Understanding Drawing

If you have always wanted to draw but don’t know where to start, you are not alone.

For many people getting started can sometimes be the most difficult step to take when learning something new – and learning to draw is no different. It takes time for the brain to develop the right pathways to be able to perform such a complex task as drawing. With enough practice, almost anyone can learn to reproduce shapes on a page to be recognisable, but we need to teach our brain what pathways to create. That’s where these lessons come in. In this course I’m going to teach your brain to start making the pathways that it needs to be able to draw.

Here’s my first tip!

Don’t do this course all in one sitting. You can come back to the course at any time to finish it off. I want you to do one lesson, then close your computer and practice what I have just taught you. Practice it several times before coming back and moving on to the next lesson. This is really important. Without that practice your brain will not grow the pathways that it needs to develop your skills any further.

So, where do you start?

While looking at a blank page wondering where to start we can feel overwhelmed and even nervous about making the drawing. Unless you know exactly how you are going to achieve your drawing, the effort of putting down lines on paper is likely to create nothing more than scribbles on a page. It is totally understandable that people think that they can’t draw simply because they don’t understand what the steps are to complete a drawing.

How do you know what shapes to draw and where to put them on the page?

In this course we are going to get to the nuts and bolts of what we need to be thinking about when starting any drawing. To overcome the feeling of anxiety when we start a drawing, we need to expand our thinking about the process of drawing. The thought process for creating a drawing is unique and will take a lot of practice to master. We need to train our minds to analyse and understand shapes well enough that we can reproduce them on a page.

It is therefore very important not to skip these first fundamental steps that I am about to teach you. They are designed specifically to start re-training your brain’s thought processes to allow you to create a drawing effectively.

OK, so what should we be thinking about while drawing?

Firstly its vital to understand that drawing is all about relationships!

Lines by themselves usually don’t look like anything at all. Each line of a shape has to be in a correct relationship with the other lines around before it creates the illusion of representing something on the page. For example, each line needs to be the correct length in proportion to the other lines of the shape, the angles of each line must be correct in relationship to the angles of other lines and the amount of curve in a line needs to work in relationship to other lines.

When these relationships are understood, we can reproduce them as lines on our drawings. The better our understanding of these relationships, the better our drawings will look. Over time with lots of practice, our understanding of the relationships between lines will get better and better.

Respectively, each shape that we draw also needs to be in relationship with its surrounding shapes. The shape must be in proportional scale to the shapes surrounding it. Similarly the spaces between the shapes must be in proportion to the size of the shapes. The shapes need to join or overlap in the right positions. Only once all of this has been achieved will the pieces of the puzzle come together to make a recognizable drawing.

Now that might sound complicated and slightly overwhelming, but I want you to think about that concept of relationships for a bit. The same principle of relationships applies to every element of drawing. Lines, shapes, tones, shading – every part has to be in relationship with other parts of the drawing. Understanding and recreating these relationships is what we need to train our brain to be able to do. The first and foremost thinking process that we need to develop is being able to analyse the relationships of each line and shape of your drawing.

Lets make it a bit easier…


To simplify things, we can break it down into easy to manage thoughts and focus on one thing at a time. We’ll start with a single line. Learning to draw lines in proportion to each other (and thus creating a shape) is the first fundamental step to learning how to draw.

Lets look at the first aspect of line that we need to understand….direction.