Novice’s Corner: Drawing 101

Drawing from the Masters

Visitor practices drawing within the Meadows Museum galleries. Photo by Tamytha Cameron

Drawing is a fail-proof way to get your creative juices flowing, and all you need are a few simple items to channel your inner sketch artist. What’s more, everything you need is readily available at local art stores and online.

Step 1: Supplies

First things first: pencils. You’ll need a range of pencil leads with varying softness or hardness depending on the task at hand. Pencils are labeled H or B, with H being harder and more appropriate for fine detail. B leads are softer and better for broader strokes. Since you won’t know which type of drawing you’ll be doing in an instructional class, the more variety you have, the better prepared you’ll be.

There are many pencil brands to choose from, including Staedtler, Faber Castell and General. Most of the brands found at an art store are high-quality drawing utensils. Don’t forget a small portable pencil sharpener; you don’t want to be stuck with a dull tip. Also, you’ll need a range of different charcoal and graphite sticks. These don’t need sharpening like pencils, and they’re ideal for shading forms and creating larger-scale drawings.

Smudge sticks are used for smearing your graphite or charcoal for efficient coverage of large areas or for gently blending darker areas into lighter ones. Pick up a range of sizes to cover all your bases.

If you make a mistake, the best eraser to have in your drawing arsenal is a white Magic Rub. Unlike the common pink variety, this eraser won’t leave behind color streaks or unwanted marks. It lifts your marks off the page rather than just smearing them. It’s also useful for partially erasing your pencil marks to create subtle effects.

Color is best added to your drawings with colored pencils and oil or chalk pastels.

Keep your supplies in a pencil box or a name brand art bin (choose one with a handle).

This may all seem alike a lot, but it represents only half of your drawing essentials. Once you have all the things you need to draw with, you need something to draw on, i.e., paper. Again, a range of sizes offers more versatility, but a medium-sized sketchpad is a good bet for your first drawing class. You’ll need it to sketch your ideas before you make your final drawing.

Pick up a pad of more expensive, heavyweight drawing paper to use for finished drawings. You don’t want to create your masterpiece on flimsy paper stock.

All of these materials are available at local art stores, including Asel Art Supply on Cedar Springs in Dallas, as well as craft stores such as Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

Step 2: Instruction

Once your art kit is assembled, you need a beginner-friendly drawing class.

The Meadows Museum offers Drawing from the Masters on Sunday, June 7 and June 21. Artist Ian O’Brien leads you through the museum, where you’ll create drawings based on the artwork you see. All skill levels are welcome. These free classes run from 1:30 to 3PM and are open to anyone age 15 and older. Attendance is limited to 20 students per session on a first come, first served basis. So get there early and claim your spot. Don’t forget your pencils!

About Carrie Sanger

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