Category Archives: How to draw

The whole story, how to draw from the beginning the basics step by step how to become a master at drawing all of it for free.

Drawing, is it a valuable action to be nurtured?

Drawing means to pull something and is also the action of making a drawing, with a tool, usually a pencil, a pen or other such implement. The first early drawings where probably made with the finger. It is a doing word which means it is about tangible events. Something that can be observed and even measured or used as a measurement in, and of it’s self.

Drawing Valuable Information

This leads to something else. If drawing is an action then all the thinking in the world will not make any drawing real or tangible because it is about doing not thinking. That does not mean there is no thinking involved because it is quite the opposite.

Drawing is informed in two ways at least.

It is informed by what you think and what you do.

Drawing in this context is a learning mechanism much like the process of learning it’s self. You make a drawing and whilst doing it, as well as after doing it, you think about what it is you are doing, and reflect on what you have done. That information informs what you do next and so your drawing skills develop in an informed way. This happens through action which is the description of learning, action and reflection. It would be difficult to do drawing in any other way because it is an action and you cannot move any part of your body without thinking about it first.

Anybody could read about the drawing process and understand the mechanisms of how drawing works in theory but to get the full extent of the whole process necessitates action on the part of the learner.

Drawing is a valuable resource.

Drawing is used in so many ways by people who create, from engineers to film producers, even teachers use drawing as a means of delivering knowledge to others. The visual space is easily accessible to most people because we only need to look. Looking takes little effort on the part of most people and visual images can be powerful. Human behaviour is influenced by the environment. Visual information is a large part of that human environment so must be influential.

It is among the easiest as well as possibly the most practical way for conveying visual concepts. The fairly convenient supply of simple drawing tools could easily amount to drawing being more commonly used as compared to the majority of alternative tools of expression.


Drawing really is easy, expectation is the issue.

At the basic point of ability everybody is able to trace drawings from images. Everybody can create their own unique images doing this, even those people who believe they can’t draw can do this. Almost everybody can draw. If they can move their arm and make marks following a line around a shape they can draw. Beyond that drawing becomes many other things, all of which are heavily based on expectations.

I must repeat again that human behaviour is influenced by the environment. Visual information is a large part of that human environment so must be influential upon us and our expectations. Our expectations are subjective based on our knowledge and environmental influence giving us differing degrees of expectation. An influence that impacts upon our decision making processes and actions.

My drawing is derived out of a broad Knowledge base of disciplines both analytical and philosophical in origin. This together with the utilization of social spaces, performative actions, community arts, public arts, installation, visual, dramatical, textual and audible interactions. Acting on the world in which we live as a participant and observer.

All because I was lucky enough to believe drawing was an important action to take.

An interesting collection of artists make up the 43 uses of drawing.

How to draw from memory and imagination.

Learning how to draw from memory.

If you want to learn how to draw from memory, you will first need to be very familiar with the subject you are drawing, for example if you draw the letter (A) then it will be a memory drawing the way you have always drawn the letter (A). So every time you draw one it will look very smiler to the last one you drew. This is because you have done this an unknown number of times throughout your life and it is fixed inside your head. It will not change unless you purposely make an intended change. As you are very familiar with the letter (A). The letter (A) is a very simple shape and does not present very much to remember. If lets say you draw a car, then that is very different shape, that is far more complex than the letter, making it far more difficult to remember. It is more like the whole alphabet, upper and lower case plus numbers together.

Now I know that it is highly likely you can draw the alphabet and numbers from memory quite easy. So this also proves that you know how to draw from memory because you can do it with the alphabet. The question is how many times have you done this, the answer to that question is unknown. It must be thousands if not millions of times depending how old you are but how many cars have you drawn?

VW Underwater Concept Car, how to draw from memory and imagination.

10,20 or even a 100, it bares no comparison to the amount of times you have drawn all the letters and numbers of the alphabet, and so it is highly unlikely you will be able to remember what the car looks like, without having it in front of you to look at. There is a lot to remember if you want to know how to draw from memory. A point to note (when I am talking about how to draw from memory I do not mean any old car, I mean a specific car like a Mustang or a Corvette). Most people can draw a box shape and put a couple of wheels on it that would make it a representation of a car but in most cases not a very good one, so that is not what I mean.

