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.

This includes 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.

Clara Lieu, Soft Pastel Drawing, Banner
Soft Pastel Drawing: Table Setting

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.
Drawing a Male Portrait in Soft Pastel, Clara Lieu
Drawing a Male Torso & Portrait

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
Gesture Drawing: Drawing Cats
Gesture Drawing: Cats

Books Mentioned

Full Curriculum

Overview · Drawing 1 · Drawing 2 · Drawing 3

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