This Instructable will be slowly developing over a number of weeks 8 out of 10 lessons so Far

you may need to pop back to pick up new lessons.

9 out of 10 lessons complete - videos being added [these are embedded in the image sections at the start of each lesson]

So Far :

  1. Getting started - Lines, Points, Circles and Triangles
  2. 2D Sketching
    1. Look, Layout, Line, Shape, Shadow, Shine.
    2. Overlap, Texture & Detail, Drop Shadow.
  3. 3D Sketching
    1. 1, 2 and 3 Point Perspective.
    2. Basic Forms - Cuboids, Prisms, Cylinders (Ellipses), Cones and Spheres

    3. Combining basic forms to create objects.

  4. 2D USB Project [Something for you to try]
  5. Orthographic Sketching (Engineering Drawing very basic)
  6. 2D & 3D marker rendering technique - Basic
  7. Colour Theory
  8. Creativity - Exploration / Experimentation / Ideation
  9. Advanced 2D & 3D Sketching Techniques *Started

Coming Soon :

  • Marker rendering, working on coloured paper and other enhancemets

I meet a lot of people in my job who say 'I wish I could draw like that' and they're surprised when I say 'Ok, I can teach you if you want'.

We often assume that drawing is a talent, something we are born with, some people can do it, some people can't.

But this is isn't exactly true; I failed my 'O'Level Art when I was 16. [don't get me wrong I'm not complaining I failed because I wasn't very good] and I didn't draw anything for a few years, why would I? I wasn't very good. To paraphrase a famous quote 'You don't know you are no good at something you enjoy doing, until someone tells you.' If I didn't know I was no good I'd have probably kept going and kept getting better. A couple of years later doodling away I realised I loved sketching and drawing and I wished I hadn't stopped and so I set out to teach myself how to become good at something I'd always wanted to be good at. I ended up becoming a design technology teacher/lecturer and teaching perhaps a hundred plus students these techniques.

I'm going to share here my tips and techniques for developing design drawing and communication skills. I am going to start with some very basic exercises and work through to more advanced stuff but I'll be honest, there are no short cuts, no quick tricks and no fast tracks, there's only practice, practice, practice.

Good luck, I hope you enjoy this, and don't be afraid to share your work with others.

Step 1: Getting Started - Lines, Points, Squares, Circles and Triangles

Don't go out and buy loads of equipment - Buying the best football boots doesn't make you David Beckham!

You will need :

A ballpoint pen (any colour will do)

A piece of paper or An old envelope (This is what junk mail is really for - free paper)

The key to drawing at this stage is







Straight lines are actually very difficult to draw because the human body is made up of lots of pivot points.

  1. Find your line - you will have a natural angle across your body with which you are comfortable. Now imagine wiping some crumbs off the table; look at the angle & direction of your hand, this is your natural angle.
  2. Ghosting - hold you pen the way you would normally. Place your hand on the paper so that the edge of your palm is resting on the paper but the pen is not touching the paper(no other part of your arm should be resting anywhere). Now sweep the crumbs away [Just like Karate Kid - Wax On Wax Off] do this three or four times.
  3. Now as you are sweeping let the tip of the pen lightly touch the paper.
  4. Repeat this for a few minutes.
  5. Now try and draw the longest straightest lines you can, see if you can space them the same distance apart each time. Turn the paper and make grids, just practice, practice, practice.


All drawings are basically lines or curves that start and stop at a certain point and once you can do that you are on your way to being able to draw anything.

  1. Look at image.2 - re-create this series of points which get further and further apart.
  2. Now using ghosting first draw imaginary lines between the points.
  3. Now join the lines (it doesn't matter if you start a little early or stop a little late, this is sketching) image.3
  4. Now you have some start and stop control fill your sheet with small groups of 5 lines each where the they are all of the same length - image.4
  5. If you want to do lines in a different direction don't move your arm - turn the paper instead, this way you are still 'sweeping the crumbs' moving in a way that is comfortable to you.
  6. You can extend this exercise by drawing SQUARES - draw two parallel lines, turn your paper through 90 degrees and draw two more parallel lines across the first two lines. Now practice, practice, practice.