To be able to know how to draw from memory you need to train yourself to do so by braking it down into component parts. Wheels, windows, lights, tires, side view mirrors, door handles, the list goes on and on, that’s why it is difficult. Each one of these is a shape in it’s own right, so is a lot to remember, but it is possible. By breaking it down, you learn how a car is actually made up or constructed, you learn the anatomy of a car and all cars look very similar overall.

All cars have the items mentioned above and all of these items can be found in very smiler places on all cars. If you know that a car has wheels and these wheels are usually a defined distance apart from each other. This distance can be measured by the number of wheels it takes to get to the next wheel. Then you can easily make a template in your mind for placing these wheels the right distance apart. You can easily check this distance by measuring the number of wheels from your first wheel to your second wheel and you will get it right every time.

If you know that the wind shield usually starts about half the width of a wheel behind the front wheel then you know where it goes on most cars but also remember that every one is slightly different as well. If you learn where everything goes in this way by teaching yourself this from doing it on purpose, then you learn how to construct cars without having one to look at because you know where everything goes. Also if you use an item like a wheel as a measuring tool then everything about your car will be in proportion to everything else just like they are on real cars.

Aston Martin Vantage

In the image of the car above you can see 3 red double sided arrows these are all the same size which show you how much smaller the rear of the car is because of its distance from the front. It also shows how far the windscreen is from the front wheel which is about half the width of the wheel. You can also take note that the door line actually almost measures up with the windscreen.

If this image was directly side on you would be able to measure the distance between the wheels and everything else about this car by using the wheels as the basic measurement which would give you a greater understanding of the anatomy of this vehicle.

If you do this then just doing it will make you more familiar with the subject of cars but also anything that you might like drawing for example, faces or people because they are not very much different from each other either. If you understand the anatomy of the subjects you draw as well as having a familiarity with them combined, you will be more able and know how to draw from memory. If you do this a lot then you will also be prompted by the parts you are drawing as to what the next part to draw might be. This also helps as you are following a process of actions that becomes a natural pattern of behavior.

A good way to practice memory drawing is to draw cars or other subjects like faces as described above and to then when you have finished the drawing, using these techniques to draw the same drawing all over again, while it is still fresh in your mind, without looking at it. Doing this will reinforce your learning, making it stronger as a memory and build up your ability to remember by exercising your visual memory, making it stronger and more capable.

Below you will find a video of a drawing I did using this method but changing the viewing position, so I was drawing it from a different angle, also making it even more difficult. When wanting to be able to draw well, you really need to push yourself hard to make, what seems like very little ground at the time but that is what will make you progressively just that little bit better.

Let me explain this in another way, cartoon films once consisted of thousands of hand drawn, hand painted images, where every single one had to be the same as the last one but in a different position or pose from a different angle. For one person to do this on there own it would take years so the cartoon makers would hire many people and break everything down into smaller components, bite sized chunks so any body could soon learn to do that one small part. Then they would have a team of say 20 people doing only small parts making it easy and also enabling them to complete them very quickly. If you had spent the last 10 years doing this for a studio that made cartoons do you think that you would probably be able to almost do this with you eyes closed?

The way to learn how to draw from memory is learned by drilling yourself to do so through continuous repetition, drawing the same thing over and over until you learn where everything goes, and purposely drawing your attention to understanding where it goes also.
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Composition definition

Composition definition, it’s about putting the elements that make up a picture together.

Composition can also be interpreted as an organizing of art elements according to the principles of art.

According to Wikipedia (The principles of art) are movement, unity, harmony, variety, balance, emphasis, contrast, proportion, and pattern.

Composition principles can also be described as balance, emphasis, pattern, contrast, proportion and gradation.

Composition elements can be described as line, size, color, texture, value, shape and space.

In the image below that was created as scribble heads the composition does not work very well and does not follow the (The principles of art) mentioned above very well at all. You can see the foundation work for this image if you follow the easy cartoons to draw link to see scribble heads.

Let me tell you why the image below does not work by giving you an image that does work and then let you think about what has changed in the drawing to improve on the composition.

Easy cartoons to draw scribble heads final Details Complete.

Composition Scribble Heads Rearranged.

