How to Use This Book

Drawing is a basic skill, like writing, or riding a bicycle—it must be learned and practiced, but is within your grasp. We've arranged this book so that you start off with easy stuff, like seeing, and then slowly move through exercises that will take you further and further along in your drawing skills.

This book is divided into seven parts:

Part 1, "Drawing and Seeing, Seeing and Drawing," introduces you to the pleasures of drawing and seeing, including discovering the difference between your critical left brain and your creative right brain. Tapping your own creativity may be the most exciting thing you have ever done. Plus, right off the bat, we'll be providing exercises to help you loosen up and exercise your drawing hand, entice your creative right brain, and banish the left side, "Old Lefty," out to left field, where he belongs. Learning to just "see," and to draw what you see, is fun and the beginning of an adventure in drawing that can take you almost anywhere. A contour line drawing of an object is the place to start.

In Part 2, "Now You Are Ready to Draw," you'll meet some of the tools of the trade, including the viewfinder frame and the plastic picture plane. We'll show you how to make your own viewfinder frame and plastic picture plane to take with you wherever you go, and how to use both of these tools to help with your drawings. Then you'll experiment with negative space, the spaces in and around an object or objects. Seeing the negative space can greatly help your composition and drawings.

Part 3, "Starting Out: Learning You Can See and Draw," has a lot of work to do. First, you need some materials and a place to work, because you need to take yourself and your work seriously. We'll begin with simple groups of objects in a drawing and then move on to the full still life, exploring why artists throughout the ages just love those fruits and veggies. We'll also help you begin to choose what to draw, what to draw it with, and how to make your way from a contour line to a consideration of form and weight. Then we will look at those all-important details.

By Part 4, "Developing Drawing Skills," you'll be feeling much more confident about your drawing skills. We'll discuss some new materials and how to acquaint yourself with them. Journals and sketchbooks are next, a way for you to practice drawing every day. We'll peer into some working artists' studios to see what's behind those light-filled windows and we'll look at their views on drawing, their studios, and their feelings about their work. Then, we'll work on your portable drawing kit to take on the road, and poke around your house and garden (and ours) to find some good subjects for your sketchbook.

In Part 5, "Out and About with Your Sketchbook," we'll get you out of the house. We'll look at perspective, that all-important way of seeing three-dimensional space that all artists use, and then we'll get you outside to use your newfound knowledge. We will look at the land itself, elements in the landscape, and then houses and other structures, so you will feel confident to tackle any and all the drawing challenges in your neighborhood or anywhere in the world.

Part 6, "Drawing Animals and People," looks at animals, humans, and the human figure as drawing subjects. Action, gesture, proportion, shape, and form are the buzzwords here, for animals and the human animal. We'll explore why the nude has always been the object of artists'

affections—and why it may turn out to be yours as well. We'll also look at gesture and movement—and how to render them on the page.

Part 7, "Enjoying the Artist's Life!" will put it all together, helping you express yourself in your drawings. We'll discuss how to frame and care for your work and how to expand your skills into new media, projects, or into cyberspace. We'll also go to the museum with you, and help you learn how you can learn more about yourself by finding what art you're drawn to.

Last, in the back of this book, you'll find three appendixes, including a list of materials you may want to purchase, a list of books for further reading, and a glossary, chock-full of art-y words.

And, in the front of the book, you'll find a tear-out reference card to take with you wherever you draw.

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

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