Our guide to drawing
Kristina K

Our guide to drawing

First published date September 26 2013 Amended date February 12 2015

The art of drawing has long been used to represent everything that surrounds us, with some of the first drawings going right back to 35,000 years ago. From the surfaces of caves and pyramid walls to the Romans’ technical, architectural drawings and modern abstract pieces, drawing has evolved, with artists gaining a lot more respect these days.


Whether you’re an aspiring artist or just dabble with drawing as a hobby, our comprehensive range of drawing courses are perfect for your every need. Get all sophisticated through art appreciation, produce some of those mind-boggling abstract drawings, traipse round museums and galleries lending your own criticism (who needs a guide!), understand ancient Chinese drawings, become a mysterious street artist, or produce the next Mona Lisa and make your mark as the next big thing in the art industry. All you need to do is get yourself on a course…


What sort of artist are you?

Artists draw with many different tools such as pencils, pen and ink, fibre-tip pens, chalk, charcoal, crayons and pastels. Depending on where your passion lies and whose works you admire, you’ll find a range of specific drawing courses that’ll tickle your interests. If you’re entranced with Edgar Degas’ beautiful hues of blue in his Blue Dancers or Van Gogh’s Young Man with a Pipe pencil and transparent watercolour drawing, why not learn basic skills on visual concepts, explore and experiment with different media, abstraction and composition, and 3D drawing with wires – all aimed at channelling ideas and experiences into colours, lines and shapes.   


Fancy drawing someone nude?

What better way to master the techniques of drawing the human figure than life drawing? It can be a little awkward and embarrassing at first, but once you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ll find the different contours and little details alluring. You’ll be taught contour breakdown, plane intersection and colour in the development of a plastic visual sense, amongst other things. You’ll find your creativity stimulated through conventional and unconventional approaches such as the incorporation of music, movement and meditation. Ohm...


Art is more than just drawing

Whilst many people might think that drawing is for the arty-farty and just a little bit of doodling, they’re very wrong. For some creative, controversial artists like Banksy, art can be an expression of their thoughts on capitalism, war, poverty and the government. Think of Banksy’s Bomb Hugger, featuring a young, innocent girl hugging a large bomb, the type that’s dropped by military airplanes. The Bomb Hugger was created to emphasise the true nature of war – he challenged the press and politicians who portrayed the war in a positive light, and suggested that love and peace can overcome the forces of evil. If you hope to create an impact and ruffle a few feathers with your drawing like Banksy does with his street art, start with a course on art and society. You’ll explore art history, draw on specific politically and socially significant periods, engage with contemporary art and politics and learn about art and culture of the various periods – all the while investigating a range of materials by philosophers, theorists and artists. This will help with turning your drawings into a commentary on modern politics.



To be an artist you don’t really need any formal qualifications, but for some careers that involve drawing this will help. For example if you want to work on architectural drawings or illustrating books, having a recognised qualification will certainly add substance to your CV.

If you’re an amateur though and just want to draw for a bit of fun, go for any one of the hobby drawing and sketching courses. For those hoping to carve a career as an artist, there are specialist drawing courses which cover specific areas such as fine art, medieval art, or contemporary art. Qualifications start from GCSEs right up to postgraduate degrees and specialised training courses which are particularly useful for those who choose to work in art galleries and art administration. 


Drawing tips

·         Look for basic shapes – Everything in the world can be simplified into basic shapes. When you’re drawing your subject, pick out the basic shapes that make up the overall shape. These shapes are usually pretty easy to draw. Draw the shapes then the contours.

·         Drawing is at least 50% observation – Really study the object, understand why you see it that way and then draw it. The amount of time you should spend looking at the object should be half the time it takes to complete the drawing.

·         Practice, practice, practice and then practice again – Keep a sketchbook and draw literally everything that you see. Draw everyday and when you can’t draw, imagine how you could draw them.   

Check out our Pinterest for some famous drawings and paintings.  


Fun art facts

Picasso’s full name has 23 words. He was baptised Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The "Picasso" is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.

One pencil will draw a line 70 miles long.

In a short period of ten years, Van Gogh made approximately 900 paintings. He sold one painting during his lifetime and only became famous after his death. 

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