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Drawing Lesson 36, Part 3 – Learn How to Draw

Learn How to Draw a Life Model in Red Pencil

Video Lesson Description

In this video part of the Life Drawing Lesson you will learn how to draw a female model in red pencil. In previous two parts we made a constructive drawing of the model and did first steps of shades rendering.

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Learn How to Draw

Many beginners have a strong desire to learn how to draw something; for example, how to draw a head, how to draw a girl, how to draw a hand and so on. While this aspiration is meritorious, it lacks an understanding as to what drawing skills actually are.

By learning how to draw something you will never achieve real drawing skills. You will only collect some experience by copying some particular subject. This approach is very limiting. Why learn how to draw a girl? You need to learn how to draw in general. What difference would it make if you will learn how to draw one particular girl in one particular pose? If you have to draw another model, you will have to start again learning from the beginning. If you have drawn 100 models, then you have a collection of 100 drawings. This will not guarantee strong drawing skills.


Learn How to Draw
If you understand how to draw a model, then you can apply this knowledge to draw any model you want. I hope you see the difference.

In total, I have spent 15 years studying fine art. During all these years of learning how to draw my teachers never gave me a task such as, “and now you will learn how to draw something”. Instead, they used different subjects for me to learn the rules and techniques of drawing.

Those rules and techniques are now the foundation of my art abilities, skills and knowledge. This is how I want you to learn, as well.

When someone asks me, for example, “can you draw a girl?” – such a question sounds so naïve. So, I want you to learn the art of drawing instead of learning to draw some particular subject.

The rules and techniques of drawing are not complicated. They combine simple things like:

– How to choose the right materials for drawing;

– How to select the right format, position and proportions for an artwork;

– How to hold a pencil;

– How to use your arm, hand and fingers to make marks in pencil and other drawing tools;

– How to make constructive linear drawing;

– How to train your eyes to recognize and analyze angles, sizes and proportions;

– How to check those angles, sizes and proportions using the pencil you draw with;

– How to see objects as transparent to understand their construction and location in space;

– How to use rules of linear perspective including: one-point, two-point, three-point and four-point perspectives;

– Rules of aerial perspective in drawing;

– How to correctly draw complex figures by mentally simplifying such figures by using common geometrical objects like: the sphere, cube, cylinder, pyramid or cone;

– Rules of composition and how to apply them to achieve your desired artistic goals;

– Understanding of human anatomy;

– Knowledge of the proportions of the human body and head;

– Rules of light and shade;

– How to depict shades using various hatching, cross-hatching and other artistic techniques of rendering;

– How to progress step-by-step in the drawing process;

– At what stage to finish the drawing so that it looks just right;

– And many other skills and techniques.

So where does the subject, “how to draw a girl”, come in? As you see, by learning how to draw you will achieve the level when any subject you can see or imagine will be for you, an easy thing to draw.

You can learn how to draw on mistakes of others artist. One major mistake that is quite common for beginners, is using a paper stump or even worse, a finger to smear pencil marks, so toned surfaces can look smooth and even. They think it gives a finished look to the drawing. The truth is, such treatment spoils the drawing.

The biggest artistic expression in drawing is achieved with a rhythm of clearly visible pencil strokes. Using the tonal marks, the fine artist can portray the three-dimensional shape of an object, its volume and mass, material and texture, as well as, the depth of the environment the object is in.

The tonal range of the drawing must be logically and realistically spread between the darkest and the lightest areas of the artwork.

The tonal rendering must remain semi-transparent at all times. That means that lower layers of hatching and support surface have to be visible through small gaps between pencil strokes.

Some highly rated art academies and schools in Western Europe and the USA are highly praising tonal rendering that have no visible pencil strokes. Many followers also agree that such an approach looks so polished and hyper-realistic, that it must be the top of artistic achievement. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Stroke-free pencil rendering was criticized by the Old Masters, in Italy, as well as, classical fine artists of the 19th century, in Russia. Rendering tones by smudging pencil strokes makes graphite or coloured pencil look dull; this affects the overall picture appearance. Some artists spread pencil strokes with their finger; this is not acceptable at all. The master’s hand-drawing style becomes invisible, replaced with the smooth smear of even, textured tone.

The pencil strokes can go vertically, horizontally or at any diagonal angle, forming hatching or cross-hatching marks. The variety of lines is endless. They can be thin or thick, long or short, sharp or soft, straight or curvy and so on. The direction and characteristics of lines help to establish an illusion of the three-dimensional reality on the flat surface of the drawing support. It reveals the shapes and volumes of the depicted objects and the environment around them. The variety of lines contributes to the rich gamut of the artwork and expresses an individual artist’s style. The drawing gamut makes pictures come alive.

One of the greatest masters of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, wrote the following advice for the fine artist, “If you are a draftsmen and want to learn for your own good, you need to get used to drawing slowly and analyzing: what lights are the lightest, and in the same way decide what shades are darker than others, as well as, what sizes they are by comparing various areas with each other. You need to analyze in what direction outlines go and which part of the line bends where, as well as, where the line is more prominent; wide or thin. In addition, the shades you draw need to be unified without a border or edge as if it were smoke. Only then will you train your hand and your artistic assessment to such degree, that the drawing technique will come to you so fast, you will not even notice it.”

Good drawing requires two things. First, it has to be drawn in such a way that objects look as they appear to our eyes; second, objects must be depicted as they are in reality. That is why in the first case, the fine artist must have a trained eye; and in the second, he must know the object and the rules that influence its appearance.

The classical drawing technique has a very simple principle in its foundations. This principle stipulates that every line used for model drawing needs to have a purpose and be drawn with intention to portray a face or other parts of the model’s body.

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