Drawing Tutorials: A Sequential Process of Training You to See and then Draw

Do you want to be able to draw anything you see? These drawing tutorials, based on techniques found in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain walk you through the fundamentals. You'll be amazed at how much improvement you will see after just a few hours work!

In this first drawing tutorial, you will learn how to forge a signature...

No, really! The prospect of drawing intimidates many people, so we start with something less threatening: copying signatures. Don't worry if your handwriting looks like chicken scratching; everyone can do this!

So, your job is to print the graphic with the signature, turn it upside down, stare at it, and then create your own rendition.

If you are right-handed, start on the left side and move to the right. Left handed artists may want to start on the right and work left. Yes, I did say to turn it upside down, and, yes, it's important.

Why upside down?

Normally, when you see something, your brain tries to “interpret” it; it digs through the symbols you use to categorize things to find something that mostly fits. This helps you quickly sort out what's around you in everyday life, but it causes problems when you try to do art.

For artists, the categories get in the way of really seeing the thing in front of you, and you start trying to draw from your preconceptions instead of the reality.

drawing tutorials-copying a signature upside down

By turning familiar shapes upside down, you trick your brain into giving up the labeling that it attaches to objects. You will take on a different mode of thinking and seeing—one that sees the shape without thinking about what it represents. Even then, your mind will naturally try to find symbols to apply to what you're looking at, so to get the most out of the exercise, you have to fight this tendency .

Pay attention to the following as you work for this drawing tutorial:

  • Shape- Forget about naming the thing your brain is trying to label, and concentrate on the shapes. In other words, try to think “This is a curve” or “This is shaped like a semi-circle...”, etc. Resist the urge to say “I am drawing a C.” or “This is an upside down T.”

  • Slant or Angle- Does the shape thrust to the right or left? At what angle?

  • Thickness or Thinness- Does the line thickness vary? Do you have wispy lines in some places and fat lines in others? Or are the lines pretty even?

  • Spaces- Look for gaps and skips in the lines and between characters.

  • Style- Try to use a consistent approach throughout the exercise. Most signatures flow together; your copy should too. A copy that looks like a patchwork does not make a convincing forgery.

When you finish, turn your copy right side up and compare it with the original. Do they look similar? If not, make another upside down copy. Take your time; don't rush to finish. For comparison, repeat the exercise with the original signature right side up. Which way produces the better result? Which one is easier?

All right, what did you just copy? Hint: it is Benjamin Franklin's signature when he co-signed the American Declaration of Independence.

Now you have completed your first forged signature, but remember, the point is not to be able to write checks in someone else's checkbook.

The purpose of this drawing tutorial is to begin learning to see with artist's eyes and to improve the coordination between hand and eye. For fun, look up the signatures of interesting people and try copying them too.

When you're done with this one, follow the sequence by clinking next drawing tutorials to learn more about drawing.

Drawing tutorials : Part 2. Move on to copy an image.
Part 3: Draw without looking.
Part 4: Draw on a picture plane.

Click the images below for more fun exercises to start your drawing adventure!


Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
> > Drawing Tutorials

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