Learning how to draw

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Nuks, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Nuks macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2006
    Hey everyone,
    I've been accepted to an architecture school in September, and although I certainly don't have to be the world's best drawer, I need to be able to competently express my ideas (obviously one of the ways to do this is through sketching). Can anyone point me in the direction of good books or websites that teach a fundamental knowledge of drawing? (obviously things like perspective are more important than, say, still life pictures).

    I have taken a beginner's drawing course at my current university, but it was taught (basically) by an old lady for other old ladies, and most of the time was spent drawing the face of the lady across the table from me...

    Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated!
  2. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    Greener places than I used to live
    I graduated with a BoA in Arts, and studied drawing quite extensively. the one book I always highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn to draw (the 'right' way - ie, learning to see correctly) is Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

    It is a fantastic book with sound teaching. Anyone, and i mean anyone can learn to draw well, provided they have sight, limbs, and dedicate the time to practicing. What you will learn is that it's all about correct observation of your subject. You draw with your eyes - your hands just mimic what your eyes have traversed.

    Also, seeing and drawing is like building muscle - you have to keep doing it to keep it up. The principles are like riding a bike - you don't forget, but the actual skill has to be maintained.

    I haven't been good at maintaining my drawing since I graduated and got married last year, but recently I've been good about busting out the sketchbook.
  3. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I am also learning to draw again, I figure I can kill two birds with one stone in medical school if I can learn to draw some of the anatomical things I am required to learn.

    I'll give those two books a look, my long-term goal is to learn to draw lifelike images of people, and then eventually diverge into more bizarre things. I've got the ideas in my head, it is just making them look convincing on paper takes some work.

    Drawing is also cheap fun, I got a sketchbook and twenty pencils for something like ten dollars, cheaper than a movie!
  4. Nuks thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2006
    I've been recommended this book before, but does it apply to architectural sketching? (which often involves drawing IDEAS, and not concrete subjects). That being said, it's definitely a book I'll check out.
  5. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    Greener places than I used to live
    I see how you would be skeptical about it bridging the gap between observational drawing and imaginative drawing. However, if you practice the exercises, especially the "duplications" one, you will learn to connect your sight, mind, and hand. From their it's a step to take the sight part out and work from mind to hand.

    But I wouldn't expect to learn how to draw from imagination without first/also learning to draw from observation.

    In short, we start off not being good at drawing because when we look at things (or imagine them), we don't really see them. We see a symbol system for them. IE, when you look at a stop sign, your mind says "8 sides. red with a white border", but what you are looking at might be rusty, or look blue because of reflected light, or only have 4 sides because of your angle. I child would draw that with a fire engine red crayon, with 8 'even' sides. When a child draws a hand, it starts as some loosely clumped lines, then as they grow older it becomes a mickey-mouse type cartoon hand. As you learn to see, you draw the angles you really are looking at, not what you assume you must be looking at.

    The book is full of ways to help you understand what you really are seeing, and how to translate that to paper.
  6. Nuks thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2006
    ^Good point.

    Thanks, I'll definitely have a look at this book!
  7. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
  8. klymr macrumors 65816

    May 16, 2007
    A book that has some architectural drawing techniques is Landscape Graphics. It's more focused on landscape architecture, but there is still a lot to learn from it. I used it in my landscape architecture class before I switched my major to graphic design.

    I also would like to suggest the book that has been mentioned my Mike W. Lin. My teacher had a copy that floated around the classroom. Pretty nice book.
  9. geekgirl macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2007
    I imagine that your architectural school will have drawing classes that will be prerequisites to your other classes. We have a foundation year, where all freshmen take the same core classes, which include both drawing and design. Have you registered for classes yet?

    But definitely check out the books mentioned in other replies (I may have to take a look at "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, as I am really rusty...). You really have to start from learning to draw real life objects, in order to be able to draw from your imagination...
  10. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Imo books are nice and all, but the most important things are:

    1. practice
    2. practice
    3. practice

    Good luck and have fun! :)
  11. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    Greener places than I used to live
    That is definitely true. HOWEVER, only perfect practice makes perfect.

    This doesn't mean you have to draw perfect representations every time as practice for it to work. But it does mean that you need to know the correct ideas behind what you are doing as you practice. Drawing on the RSOTB teaches the concepts to develop your skill properly.

    But you are right - if all you do is read the book and not follow the exercises and also keep a daily sketch book on your own, you won't develop skill.
  12. kitki83 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2004
    Los Angeles

    I recommend this book and go to Penny Arcade>Artist Corner there is a lot of resources and even PDF books of drawing lessons, they even have weekly assignments on the subject so its like being in online course.

    Good luck

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