I’m going from student to teacher... what has helped you most?



  • It has always been my dream to not only illustrate professionally, but also to teach drawing and art classes. So, this year I applied to teach a “Drawing Fundamentals” class through the local community college continuing education program this fall... and was accepted!

    I’m excited and nervous. I have the entire course outlined (had to for the application) but can of course improve it as I prepare to actually teach. It’s a course for absolute beginners who have always wanted to learn to draw but struggle with understanding how to translate what they see to paper.

    What I want to know is, what exercises or explanations have most helped YOU make that leap to drawing something accurately? Was there ever anything a teacher said or demonstrated that really helped you with those foundational skills? I’m using concepts and exercises from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, the Natural Way to Draw, and Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner. Any other beginning drawing books to recommend? What about websites or YouTube channels?

    Thanks in advance 😊



  • I was lucky to be given the original Famous Artists Illustration Course by an elderly friend which was tremendously helpful when I was just getting into drawing. You can now get it on-line in PDFs I think but a lot of the material would also be in the books you listed. The two things I remember being most eye-opening for me as a beginner were breaking everything down into forms, and the concept of drawing through. I also worked through Drawing in the Right Side of the Brain and found those exercises really helpful because the book helped me about learned to see rather than just learning to draw. (Jake Parker does a lot of similar exercises in his videos.) I still remind myself to see with my eyes instead of seeing with my brain - what is really there instead of what my brain is telling me is there.

    I took both a watercolor class and a drawing class from teachers who were good artists but taught by stream of consciousness, and an inductive method. “Let’s just get right in there and paint and then I’ll make suggestions as we go along.” This was very frustrating to me because I’m a deductive thinker which is why I appreciate Jake Parker and Will Terry’s styles of teaching. I’m sure there are others who prefer the inductive method so a good balance of both will make things more accessible to lots of learning types.

    I wish I lived close enough to take your course. I hope it goes well and that you have a lot of fun with it.



  • Famous Artists Illustration Course... thats actually one I haven't heard of, I'll definitely be looking it up though. Thanks!
    I had a teacher claim that deductive teaching of art was more of a western-US style, while in the eastern US they favor the inductive style. I have no idea if thats true, it was just his observation, but I found it interesting.



  • The things that have helped me the most RECENTLY are probably daily line quality and perspective exercises. Fill a page with straight lines then draw cubes in perspective, then drawing spheres, cylinders and triangles in the cubes.

    But then again, when I took an intro to drawing class I was NOT interested in those exercises XD

    I think the one thing that gives people the confidence to tackle drawing almost anything is a solid foundation in perspective. Being able to make a 3-d object look 'right' is a major hurdle for a lot of people.

    I'm sure I'll think of a better answer later on...



  • @sarah-luann Congrats on the job!I loved that drawing on the right side of the brain book! That one really helped me!

    I think my drawing jumped forward when it finally clicked in my head to draw what I see rather than what I think I see. Also when I realised details are abstract shapes.

    Good luck and I hope it all goes really well for you!
    Xx



  • I have been uncertain how to answer. I am doing a little teaching on the side with a friend of mine who is interested in drawing and painting but not serious about realising the importance of line, shape and tone and wants to go head first. To be honest who doesn't want to draw something that looks like something.

    What I am realising while taking How To Draw Everything, is that I want the foundation, the structure and the process now. It needs to be so ingrained in me like a good habit that I won't have to think about it later or second guess if I am doing it correctly especially when I want to get my imagination down on paper.

    It is definitely a struggle for me personally because I have a multitude of images and ideas I want out now, but I want to draw them and paint them as I envision them. So understanding the foundation, understanding what I am drawing, working hard and definitely being patient with myself or in your case as a teacher and for your students.

    Also to make drawings or projects that use the fundamentals but in a way that utter beginners stay interested. Especially if this is the route they want to pursue. It's a balance and I am in no way an expert. lols

    =)



  • @Sarah-LuAnn @demotlj I agree that the most important and helpful thing for me was learning how to see properly and unlearn all my preconceptions. It's really hard to develop drawing and painting skills when you can't see how things actually are. This is aside from the technical hurdle of translating it to paper. If you can't recognize letters, you'll never be able to read words.

    Also deconstructing why good drawings are good and the process behind that is really helpful instead of just trying to pull everything off out of my own head.

    Drawing has a fair bit of theory and a lot of application, but at the beginning, learning the theory and opening my eyes allowed me to properly direct and develop my technical skills :)



  • Thank everyone for your thoughts. As I’m going back over my course outline I’m feeling more confident, as I have focused on things people are mentioning here. I have an opportunity to try a lesson out on a group of teens in a couple weeks as well, so that should help me feel more ready too. Anyone else’s thoughts and input are still welcome.



  • That is wonderful news Sarah, congratulations!!!!!!!



  • One thing that helped me jump ahead in my drawing skill was being taught gesture drawing. Starting lightly with that 5 year old scribble mentality and slowly tightening it up to find the shapes as others have said was the game changer for me. The bonus is that after some light gesture drawing if you make a mistake it doesn't feel so bad because the picture isn't perfect from the start.