Dennis’s Sketchbook – Quiet & Cool

Dennis’s Sketchbook – Quiet & Cool

Dennis is a student currently enrolled in my foundation drawing class at the School of Visual Arts. Dennis is certainly a quiet student who goes about his learning in a methodical way.

You can really see the progress Dennis makes in his sketchbook. Towards the end his drawings just take on a whole different feel. They becomes much more relaxed. Dennis’s drawings look much more refined.

It really is amazing what can happen when you push yourself to finish two sketchbooks in fifteen weeks. If you want to improve your artwork you just have to draw more. It’s really that simple. I’d like to say it’s about quality and not quantity, but it’s really about more versus less.

Specifically when learning how to draw. When it comes to creating pieces for a portfolio, then it’s quality over quantity, less is best.

Thank you for taking the time to take a look at Dennis’s sketchbook. I trust you will see his progress.



Check out Dennis’s Instagram. Thanks again Dennis for sharing your art.


Fitting The Head Onto The Body

Fitting The Head Onto The Body

In this very short figure drawing lesson I’d like to share with you how I begin to fit the head onto the shoulders. The two key words are short and begin.

In case you have not noticed I am a big believer in repetition in the mother of skill. I tend to teach the same things over and over again because they work for me. I have also seen these techniques work in the classroom on a weekly basis.

The main crux is to use targets to start fitting the head onto the shoulders. There are few other little techniques you can incorporate into the mix.

One, do your best to gesture into the head. In the video you can see How I use a gesture line from the side of the breast into the side of the face. Use long gesture lines whens fitting the head.

Two after the first few lines stop and get up off of your chair. Reset your eyes, looking out the window at something far away is a great way to do this. After you have reset your eyes come back to the drawing. You will immediately see what is working and what is not.

When we sit down for long period of time we loose site of the drawing in terms of proportions.

So the three keys, use some light target lines to start placing the head onto the shoulders. Incorporate one or two gesture lines to flow into the head as well. Within a minute or two of placing these initial lines get up and look at your drawing from far away.

Try these three techniques the next time you are working on a figure drawing.



If this technique helps you please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear anything you can add to conversation. If you have tried this technique and are still having issues with fitting the head onto the body I would like to help.

I would be happy to critique your work each and every Monday in our members Critique Gallery. It’s a cool place to get feedback on your work without all of the negative commentary you find on social media.


Dan’s Sketchbook

Dan’s Sketchbook

Dan has got to be one of the nicest people I have ever met. He is extremely talented and very respectful. I really love having Dan as a student is class. His appetite for learning is so infectious. Dan is always asking questions, always looking for more feedback on his work.

Dan’s life drawings are truly amazing with a ton of power and vitality. He is in a really good place with his artwork right now. The future is bright.

The one thing I wish for Dan moving forward is to allow his growth to happen naturally. Dan wants to improve, like now. I know that feeling, you are improving, but not fast enough. The one thing I have learned over the years is that you cannot force how fast you can learn.

Our mind is like a sponge, it can only absorb so much information in any given period of time. You have to allow your mind to take in the information and process it. Putting what you have learned into practice does take some time.

I like to compare learning to the growth of a tree. A tree can only grow so much in one year. You cannot force it to grow six feet in a year, that’s just not natural. How we take in information and apply it is very similar to the growth of a tree.

Allow yourself to enjoy the process of learning. Yes push to improve, yes be extremely competitive, strive to be the best. However enjoy the process of learning how to draw. Set your eye on the destination and enjoy the sights along the way.

Dan thanks once again for sharing your art!!



Check out Dan’s Instagram. Thanks again Dan for sharing your art.


Mapping Out Proportions

Mapping Out Proportions

With this particular figure drawing I started with an abstract shape. It’s definitely a different way to start. Now what I’d like to share with you is how to branch out from the legs into drawing the torso.

That is drawing the torso with correct proportions. On paper it sounds easy. But executing this is somewhat difficult. It takes good eye hand coordination.

The concept is to use targets to branch out. What are targets you ask? They are little marks that you place on the paper to estimate where the edge of an item would be. The edge of the torso, the edge of the arm etc.

You’ll also want to look at abstract negative space between the torso and the legs. Take it slow and do not rush this step. Look and study more than you draw.

Lastly you’ll want to take measurements. Common sense stuff like what is directly opposite the model’s breast? What is right below the model’s navel. Not very romantic but these techniques work.

Like I said on paper this all sounds very boring and simple. But this really does take quite of lot of eye hand coordination. How to you get that, you draw everyday. 



If this technique helps you please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear anything you can add to conversation. If you have tried this technique and are still having issues with getting correct proportions I would like to help.

I would be happy to critique your work each and every Monday in our members Critique Gallery. It’s a cool place to get feedback on your work without all of the negative commentary.


Complicating Your Edge Line

Complicating Your Edge Line

Have you ever wondered why your figure drawings look stiff? Perhaps they look too stylized for your liking. The antidote to stiffness is eliminating all straight lines.

Straight lines on the edge of your figure drawings without a doubt create a stiff look and feel. No doubtably there are no straight lines on an organic figure. Now if you are in a life drawing class sitting fifteen feet away the model, all of the edges will look straight.

However armed with the knowledge that there should be no straight lines on the figure it’s your task to curve and complicate your edge line. There are specific areas to do this.

For instance you will want to complicate edge lines at the joints. Specifically the knee, ankle, elbow, shoulder etc. You do not want to complicate the middle of a limb. Keep the middle of the model’s limbs curvy and smooth, remember complicate at the joints.

Take a look at your work, tape of few of your figure drawing on the wall. Look at them as a unit, do they look stiff? Do you see a bunch of simplified edges? Do you see straight lines on the edge of your figure drawings?

Now you know what to incorporate into your drawings to to eliminate that stylized look. You now know how to create more of a realistic look and feel.



If you are looking to learn some new drawing techniques to help improve your figure drawing definitely consider a membership to Drawing Tutorials Online. I’m particularly proud of this new twenty-eight lesson course.

All of the lessons are really short, most under ten minutes. Each lesson focuses on a different technique. The course focuses on line, proportions, shading, structure as well as form.

Not to mention you can get your figure drawings critiqued on a weekly basis in our gallery. If the technique taught in the lesson above speaks to you please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.