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    Learn How to Draw Objects and Figures That You See by Drawing the Shapes of Things with the Following Techniques Lessons for Kids and Beginners

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    Just about anything you see has its own special shape. And that special shape is made up of smaller shapes. They are the most important reason why things look the way they do. When you make a drawing of something, you are really drawing its main shape and the smaller shapes that are part of it. Therefore, the first thing you need to learn is to see and know these shapes.


    Have you ever noticed that the drawings of most beginners look flat and unreal? That is because the young artists have drawn only the outlines of shapes. They have given them only two dimensions, or measurements -- the height and the width. What is lacking is the depth, or thickness, of the shape. We call it the third dimension, and good artists always try to draw it along with the other two dimensions. There are many ways of drawing the three dimensions of a shape. Here is one that has been used by many great artists for thousands of years. First look carefully at the object you want to draw. Try to see the large shapes that make up that object. When you think you know what they are, take a broad pencil, a crayon, or a piece of charcoal, and go to work.



    On the picture above, there are a number of shapes of different things. Take a colored pencil and try to copy them. But don't try too hard! Be brave! Be free! Scribble or smudge away until you have the shape you want. Forget about neatness. Remember that you are practicing drawing now, not making something to hang on the wall. Use cheap but strong paper that will not tear or crumble as you work. Ordinary wrapping paper is as good as any. Draw quickly, and don't worry about the lines you draw. Scribble or smudge the shapes down any old way, so long as you get them down. Try using the side of your crayon, or the broad side of your pencil or charcoal. Use your thumb or your fingers to smudge the shapes onto the paper. And keep thinking about the thickness of the shapes you are drawing. You can work on large or small sheets of paper. Keep a pad in your pocket and when you see something that interests you, study its shapes and try to scribble them down on your pad. Do it again and again until you have something that satisfies you. Master the shapes before you try to put in any details at all. Artists, even great artists, are always studying the shapes of things around them, scribbling and smudging them down on paper, just for practice.

    Now, when your shape is as good as you can make it, take a pencil of a different color and surround the shape you have made with a firm line. I used a black line to outline the reddish shapes I scribbled. This method of using one color for studying shapes and a deeper color for doing the final drawing has been in use for thousands of years. There are still other ways of drawing an object after you have studied it and put its shape on paper. One way is to cover the shape you have scribbled with a sheet of tracing or lightweight typewriter paper and trace it again and again until you are satisfied. Then put down some final lines to surround it and make it definite.



    There is a great deal more to learn about shapes than can be learned by looking at their outside surfaces. What makes a shape look full, strong, weak, thin, soft, or hard? It is not what you see on the outside, but the inner structure -- the skeleton and muscles of the shape. nearly all things  have them.

    Four or five hundred years ago, such great artists as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo studied the anatomy, or structure, of human beings and animals so thoroughly that they knew more about bones and muscles than did the doctors of those days. Their anatomical drawings are so true that they are used by students of anatomy even today.


    Anatomical drawings by Leonardo do Vinci (1452-1519)

    There were and are -- artists who studied the geometric shapes of the subjects they tried to draw. Geometric shapes are cubes, spheres, and things like that. These artists tried to see the shapes without any
    surface detail at all. Then they built the human figure, or the animal, or whatever it was they were drawing, with cubes, spheres, and other geometric shapes. I believe that a combination of these two methods -- the study of the anatomy of an object and the study of geometric shape -- is the best way to develop a sense of the shape of things so that you can make good drawings.







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