Get Started Drawing


Drawing Basics


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 do we have here? Nice, white piece of paper staring at you. The first thing you wanna do when you see that, is really quickly put something on top of it and cover it up. So. (laughs) Get out just an object you have at your desks, could be something kind of flat, and put it down there, just slap it down, and draw around it. You can draw kind of lightly. Just trace the edges. Go over here. Mine has a little hole in it, so I'm gonna get that, too. Okay. And then you move it and you look at it. You say, ah, okay, well there's something. There's a little drawing 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, it's like, okay, well I'm missing a line here, and this is curving up a little, I can ...

fix that. Not a problem. Let's jump right in. It's also good just to do this, just like, start getting a warm-up. You can do this loose and messy. I can see that this is a little crooked, can take my eraser, kind of straighten that up a little. Okay. Clean up any lines, you can put it right on your page next to you and look at it. And I notice, also, get some of the 3D aspects in here. That actually comes down into there. 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 childlike innocence, and they actually go back and try to draw like this on purpose. So keep records of this and keep your drawings, so you'll wanna 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 first one, I'm not really gonna tell you a whole lot of what to do on it, 'cause I do wanna 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 on mine, I'm just gonna do this freehand, 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 dollar piece of paper and you wanna do a perfect, great drawing on it, you kinda do get a little jittery, you get that fear of the blank page going a little bit. Or maybe you get a nice, brand new notebook, and you look at it, and it's like, oh, okay, I'm gonna do something great in here, now I'm gonna be an artist. One of my techniques to get over that is I never start on the first page of my notebook. I go in, flip through several pages, start on the fifth page or something like that, start drawing there. It's just like, when you're writing an introduction to something, like what I just did, or writing an artist statement, those always come after you've already done all your work. Then, if you've filled your notebook, come back and then fill in the first few pages, once you feel good. So I think, let's see, I'm starting to feel a little warmed up. Straightening things up a little. I don't think I'm gonna make this one look, I've got a little, little one in the back, I'm gonna go a little bit 3D, but not too much. This is pretty straight on. If you're worried about your blank page, too, and now you're starting to look at it, and you're like, mm, that's a little crooked, and your little inner critic starts coming up on your shoulder and saying, hmm, I don't know about that. Actually I don't know about that, that was kind of wrong, goes over there, that's what your eraser's for. You know, what is that inner critic saying to you? Who is that guy? It's like, what if he were a real person, and some guy just walked up behind you and started saying, mm, you're not gonna do it. Not looking so good. I mean, a real person said that, you would think, oh, he's just a really poor judge of character, isn't he? This person who's walking up to me. He's kind of a loudmouth and he doesn't really know what he's talking about, and you know, just shoo him off. Don't burn any bridges, but okay, I'll talk to you some other time. The other thing you can do, if you're worried about getting these nice art supplies and making messes of them is just get free art supplies, like the paper you're drawing on now. 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 gonna just call this fairly good. Just finish drawing it unstructured. And then we're gonna move on. I'm gonna put a little shadow under here, gonna work on shadows, too. Is anybody feeling warmed up yet? I'm starting to. Okay. And so, Cleo, do you ever just pull out printer paper out of your printer and start with that, sort of as a low pressure medium to start drawing on? I do, all the time, yeah. That's what this is, and if I'm just trying to figure out the composition, like where I wanna put things on the page or how big, I almost always start with printer paper. Either printer or tracing. And I save 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, No. 2 pencil, yeah? Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. This is a pretty good pencil. I don't usually use that pink eraser. I usually use a vinyl eraser, 'cause this one kind of, they seem to get hard really quickly and then they make more marks than they take away. Okay, yeah, when you're starting a project, too, 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, okay, well I'm gonna do this technique, and I'm gonna do that one, but mm, 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 shopping, because a lot of times, as you're working out your ideas, you'll change your mind about what you wanna do. So just start out with the basics. Your printer paper, your No. 2 pencil, maybe get a better eraser. Something else that's good to get is one of these. I use this dusting brush all the time because I use it every day. But you can also get a dusting brush like that, too. And the reason you need a brush is because when you get a big ol' mound of eraser shavings and then you take your clammy hands and go like this, you're gonna leave oil and smudge your drawing. And this cleans it up real nicely. The other brush that you just showed us, that's just like a standard paint brush, yes? 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'll do it this way. And, when you're laying 'em out, for inspiration, you can think of something called a flat lay, which is, you see pictures of them in magazines or on Instagram a lot, where that's where maybe someone takes the bag they've packed 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 anolling. Anolling is usually more detailed. If someone like, takes apart a radio and takes all the little pieces and arranges them. And these kind of came from a vintage school science chart, and that's where you would hang it on the blackboard and it rolls down from the top, and there'll be like, all the different clam shells there are, or maybe, all the different kinds of poppies and then the little seed pods and the roots. And it's like scientifically diagramming a bunch of things but all laid out in a grid. Or a collection of butterflies or a collection of 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, or kind of arrange it on your page how you would want to. I'm gonna put one here. I'll do a bunch of scissors, one there. And think about do you want to have it like, I'm doing scissors, so some will be open, some will be closed. And I wanna do another one here. Okay, that one there. Okay, I 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 Cleo, at this point, as far as line pressure, are you just doing a really light tracing around the objects? Yes. When I start out, I wanna go very lightly. Because I know that I'm usually going to erase those lines and replace them with something that I wanna do on purpose. A very purposeful line. Okay. There's those little red scissors, I just love those. And then, these sharp little pointy birdlike scissors. It's kind of nice to get a variety of colors, like I've got this one's really dark. So when we get into shading, that'll be different. Doing highlights on something dark. As you go around, too, this is getting a little more particular, but you can notice that because the pencil is wider here and narrower here, if you're gonna draw around something that's very high, your pencil's 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'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 scissors and like, this little screw I really like that's on it, 'cause it's very decorative on a very plain, utilitarian pair of scissors. These are 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 your objects have done, too, and that gives you a little bit more of an idea of how you're gonna draw 'em.

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! 


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.