Drawing Basics


Lesson Info


So, just like line quality, you can probably make up 10 different ways to shade. You've probably done some already yourself. Here are some of the basics. Hatching. Hatching, I think it was kind of invented because when people were printing, you can't print shades in values, you have to just print lines. So this is when you take really fine lines, and I'm gonna go in here and do some hatching on this pair of scissors. So I'm looking for a dark spot. You look at your object, that's not the right pair of scissors. And you try and find a dark spot, what's the darkest spot? And you kind of circle it a little. I know this area in here is gonna be really dark, and I'm gonna hatch it. Just kind of drawing lines in one direction. These are also very dark, got a really dark spot here. So just draw lines in one direction, and that's called hatch marks. Then there's also cross-hatching. That's when something gets really dark, darker than you can do in lines in one direction, and you start doing li...

nes the other direction. Hatching can be very tidy, kind of what I'm doing now with the fine pencil, or it can be kinda more scrubby and rough over here. There's a hatched pair of scissors, okay. Make that darker. I'm gonna do that again over here. Okay, and that one's kind of lighter. There's just a little bit of a dark line, so you don't have to cover the whole area with hatching, just kind of in spots. Now to start shading, what I always do is I, you squint your eyes down, if I put this on a white piece of paper you'll be able to see it better. Well I'll put it right here. You squint your eyes really low, and you should be able to pick out where the darkest spots are, and also where the highlights are. So before I start shading, I'm just kind of like, oh, well here is a big highlight right here. I'm just gonna very lightly circle it just so I know I'm not gonna put any shading in that area. Then when I come back in with my hatches, 'cause I know this is a very rusty pair of scissors, I'm gonna totally avoid that mark and not put anything on it. Okay, there's a little screw there. I made mine bigger, but you can do that, that's your artistic license. If you made your screw bigger than the screw that is actually there, that's fine. It's your choice, change it or not. So that's cross-hatching, you can either go one direction or both directions, or, let's see here, this one's really dark, and I'm kinda getting tired of drawing slowly. I kinda wanna do a quick sketch on this one, so I'm just gonna do it, you can go really fast, and kind of rough and loose. Even sorta becomes a little bit of a scribble after doing it so much. Okay, then there's stippling, stippling is like the dotted line, that's when you just come in, look for highlights, oh that's the wrong pair of scissors. Okay, here we go, look for highlights. Oh, I already missed some already, here we go. That's a very special part of that scissors. Right there, that's my highlight, so I'm gonna circle it so I know not to touch it. There we go, then there's a little shading down here. So if I'm gonna stipple this, I would come in with all the little dots. Stipples, as you can see, they can be very light, or they can get really dark, or again, loose or messy. This is not one of my favorite techniques, just because it takes a lot of patience, but it is actually really fun to do when you're not using a fine pencil. If you're using a brush or something, it's fun. Okay, so as you can see, you can stipple this whole thing, just leaving the highlight. The next one is using the edge, so as we were using the edge of our pencil just to draw the lines a little bit, you can use your edge to do, block in big areas really fast, or do a shadow underneath them. So I think this still needs to be a lot darker, so I'm just gonna, there it goes again. (laughing) This is really break-y lead, I'm gonna move on to the other pencil soon. Okay, I'm gonna use the edge of my pencil. I'm gonna just block this one in real quickly, 'cause I want this to be a very dark pair of scissors. The other thing about this edge of your pencil technique is it works not only on the actual object, but it's great for doing the shadow underneath the object. Okay, so for example on this one, I decided I wanted to keep this scissors really, really simple, but I'm gonna come back in and do shadows underneath all of these. So you can focus on what they call the negative space. So the positive space would be the scissors themselves, and I feel like since they're kind of delicate and they have that nice pin, I wanna leave them simple, but my negative space is all the space around them. I'm gonna make that a lot darker. This lead is broken, that's why it's not working. Blending is this next one. Now, the first way people would naturally come to blend is this. I'm gonna use the edge of my pencil. I'm gonna rough this in a little