Can you draw without reference? – Online Art Lessons Ks1

Can you even do simple stuff like this?


Yes, absolutely. Drawing with reference is an amazing gift! The more you learn to do it, the better you will be at it. It’s really fun to see the results on a computer screen with a large print or a piece of paper.
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And of course, the more you try, the better you will become!

Step 1: Start with the base colour

The base colour is the colour that we intend to make the illustration in, in which we will create the line of reference, from which we will draw the line. Before we start drawing, take a second to draw a shadow from the centre of your eye to this colour. Don’t use light here, but rather just a light, soft shadow. And once you have a rough idea for what you want in this colour, start drawing it.

The easiest way is to draw from the center of your eye, with the light coming through your nose. But as you get comfortable drawing this way, you can start drawing as you want in real life from many different angles and sizes.

This is what I have done here for the “Vampire” illustration: first drawing in red, so I can make a shadow of red on the red background, and later drawing in the same colour for shading. Don’t get discouraged, as the more you practice the skill on, the easier time you will find drawing without reference in the real world.

Step 2: Move the line to reference

Drawing from the centre of your eyes doesn’t mean that we must just draw the line straight on.

It can be a bit difficult to draw straight lines in the middle of your head, since your eye is situated closer to the centre of your head than your brain is. But now you will learn to draw straight lines in a way a little bit more relaxed, with more light, and just to try to get the shape that you want. I find it easier to draw straight than curved lines, because you really feel that you have reached the point, and have enough freedom to move the line around.

And once you become comfortable with it, the more you create a circle, the more you’ll be able to do this with reference without needing reference points. You can start making sketches with circle sketching techniques to feel comfortable, and you can really practice this skill by drawing your circles and circles of reference.


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