How to Use This Book

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By following the method outlined in this book, in less than a day's time, a beginner with no previous art experience can easily gain enough understanding of the basics to be able to draw recognizable objects and give them the illusion of dimension. You don't have to be a fast learner to achieve that goal. It's simply an indication of how close to the surface of your conscious awareness the drawing skill lies.

The chapter sequence is designed to provide a cumulative learning experience, with each chapter building on skills acquired in the previous one. The book maintains a linear sequence from Chapters 1 through 4, which contain drawing concepts that will give you a thorough understanding of the material presented in subsequent chapters. It's important to start at the very beginning, not only to get a clear idea and solid foundation, but also to acquire the confidence that comes with an understanding of the fundamentals. You'll

Freedom Expression Draw

"What pulled me into this drawing course was looking at young children and loving their freedom of expression and thinking, I want to do what they do! That freedom and then, the learning."


begin the drawing process with a totally "goof-proof" exercise, one that is instructive but also confidence building, so that you'll develop your skills from a fundamental point of success and understanding.

Along with the customary drawing techniques, I've included instruction in another all-important skill: the ability to evaluate your drawings constructively. This crucial tool allows you to accelerate your drawing progress and sidestep the tendency toward destructive evaluation. In effect, this book provides you with a private place to learn more about yourself and art, as well as a way to challenge such obstacles to learning as performance anxiety and harsh self-judgment.


I've illustrated this book with drawings both by beginners and some not-quite beginners, all of whom have completed the same assignments. You'll be accompanied, as you learn, by their stories, tips, and encouragement. It's fascinating to see that even beginners have an innate preference for certain shapes, visual contrasts, and rhythms that come through in their drawings. The same thing will happen with you, for this personal style appears immediately, without conscious effort, and is such an integral part of each person's approach to drawing, that it doesn't change. You simply learn how to express it in the most complete and fulfilling way as your technical skills develop.

Approach drawing as a magical activity to do, to learn, and to see-profound, mysterious, and gratifying. Guided by the sequence of instruction and wise words from fellow beginners, you'll have an art adventure-full of challenges, yes, but discoveries and rewards as well.

The following materials are the ones students have used with most success in my classes. Many of these items are available at most art-supply shops, but under "Miscellaneous," there are a few household items from the supermarket, and—very important—from a hardware store, a specific wire that you will need at the start of Chapter 1, so I urge you to shop for that first. Where certain brands of artists' materials are suggested, if you substitute others, keep in mind the specifications noted for that item. As you work your way through the book, you'll be reminded of which supplies are needed for specific exercises, as selected from the list below.


• 14"-x-17" drawing pad (Strathmore 400 series, 80-lb) for dry media and light washes

• 6"-x-8" or 8"-x-10" drawing pad (same Strathmore series)

• 14"-x-17" newsprint pad, medium or rough surface (not smooth)

• 19"-x-25" pastel paper, 2 gray sheets (Cansón Mi-Teintes)

• scrap paper (copier/computer/white craft)


• 2 black waterproof drawing pens (Uni-ball Vision micro and fine nibs)

• vine charcoal sticks, medium or soft (package of 12)


• small tube black watercolor paint (any .27 tube)

• #6 "round" brush for acrylic or watercolor, with soft hairs that come to a point (Princeton Brush #4050)


• kneaded eraser

• Pink Pearl eraser

• 2 writing-pencil erasers


• 24-gauge galvanized steel wire (small roll)

• fixative spray (Krylon workable for charcoal)

paper towels, facial tissues

• disposable palette: plastic or plastic-coated paper plate or freezer paper (Reynolds)

• tool box or ordinary shoe box to hold supplies

• artist's masking tape


• drawing board, 23" x 27" (extra support for drawing pads)

• portfolio (to store pads and finished work)

• 2B charcoal pencil

• stump or tortillon (for blending charcoal and pastel)

Brushed Charcoal Back Grounds
drawing by student susan diloreto
Soft Pastel Figure Drawing


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