Learn the ways and means of creating an impression of form with graphite pencil

The course is informed by the learning techniques employed at realist ateliers and academies. The course will be of benefit to those who already have some experience with drawing, but may be looking to expand their practice, and also it will also be useful to beginners, as it covers some very basic principles.

Course Content

This course covered timeless principles for creating the impression of the third dimension on a 2 dimensional surface. In this course we will be focusing on applying these principles with graphite pencil. There will be a number of exercises each building on the previous one in complexity. We will be examining the way light falls on objects; how an object is divided between an area of light and of shadow; how we treat each of these areas separately and differently.

  • Use of value and an understanding of the value scale

  • Introduction to sight size working

  • How to create impression of form in drawings

See below outline of course (additional modules coming soon)

Welcome and materials

  • Credits

  • Welcome to "Drawing Form"

  • Materials and how to sharpen your pencil

  • Materials List

Understanding Values

  • Introduction to values

  • Gerrit Dou - painting value analysis

  • Creating the value strip

  • Value strip order and pencil grades

  • Drawing challenge - create a value strip

Drawing cube and sphere

  • Cube drawing demo

  • Cube demo steps

  • Sphere drawing demo

  • Sphere demo steps

  • Drawing Challenge - draw a cube and sphere

Drawing objects

  • Pear drawing demo

  • Pear demo steps

  • Drawing challenge - Draw pear

  • Setting up a still life

  • Still life thumbanil sketch

  • Drawing challenge - Draw still life

More about this course

We have tried to answer some common questions about this course and how it can help you in your drawing practice.

  • Who is this course for?

    This course is suitable for anyone looking to learn some of the drawing techniques used in arts ateliers in the tradition of classical realism. This course will help you improve your observational and analytical skills and control over the medium of graphite pencil. While the method is slow and methodical it is also extremely satisfying. You will find that the time taken to move through each step as described brings a wonderful payoff in the end.

  • Is this course suitable for beginners?

    This course is suited to artists of all levels including beginners. Because the method shown is very logical and step by step, no prior drawing experience is required. That said, this course will also benefit artists with existing drawing and shading experience.

  • When does the course start and stop?

    There is no set schedule for this course. This is a self-paced course which allows you the flexibility to follow at your own speed and convenience. The advantage of graphite pencil is that you can pick it up or leave it any time. For best results, we recommend building this course into your weekly schedule. For example, you could follow and complete one demo per week.

  • Can I get feedback on my work from Brian?

    There are a number of opportunities to upload your own work to get an assessment from Brian. We recommend you do so, in order to ensure to keep you on track with progressing to each stage. All student uploads are confidential and will not be seen by other students. As the method is very objective there is a 'right' and a 'wrong' way to achieve the results outlined in the course which is built on centuries of knowledge from the classical tradition.

  • What reference material is used for the course?

    All reference material is included in the course and available for download. We would recommend that if you print out the reference material for each lesson if possible.