Drawing Curriculum 2: Techniques

This video is part 2 in a Drawing Curriculum designed for self-taught artists. (Watch Part 1 & Part 3) This video is an overview of the broad range of stylistic ways you can draw: line drawings, tonal drawings, cross-hatched drawings, and more, using examples from art history and contemporary art. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Lauryn Welch.

Video Walkthrough

  • There are often “stereotypical” looks to many drawing techniques.
  • Actually, all of these techniques have an incredible range of styles.
  • Line is often people’s first experience with drawing.
  • Lines are easy to put down and define.
  • It’s easy to underestimate how challenging line can be to do well.
  • Gesture drawings are fundamental to drawing skills.
  • Often gesture drawings aren’t celebrated the way finished, highly detailed drawings are.
  • Usually gesture drawing isn’t one of the first skills people learn.
  • Tone often is used to “color in” a line drawing.
  • Tone can be very effective at articulating volume and form.
  • To beef up tone, stop your line drawing a lot earlier than you think you should.
  • Lines can be drawn very quickly, whereas tone takes a lot longer to build up by comparison.
  • Reductive drawing techniques are great for overcoming the fear of a blank, white page.
  • Taking away from your drawing with an eraser can make drawing a very sculptural experience.
  • See erasers as another drawing tool, they are not just for getting rid of mistakes.
  • Reductive drawing can be soft and atmospheric with charcoal.
  • With a knife or scratchboard, reductive drawing can be harsh and blunt.
  • Layering is most easily seen when drawing with color media.
  • When you layer colors, you’re more likely to try out colors that might feel too bright and garish.
  • Drawing with color media is an effective stepping stone to painting.
  • Cross-hatching can be really challenging at first, it’s very time consuming and can feel very slow.
  • There are many factors in cross-hatching: how long the lines are, how densely the hatching is built up, and how curved or straight the lines are.
  • Cross-hatching can be developed to the point where it looks like tone.
  • You can define a form very effectively with cross-hatching.
  • Smudging is often overused.
  • When a drawing has too much smudging, you can lose the texture and structure in the drawing.
  • Smudging has a way of making a form look too mushy and soft.
  • Wait until you are almost finished with the drawing before introducing smudging.
  • Use smudging in moderation.

Artists Mentioned

  • Julie Benbassat
  • Al Hirschfeld
  • Gene Luen Yang
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Frank Gehry
  • Gustav Klimt
  • Medardo Rosso
  • William Steig
  • Liana Finck
  • Egon Schiele
  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
  • Jacob Lawrence
  • Hans Bellmer
  • Harunobu Suzuki
  • Silke Schatz
  • Julie Mehretu
  • Alberto Giacometti
  • Loïs Mailou Jones
  • Albrecht Dürer
  • Lorna Simpson
  • Georges Seurat
  • Nalini Malani
  • Mo Willems
  • Sarah Sze
  • Romare Bearden
  • Anselm Kiefe
  • Vija Celmins
  • Shahzia Sikander
  • Antony Gormley
  • Emily Carroll
  • Kathleen Speranza
  • Frank Auerbach
  • Odilon Redon
  • Tony Janello
  • Eugène Delacroix
  • Louis Wain
  • Beth Krommes
  • Edward Gorey

Books Mentioned

Full Curriculum

Overview · Drawing 1 · Drawing 2 · Drawing 3

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