Drawing as a Learned Skill

During the last thirty years, I’ve taught millions of people how to draw during my extensive travels around the country and through my television shows, websites, and videos. Many children have grown up watching my drawing lessons on public television and have gone on to pursue careers in illustration, animation, fashion design,design engineering, and architecture. I have a example who have helped design the International Space Station, NASA’s Space Shuttle, and Mars Exploration Rovers and others who have worked on animation megafilm projects such as Shrek, Madagascar, Flushed Away, The Incredibles,Happy Feet, and A Bug’s Life.

But here’s a secret—learning is learning and drawing is drawing, no matter how old you are. My techniques work for adults just as well as they work for kids—I know this, because I’ve taught thousands of adults as well. In this blog, I will introduce sophisticated concepts and complex drawing theories in a simple, easy-to-follow way, but because I’m a kid at heart, I will not cut back on any of the fun that I believe drawing must be.

As a cartoon illustrator by trade, but these lessons will give you the basic skill set that will enable you to draw three-dimensionally in any style (realistic drawings, photograph studies, portraits) or medium (oil paints, watercolors, pastels).

I will focus almost exclusively on what I call the “Nine Fundamental Laws of Drawing,” beginning with basic shapes, shading, and positioning, all the way through more advanced perspective, copying from photos, and drawing from life. These basic concepts, discovered and refined during the Italian Renaissance, have enabled artists to create three-dimensional renderings for more than five hundred years. I believe that anyone can learn how to draw; it is a learnable skill like reading or writing.

The Nine Fundamental Laws of Drawing create the illusion of depth. They are as follows:
  1. Foreshortening: Distort an object to create the illusion that one part of it is closer to your eye.
  2. Placement: Place an object lower on the surface of a picture to make it appear closer to your eye.
  3. Size: Draw an object larger to make it appear closer to your eye.
  4. Overlapping: Draw an object in front of another object to create the visual illusion that it is closer to your eye.
  5. Shading: Draw darkness on an object opposite the positioned light source to create the illusion of depth.