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Drawing Basics

Lesson 2 of 10

Get Started Drawing

Cleo Papanikolas

Drawing Basics

Cleo Papanikolas

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Lesson Info

2. Get Started Drawing

Lesson Info

Get Started Drawing

So we're gonna start out really simply. Just get a pencil and a piece of paper and look at it. What we have here. Nice white piece of paper staring at you. The first thing you want to do when you see that is really quickly Put something on top of it and cover it up. Get out, Justin. Object. You have your desks. Could be something kind of flat and put it down there. Just slap it down and draw around. It can draw kind of lightly. Just Tracy edges over here when it has a little hole in it. So I'm gonna get that too high. Then you move it. You look at it. Ah. Okay. Well, there's something There's a little drawing on on my page. So it's great to get something down like this because isn't it a lot easier to correct something that you can see mistakes in it than to just have, like, a magic drawing come out of your head perfectly on the page? So now we look at it like Ok, well, I'm missing a line here and this is coming up a little. I can fix that. Not a problem. Let's jump right in. Um, it's ...

also good just to do this just, like, start getting a warm up. You could do this loose and messy. I can see that this is a little crooked to take my eraser. Kind of straighten that up a little. Okay, clean up, clean up any lines, but that you can put it right on your page. Next, you look at it. And I noticed. Also get some of the three D aspects in here that actually comes down into their This is a tube, so it's a little bit of a childlike drawing. But, you know, as a beginner, you're in this perfect, beautiful, innocent space. Because what happens is once people get really, really good at drawing, then they're like, Oh, no. I lost my child like innocence, and they actually go back and try and try to draw like this on purpose. So keep records of this and keep your drawing. So you want to come back to it and be like, what did I used to draw like before? I got all influenced by all these classes I took. So the 1st 1 I'm not really going to tell you a whole lot of what to do on it, cause I do want to keep that a little bit. Just fix any mistakes that you have in here. Straighten it up. Okay? This is really just to get a warm up to get something down on that page. So it's easy to get started, and I have a wiggly line online. I'm just gonna do this freehand thing. You don't have to draw exactly what you see. So if you do have a hard time getting started and you bought yourself a really nice $10 piece of paper and you want to do perfect great drawing on it kind of do get a little jittery. You get that fear, the blank page going a little bit. Or maybe you get a nice brand new notebook. You look at it like, OK, I'm gonna do some great in here. Now I'm going to be an artist. One of my techniques to get over that is I never start on the first page of my notebook. Go in, flipped through. Several paid to start on the fifth page or something like that. Start drawing there. It's just like when you're when you're writing an introduction to something like what I just did or writing an artist statement. You know, those always come after you've already done all your work. Then if you filled your notebook, come back and then fill in the first few pages once you feel get a um so I think let's see, starting to feel a little warmed up, straightening things up a little. Um, I don't think I'm gonna make this one. Look, I've got a little little one in the back. I'm going to go a little bit. Three d, but not too much. This is pretty straight on. If you're worried about your blank page two and now you're starting to look at it and lots of little crooked and use Your little inner critic starts coming up on your shoulder and saying, I don't know about that. Actually, I don't know about that. That was That was a long goes over there. That's what your erasers for, Um, you know, what is what is that inner critic saying to you, Who is that guy? It's like, what if you were a real person and some guy just walked up behind you and started saying Oh, you're not going to do it. Not looking so good. I mean, he would you would A real person said that you would think, Oh, he's just a really poor judge of character, isn't he? This'll person who's walking up to me. He's kind of a loud mouth, and he doesn't really know what he's talking about. And, you know, just show him off. Don't burn any bridges, but okay, I'll talk to you some other time. The other thing you can dio if you're worried about getting these nice art supplies and making the masses of them is just get free art supplies like the paper you're drawing on. Now, you know, you could probably get a pencil like this. And some paper like this pretty easily. Just do a ton of drawings on something free. Okay, so I think we're going to just call this fairly good. Just finished drawing it instructor. Unstructured. And then gonna move on. I'm gonna put a little shadow under here. Gonna work on shadows too. Anybody feeling warmed up yet? I'm starting to. Okay. Do you ever just pull out printer paper out of your printer and start with that sort of is a low pressure. I dio drown. That's what this is. And if I'm just trying to figure out the composition like where I want to put things on the page or how big I almost always start with printer paper, either printer or tracing. And I say that last good piece of paper for when I'm gonna transfer an image onto it when I've kind of got it figured out. And you're just starting out with a standard number two pencil? Yeah. Yep, that's awesome. Yeah, this is a pretty good pencil. This, um I don't usually use that pink eraser. I usually use a final eraser because this one kind of they seem to get hard really quickly, and then they make more marks than they take away. Um, okay, yeah, when you're starting a project to when you're just looking at this blank page, there's also another tendency that artists get where they start planning it out in their head. They're like, OK, well, I'm going to do this technique and do that one, but I needed I need to get some more materials. First thing I need to do for this project is go shopping so I'd also like to say start sketching before you go stop shopping. Because a lot of times as you're working out your ideas, you'll change your mind about what you want to dio um, so just start out with the basics. Your printer paper, your number two pencil, maybe get a better eraser. Something else it's good to get is one of these. I use this dusting brush all the time because that's why I because I use it every day. But you can also get a dusting brush like that to the reason you need a brush is because when you get a big old mound of eraser shavings and then you take your claiming hands and go like this, you're gonna leave oil and smudge your drawing, and this cleans it up really nicely. The other brush that you just showed us that just like a standard paintbrush. Yeah, it's called a chip brush. Not as good for paintings because they lose all these hairs, but they're great for dusting. Okay, so I would say we have just jumped in and finished up a little drawing and it wasn't bad, right? Kind of easy to start out with. So I'm gonna start on another page now, and this time we're gonna think a little bit more about composition. That one was kind of smack in the middle, so grab a few more things that you have around the house. So I'm choosing to grab a bunch of scissors, and I did it this way. And when you're laying him out for inspiration, you can think of something called a flat lay, which is you see pictures of them in magazines or instagram a lot where that's where Maybe someone takes, uh, the Baghdad pact for vacation, and they lay everything out real neat on a grid and square and take a shot straight down. Or that's also called a Knowling. A Knowling is usually more detailed if someone like takes a part of radio and takes all the little pieces and arranges on. And these kind of kind of came from like a vintage school science chart, and that's where you know you would hang it on the blackboard and it rolled down from the top, and they'll be like all the different clamshells there are, or maybe all the different kinds of poppies. And then the little seed pods and the roots, and they can't. It's, like, scientifically diagramming a bunch of things, but all laid out in a grid or a collection of butterflies or collection really anything. So take a collection of something, and that's a great way to practice because you're doing a lot of one thing and lay everything out. What kind of arrangement? On your page. How you want to. I'm gonna put, um, one here. One there. Think about Do you want to have it? Like I'm doing scissors so some will be open. The sun will be closed. E here. Okay, that one there. Okay, We kind of like that. That looks good and then do the same thing. So we're already doing something we already know how to do right? Draw around it kind of block in those shapes and clear with this point as far as line pressure, Are you just doing a really light tracing around the objects? When I started out, I want to go very lightly because I know that I am usually going to erase those lines and replace them with something that I want to do on purpose. A very purposeful line Okay, there's those little red scissors. I just love those. Then the's sharp, little pointing, birdlike sitters. It's kind of nice to get a variety of colors like I've got this one's really dark so that when we get into shading, that will be different. Doing highlights on something dark as you go around to this is getting a little more particular. But you can notice that because the pencil is whiter here and narrower here, if you're going to draw around something that's very high, your pencils gonna move away from the object more. And if you're drawing on something that's very low, your pencil moves in closer. So when we're cleaning up these drawings, you can kind of If something looks wonky, that that's probably why. Okay, also, this is kind of a tactile thing. When you're touching your drawing, you kind of get to know it a little bit better. Your your scissors and like this little screw, I really like That's on it, cause it's very decorative on a very plain, utilitarian, pre a pair of scissors, these big, scary scissors that are really old. I can't imagine all the things they've cut in somebody's kitchen so you can think about what you're objects have done too. And that gives you a little bit more of an idea of how you're gonna drum.