Earlier I said the human body is made up of a lot of pivot points, so you would think drawing curves would be easy, it isn't, the curves even from your wrist point are usually two open to be of any use.

  1. Write or draw the letter C. Do you start at the top and move down and anticlockwise or at the bottom and move up and clockwise. This is your natural 'tight curve' direction.
  2. Draw a series of letter Cs - try drawing them a bit bigger than normal and then try drawing them the size of your fist.- image.5
  3. Go back over your letter Cs but ghosting this time and instead of a C, complete the circle to the top but keep going round, ghosting a circle.
  4. Let your pen touch the paper and sketch in the reminder of the C to make a circle. - image.6
  5. Now forget the letter C and just ghost and then sketch a page full of circles. Practice, practice, practice.


Now get some fresh paper and just doodle away sketching and drawing lines squares circles and if you look at image.7 you can add in TRIANGLES. Have fun :)

<p>lovely instruction, wanted to print out so that i could read the lessons easier, but when downloaded only the first 3 are there. how do i get the rest. thanks</p>
<p>Good day sir! i have been learning how to draw for a few years and i learned how to use proper shading. The only thing i want to learn is how to give my shading a metallic look. Thanks in Advance!</p>
<p>Hello sir, I am back to serious sketching after nearly a decade n</p><p>have been following your tutorial for about a week now. I left</p><p>classes abrubtly when i was 8 and therefore am technically weak.</p><p>My outlines are OKish though i lack in proportions and layout on </p><p>the page and i cant shade the way i see in other pro's works.</p><p>Please comment on my work and suggest some regimes to improve my </p><p>proportions and shading aspects. Below are some of my most recent</p><p>works and practice sessions: </p>
Hello sir , I am a 16 yr old girl and i used to sketch on a daily basis. But i stopped doing so for the past 2 years , due to academic reasons . <br><br>I wanna start again now .Can i improve my sketches ..to the 3D level ? And can i use pencil instead of a pen ? P L E A S E R E P L Y .Thank you.<br>This is one if my sketches .
This is excellent work and I mean excellent you are clearly talented. You can use pencil if you wish - I encourage my students to use pen so as to break the habit of using erasers, the faint construction lines left by the layout phase gives a sketch energy.<br><br>The important thing is that you do what works for you, and that you practice. Look at other peoples work that you like and emulate it so as to learn from it, but ultimately through practice you'll find your own style.<br><br>Kindest Regards<br><br>Ian
An insight to basics ... Loved reading it
<p>Hi Ian, This is really an awesome tutorial.. :D</p><p>Really helped me improve.. btw, here are my &quot;usb&quot; sketches.. ;)</p>
These are really good, nice cross hatch shading. I'll have to pop on some notes about drop shadows. I think you're ready for http://www.idsketching.com/basic/toolbox-shadows/
<p>Thank-you so much, Ian.. :)<br>The link to shadows' tutorial is very helpful... </p><p>Really very grateful.. :) :) </p>
&quot;謝謝您&quot;⬅️&quot;It is saying THANK YOU in Chinese, and my last word 您 means YOU, which is written in another form. It is used when we want to remark that 'you' is somehow dearest to us. Im a 28year-old boy from HK. The profile pic. is my 1st attempt to try drawing. Abt. 4~5 months ago. Thank you so much for all your tips and why you are sharing it. You are really a teacher, not only called as, you are &quot;A Teacher-being&quot;.
Thank you for your kind words, I am honored by your comments and wish you well in your studies. I very much like your profile image you are clearly very talented.<br><br>Kindest Regards<br><br>Ian.
Posting this for my grandson Ethan who loves to draw. Attention Aimee Rhea
<p>This is fantastic. I don't think I've ever seen a drawing tutorial actually start from the very beginning. Thanks so much!</p>
best tutorial ive seen in a long long time.ive ben drawing since I was about 4 and even with my experience this really helps a lot :) thank you very much for the easily understood step by step that hundreds of books seem to be lacking.you are doing great things for artists new and experienced
<p>Thanks Adamcrear</p>