bit. First instinct, lick your finger and smudge it out. That's blending, the only problem with that is your finger gets graphite all over it, and you can't lick it again, so I do like using this technique a lot, but I usually have dirty artist pants on, and I'll wipe it on my pants, or you just have a nice little wet paper towel right here, and you wipe it on your paper towel. And then if your paper towel is wet, you can keep blending, but it makes a really soft, smooth transition. This is for when you're doing like really soft light on something. You can also blend with a blender. So the way you do it is you get some graphite on there, so graphite is really just like some powdery stuff. It happens to be hardened into a lead, and then you would use your blender instead of your finger. If you get really into it, you can put a little bit of paint thinner on that or something, and get it really washy, okay. So that's blending, get it really light, really dark. And then we have the scumble, the scumble and the scrub of the lines are a very similar thing to each other. I also do them all the time. You can kind of follow the contour of something. These objects we're doing are pretty flat, but so if something's going around, and you wanna do the contour of it, you would maybe, like you could kinda, let's see here. You can kinda scumble going over these contours a little. Kinda, it's really just like scrubbing and filling in. You do this a lot when you're sketching quickly. And just kind of, let your pencil just kind of dig into any areas that you think are deeper. It's just a big scribble. This area is dark, okay, and then also, eraser, the eraser is a blending tool. It's just as much a drawing tool as any of the other ones. It's not just for getting rid of mistakes. So I use it if I wanna draw highlights, oh that looks pretty light there. Just bring your eraser in, and draw a white line with it. And knock out a highlight, now we're down to these. Shadow and reflected light, and this is another art school basic that you see all the time. You see the sphere, the cube, the cone, and the cylinder, and how do you shade them? Now in school, they're gonna put, get like a round plaster sphere, and they're gonna direct a light onto it, really precisely, and it's gonna be on a white piece of paper, and the whole room's gonna be dark, and it's gonna get kinda hot, and you're getting a little tired, you'll be staring at this white ball. But when you do that, you can really see what's going on. Basically, if the light's coming from this way, that's the thing that is closest to the light is probably going to be your highlight, and on the other side is going to be your shadow. So I'm just gonna give quick little examples of those things. It gets a little boring when you're just drawing spheres and cubes, but if you break down whatever object you're drawing, say I'm gonna draw a trophy, like here's a trophy right here, you can look at it, and you can break down each object into those four forms. So this is kind of round, this is not the exact same trophy, but you can see there's a round belly of it, and it does look a lot like a sphere, so the thing that is closest, if my sun's coming over here, the thing that's closest to it is gonna be your highlight, and I would like draw an easy little circle around that, and the edge that's furthest from it, that's gonna be my shadow, so it ends up looking like that. This is kinda like a cone, it's just upside down. Same thing, two more cones, and then this down here, that's gonna be the cylinder. So the thing that's closest is gonna be the highlight. I'm gonna draw a little circle around that, and then I'm gonna really scrub in dark here, and then it just kind of fades out. When you're looking at the object, especially a shiny object, you're gonna find all kinds of different little reflections. You'll see yourself, you'll see your light, anything that's on your desk, so you might wanna start out with just, I like to use a really tarnished thing, or you could spray paint an item if you're having, getting distracted by all the reflections. So then up here, these handles are just flat. They are kind of like the cube. They just have the edges go around. Now, there's one kind of important thing that might seem like it's getting a little ahead of you, but so just kind of remember it, and put it in there even if you don't see it. If something is wrong with your drawing, this is why. It's called, it's the reflected light. So, if we were gonna draw the cylinder like this. Okay, and I'm like, okay, well I got a highlight, and I'm gonna come around here, and I'm gonna do the shadow. Okay, real quick, so it's kind of lighter here, gets darker, and darker, and darker, and darker, and darker, and yeah, this is a white sphere, did I say cylinder, this is a white sphere, and then I'm gonna say, oh okay, well my sphere is sitting on a white