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This stage of the drawing programme has been designed for those who are really unconfident at drawing. Use this stage to learn the basics of shading and drawing and seeing 2D shapes when drawing. To be able to draw well you have to be able to look and study objects closely, process and simplify what you see in your brain, remember this information, then copy it to the surface of your paper accurately.
Proficiency: Try to really grasp the exercises fully before you move on. It's important not to rush through the tasks, take time to get them right!

Exercise 1: Basic Tips

These exercises show you some simple mistakes that people make when they are learning to draw. I have been teaching people to draw for many years and I see them making these simple mistakes over and over again.

Paul's Tip

For further practice: try doing the basic tips exercises again and again because if you don't you'll easily forget them. They will really help you to draw better once you learn them. So get a scrap piece of paper and do some doodles using these techniques.

 

 

Exercise 2: Geometry in Art

These three exercises show you how simple geometric shapes make up everything in the world around us. If you can draw circles, squares and triangles you can draw anything. In fact every time you write you are drawing, it's so simple.

Paul's Tip

When you have learned how to see basic shapes in the world around you, look again and again at things, trying to see what shapes you would use if you were drawing it. Sometimes you can make connections with letters too. Writing letters is just a form of drawing, so when you see things you can't draw it often helps to try to think of a letter that would help you draw it.

Practice drawing simple shapes over and over. Draw some quickly, some slowly, do them at different angles and sizes.

 

Exercise 3: Shading Stage 1 - part 1

This is the first part of a two part introduction to shading. It teaches you how to apply shading in neat, even layers. Shading needs concentration and patience and isn't anywhere near as exciting as playing your X Box, but you can impress all your friends and family if you can shade properly. This is where it all starts.

Paul's Tip: Remember those colouring books you used to love doing as a kid? Well those are brilliant to help you to shade because you are using the same skill; shading neatly, evenly and up to the edges of shapes. Try doing some colouring exercises to help you but use coloured pencils instead of felt pens. You can also draw bubble letters and practice shading those too!

Exercise 4: Shading Stage 1 - part 2

This exercise gets you shading in gradient tones from dark to light. You might need to do this again and again and again until you master it.​

Paul's Tip: The biggest mistake people make when they shade is that they don't blend shading gradually and softly, they leave dark solid lines between areas of tone. Shading usually changes from dark to light tones gradually (unless the light is really strong). Once you can do this well you can control your shading and it puts you in the driving seat when drawing. Try drawing your own shapes and shading them from dark to light, it is actually quite relaxing! You can do it whilst listening to music and just chilling out.

Exercise 5: Cartoon drawing

If all drawing is made up of simple, geometric shapes then there is no more fun way of learning this than to draw cartoons!

Paul's Tip: So now you can see the connection between drawing things and simple basic shapes in the world around you and you've learned the basics of shading. Well there's no better way of putting it all into practice than drawing cartoons. I LOVED drawing cartoons, it's such fun. What you should be doing now is drawing for pleasure. Draw the things you love drawing, keep a sketchbook and fill it full of things you love.

Invent your own cartoons, try not to always copy cartoons from the TV.

Assessing your work

The following guide should help you to see how to improve your work. When we draw anything there are always things to improve, so don't take it personally. Drawing takes time to improve. Look at the images below for further guidance on assessing your work. Select which code applies to your work then follow the advice given.