Now that we have gained a better understanding of the principles of drawing lines, we can start using what we have learned to put those lines together as shapes. Remember in the first lesson when I explained that drawing is all about relationships. Each line needs to work with all of the lines around it. In the case of drawing shapes, your focus should be on the relationships of the lines that create your shape. Those relationships are drawn by constantly comparing and checking the 3 main principles of each line; length, direction and curve.

Lets start drawing….

Sometimes when we start a drawing, the picture that we are trying to create can seem overwhelmingly difficult. When that happens, we need to break it down into simple shapes that we can comfortably reproduce. Lets look at the picture below and take notice of the relationships between the lines.

There are many shapes and it may seem daunting to know where to start and how we could possibly draw this. Within all the shapes however there are some large simple shapes that we can draw that will help us work out the position of all other lines. There is one in particular that will make things a lot easier. Do you see it?

Draw the simple shapes first

I try and start any drawing with the simplest or biggest shapes first. This helps to works out how each smaller section needs to fit together. Spend time on this step because it sets the precedent for the rest of the drawing. If you can achieve accuracy in this step, everything else can fall into place easier. The biggest shape in this drawing is a simple 4 sided shape, similar to the shape we drew to create the top of the book in lesson 1. Just like we did in lesson 1, we can draw this shape taking notice of the direction and length of each of the 4 lines.

comparing the lines horizontally and vertically

TIP: None of the lines are parallel, there are slight differences in the direction of each line (because of perspective). Finding those subtle differences can make all the difference to your drawing. The red lines on the picture above represent the horizontal and vertical guidelines. This gives you a clearer idea of the actual direction of the lines. Notice how the direction of the line on the right side of the window is tilting slightly to the left of vertical, where the left of the window is almost vertical. That’s the subtle difference that we need to notice when drawing.

Choosing a big shape like this for the starting point is always a good idea. All of the other shapes will get evaluated in comparison to this initial shape. This gives us a good opportunity to think about the position and size of this shape on the page, making sure to leave enough space around it for the surrounding shapes.

Once you are happy that your first shape looks correct, we can subdivide it to create the internal shapes.

In this case we can divide the window into half and then quarters vertically. Look for the gradual change in direction of each of the verticals, each one leans slightly to the left, gradually leaning further as we go across the page, but none of them lean further than the edge of our original shape.

We continue to break the shapes down into smaller segments; with each line we carefully evaluate its position on the page and the angle of the line. The original shape makes it easy to determine the length. The more you look at the original picture, the more relationships you will see. Feel free to rub out any lines and correct them as you are going, don’t expect to get it right first go.

Now it is getting a little more complicated, there are subtle relationships between some of the smaller shapes that makes it all fit together. Look carefully for those relationships and your drawings will improve each time. Remember that you are training your brain, it will take time for your brain to start to see all of the relationships.

If you have got this far, you are doing awesome! If you are struggling to get your shapes right, keep trying. Each time you practice this you will get better and better. Keep looking for those subtle changes of direction and how the lines fit together. It is a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle, getting all the pieces to fit together nicely. If you are feeling adventurous and want to push yourself further then keep going and try and resolve the picture to something like the one below…