Sample Lesson


Using a grid is a time honored way to begin to understand how to render what we see. It helps us to train our eyes to see in a different way. After a while you will be able to see the grid in your mind without drawing it. But for now we will teach the student to draw the grid and understand positive and negative shapes. With the grid system you can make your drawings any size that you want just by enlarging the size of the squares in your grid. For this lesson I have used 1/2 inch squares but you and your student may draw the squares any size that you want.


By finding a spot in the drawing to begin, draw the bunny by reproducing the line in each square according to their letter and number designation. This will then become a line drawing of the subject matter, in this case a bunny. You can use this same system to enlarge any object from a photograph to a picture in a magazine by drawing a grid over the subject.


Now that you have drawn the bunny with a line it is time to render or color in your drawing. When you do you will be filling in "POSITIVE SPACE", in other words you will have filled in the drawing. Most of your work will be using or rendering positive space with differing tonal values or contrasts. But sometimes you need something more.


You can also render the bunny by coloring in all around the bunny shape without drawing the lines. This is called NEGATIVE SPACE. By leaving an area untouched we can create some special space. This method is great for doing the space between leaves and flowers and such. This technique is used by artist to render space that may have a lighter foreground and a darker background. After all, in a drawing, what fools the eye into seeing depth is the different dark and light spaces used to illustrate objects that are close or far away. When you look outside your window you will see that in the distance objects look lighter or fogged over than do objects close by that look sharper and darker.

Using magazines, comic books, or any other publication or photographs that you want, discuss and look for positive and negative spaces. Try to render other objects using a grid from your own photo's or magazine pictures. Also try to enlarge your drawing by using a grid with 1 1/2 inch squares. You may have as many squares in the grid as you see fit.

This is a basic drawing lesson but can be used by young or old to begin to understand the relationship between positive and negative shapes and their relationship to rendering a drawing. Anyone can learn this method and can create illustrations on paper or any other object that you want. Crafters find this method useful when transferring an object from a photo or pattern onto another object like a sweatshirt or trunk.

Here are some samples of different drawing lines and technique that will also be in lesson one.

You will notice each of these methods have a unique and interesting way of rendering in the drawing. Depending on the message you are trying to convey you will use one or more of these styles.

We will also talk about value in the drawing. I like to use five values some artist and instructors like to use three. You will find your comfortable ground.

We will use gradations in our drawings as seen below.

The basic tools we will use for this lesson are a #2 pencil or if you want you may use any combination of pencils from 6B through 9H. A kneaded, white vinyl or gum eraser and some blending tools like inexpensive tissues or paper towels. Or you could purchase some blending cones or paper stumps.
Try this lesson and let me know what you think. Thank you!

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