin, from beneath the bottom of the nose, so the eyes can help you see in more ways than one.

By measuring and checking in this way, you learn to look, and see like artists do or people who make drawings of people do, the most important part of drawing people, is the action of doing the drawing, if you don’t practice, you don’t learn enough.

You can use the rule of thumb, when doing drawings from life by holding your arm out, at full stretch and measuring how many thumbs, equate to the size of the head, and check for accuracy in the same way as above, up and down side to side.

There are many other ways to construct drawings of figures, people or portraits, there is the grid method, where you use a grid over the top of your drawing,  that corresponds with a viewing grid that you look through.

If you are copying from a picture, you can use the outer edge of the picture, to use as a measure for reference points, these can then be used for transferring it onto the drawing surface, you can do this by drawing, the outline edge of the picture, onto your drawing area and draw construction lines, see the image below, for a better idea of what I mean.

Image of a girls face showing grid lines to measure the proportions of the face.
Image of a girls face, showing grid lines, that can be used to measure the proportions of the face.

All this is a great way to learn about construction and sets the foundation for creating, great works of art, like the old masters did, and artists still do, because they use these, very same ways as building blocks, to then take the process further.

Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and everybody else uses, there past work as a reference for creating further work, based on this body of work, that they create as they are also learning.

These guys where the ones getting paid for their work because they where revered, as having exceptional skills, that ordinary people didn’t have. When kings wanted something that was impressive, mythical, mystical or magic, to impress the popular culture of the time and still do to the present day, they used artists. The works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci are impressive because they have been used to teach this knowledge for drawing people, to others for hundreds of years.

Online drawing information.

Some suggestions about how you can use the same methods as the old masters, to enhance your drawing skills, with this growing resource of online drawing information, methods and skills, knowledge to enhance and develop your abilities.

How did the old masters like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, J W M Turner or John Constable do their great works, you might ask yourself, to which the answer would be that during the time they spent learning and honing in on their skills, they also collected a body of reference work? During this time they would have learned and practiced their skills but also this information would be used, as elements in future works, that they produced as they, would have also been compiling, a catalog of elements for future reference.

Mesurement using the rule of thumb.
Measurement using the rule of thumb is a great way the check your drawing is accurate.

This process enabled them to gather as much information as they could, through practicing drawing and painting to perfect their skills. They then used this information to compose compositions, of individual studies as a kind of collage, combining these elements, they had been collecting whilst teaching them selves to draw. They would also be drawing on previous learning and understanding but they would be doing this, the hard way as it was the only way to be able to do it, in those past times.

We are no longer confined to learning in just this way only and can reach the same standard of work, in a lot less time giving us much more time to be productive and effectively speeding up the process of learning to our advantage.

Do you really think, that if these former respected artists where familiar with cameras in their time, that they would not have used them because I would bet my life on it that they would, have explored them for every last drop of learning, that could be captured or recorded.

The problem with most modern day assumptions, about learning these same skills, is that they are entrenched in these same past methods of learning, that where the only means available in the times, that these past masters lived. These older past methods of learning, have now been fixed in stone and assumed to be the only way to learn drawing skills, yet although these are valuable learning experiences, they are also not the only ways, we have available to us today, online drawing information is improving all the time, please take a look around to find out more.

Anamorphic lighter drawing with drawing ink pen
Anamorphic lighter drawing with drawing ink pen drawn to look like it is standing up when looked at from this angle.

To find cool drawings.

Cool drawings are not as easy to find, as you might think because your version of cool, is almost certainly not my version of what is cool, anymore than the next person because it is a matter of taste and you might find that, some of the people can be pleased, some of the time but not all of them, all of the time, labels such as cool are subjective, so they are as individual as the individuals themselves.

I have already established, that it is highly unlikely that, what I find cool, you will also but I can still help you find cool pictures, by giving you some ideas about the ways that I use.

