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Lesson 2 from: Drawing Fundamentals: Getting Started

Amy Wynne

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Lesson Info

2. Materials

Next Lesson: Demo: Materials

Lesson Info


So the first part of this morning is really all about materials and you probably are dying to get started just making marks with all the things that we've organized in front of you. I'm gonna take you through some materials bit by bit. So you could literally draw on a napkin with a pen you find in your purse at a bar, you know, you can draw on anything with anything. You could take this whole course with, like, a two B pencil and a piece of Xerox paper, right? I mean that's totally, totally possible. So it could be very very simple, but if you walk into an art store, you, I mean if you're like me, you know, there's a lot of possibilities, right? There's a lot of possibilities in terms of material choices. I have this great little setup you can see here and you can see it here where I organize all my pencils in a certain way especially when I'm traveling. But I chose these pencils out of, like, thousands of pencils. I happen to like these kinds of pencils. And so how do you develop your...

preferences around what materials that you wanna use? Well you just have to try them out and when you go to the art store you often see little scratch pads next to pencils and you can try things out, but it's not only the material itself, but also the surface. There are surfaces that might pair better with certain materials than other materials. So we're gonna not only talk about the actual tool to draw with, but we're also gonna talk about varied surfaces to experiment on. And that's a really tactile situation, right? To kind of work with surfaces. So... What I wanna take a look at, this is how it's gonna work. I'm gonna show you a couple of drawings done in a particular material, right? And it doesn't mean that you have to draw like this. It's just demonstration of, like, how that material could manifest on a particular surface. And then I'm gonna show you the material, we're gonna experiment with that material, see how it feels, and when I ask you to make marks with that material, I'm not really asking you to draw any thing, I'm actually just saying scribble. And I'm gonna show you and I'm gonna show you what kind of line it might make and then you can play with it. It's really sort of, you know, mimicking and playing a little bit. And by doing this we're really allowing ourselves to sort of feel like, oh, what does graphite feel like against a regular sketch paper? You know, you might love it or you might feel like, "I kind of have a preference for charcoal. Interesting." And we'll work with that, alright? So the first step is looking at a few surfaces. So I put out a few surfaces for you guys to look at, but I also wanna bring up this idea of the possibility of using sketchbooks. So artists often have a little sketchbook that they keep in their pocket. Like I love something this size. It's tiny and I can put it in my back pocket and it's super easy just to, like, take out and sketch in. You want it to be easy. Like, it's really nice to think that you'd have this huge sketchbook and you're gonna go out and make masterpieces everyday, but the reality is, right, like you're probably not gonna use it if you get this huge book. So something like this is really great to buy. Really inexpensive, just have it. Also inexpensive is good because if it's inexpensive, it doesn't feel precious. Right? Like I love this sketchbook. They gave it to me here. It's so beautiful. But already I feel myself thinking, "I've gotta put something really beautiful in here "'cause it's such a beautiful book, right?" But it's wonderful and this is also a great size to have as a sketchbook. So sketchbooks are great surfaces and they come in with a lot of different kinds of paper. But the other papers that you have in front of you, some of them, I think the ones on the very top, you can feel them. They're just a basic sort of buff colored drawing paper. What's under that is a gray piece of paper which is more of a charcoal, it's a charcoal paper. It's a toned paper and it has a particular texture to it which is, which helps to hold the pigment, a chalkier pigment, so you can sort of feel this. You feel that dappled texture, right? They do that, they make it in that way so it holds the pigment better. Especially when you're working with something chalky. And then there's sort of a longer sheet of paper that you have and it actually has, if you, it depends on the lighting, but if you hold it in raking light, you can see that there's actually little lines on it, like little raised lines. And they call that laid paper. It's when they make the paper, the pulp, they put it on a screen with a little bit of texture to it so that when they lift the paper off it has this really mild sort of linear texture and that, again, this is charcoal paper, that, again, helps the charcoal stick to the paper versus something super slick. So that's another paper we'll be experimenting on. And then there's one other sheet, sort of a bright white, little bit more of a square sheet. This is what we call a multimedia paper. Sort of an all purpose paper. So multimedia papers are a little thicker. This one is a little bit on the thin side, but this you could really do anything on, including a little bit of water-based media that we're also gonna experiment with. So we're gonna try that. So these are some surfaces you might consider and papers come in different weights and different thicknesses and textures, but these are really good basic ones to start with. Alright, are you ready to make some marks? Alright, let's do it. So what we're gonna do, I'd like you to have your basic drawing paper on top. It's the one that has the most sheets. It's just a, you know, kind of a yellowish paper. You're gonna have that on top and actually the very first thing we're gonna do is I'm gonna teach you how to sharpen a pencil.

Ratings and Reviews


I love taking courses with Amy Wynne. (I've taken courses with her at RISD and I'll pretty much take any course she teaches.) She inspires me. One thing I wish is that I had been given a list of materials so I could have prepared for this and done all the activities as Amy did them. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I loved it!


This class was great in demonstrating technique as well as helping me get in the right mindset to draw! I found it very helpful for my own practice and I will continue use what I learned. Amy Wynne is a very thoughtful and motivating teacher.

Mike Sims

So far so good; the instructor is great. BUT please add a list of materials to purchase and have ready to use for the full benefit and experience in this class! Wish I would have known. I will have to grab these items and come back to re-watch the materials demos section of this class.

Student Work