Learning How To Draw With Pencil

Learn How To Draw: Mastering The Humble Pencil

When it comes to our syllabus, we like to pique interest without spoiling the surprise and giving too much away!

The first module of our 14-week art course focuses on the ‘humble’ pencil and the fundamentals of drawing. 

For the uninitiated, the pencil might seem like a rather limited medium, but you couldn’t be more wrong! Pencils are incredibly versatile and can be used to great effect. Read on for more insight into how to draw with pencil… 

Prominent Artists Who Worked In Pencil

Pencil drawing is a significant art practice – and not simply for mapping an outline. 

Some of the world’s most celebrated artists have used this medium for their iconic works. Artists from Leonardo da Vinci – the Vitruvian Man and anatomy studies – to Van Gogh and the mind-bending drawings of Escher, demonstrate that a pencil is far from basic.

How To Draw With Pencil: What You Need To Know

While learning how to draw and discovering how versatile a pencil can be, we’ll explore a range of skills and techniques, including:

  • Perspective and drawing three dimensional spaces
  • Ellipses
  • Tonal values
  • Observation and developing hand-eye coordination
  • Sighting 
  • Enlarging with grids
  • Light sources and shadows
  • Mixed media
  • Mark-making and texture, such as stippling
  • Cross-hatching to create contours 
  • Setting a ‘ground’ for your work to add dimension
  • Looking at the impact of different coloured paper or ‘supports’
  • Using an eraser to ‘draw’ or create highlights
  • Assessing proportion, scale, form and negative space
  • Observing volume and depth
  • Creating initial sketches and under-drawings
  • Balanced and well-designed compositions
  • Deconstructing a drawing 

We always demonstrate the technique before allowing plenty of time to try the drawing exercise for yourself. We guide and encourage experimentation and give you the chance to express your creativity and curiosity with each new medium that you learn.

You will also be given detailed handouts to take away with you so that you can practice at home if the mood takes you!

How To Shade A Drawing With Pencil

During the classes, we’ll explore the concept of light and shadow and how we can capture this in our work.

Your tutor will demonstrate a range of techniques for shading and creating depth in drawings, including hatching or cross-hatching to create contours and darker tonal values. You will have the opportunity to practice various light and shadow techniques.

Knowing the effects of different pencil grades will also allow you to achieve a broad range of tones and textures. During one of your early classes, you’ll make a tonal ‘sampler’ to showcase the range of tones that can be achieved.

What Are The Different Pencil Grades?

In day-to-day life, we tend to find ourselves reaching for a standard HB pencil or even a propelling pencil with refillable leads. However, step into any art supply shop and you’ll see many types of pencils with differing uses, from graphite to charcoal.

Pencils are graded based on the hardness or softness of their graphite core. The HB scale indicates the texture of the graphite:

H is harder graphite

Marks: lighter and finer

Ideal for: precise or technical drawings, outlines to be erased and finer lines.

B is softer graphite

Marks: darker and richer

Ideal for: shading and creating expressive, bold lines. 

Ahead of your first class, we can supply you with a set of graphite pencils for a nominal fee. They come in a neat portfolio-style case which is practical for drawing in various settings. 

Learn How To Draw And Paint

Once you’ve got to grips with drawing, it will provide you with the foundation for the rest of your 14-week course, including:

  • Still life drawing

Improve your observational skills by capturing a composition of everyday items.

We’ll share the techniques that will help you to convey texture, form, tone and proportion.

  • Portraiture

We’ll experiment with the challenge of portrait drawing and capturing someone’s likeness and facial expression.

  • Figurative drawing

You will have the opportunity to learn about the proportions of the human body. With expert tuition, you’ll learn about anatomy, movement, poses and even more on perspective.

  • Landscapes

Discover the joy of landscape drawing. Once you’ve mastered the basics with us, perhaps you’ll connect with nature and create art en plein air

Extra Help With Learning How To Draw

We’re here to help all budding artists grow and develop their creative skills to reach their full potential. 

In some cases, this might look like extra support from your tutor – maybe they’ll show you an alternative way to create a similar effect.

If you tend to experience fatigue or discomfort in your hands then help is available! Look online or in your local art supplies shop and you’ll find various pencil grips to choose from. These range from simple rubber tubes that slide over the pencil, reducing pressure and strain, to ergonomic pencil grips for people with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. 

Join Seasons And Learn How To Draw And Paint

Calling all aspiring artists! If you’re interested in enrolling on our 14-week art course for beginners and improving artists, please click to find your nearest branch of Seasons Art Class.