Besides the 3 overlapping circles of composition being added to the image what else has changed?

The first image is unbalanced it is does not have an emphasis or good pattern, although contrast, proportion and gradation are good enough. The line, size, texture and value are fine but there is something wrong with the shape and space, so think about what has changed with the shape and space?

Composition Scribble Heads Rearranged.

Why does the reversal work better, take notice of the direction of the eyes?

What you need to consider is how the lines in a drawing lead your eyes around the drawing so when you place an arrow in a picture it will grab the attention of the person looking at it and they will follow it to the tip. Lines work in a similar way and can be used as capture points but also the direction in which something is pointed can do the same thing, so a face looking to the side will direct your eyes in that direction. Depending on where the eyes are pointed will depend on where your eyes are directed and one of the worst moves you can make is having the eyes looking out of the picture. Now look at the first picture of the scribble heads again and notice that the eyes are looking all over the place with no uniformity, structure or sequence, giving no meaning to the composition.

Easy cartoons to draw scribble heads final Details Complete

In the last image below it is a different story because the eyes and positioning of the heads says things by the direction of the eyes within the drawing, which head is looking at what or who?

The finished and final composition below works best with the arrow being placed as an attention grabbing device to draw your attention to composition.

Composition Scribble Heads Rearranged
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Pencil art , drawing , things to know, equipment.

The requirements are pretty basic for doing pencil art, pencil drawings, but there are a few essential things you really need know in order to do well.

Here is an overview of the basic kit with a few extras you will need.

Pencil sharpeners.

I personally prefer the old-style two hole metal pencil sharpener.

A receptacle sharpener which keeps the wood chips contained within it is perfect for keeping things tidy.

To reduce wastage and breakage, especially with pencils where the cores are poorly centered, many people prefer using a hobby knife instead of a sharpener. If you choose to use a knife then please remember to be very careful and always cut away from yourself. If you use a lot of pencils often then many people prefer to use a good electric pencil sharpener.

Emery paper.

Very fine emery paper is useful for keeping the point sharp whilst you’re doing a drawing. It can also be used to clean your paper blending stump or Tortillon as they are often called.

Blending equipment.

A tortillon is a tightly rolled paper shaft that is used as a blending stump for smudging and blending your drawings. Use a tortillon instead of your fingers for blending as skin oils will damage your drawing in time, turning it yellow in the areas where you have been blending, making your drawing patchy and irregular, it also makes your pencil marks more difficult to erase if you need to.

Rubber tip ‘color shapers, pastel blenders can be very useful for working other media enabling you to work small confined areas. Chamois leather is sometimes used for applying, lifting out and mixing media.

Kneadable Eraser.

A kneadable eraser is very useful tool for lifting and erasing all types of media. When a surface of the eraser becomes dirty you can stretch and fold it into a fresh clean surface area. The general rule is to use large pieces for large areas and smaller pieces for small areas, you can also shape it to suite your needs. Many people prefer to use “Blue Tack” or similar adhesive poster gum as well or as an alternative.

Plastic Erasers.

Good plastic erasers will be soft and smooth to touch – avoid the cheap ones they are usually crumbly or hard and often come with advertising logos imprinted on them. Mostly it is best to have more than one on the go at the same time because they get dirty, needing to be cleaned often so having more than one means you can have clean ones available when you need them. It is best to have clean ones to erase the light areas and highlights, they can be trimmed with a sharp knife to make a clean surface but again please be careful. Battery and electric erasers are now popular and they enable you to make precise spot erasing and rapid clearance of large areas.

Ruler, T-Square and Flexible Curve.

Drawing a framework around your drawing area will help you with your construction so that that you can better place your subject in the drawing area it also helps for developing better comparison to help work a complete composition as opposed to having your subjects just floating on the drawing surface and creates a border around the drawing that will help when you might come to frame the finished piece. A T-square and straight edged ruler are both important for doing perspective drawings so it is helpful to obtain these in different sizes that are more applicable to the size of the drawing you are doing. A flexible curve is not important, but is often very useful when wanting to create smooth repetitive curves and more so when drawing subjects that have been manufactured and are expected to be perfectly drawn.