If I know what I am looking for I do searches on Google Images, this is the quickest way I know for finding a picture or drawing, I am looking for because in case you did not know, you can search using key words, the same way you do when you are searching for anything else online, there is one down side to this and that is, although it is much easier nowadays, than it would have been ten years ago, it is still time consuming and laborious. Sometimes you have to literally look through hundreds and hundreds of them, because there are so many.

The pretty pink pain killer image.

You can also do searches on other sites, like Flickr or Flixya but there are too many photo management sites to mention them all, these sites store millions of indexed images, belonging to other people, pictures they have submitted. Some of these types of sites, actually pay you a small fee if others, want to use the ones that you have submitted. They all have rules about this but these are usually quite liberal and open minded, yet still quite tasteful or respectable because they have to try to please all.

One of the best ways to find cool drawings or pictures, that I especially like because of the way it works is a free online tool, called Stumble Upon.

It works like this, you join Stumble Upon by submitting your details, to become a member, then you select topics of interest, the more you pick the more variety you will see but these will not all be pictures, unless you clicked on the tool bar to select just images. The great part about it is this, you click a button to be presented with random pages of interest, if you set it to images then you will just Stumble Upon random pictures, covering any topic.

Now because the best usually climb to the top, through popularity in this program, then you get presented with the most popular, so they are usually very good but also besides this, they are random, so you do not have control and are presented with images, that also surprise you, giving you some great random subjects, that often stimulate your own ideas, for creations to work on.

I find Stumble Upon a great tool for giving me new ideas, when I don’t have any but also very entertaining, with it’s rich variety of cool drawings and pictures, also a great place to put your own work on too.

Drawing with prehistoric drawing tools.

32,000 years ago our primitive human ancestors, used charcoal as a black pigment for decorating their caves, with drawings and images. Along with the cavemen, the Egyptians also painted their highly decorative hieroglyphic writings, with this very same substance that is still being used to day for the same purposes of drawing, writing and decorating.

Thankfully we don’t still live in caves but we do still use charcoal for drawing and the pigmentation of black paints, such as Carbon Blacks, Ivory Black, Vine Black and Lamp Black.

Carbon black is the name used for different but common black pigments, that are made by charring organic material, usually wood or bone, it only seems to be black because there is almost no light being reflected from it, that is visible to our eyes. Carbon black substances reflect very little or no light at all, so because of this, they give the impression of being black.

These black carbons where produced originally, by charring different types of organic material, Ivory black was originally made, by charring ivory or animal bones, where as Vine black was made in much the same way, by using the dried out, chard stems of grape vines instead. Nowadays you can still obtain vine charcoal but this has been mostly replaced with willow and other similar woods, making it more substantial for use in drawing. There are many different other types of charcoal produced, for different purposes, just one example would be charcoal grills, for grilling your steak and other meats outdoors.

Lamp black as it was called, was originally produced from the soot that gathered inside oil lamps, that was also called lampblack because of where it came from.

These end pigments are all carbon substances, which give them the generic term of being called carbon blacks.

As it stands today, charcoal is a prehistoric drawing substance, that is still effectively being used by many artists in the production of fine works of art, all over the world.

32,000 years on into the future, with the production of fine art still being practiced by many using charcoal in the drawing process and almost all black pigment, being obtained from chard materials, thus making charcoal the granddaddy of all the drawing substances, known to man, it must be good because we still use it.


Dead Bird Drawn With Compressed Charcoal
Road Kill , a dead bird, a compressed charcoal drawing.

Aerial maneuvers, dragon over the roof tops.

Easy drawing an illusion of depth.

As can be seen in the previous post, (“Miki Falls”) manga creator Mark Crilley in his video (How to draw Manga backgrounds) shows, how it can be easy drawing the illusion of depth, by defining the fore ground objects with greater detail and color, than the background objects.

