The beginning is always the hardest part. However, we don´t believe that is true for drawing.
The top of the mountain can only be reached by climbing the mountain step by step. You like realistic drawings, no matter if portraits, landscapes, nudes or still lifes, but you don´t believe you´d be able to draw yourself?
Everyone can draw and paint! Step by step! Where there’s a will there’s a way!
And we start today together with you! In this tutorial series, we show you how you can gradually learn to draw realistically 3-dimensional objects, bodies, and even nature itself.
First of all, you need the materials. You need:
- a white, slightly textured drawing paper
- drawing pencils in different thicknesses, with a strength of at least 2B for the beginning
- kneadable eraser
- stick eraser
- X-ACTO knife (a precision cutter for cutting paper and cardboard, but also unbeatable for sharpening pencils, which we also need and use for professional drawing – but be careful, sharp!)
- sandpaper (for sharpening pencil tips)
If you do not know exactly where and which materials you have to buy, we can recommend you Boesner. In this art market, you can get just about everything needed and find friendly and competent advice.
If you need a further recommendation, let us know in a comment!
Once you have all the materials, we can start!
Next, you need to know how to hold a pencil. You are certainly used to holding the pen as when you write. For professional drawing, you hold the pencil at the end of it and draw loosely from the wrist. It takes some practice. Do a few exercises on paper to familiarize with the graphite (what is the result when I press more and what when I press less?) and the holding technique.
Tutorial 1: Drawing the basic shapes – cubes
When drawing an object, you always begin to divide it into basic shapes. With this trick, you can draw everything. Once you can do that, you´ll increase the level of difficulty by including light and shadows, thus, creating a 3-D effect, which will make the drawing look realistic. We start with the basic shapes. These are circle, rectangle, square and triangle. The representation is first in 2D. If you want to create 3D objects, will be talking about spheres, cylinders, cubes, and cones. At this stage, you do not only need to know the basic notions, but also the rules about 3 dimensionalities, and the effect you can create with light and shadow. For this purpose, you need a graduated scale of values of your pencil from the brightest to the darkest value. The proper term is tonalities.
Take a pencil of thickness 2b, a kneadable eraser, and a white drawing paper. Now draw a gradual gray shading with the pencil from white (as bright as the paper) to the darkest shade you can get with this pencil. This is how your scale should look like in the end:
Draw 9 equally sized boxes on the paper, as shown above. The first field remains as white as the paper. Start with the last one, the 9th field, and shade it as dark as you can. But do not push too hard or too often with the pencil over the same place. Because when you put too much graphite then that spot will shine in the light – we do not want this effect. Even if the exercise seems easy, please do it with the utmost care. You have to make sure that you move gradually from light to dark or vice versa. Each field should be shaded evenly. To do that, work only with a sharpened pencil.
In this way, you have created a useful drawing tool while practicing shading. A “value scale” can be used if you are not sure how dark or bright a part of the picture must be. This process of comparing reality to your drawing in terms of values is time-consuming, but a very accurate way to learn how to draw.
You can learn how to draw a sphere in our post “How to create 3D drawings“. Please do this exercise first. Hence, you´ll see how different it is to draw a sphere and a cube, although the procedure is the same for both.
We are now going to focus on the cube
First, draw a vertical line and then, for the bottom edges of the cube, draw two lines forming a slight “V” shape. Next, draw the lines for the upper edge of your cube that are closet to you. These should also form a slight “V” shape. It’s very important that these lines are parallel to the corresponding lines on the bottom of the cube. As well as the top and bottom lines to the right of your corner being parallel to each other. You can use a ruler if you want, or you can try without it, after all, practice makes the master.
For a 3-D effect, you now draw light and shadow. For this, you have to first think about where the light comes from and where the brightest and darkest points are.
In our tutorial on how to draw a sphere, the light comes from the top right. Therefore, the darkest area is bottom left and the brightest one top right. At the bottom left in the shade, we have the so-called reflect light. Remove with your kneadable eraser a bit of graphite from the dark drawn area.
In the end, do not forget to draw the shadows, that the cube creates, and which are very dark. Now, when you think about how easy was to start the drawing and how the result looks like, you´ll realize how important shading is.
Have fun drawing! If you have questions, you can leave a comment below.