Learning to draw. Lesson 1.0

Over the last few days, several people in the class have expressed interest in learning how to draw.  While I don’t really consider myself to be particularly good at drawing, it is something that I do often (for work and fun) and it’s also something I genuinely enjoy.   So with that in mind I thought it would be good to write a post or two about some tips, tricks, and thoughts I’ve found useful on the subject of doodlin’.

  • Go out and get a sketchbook.  Flip to the middle somewhere, and rip out a page.  Now go back to the first page and start drawing.

I used to go out and buy sketchbooks with the intention of filling them with the sweetest drawings ever… only to get home, open it up, and be afraid to draw on the first page for fear of messing up and ruining the sketchbook.  I didn’t want the first page to suck!  By tearing out a page the sketchbook was no longer perfect so my drawings didn’t have to be perfect either.

  • Try to figure out what kind of things you enjoy drawing, and then draw a lot of them.  If you don’t know where to begin, try this:
  1. Draw something that is in front of you.
  2. Draw something you remember seeing.
  3. Draw something from your imagination.

Often times people forget to draw things they like.  Trust me; it’s a good place to start.  And remember this can be anything… shapes, objects, monsters, robots, people, stick figures, patterns… whatever you like.  Just get in the habit of drawing often.   This will also help you find areas which you want to improve.

  • Hands are the hardest thing to draw, period.  This is not up for debate.

You look at them all day long, they’re generally right in front of you, and you know exactly what they look like.  If you ever figure out how to draw them, please let me know.

Learning to draw is sort of like learning to see from a different point of view.  This book has a lot of fun exercises that can help readjust the lens through which you see.  Specifically it focuses on these 7 principles:

  1. Curiosita: An insatiably curious approach to life.
  2. Dimonstratzione: A commitment to test knowledge through experience.
  3. Sensazione: The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to clarify experience.
  4. Sfumato: A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.
  5. Arte/Scienza: The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination (“whole-brain thinking”).
  6. Corporalita: The cultivation of ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
  7. Connessione: A recognition and appreciation for the connectedness of all things and phenomena; “systems thinking.”

I believe all of these things are important in relation to drawing, but of course they are also important in design thinking and design doing!  Now, go forth and doodle.


Right on about the ripping out a page in the sketchbook! I actually stopped using sketchbooks. Too precious, feels too much like I have to save the entire thing (and paper = heavy). Using loose paper or newsprint can also help with getting over that block.

Also, this video by lynda barry is great and funny. Halfway through she posits the radical idea: draw for 5 minutes and then THROW IT AWAY! https://www.cuspconference.com/2010/about.asp#Videos

Keri Smith’s books are also good for exploring creativity in the world. you can also draw on the homepage and post it to the online gallery. http://www.kerismith.com/

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