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This instructional series presents drawing concepts, techniques and advice for those artists who wish to learn and develop drawing skills. Episode topics include light, shadow, perspective, value, color and texture. Some episodes also present specific projects to work on, and advanced topics such as anatomy are touched upon, too.

How to Draw is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (32 episodes). The series first aired on November 13, 2015.

How to Draw is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch How to Draw on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, Kanopy, The Roku Channel online.

The Great Courses Signature Collection
1 Season, 32 Episodes
November 13, 2015
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How to Draw Full Episode Guide

  • Conclude with challenging projects that weave together observation and imagination, as well as abstraction and representation. Explore how to develop subject matter and source material for your drawings. Locate areas of personal interest, themes, and ideas to identify the kind of art you want to make and cultivate your own artistic vision.

  • Finish exploring human anatomy, covering the muscles of the lower body and limbs. Then bring your knowledge to a spectrum of drawing projects, beginning with a full-length self-portrait in three views. Draw variations such as figures in one- and two-point perspective, a figure within an invented room, and figures in narrative settings.

  • Like Leonardo, Michelangelo, and countless others, study human anatomy, and learn its value for drawing the figure. Study the human skeleton, with particular focus on visible skeletal landmarks seen on the surface. Investigate the principal muscle groups and their functions, and draw both skeleton and muscles into your figure drawings.

  • Complete drawing anterior, lateral, and posterior views of the human figure. Then, turn the flat shapes used to construct the figure into volume, to get a more naturalistic and three-dimensional figure. Study methods for proportionately drawing the head and conquering the complexity of the hands and the feet.

  • Learn to draw the human figure using a set of measures, or a canon of proportions, and simple geometric shapes. In doing so, make a study of human proportions in three views, using the height of the head to measure relative proportions of the body. Take account of how artists have viewed human proportions, body posture, and differences between male and female figures.

  • Observe how an artist�۪s color palette (group of chosen colors) affects light, mood, and emotion, by studying palettes used through the centuries by major artists. Learn about flat color, open color, and color gradation in art. Grasp vital principles regarding how artists use color compositionally to direct the viewer�۪s attention.

  • Delve into color theory, beginning with the organization of primary and secondary colors on the color wheel. Learn about analogous and complementary colors, as well as the attributes of hue, value, and saturation. Investigate how color functions in nature, and discover how our perception of color is influenced by light and reflected color in the environment.

  • Take a comprehensive look at texture, beginning with five master drawings that exhibit contrasting textural personalities and moods. Study the primary factors that affect texture, from the drawing surface to the material's application method and modification through blending, smudging, or erasing. Learn to draw simulated textures such as wood grain and reflective metallic surfaces.

  • Investigate the use of mark making, such as hatching and other related techniques, as a means of creating visual texture and tonal value. Experiment with hatching and how to use it compositionally. Practice inventing your own marks, explore the huge range of possibilities, and apply them in your drawings.

  • To complete your study of cast shadows, learn to draw shadows produced by oblique light coming from both the front and rear of objects. Then investigate artificial light as it affects shadows projected by objects within interiors. Practice these principles by drawing a complex interior and an invented still life from your imagination.

  • Discover how artists use value. With brush and ink, learn to make both white and black shapes and create a still life using only these two values. Then, draw a nine-step value scale, comprising nine distinct tones ranging from white to black.

  • For drawing with value, take a deeper look at the types and qualities of the materials you'll use. Investigate the uses of graphite, charcoal, blending and spreading tools, ink, and the use of fixative. Study the many types and grades of drawing papers, and see how different materials interact with different papers.

  • In approaching value (the relative lightness or darkness of tones), grasp how the tonal palette of a drawing governs mood and the viewer's emotional response. Learn how we can conceive of the range of values from white to black as a scale. Study how artists use value as both a spatial and a compositional tool, and investigate the passage of light and shadow over form as occurring in nine steps.

  • Complete drawing a believable, proportioned environment from your imagination. Next, study two-point perspective, used to accurately draw planes that are angled to the picture plane. Finally, discover how to draw sloping or inclined planes, and learn about three-point perspective, which depicts what we see when we tilt our heads, looking up or down.

