This post is part of the "The Art & Science of Drawing" series.

The Art & Science of Drawing - Week 1

image gonvalhector - Tuesday, June 23, 2020

I mentioned in my first post that I don’t really remember when I began drawing, because as far back as I can go down memory road, I was filling scrap paper and notebooks with sketches. So when I was a kid, and I guess up until the end of middle school, I thought I would become a Graphic Designer or an Illustrator. Outside of a few tutorials here and there, and a few classes in school, I never really got much of an art education, nor did I ever really pursued one, because I really thought I would just learn everything during college.

Now, about a year ago, after getting a Skillshare subscription I checked out Brent Eviston’s master class “The Art & Science of Drawing”. Finishing the class last year was not possible for me, so, early current year I started it from scratch again. I’ve since completed it once, and even though I learned a lot of very important concepts and practical techniques, the pacing in which I reviewed the lessons and did each project was not optimal. What should have been 8 weeks turned into double that amount of time.

My intent with this series of posts is to do it right this time around and walk you through my experience going through the lessons. As I would really recommend signing up to Skillshare for this class for anyone interested in learning how to draw or how to get better at it, these posts will not be a step by step review or written version of everything Mr. Eviston teaches, but rather a collection of thoughts and impressions. Let’s begin.

Structure & Materials

The structure of the class is as follows; each week consists of 5 lessons. You watch a lesson every day and you complete the required practice that is assigned. This usually takes me about 45 minutes. At the end of the week, the assignment usually consists of a project that encapsulates most of the things learned during the week.

Materials for the class are basic:

  • Newsprint paper of size 18” x 24” (minimum)
  • A sketch board big enough for that size of paper
  • Graphite or Colored Pencil (hard lead is recommended)

A more comprehensive list of recommended materials can be found here. I should note that you can absolutely use whatever materials you are most comfortable with and these are suggestions.

Week 1 - Basic Skills / Getting Started with Drawing

One of the first things that was very hard for me to grasp at the beginning was holding the pencil with an overhand grip, which helps with drawing very light lines, since it allows you to use the side of the pencil and there is not much weight put into the tip itself, as opposed to the tripod grip, which we use to write and is the one I used to draw with.

Picture of hand with pencil

The majority of the lessons for the first week focus on basic shapes like circles, ovals, lines and the best techniques to properly get them on the paper. One of the key tips I took from it is speed. It is so much easier to get these shapes right (or at least close to) when you swiftly and confidently move your arm in motion with the shape.

Another key thing for me was the way you’re supposed to “construct” a drawing; going from biggest shape to smallest, which simplifies things for someone like me, who struggles so much with deciding what to start with when drawing something.

All in all, the most fundamental things I learned during this week’s lessons are so practical that I find myself using them all the time outside the assignments and practice.