OK, there are so many things to think about when you are learning to develop your drawing skills in fact as a beginner where do you even start !
There is no right or wrong way, everyone's pathway is different but here is an exercise that can help you with your understanding of structure and tone, two key elements that are integral to observational drawing. It is something that I worked on recently with a student to explain structure. We decided to try and break the shapes down in to their simplest form.
1. Pick the simplest object to start with, probably the circle and using a 2B pencil draw it no bigger than 2.5 cm in diameter. Why you might ask should I draw it so small? In my experience when you are developing your shading it is often better to start off with smaller shapes.
2. Draw the lines inside the circle these help give you an idea of the structure of the object both horizontally and vertically. Don't worry if they are not perfect you are just getting a feeling for how the object is formed. Have a few practise goes.
3.Think of your rubber as a drawing tool, every time you correct something that you rub out you are making progress.
4. Ok the light source - take a look at my sketch and you will see a little sun shining on the drawing, this is your light source and is just there to remind you that one side is going to be light and the other dark.
5. Look at the sketch marked '2' and see how the first shape is darkest and then diagonally they get lighter. Confused yet? - look at how diagonally you have a row that is slightly lighter and then another even lighter.
6. Work your way across your sketch pressing lighter and lighter with the pencil until there are no more shapes to fill in.
7. You can experiment with this exercise with lots of other shapes too. Take a look at some of the others I have done. You can even take it in to colour too.
Good luck everyone and don't be hard on yourself if you don't get it right first time.
You can always email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you get stuck !!
Antonella Edwards (founder @ Arts Holiday Italy)
At Arts Holiday Italy we are passionate about teaching painting and drawing to beginners and intermediates as well as working with established artists who wish to come and be with other creatives painting in Italy Please feel free to comment. Thanks, Antonella.