Getting started

Getting started

The screen properties box for Windows 98.

Since you'll be spending some time in front of your computer drawing pictures, I'd recommend turning off your screensaver, and if your monitor shuts itself off after a time, disable that feature as well. If you don't print out these exercises (and you don't have to) you don't want to look up and all of a sudden you're looking at your screensaver. It's gonna ruin the "drawing mood" you'll be in.

Let's Draw!

Let's start with a few exercises that you may have done in grade school. These exercises are meant to show you how to move back and forth from your two modes of thinking. And just because you may have done them in grade school doesn't mean they are "elementary", so wipe that aloof look off your face!

There are a few things that your "artistic" mind needs to know about so you can start drawing. Your brain already knows this stuff subconsciously, but I'm just pointing it out to your conscious mind so you can develop these skills. The skills or concepts that we'll be exploring are: line, shape, proportion and perspective, light and shadow, and finally, the whole of the finished drawing. You'll have each of these elements in mind as you draw, but they will become almost immediate and involuntary as you get better and more comfortable with drawing. Just like when you have several things in mind while you drive a car: your foot on the accelerator, one eye on the car behind you, one on the car in front of you, these thoughts are so subconscious that you don't even know you're having them. These art skills also build upon each other, meaning, understanding what lines are and what they do will lead to the understanding of shapes and negative spaces, which will lead to the perception of depth and proportion, which naturally leads to the understanding and use of light and shadow, which will help you to see the drawing as a whole composition in the confines of the drawing surface. Whew! Don't worry, it's really not that complicated, I just thought it sounded good.

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learn to




the pencil
seeing lines
shape & space
light & shadow
light quality