Class Description

Do you want to learn how to draw but don't know where to start? In this class, professional painter & illustrator Cleo Papanikolas shares fun, beginner-friendly drawing techniques that can turn anyone into an artist. This class will help you overcome your fear of the blank page and focus on putting pencil to paper so you can draw the way you always wished you could.

In this class, Cleo will cover the fundamentals in drawing including:

  • Using different pencils for line quality
  • Applying different shading methods
  • Practice measurement and proportions in your work 
Cleo will help you embrace imperfections in your work with step-by-step exercises that apply key drawing techniques. 

Join Cleo and get started drawing today! 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Line Quality


Lightbox Drawing Photos

Drawing Tools and Materials List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Rhonda Bender

This class is about two hours long. Overall it is a friendly and accessible approach to introducing some basic drawing techniques and tools that is appropriate for those who are nervous about or just novice to drawing. It lets the student jump in by tracing a basic outline which is then detailed. Towards the end the instructor demonstrates a more advanced type of tracing using a tablet as a lightpad, and there is also helpful information on how to trace one's own work to transfer it to better paper or slightly alter the drawing to be larger/wider/etc. The middle portion has overview information on types of lines and methods of shading. These aren't super thorough examinations of those topics, but should be ample to complete the exercises and drawings included and recommended in the class. Likewise, the overview of drawing tools and papers is an overview, but strikes a good balance between overwhelming with too much information, and giving students enough info to know what tools they need for basic drawing and how to use them. There is a brief overview of how to use the sight size method to draw freehand more accurately. This is a subject that could easily be an entire class topic on its own. Some will find this enough info to get going, others might prefer expanded information and more details on this. The more complex subject of ellipses in perspective is touched on only briefly. (Perspective is also a complex subject that needs a whole class of its own, so this is understandable.) In contrast to some other reviewers, I did not have a lot of issues with the filming and camera angles. A lot of time was spent on the angle of looking at the drawing in action. However, it is clear that material was edited out from the live version. The edited version doesn't follow the drawing of every exercise through to its conclusion, and sometimes segments end or start abruptly.


I like it. it's not very in-depth but it gave me the courage to start drawing, and I had so much fun. Great for beginners.

a Creativelive Student

There was a lot of good information in this course: types of shading; analogue versions of digital tools like guidelines and centring. I had an ah-ha moment when Cleo talked about ellipses. That alone was worth the price of the course. I also loved the part about using a lightbox, as well as tracing and graphite papers as tools - but in a way that doesn't impinge on copyrights.