  • Apply the principles you've learned to draw curvilinear volumetric forms, such as a cylinder, cone, and sphere in perspective. Also investigate the drawing of geometric patterns in perspective. Then begin a complex drawing from your imagination, using one-point perspective to construct a believable and measurable interior space.

  • Learn how to draw a perspectival grid, and look at ways artists use grids to measure the depth of space in a drawing. Then, draw a complete gridded room, beginning with the floor plane. Add gridded walls and a ceiling, controlling proportions in spatial recession. Finally, add interior objects of specific measure in specific locations.

  • Combine your knowledge of illusionistic space and linear perspective in drawing an architectural landscape of two buildings on a ground plane. Construct the buildings and the space between them using the principles of one-point perspective. Then draw through the buildings, creating interior floors, windows, doors, and furniture.

  • Apply your knowledge and skills to a number of intriguing and complex drawing conundrums. Among a range of projects, create a still life of boxes, translate a complex figure painting into a line drawing, and draw a carefully composed self-portrait. Also consider common pitfalls-and their solutions-in drawing naturalistically.

  • Look broadly at how artists create flatness, volume, and space on two-dimensional surfaces. In doing so, study 12 factors that affect how we perceive depth of space, encompassing principles such as overlap, the relative scale of objects, the use of diagonals and foreshortened shapes, atmospheric perspective, and how distance affects color.

  • Study key tools artists use to arrive at correct proportions. In particular, learn how to use an analog clock face as a way to quantify angles, how to use a standard unit of measure to measure across the picture plane, and how to use level and plumb lines. Then put these elements together in practice.

  • Now begin a study of proportion and measurement in drawing. Learn about a key discovery of 15th century European art, the velo, a gridded device that allows you to create a convincing depiction of a figure, landscape, or other subject. Use your own velo, and draw a proportioned, foreshortened view of an interior.

  • Investigate visual strategies artists use in composing drawings. Grasp how shapes communicate, and how the factors of contrast and repetition affect how a viewer reads a drawing. Learn about visual €œrhyming€ (shapes and directions that get repeated rhythmically), spatial organization (foreground, mid-ground, background), and the narrative possibilities of composition.

  • Take a deeper look at the types and qualities of line, and consider how these attributes affect line's expressive potential. Study and practice nine key attributes of line, from value and width to continuity, shape, and texture. Then explore gestural line-line that swiftly captures the character of a subject.

  • Study how artists think structurally in building a drawing, tying the drawing's content to the geometric underpinnings of a given rectangular shape. Learn about focal areas, focal points, and compositional balance, and how this kind of structural understanding serves to unite the parts of a drawing, creating a unified whole.

  • In approaching composition, study the underlying structure of rectangles, the fundamental shape of most drawings. Learn how the character of any rectangle is defined by the relationship of its verticality to its horizontality, and how this relationship affects our perception. Observe how simple diagonals within a rectangle offer numerous possibilities for visual interpretation.

  • Now investigate cross-contour line (which can transform flat shape into a volumetric solid), oblique or foreshortened shapes, and their relation to geometric solids-principles that allow you to make objects appear three-dimensional. Also grasp the relation of figure to ground within a drawing, and practice drawing three-dimensional still lifes.

  • Learn about contour line, which describes the outer edges of objects, and construction line, which helps you build the objects you draw. Discover how to draw individual objects by constructing them from basic geometric shapes. Also learn about aggregate shape, which unites a drawing's disparate individual elements.

  • Explore essential first drawing exercises and learn how you will apply the skills developed here to much more complex subjects. Grasp how the curriculum-spanning the many pieces making up the €œgrammar€ of drawing, such as composition, proportion, perspective, value, texture, and color-fits together, providing you with the knowledge and ability to explore your own creative vision.

  • Begin by considering the remarkable history of drawing, a history that has produced knowledge, methodology, and techniques that are readily learnable. Assess common misconceptions about talent and genius; discover how learning to see analytically and abstractly helps us draw; and try your first drawing exercise, retracing what our ancestors drew 80,000 years ago.