Drawing Basics


Lesson Info


Here's our trophy. You're gonna look at it and you're gonna say, hm, how do I draw that? I think I'm gonna use a 2b pencil. Just 'cause it's gonna show up a little bit better. Normally I'd go for the Hbs 'cause I'm used to it, but let's try 2b. I'm gonna go 4b. It'll show it better. So the first thing you do is block something in. You know how we just put something down, trace around it, just to get something on the paper? Okay, so I know it's got a circle up there and it's got... A couple of arms. And something goes down. And there's a base, and I'm not sure what's going on with this circle and that circle. There's a cylinder I know. So I mark that out. And then there's some other (mumbles) there. Alright, I've got that blocked in. Now what, I definitely need to straighten something up, don't I? Hm. Okay, well... How do I center something and straighten it up? Now if you're used to using Illustrator, Photoshop, all these online drawing tools, you say, oh, well, you just drag the guide...

. Or maybe you hit, click it to make it go to center. We can do that too, analog way. So I'm gonna use the edge of my finger, put it on the edge of the paper. Get a little feel for it. 'cause you don't want to get a paper cut on your finger. It feels like it's not gonna be too sharp. I'm gonna eyeball where I think the center is. Fortunately I have a clip right there. Okay. That's the center. I'm not gonna move my hand. Ready? Bring that down. Oh, I was pretty close, look at that. I was only that far off. So now I know where the center is. It's right in between those two lines. Okay. I'm not gonna trace this one. I'm really gonna measure it. So here we go, ready? Let's see if we can measure this. You ever seen people doing this? Hm. They look like real artists. This is what they're doing. You have to lock your elbow. You have to lock your wrist. You have to sit real straight and keep your head in the same position. Because this is going to be your point of reference measurement. This is your ruler. It always stays the same. It's like the one consistent thing. If you go like this, and the next thing you measure you go like this, you're not gonna get the same measurement because you're using two different rulers. So, say you're sitting straight. We're locking it. We're looking at this, we're going, hm, I think my whole ruler, from the top to the bottom, I've got one eye closed and I'm always closing the same eye, that big. So I kind of like dig my fingernail into my pencil a little bit, so I've got a line. Now you have two choices. One is, you can take that measurement and you can set it exactly down on your paper, and you can decide... This is how tall my trophy is. (mumbles) Yes. Okay. I held that up. And I'm putting the top of it on the highest thing I see, and I'm putting the bottom mark on the very lowest thing I see. It doesn't matter if it's like the front thing or the back thing. And I make that mark. My white pencil, my fingernail in there. So I know and I put it on there. That is how big the trophy is that I see. Okay. We have one measurement. Drawing from eyeballing something is really just all about measuring. Now I'm gonna say, okay, how big is just this silver part? I'm gonna do the same thing. Think I'm gonna start on the back here and I'm gonna go to the front. Hold that there. Okay? I can set it down here if I want. And I can make a line. Or if you don't always want to draw things that are exactly the same size as your pencil, 'cause you may want to branch out a little bit, you use this as a hole, and then you have to use ratios. So I think my hole is gonna be this big. And I'm looking at this, and I'm thinking, well, it kinda looks like quarters, doesn't it? So as it turns out, let's see. That's how big the top of mine is, so it's one, two, those are thirds. So 2/3, and this is the height as a whole. What is 2/3 of that? I think it's gonna be maybe more like here. Yeah. The base of my trophy is gonna be more like here. Look at that. I just eyeballed that really pretty far off. I thought the base was down here, but actually that base is very tall. So you're checking up on all your measurements. Okay? You don't need to leave all the extra lines. So I've got a center line and I've got the base of my trophy, and I've got the top of my trophy. Okay, now let's see. I think I wanna do just the round part. That's from here to here. Okay. So if my whole trophy's that big, just the round part, and it's probably about that big. Okay, we can fix that up a little. Let's erase the one, it doesn't work. And what about just to this part of my trophy? Let's see. Once you get some good basic ones done you can start comparing. If I know the inner bowl of my trophy's that same size, and I put it down here, say, oh... This measurement is just a little bit smaller than this measurement. So that's that big, that's that big. So that's the base of my trophy. Okay, I've got some good basics. Okay. I know, this comes out like that. And that comes out like that. So then... That must be there. If I wanted to I could keep measuring. But I'm not that particular. I know that this comes... Actually let's do a parallel line. Okay, so now I'm gonna say, the edge of this to the edge of that. Is that parallel? Hold it up straight. And then you can just kind of move it away from the trophy and look at it in relation to yourself and to the world. Yeah, actually that's pretty straight up and down. If the top of the trophy stuck out a lot more and the base was very small, I would have gone like this and said, oh, look at that, that's an angle, and I could actually put my angle down. But in fact mine's pretty straight. Okay. So I think this goes about that far. And then this, I drew that really small, and actually that was a mistake. It's pretty big. 'Cause it has this extra big lump here, like that. Okay. And let's just do one more measurement. Let's get how long the arms are. That's about that big. What do I have already that I've measured that's about that big? That's a little bit more than 2/3. So... That was my 2/3, the arms are about that big. Wow. The arms of the trophy are a lot wider than I thought they were, just by doing my drawing. Eyeballing it. They actually go out about that far. Okay? Now I'm gonna just erase any of these ones I got really long. So that's your measuring tool. In the analog world. In a computer world, you would be dragging guides and using your measuring tool. But we can drag guides here too. So, remember how we centered this? Now we can also do that as many parallel lines as we want. Here's one. Here's one. I think I want the other side of my trophy to stick out as far as this side. So I'm turning it around. Here's one. And I want this handle to stick out as far as this one. There. There. And then these ovals are another problem. These are called ellipses. Now ellipses are always kind of a problem for beginners, 'cause it's really hard to get what's the right angle and it's also hard to measure them in relation to each other. So I'm gonna show you. If this is too advanced for you, don't worry about it, I just want you to know that this exists. When you look at something, this is your eye level. Your horizon is your eye level. That's perspective on ellipses. If you held this up to your eye level, this would be totally flat. If you move it towards you, or away from you... These ellipses are going to change in this crazy perspective. So basically, the more you look down into something the closer to a round circle it is. So... (mumbles) Yeah, like that? Okay. Actually that's upside down. So, I'm gonna say my trophy, even though it's sitting on the table, I'm gonna say this line across the top is pretty close to flat. Just because I want it to be. Okay, erase anything else. And then, I know as I look down on these things, all these ellipses are gonna sequentially get a little bit wider. Now you don't have to worry about this. There are so many good drawings that have totally wonky ellipses. So if you don't like doing this type of perspective, you don't have to do it. But I just thought I'd show you that it exists. This is one of those notes that you just kinda take some notes in the margins, if you wanna come back to it later, check it out later. Okay. And then now I've got things lined up pretty well. So I'm just gonna fill in the rest of my drawing. How I want to. Okay. Oopsies, there we go. Down there. Okay. So that's the basics. Got some pretty heavy lines. Now I can repeat everything we've just learned if I want. Go back, straighten up my lines, add some shading, make it look rounder. Follow... That example where, you know, a cylinder, that's a cylinder. A cone, that's a cone. That's just the basics of measuring... And eyeballing it to draw from real life.

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.