This technique is widely used by most artists to convey the impression of distance but is most often combined, with objects drawn in perspective, which is also covered in earlier posts. This is most often conveyed by putting objects into pictures, as triggers to convey this illusion and help lead the viewers eye, off into the distance along a line of ever decreasing reference points. Photographers use these very same techniques when taking landscape photographs by again placing larger or close up objects in the foreground to create the illusion of depth.

Below is a classic example of this, the photo image shows many parallel lines going off into the distance, with lines between the paving slabs on the ground, the lampposts decreasing in size as they go further into the distance. Then there is the railing along the edge of the water and also the bridges, with first one filling more than half of the picture, with the second only filling about one sixth and the third, being only about one tenth. All this information draws the eye along the lines towards the point, where they converge creating the illusion of distance because remember that this is really, only a flat 2 dimensional image.

Image of bridges in Newcastle, England, UK.
Image of bridges in Newcastle, England, UK, shown as an example of elements that create distance.

Also you should notice how the objects and bridges in the distance are only vague, as they are far less defined than the foreground railing posts, paving slabs and lampposts.

Photographs are a good example of how, these same easy drawing techniques, when applied to constructing backgrounds, create a sense of distance, this can be used to trick the eye into seeing the illusion of depth, without it really being there.

The image below shows how pictures can be changed by moving the order of objects, you will see what I mean by looking at the picture.

Image of bridges in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, UK that has been edited.
Image of bridges in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, UK that has been edited to show how moving things around can change their perceived distance and size. Do you think that the concrete bridge that was in the fore ground now actually looks bigger because the upright pillar has been pushed back in the distance?

How to draw easy, creating depth.

In the image below, is an example of how creating depth in a picture can be done, even when looking up into the sky, the buildings create an illusion of depth through their linear structure of lines, converging to a point in the sky, drawing the eye up into the sky, like the perspective construction lines in a drawing, taking your eyes, leading them off into an imaginary distance. This combined with a close fore ground subject, helps the illusion become more believable, in this image there are really only four subjects creating the illusion, the face and building above it, the dragon and the building behind it, all creating a depth of field in the onlookers eye, which tends to be lead from the top middle to the bottom right hand corner and vice versa.

Dragon in the sky.In the image below, although the eye is lead up into the sky by the lamp post and the cranes to observe the big cloud filling most of the picture, the eye is the lead off as other clouds diminishing in size, lead off into the distance, creating the illusion of depth once again in this image, these are two examples of how perspectives, can be created even when looking into something as seemingly empty of structure, like the sky. It is interesting how other structures in the image can help to create the illusion of depth and even something as simple as clouds, can all help when they are reduced in size.

Distance and depth are created by using lines to lead the eye, the reduction of objects in size and making the objects seem further away, less well defined in detail, giving a further impression of distance in your pictures. Although these are not drawings as such, I used them because they give us some very good natural examples, of how distance and depth are created in the world around us, and how this can be utilized to create these illusions in our own drawings, if we think about them, for incorporating them into the drawings we do.


Distance in the sky.(”Miki Falls”) manga creator Mark Crilley shows us in one of his how to draw videos, Manga backgrounds, an interesting demonstration on, how you can be creating depth in your pictures and how it is achieved by placing an emphasis, on using color and line work to create the illusion of depth, controlling the definition of objects within your picture, making fore ground objects more defined than background objects.

Take a look it will be worth it.

How to practice using a pencil, without boring yourself to death.

Most people don’t know how to draw, they don’t really know what they are looking for, let alone be able to draw it and why should they?

Why would you know anything about practice using a pencil if you had not been using one regularly?

Most people think that they have to draw an outline but can’t actually see one because they don’t know what they are doing.

Most people get better and learn quicker if they trace pictures but most people also think tracing pictures is cheating and so never use tracing as a learning method, what a shame. When you trace a picture you can only realistically trace out lines, you are not able to do the shading as well when tracing and so drawings that are traced are unfinished looking, very uninteresting because they are uniform, without tonal variation or quality of line.

When tracing pictures, you get your outline very accurate, so the rest of the drawing is more likely to be more accurate and it enables you to see the outline, more easily so it will look good and you will feel good about it.