piece of paper, so that thing that is closest to it, the shadow there is gonna be darkest, right. So then I'm gonna draw that dark too, and it's on the dark side, and then you get this shape where everything here in this spot is really dark, and it kind of flattens out there. Now you have sort of a white spot next to a dark hole. So just keep in mind that there's this thing called reflected light, and what it is, is it's the light bouncing off the surface that the thing is sitting on, and hitting the other side of the sphere that's furthest from the light. So if you draw your sphere, just add it in there, and it's gonna, and it shows up right here. It shows up in the cube 'cause it's closest to the ground. And it shows up there, anything that's like on the shadow side, closest to the object. So usually I'm gonna tell you to draw what you see, but oftentimes, it's really hard to see that stuff. But especially like people who do animations, or comic book type of drawings, they put that in all the time, 'cause it makes it look really dynamic and has a good shape. So, doing the same thing here, doing kind of a light to a medium, then I get really heavy and dark. Okay, and then here, it's gonna be dark again, and then the shadow gets lighter as it gets away from the object. But look, just adding in that tiny little hint of reflected light really makes it look a lot rounder. So if you look at you're drawing, and you're like, uh, doesn't look 3D, just add that little strip. And then, now that you know to look for it, when you're out and looking at things, see if you can pick it up in spots. We're not picking it up here, 'cause I've got like a dark table, and crazy lights. Okay, (laughing) okay so, so, I'm gonna finish up this drawing just a little bit. So this is the one I was sketching all over it in crazy places, but if I were just sticking to one technique in one place, it would end up looking sort of like this. Let's look at what we've done. Here, I kind of did a, now that I have a nice drawing cube, I probably would be putting my tracing paper on it all the time. So here, I kind of have, what is this? I would say this is maybe a little bit of scribbling up here, so I want, and I've got some more scumbling here too. Over in here, I wanted this kind of the shinier, the smoother area that's silver, 'cause see how this is painted, and this is just kind of more of a, I'm gonna call it velvety. So I'm using the edge of my pencil, and a little blending. Making it softer so that rust is velvety. And then I use the edge of my pencil, I just got a little bit of a shadow in there. Here's my really dark one, so I colored in almost the whole thing completely, but then I squinted my eyes, and I just picked out a few little highlights, just to give it a little 3D. And then my shadow behind this one is a lot lighter, so that makes it really stand out from the paper. This one, as I said, I just wanted to keep those really clean lines, and then I just really did some shading on that nice little screw. And over here, we can just kind of finish this one up a little bit. So I looked at it, and I thought, well, the first thing I see is these little marks. Now those to me look just like, kind of like these weighted marks, or this side of this side of pencil, so I went in, and I just put in side of the pencil. They start, you can actually see, they start out wide, and they get narrow, so anything that tells you already how to draw it, that's easy. It's got some little rust spots, so I did some of the little stippling on there. And then, in here, super dark, I'm gonna scrub it a little. These things, again, I wanted that gesture in there, so that's got my scribble gesture. Okay, and I think I wanna make, when I squint my eyes, these handles are red, so they really are a lot darker. So I'm gonna just pick out any little highlights. Save some highlights, very lightly draw around them so it says don't draw in that area. And I'm gonna just color in the rest of this so it looks like it's painted. Okay, round that one out, the paint's all chipped here, plus I wanna be able to see my gesture, so I'm just gonna ignore that spot, maybe do a few little chip mark looking things. We got good shadows in here. Make the rest of this look painted.

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! 



  • 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.
  • Definitely different from any other drawing class I've taken. Suggestions: 1. When the instructor is drawing, I would have liked the camera to say on the drawing. 2. The instructor should be more prepared. It seemed that she had to refer to her notes far to often, 3. When paying for this class, I did not know that the videos would not be complete. They end at point where it is clear that the instructor is continuing on, but I don't get to see the remainder. There are better, free and paid, drawing courses available online.