Monday, 29 April 2013

Learn to draw: Introduction to the drawing elements

Drawing elements

Knowing the drawing elements will make your life as an artist so much easier.  It is smart to learn all about them before tackling a project.

Everyone has an artist inside of him or her.  My art lecturer always said that it takes 10% talent and 90% practise when it comes to drawing.  I have seen my fellow students grow by just getting the right tutoring and advice.  I believe that every one can draw if they believe in themselves.  I have learnt that there are a few tricks that every starting artist needs to know to become a master in drawing.  The thing about drawing is that it is all in the hand-eye co-ordination.  Once you master that, nothing can stop you.

The most important elements to learn about before you start a drawing is the shape, line, value, volume and texture.  


In my opinion, the most important thing an artist needs to master first while learning to draw, is the shape of an object.  It is extremely important to spend more time on your shape before you advance to shading your object.  There are two different types of shapes namely organic and geometric.  Organic shapes are any shape that is irregular and they tend to echo the contours of nature.


There are several different lines one can use like the diagrammatic line, structural line, calligraphic - and expressive line.  A line has certain properties that are a given.  A line divides the picture-plane and always has direction.  It has somewhere along its course one or more values is either consistent or varies in width.  Lastly a line is always a certain length.  
Drawing of a ball
In this image one can clearly see the different tonal values.


Value is the different tones of color (from white to dark) in an artwork.  It can be created in two different ways.  The one way using various hatched lines over and over each other that result in a dense mass of lines and so creating different shades of grey.  The other way is by deposits of actual grey tones created by chalk, pencil, diluted ink or paint washes.  An object will always have a lightest value, middle value, dark - and a darkest value.


Volume and value go hand in hand together.  Value is used in different tones to create volume in and artwork.  The most troublesome thing for most beginners is where the cast shadow goes when a light is show on an object.  If it is used correctly it can be an indication of distance from another form.  A cast shadow can be an indication of where the light source is coming from and can help with compositional and expressive functions in the artwork.


Every object has a texture.  Water has a smooth, shiny and reflective texture while grass has a rough and pointy texture.  You can experiment with different lines to create interesting looking textures.  Short scribble lines can be used to create the texture on a tennis ball while longer curvy lines can be used for curly human hair.  Texture is a great way to express yourself.

In a nutshell, if you can master all the elements of drawing; shape, line, value, volume and texture together you will be able to create masterpieces that you will love creating and others will enjoy viewing. 

View page