The graphite pencil as humble as it may seem is the simplest of drawing tools ever, yet it is unmatched even with today’s technologic advances, but when you visit the arts shops you will be amazed by the massive variety of these simple tools that come in many different qualities, shapes and sizes. If you are a beginner just starting out then a cheap and cheerful option might be best with the quick solution being to choose each of the following grades, 6B, 4B, 2B, H and 2H of fairly good quality. A serious beginner might want to buy a full set in a case or even buy a range of mechanical clutch pencils that can also be found in different sizes and grades, experimentation will help you find what’s best for you.

Line grooving tools.

Many artists use metal tools for drawing groves into the pager to create fine white lines by then lightly shading over the top with a pencil this creates very fine white lines because none of the pencil goes into the groves but some use hard plastic knitting needles as well and for very fine line work you can use a large darning needle with a fairly bunt tip.
What are pencils made from?

Pencil cores are made of powdered graphite (this is not lead as might be assumed because many people still call them lead pencils) the graphite is fired with clay, which varies in different hardness. A relatively soft, malleable type of graphite is used in a pencil which resembles lead and when first discovered it was mistakenly believed to be a different form of lead. Many people still think that pencil cores where once made of lead but they never where, graphite leaves small, smooth particles when used on paper and has a slight sheen because it is reflective.

Pencil Quality Varies.

Pencils can vary greatly in quality. Often the irregularities in substandard or badly processed graphite will lead to unpredictable varying tonal range, and even worse unintentional groves and scratches into the paper surface. Un-centered cores have a tendency to break when sharpening but the better quality pencils deliver a more reliable even tone with carefully graded hardness and are less likely to break.

Wooden-cased Pencils.

These pencils vary in hardness from about 9b (very soft) to a 9H (very hard) depending on brand and most in the beginning will start with a selection ranging from 2H, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B as these are more than sufficient. If you want to be doing extremely fine realistic tonal work then you will want to try the full range of pencil grades that are graded from 9H to 9B you could buy these in a full set but 4H is the hardest pencil I use.

Clutch and mechanical pencils.

Mechanical clutch pencils are very useful the traditional wooden cased pencils change their size, weight and balance as they are used and sharpened, which can be a problem where as clutch pencils have a regular constant weight, size and shape, they where once expensive but nowadays they can be bought very reasonably and the refill graphite sticks come in quantity which makes the even less expensive. They are environmentally friendly because there is no wood in them and they always stay sharp when working with small sizes. They come in a range of varying diameters from 0.5 to 5+mm I prefer these pencils to all others because they are very practical.

Graphite sticks and crayons.

Graphite sticks are thick solid graphite pencils that have no wood casing but have a coating on the outside for handling without getting graphite all over your hands which can be very messy they are helpful when going for broad, expressive work and shadows over lines made with a grooving tool or when wanting a visible paper tooth for a desired effect. Graphite crayons are chunky much like crayons are they are suitable for big, energetic work but they are messy as they have no coating on the outside so easily rub off onto your hand especially the softer grades but are the best for doing tactile, involved mark making on a large scale work or life drawing.

Powdered Graphite.

Powdered graphite is a more hands-on drawing medium, that is often applied with the fingers or a cloth that can be used in drawing to produce soft, loose marks it is also used to make a drawing surface toned for lifting with an eraser.

Carbon Blends.

Carbon pencils are made with carbon black or lamp black which is soot gathered from burning oil, giving it a smooth, very dark black line with variations on this being mixtures of carbons such as charcoal and or graphite. Particles vary in size depending what is the mix, soot has fine particle so is smooth and gives a nice even particle, charcoal is often quite rough. Compressed Charcoal pencils and carbon will be useful when wanting to obtain a true black, which is not possible with graphite because it is never black enough and reflective, always test the compatibility of application before doing your drawing.

Pastel and chalk pencils.

The black conte pencil is made from mixing carbon black and alumina chalk this has is smoother and creamier in consistency than the pastel, you can get hard pastels in pencil format, the manufacturers constantly experiment with the different media. Pencils which are white are either wax coloring pencils or chalk pastel pencils these are made from different combinations of mixed pigment, clay, chalk, gum and wax these other mixed media pencils may not always be compatible in pencil art, pencil drawings with graphite , and you should try them out first on a small test area.

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