Constructional drawing is the foundation of all drawing, get it right and you will have saved yourself half of the struggle but doing the other half of a drawing, the shading is a much more enjoyable and a great way of learn about construction drawing, so you learn the difficult stuff by doing the easy stuff first.

Design sheet of ideas for potential further development.

The easy way or the hard way, it’s completely up to you?

If you want further information about why and how tracing works scientifically, then take a look at this interesting article (How to draw easy an extraordinary tail of two brains) or do some research about the functions of the left and right brain. You will learn about the benefits of drawing and how the dominant left brain activities, actually make it difficult to learn drawing but also stunting your thinking power, along with your creative abilities.

Don’t make it hard, make it easy.

Enjoy learning to use a pencil at the same time as learning about how to do construction drawing the easy way first, not the difficult way round, like everybody else teaches, easy way first is the way to go but it astounds me, why the hard way is always practiced. There is a great book by Betty Edwards called drawing on the left hand side of the brain, that many people have used to help them learn to draw and draw well, so well, that many have been astounded by their own abilities, after using the methods given in the book, one of the main methods is tracing because it reaches the parts, other methods cannot reach.


Dragons head drawn with graphite pencil 3b & 5b
Dragons head drawn with graphite pencil 3b & 5b as an idea for another picture.

They don’t teach geometry in primary school because the children wouldn’t understand it but they give them pencils to play with, the geometry comes much later when they know what a pencil is, they also teach tracing which has got to be one of the easiest ways to practice using a pencil by drawing because when you trace pictures, you can draw any outline for any picture you want easy.


Two Point Perspective.

The two point perspective or linear perspective, as it can also be called, is a construction drawing technique that is made up of vanishing points, which are the points placed along an eye line or horizon line, as it is some times called, these are the elements that make up perspective drawings, like the ones below. Although the first drawing is quite nice, it is just made up of simple straight lines and curves, using a straight edge or line rule to place the guide lines from the vanishing points, it is much easier to draw perspective, when using these techniques.

As can be seen in the drawings below, the horizon line or eye line, is just a horizontal line drawn across the page, to represent where the horizon would be or the place your eyes would be level with, when you are looking at some thing, by drawing all subjects in relation to this line, it creates the effect of there being distance in the image and between the object in it.

In the drawing below you can see the horizon line, vanishing points, construction box and perspective lines, that make up the 2 point perspective much easier and should assist you, in understanding how perspective drawing works. The vanishing points create the points where an object would taper off into the distance, to create the impression of something being three dimensional and this technique is sometimes called, true perspective as well as linear and two point perspective.

The horizon line and vanishing points are used to construct boxes, to use as guides and enable you to draw an object that looks like, objects in life that taper off into the distance, the best way to see this is by looking down a long street, where you can see the building close by above your head but the further into the distance, they go the smaller the further away they become and the road also gets smaller, another example can be seen on railway lines, when you look at them, they seem to meet in the far off distance.

Image of two point perspective drawing.
Image of two point perspective drawing of a child’s toy.


In the image below, I have drawn a wheel type shape in a box, to show how the same effect can be created with circular objects like wheels but I have also used, a very low horizon line, to give the impression of looking up at something, making it seem very big and above your head, even though it is just a simple drawing on piece of paper. There are lots of ideas you can create when you draw perspective and these types of drawings, always look dynamic, giving a great deal of impact to any drawing, so it is well worth experimenting with this 2 point perspective technique.

A two point persective cube image.
The horizon line has two points from which to draw perspective in this example.
Image of a big perspective
A big perspective with a low horizon line giving the impression of looking up.

The horizon line has two points from which to draw perspective, in the above example.

A big perspective with a low horizon line, giving the impression of looking up at something, can be very impressive, expressing an image of power and dominance.

You can do this with a single, one point perspective or two point perspective, as well but the single point is a little limited because it often only works well, when looking at something directly from the front.