Drawing Secrets Revealed, Section 1

You can’t learn to draw or paint well without a solid skill set. With Sarah Parks’ detailed, clearly organized video instruction, accompanying lesson practices, and her helpful weekly critiques, you’ll learn essential drawing skills from the ground up. Along with concepts you may already be familiar with, Sarah will share with you some drawing tips, techniques, and “secrets” that will revolutionize your drawing within weeks.

This online drawing class is also for people who have ventured into color media but are frustrated with their results because their drawing skills are lacking so their paintings don’t have a solid foundation. Sarah’s valuable weekly critiques are like having a teacher look over your shoulder and give you the guidance you can’t get from a book.

Students say that her critiques have made such a difference in their ANU experience.

Start Date:

October 31, 2014



Course Materials:

Workshop Length:

4 weeks


Sarah Parks (bio)

View Course Schedule


Lesson 1 – Getting Started: For beginners, it can be overwhelming to go to the art store and not be sure what to buy. In the first lesson, Sarah lays the groundwork for a successful learning experience by showing you all the materials necessary for this course with a brief overview of why they are useful. She also demonstrates various pencil grips and when they are needed, as this is one of the secrets to successful drawing.

Sarah also teaches shading techniques, when and how to hatch and cross hatch, and how to achieve special effects with a tortillon and certain erasers. What is so special about this course is Sarah teaches her most valuable drawing secrets and tips that will help your skill improve by leaps and bounds — tips that she uses herself use every time she draws and paints! She holds nothing back and introduces these at the beginning of the course so you can incorporate them into your practice throughout the whole course. These are tips to help your drawing skills improve dramatically.

Lesson 2 – Basic Shapes:

An important foundational concept in drawing is becoming familiar with the basic shapes that are found all through nature. Sarah teaches you to recognize them and shade them accurately. She explains about the direction of the light source and how light informs all shapes. Rendering the subtle tones of shapes with highlights, core shadows, reflected light, and cast shadow provides a beautiful three-dimensionality to your drawings. When you learn to see and incorporate these basic shapes into the beginning stages of your composition, you will render the correct proportions of your subject and you will find yourself sketching compositions much more accurately and easily!

Lesson 3 – The Block-in:

Have you ever started a composition then found you have run out of room on the paper, or your subject was crooked or too small for the paper? Discover how to get the basic outline and scale of your image placed correctly on the page when starting a drawing. Sarah will teach you the philosophy of the basic but often-missed concept of “start big then go small” with the block-in. Then, when you’ve proofed your block-in, you can begin details and heavy shading. This is one of the most elusive concepts for students to grasp, and artists who miss it usually produce amateur work. They jump into dark shading before doing a correct block-in, then look at their drawing later and find they have to erase something. They try to erase but it leaves a messy “ghost image,” but Sarah will teach you how to avoid this unfortunate problem and get your drawing started off right!

Lesson 4 – Values:

In this lesson, you will learn how to correctly evaluate values (the range of light to dark tones) in your subjects and how to render them accurately on the page to make your drawings three-dimensional. Many artists feel that values are even more important than color, and you can always tell when an artist hasn’t been trained in this concept because it shows in their work. Even if you have drawing experience, chances are very good that you will learn something new and extremely valuable in this lesson. You will learn how to create your own value scale and how to use it when drawing. You will learn the value of squinting at your subject to reduce details to blocks of value. Sarah also introduces the concept of lost and found lines to add sophistication to your work.

Visit Sarah’s web site to learn more!

What You’ll Learn

  • Using essential tools and materials
  • Drawing techniques for beginners
  • Tips for drawing
  • Various pencil grips and when to use them
  • How to identify basic shapes in nature to simplify your compositions
  • How to achieve accurate placement and size of your drawing on your page every time
  • Shading techniques: how to use a value scale to accurately recognize values and correctly shade your drawings
  • The top drawing secrets used by professional artists that will instantly take your drawing to the next level which can be implemented immediately in your drawing

Who should take this workshop:

  • Artists new to drawing
  • More experienced artists who feel they could use a drawing tutorial and want to take their drawing or paintings to a more sophisticated level

Note: The first lesson will address supplies more completely, but these are the essentials:

  • The following graphite pencils: 2H, H, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B (woodless pencils are helpful but optional)
  • Kneaded eraser and pencil sharpener
  • 11” x 14” pad of drawing paper (such as Strathmore or Bristol)
  • Drawing board (such as the ones found using this link)
  • Hand-held mirror
  • Hole-punch (optional; you can also purchase larger ones here


In order to be successful with this course, watch all the videos all the way through and refer to the accompanying PDF Lesson Summaries for easy reference and refreshers. You will only get out of it what you put in and, although watching the videos alone will help you develop, there’s nothing like actually practicing the concepts on your own to develop muscle memory and train your eye to really SEE like an artist. The warm-up activities at the beginning of most of the lessons will benefit you and are encouraged but not required. Also, although you will only be required to complete one assignment per week, additional practice activities are found at the end of each lesson video and summary to provide you with more opportunities to master the concepts presented. The only activities you will be responsible for in this course will be found below in the “Course Syllabus” section and listed on Blackboard.

