Drawing Basics

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These are not just little tips and techniques, but a full course of learning how to see, think, and draw like an artist.

Before you can get to artistic drawing, you have to start with the drawing basics.  And that's what this section is all about, to get you off to a good start.

Good Habits from the Start

- why artists stand at their easels;
- what gestures to use as you work;
- how to position the easel if you stand;
- how to position yourself if sitting...

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Drawing Area Set-Up

- why you need your own space;
- what equipment you need;
- how to use easels and boards;
- your shopping list...

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About Drawing Grids

- why grids make us uneasy;
- famous artists who used them;
- Leon Battista Alberti and windows;
- what's a picture plane?...

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Grid Drawing Methods

- when are drawing grids useful;
- what is "aspect ratio";
- using grids to transfer an image in the same size and aspect ratio...

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Artist Supplies for Drawing

- an intro to charcoal and pencil drawing materials and what to buy;
- the difference between charcoal and pencil...

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Pencil Drawing Supplies

- what pencil leads are made of;
- American and European systems for pencil hardness and softness;
- when to use harder or softer pencils...

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Charcoal Drawing Supplies

- the two types of charcoal materials;
- how vine is made and how to use it;
- about "mixed" charcoals and using them...

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other drawing supplies and equipment

- cutters and how to sharpen pencils;
- pads, paper and sketchbooks;
- erasers (electrical, pencil, kneaded);
- chamois and how they are used...

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They are also a useful place to start, because by starting at the beginning, you can spare yourself much of the frustration and wasted money that I went through myself when I was just beginning to learn how to draw.

For starters, there is the interesting problem of artist supplies. Even today, sometimes when I walk into an art supply store looking for something there is still a great sense of being overwhelmed that washes over me:  so many toys!  So many EXPENSIVE toys!  How can I possibly choose?

Then there is the problem of dealing with the salesperson who may either not care at all about what's in your wallet, or who may care a little too much about it.  When I was first starting out I unfortunately came home with a lot of stuff that just wasn't suited to my needs - but the shop got richer.

Then there is the problem of just trying to understand your materials. When you have a good understanding of the difference between graphite and charcoal, and what an HB is for and what an HB even is, you are well on your way to picking up your medium to draw with confidence.

Other drawing basics include just getting into the right habits from the start.  Holding your pencil or charcoal just the correct way can make a big difference in how fast you progress, and knowing how to check for mistakes early on and how to even stand properly at an easel can be a wonderful help.

Another important factor in the drawing basic is simply how you set up your drawing area. I'll tell you the rather comic story of how I came to understand why it is so necessary to have your own drawing space, and give you a brief shopping list of the essentials you need to get your space - whether a whole atelier or a corner of your living room - ready for you to get drawing.

But that's not all to getting started.  In my live teaching in my art studio, I have learned that using drawing grids is essential to beginners getting a good grasp of how to see like an artist quickly; essential understanding for more advanced artists as well, like it was for Van Gogh

So take the time to read these pages carefully - they will get you off to a great start!

"Go from "Drawing Basics" to "What Artist Supplies Do You Need"

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