Review: 3 Beginning Drawing Resources

After several months of saying “We need to start putting our blog posts on other websites onto our own website also!” we finally are making good on that!

Our first entry is a blog post that originally appeared on our Facebook page as a three-part serial article about three popular resources for those new to sketching and drawing.

I’ve personally used all three of these methods to varying degrees. One can certainly get quite good at drawing and sketching using any one of them – but best results usually come from experimenting with different methods.

This post is intended just as an overview of three of the most accessible, useful, and popular resources currently available. I look forward to sharing detailed individual reviews of all three with you in later blog entries!


Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Sketching is a foundational art skill that is important in almost type of media – from painting, to pottery, to 3D digital sculpting.

All artists should have at least some understanding of drawing and sketching techniques – and there are many different paths one can take to acquire and hone these skills – to a beginner it can be overwhelming.

The fist method I will write about teaches a lot about developing creativity in general, and focuses on drawing organic shapes, especially human portraits and hands. The main resource for this Betty Edwards wonderful book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

It starts right off with drawing a self portait, your own hand, and a person drawn from memory – three very daunting tasks! These, in part, serve to help you measure your progress as you go through the course – and without a doubt this course is known to have dramatic before and after pictures.

After this initial scary exercise, the author teaches about right/left brain theory and how to tap into one’s hidden/dormant creativity. Moving through topics like perspective, edges, lighting, and spatial relationships and following along with the exercises presented is an amazing way to build both skill and confidence.

While no single method can teach every aspect of drawing and sketching – for beginners looking to draw organic shapes, including human portraits, I consider this book to one of the best resources available.

To get started with this book I recommend:


How to Draw

What if you are more inclined to sketching cars, buildings, airplanes, and other hard-surface objects? In that case, a better book to start with may be How to Draw by Scott Robertson.

This book does a very nice job of starting with the absolute basics – how to draw a straight line and how to draw a circle, both things many adults struggle with.

After these absolute basics, Robertson’s continues teaching about perspective, coordinate systems, ellipses, rotations, and them moves into sketching environments, aircraft and wheeled vehicles.

One thing I want to stress for beginners following this book, the first few exercises don’t take up a lot of space in the book (for example the section on how to draw a straight line is a single page) but plan to do a minimum of three pages of practice for each of the three exercises on this page.

Making heavy use of rulers and templates, How to Draw focuses on creating high-quality, realistic drawings suitable for everything from comics to engineering.

To get started with this book I recommend:


Drawabox

Finally I’ll cover another resource that can be used stand-alone or in conjunction with either of the book-based methods above – a free online learning resource called Drawabox.

Similar to Robertson’s book, you start out learning how to draw a straight line and move on to boxes, but uniquely, you then post your results from each lesson to an online forum (reddit and/or discord) to have them reviewed by volunteers and get feedback before moving on to the next lesson – earning you a completion badge in the community.

Drawabox covers both organic and man-made-object drawing techniques as well as some abstract drawing fundamentals.

As I mention in the other articles, no one method of learning to draw will teach you everything – and different methods appeal to different people. Drawabox, with its active and enthusiastic community is a great way to stay motivated and practice the fundamentals, especially early on in your journey.

To get started with this book I recommend:


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