<p>I've been thinkin that line drawings might be better in some -ibles than photos. Sometimes takin a pic, while workin a project is too cumbersome. A line drawing also eliminates irrelevant details (like the 12 other projects in process on my bench)</p>
<p>Hi Toga_Dan,</p><p>Instructional drawings really help - I've also used google sketchup to create instructional diagrams - </p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/XCP-Experimental-Canard-Platform/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/XCP-Experimental-Canard-Platform/</a></p><p>it's sometimes easier and you can manipulate view points without having to redraw.</p>
<p>Very nice tutorial. Thank you for your contribution.</p><p>I favorited it and put your entry into my LoTek collection.</p><p>Thanks.</p>
Very cool
<p>Hi Johnstat000 - I've been working on this for a couple of weeks now - I admit I had some drawings already but some of the step by step drawings I've been doing as I go along. I'm just planning the step by steps for the advanced stages. The LLLSSS is a culmination of 20 years teaching design. I just wanted something that opened the door for people to communictae their ideas.</p>
<p>Wow! How long did it take you to write this?</p>
<p>Just a huge thank you to the 1000+ followers, I am a bit amazed at the positive response I have received - Thank you.</p><p>Ian </p>
<p>Awesome. I really need to improve my sketching abilities so I can have some good clear designs for the stuff I make/want to make. Thanks for the incredibly detailed lessons. I'll definitely be watching for more.</p>
<p>Go for it lecreate :)</p>
<p>Nice guide! This makes me want to pick up a pen and paper right now to brush up on some old left-alone skills! </p>
<p>Hi armitagebron - I'll have to look into it, thanks for the idea.</p>
<p>Man, you are great I think, why dont you do some online courses udemy like?</p>
<p>Wow, it is what i need!</p>
<p>As Karl Jung said or wrote or something:</p><p>If I don't know I don't know, I think I know</p><p>If I don't know I know, I think I don't know.</p><p>It's a little confusing, but if you read it slowly, it will come to you:)</p>
<p>I really enjoy your technique! You have a very fluid and easy to use sketching style which is excellent for us makers. I will definitely be using this 'ible as a reference when designing or just doodling! Thanks for a great one!</p>
<p>I'll be adding in a orthographic engineering drawing section but for sketching rather than technical drawing/cad - helps with 3D projects and maker stuff. Thanks for the nice comments :)</p>
<p>I just love it. Where do you learn to design like that?</p>
Started practicing!!!
<p>That's great IBH nice line work - also try doing different line weights - these are heavyish lines so also try very feint ones too - these are impressive though your spacing is excellent.</p>
<p>cleigh6 - thank you for your kind words, glad you are re-inspired - hopefully they'll be plenty of interesting exercises to play with.</p>
Thanks for the detailed lessons, too many people (myself included in the past) think drawing lines shapes etc is boring. You have to learn the basics and understanding them to enable you to progress to more complex projects. .<br>please keep them coming, I have regained my passion for art once more..
<p>Awesome please keep these coming!</p>
THANK YOU. I'm personally the worst drawer in the world and my brother is great at it and I always tell him he's good but he always denies it and I ask him to teach me and he says no because his drawings are horrible and for other reasons haha thanks you for teaching me how to sketch I've always wanted to know how to
<p>This is really good. Gonna start working on my ellipses straightaway. I will heartily encourage you to post more!! Thank you!!</p>
<p>I'll be covering elipses and tricks and tips for them when we get to 3D, could be a week or so. Glad your inspired.</p>
I agree with you in that you don't need to go out and buy a bunch of great equipment. Too often people think they need better equipment, but at least with drawing/doodling, if you really like it and are motivated, you're not going to need all that silliness and you'll do just fine without it.

About This Instructable



Bio: I'm the Senior Lecturer, Engineering at the Humber University Training College and an Associate Lecturer Design Engineering for the Open University.
More by ianbates1:How to Sketch Simple Cartoon / Comic Characters XCP - Experimental Canard Platform Sketching & Drawing Lessons 
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