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Tutorials and artistic advices

Learning to situate your drawing in space

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Drawing is real mental gymnastics. Even more than learning to draw, you first need to learn how to observe. A little patience: Your brain can't guide your hand until it has analyzed all the spatial information!


1. Observe the object 

Before undertaking a drawing, you need to imagine your subject. In the beginning, it is best to stick with working from objects you can handle: an apple, a small vase, a cup, some cooking utensils… Take the time to turn the object and observe it under different lighting. Analyze its form, volume, and the areas of shadow and light…

The goal: to be able to recreate the image in your head with your eyes closed.


2. Define the form and volume

It's time to draw the first lines on your paper. You need to represent an object that actually has a third dimension (depth) on a two dimensional surface (the height and width of your sheet). Where do you start? 

  • Simplify what you see as much as you can. Figure out what the simplest geometric volume is that you can find in this object. A cube? A cone? A sphere? For example: A sphere for an apple, a cone for a pear, a cylinder for a vase, etc. 

Dessin - definir la forme et le volume -

Memo: hurray for geometry!

Even the most complex objects can be broken down into simple geometric forms. All you have to do is combine several volumes. For example, a tree consists of a sphere on a cylinder. 

  • Draw the geometric form(s) on your sheet.
  • Refine the object's contours and add details.
  • Add shaded areas with light hatching.

Dessin - contours - détails - zones d'ombres - hachures

Tip: you can use two different pencils (for example: 2B and 9B pencils or a sanguine crayon and a 2B pencil). Use the first one to draw the geometric form, then use the other to define the object's actual form. This will make it easier for you to visualize your progress from your first line to your last one.


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See also

The 6 essential steps in drawing
You can learn how to draw! Not much equipment, a few technical concepts and lots of practice will allow you not only to master this discipline, but to gain real expertise as well. It is the basis for all the other artistic techniques.
Drawing: shading and light
Dessiner les ombres et les lumières
Transcribing visual subtleties with a minimum of material is what makes drawing so challenging. Follow the guide!