All assignments should be completed on appropriate drawing paper such as Strathmore or Bristol (any arts and crafts store such Michael’s will have paper specifically for graphite pencil). 11” x 14” should be all you need for this course. Drawings should be scanned or photographed and saved as a JPEG format. Before uploading them to Blackboard try to resize them to about 200-400 KB at 72 dpi or ppi. That sizes opens up at a good size (not huge, not too small and pixelated) on the screen. A great resource to help you do this easily is www.resizr.com.

All assignments must be submitted through the Blackboard System for evaluation. To expedite responses to questions, contact the instructor via e-mail. You may open the videos with any browser you choose, but Safari is probably the fastest.

Course Syllabuswdu-REGISTERNOW.fw

Lesson 1: Getting Started

  • Watch the video, “Lesson 1 – Getting Started.” (Remember, there are several practice activities at the end. This encompasses optional exercises.) You can only submit each week’s homework ONCE, so make sure you include ALL parts of the homework assignment when you submit in Blackboard.
  • Homework Assignment Part 1: Practice the tonal scale with your various H and B pencils. (The example can be found in the “Practice Before Next Lesson” section at the end of the Lesson Summary.) Vary the pressure of your grip to get familiar with the shading qualities of these pencils, pressing hard and lightly, angling your pencil, etc.
  • Homework Assignment Part 2: Then practice hatching and cross-hatching following the sample chart in Fig. 1-2 in the Lesson Summary.
  • Homework Assignment Part 3: Try your best to copy the “Gene Tierney” PDF photograph. This is a terrific way to see your progress as we will recreate this exercise at the end of the course. It is also an excellent way for the instructor to assess your current skill set.

Lesson 2: Basic Shapes

  • Watch the video, “Lesson 2 – Basic Shapes.” (Remember, there are several practice activities at the end. This encompasses optional exercises.) You can only submit each week’s homework ONCE, so make sure you include ALL parts of the homework assignment when you submit in Blackboard.
  • Homework Assignment: Practice drawing and shading each shape shown in the “Five Basic Shapes” document separately. Make sure you get your lines correct before beginning to shade. The “Five Basic Shapes With Lines” document can help you with this. It can be challenging to get lines parallel (as in the cube) or the shapes symmetrical. Particularly notice the ellipse (oval) shape at either end of the cylinder. You may also use the tonal scale you created last week to help you achieve different tones in the shading. When shading, make sure you show highlight, midtone, core shadow, reflected light, and cast shadow for each shape. The “Basic Shapes Arrangement” document will show you the direction of the light.
Lesson 3: The Block-In
  • Watch the video, “Lesson 3 – The Block-In.” (Remember, there are several practice activities at the end. This encompasses OPTIONAL exercises.)
  • Homework Assignment: Print out ONE of the following: the “Iris Image,” “Figurative,” “Bouquet,” or “Lily Pond,” and complete a block-in on your own. These documents will be located in Blackboard. Use faint axis lines to get a center point and outside frame lines to help you keep the proper placement and scale of the image on the page. Look for ways you can incorporate any basic shapes to rough in the composition. Sketching the outer envelope of the image will help. If you’d like a challenge, do a block-in of all four images.
  • REMEMBER: This is NOT a finished drawing. The instructor is looking for a block-in, not a completed drawing with shading. That will be for NEXT week’s assignment. Please make sure you don’t go beyond a block-in.

Lesson 4: Values

  • Watch the video, “Lesson 4 – Values.” (Remember, there are several practice activities at the end. This encompasses optional exercises.) You can only submit each week’s homework ONCE, so make sure you include ALL parts of the homework assignment when you submit in Blackboard.
    Homework Assignment Part 1: Make your own value scale to develop your muscle memory for when you are shading values in your own future artwork. You may also print out the value scale to keep with your drawing supplies. The instrucor has provided the “Value Scale” document or the “Value Scale With Guide Holes” document. These documents will be located in Blackboard.

    strong>Homework Assignment Part 2: Then take the block-in you created from the previous lesson (the iris, figurative, bouquet, OR lily pond) and follow through on the block-in you did with the principles covered in this lesson. This WILL be a finished drawing with shading (unlike last week’s assignment). For this FINAL assignment, the instructor will be looking for the incorporation of the following concepts from the entire course:

    • Evidence of appropriate pencil grips as learned in Lesson 1
    • Accurate basic shapes in the subject you chose (Iris Image, Figurative, Bouquet, OR Lily Pond) as learned in Lesson 2
    • Proper placement & size using the axis and frame lines as learned in Lesson 3
    • Accurate shading as learned in Lesson 4 (you are strongly encouraged to use your value scale to achieve this)

Comments are closed.