Drawing Class for Dummies

A career as an artist offers an opportunity to express yourself while also being a potentially lucrative career. There are several drawing course options available for art majors. These courses provide an in-depth look at drawing techniques and theory, as well as an opportunity to exhibit your work.

By Adison Bollman — October 31, 2022

Drawing Class for Dummies

Art careers provide an opportunity to express oneself while also being a potentially lucrative career. Fine Arts majors are granted the opportunity to pursue their creative interests, learn new mediums, and improve their technical skills. If you decide to pursue a fine arts degree, you will be required to take drawing classes; these classes will teach you the ins and outs of drawing techniques and theory and grant you an opportunity to exhibit your work. My father, Brant Bollman, took these classes to get his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa. Now, all these years later, he gave me words of advice to pass along to prospective art majors.

Types of Drawing Classes

When an art major is signing up for their first semester classes, they're faced with many options for art courses. There are several options for drawing classes that art majors are offered. Follow the advice below, and you'll get a picture of what each class offers.

Basic Drawing

The first class a prospective or potential art major should take is Basic Drawing. As the name suggests, this is the 101- crash course for drawing. In this course, you'll learn drawing techniques like siting and develop artists' ability to use drawing tools such as charcoal and graphite pencils. This course will teach you observational drawing, a technique that helps develop the brain to comprehend subjects better and improves hand-eye coordination.

While this class is typically skippable by testing out, Mr. Bollman suggests that you shouldn't, regardless of ability. In Basic Drawing, you'll meet fellow art majors your age, which will help you develop a network of fellow artists on campus and make like-minded friends. Not only will you make connections, but you will also face significantly harder challenges in college drawing courses relative to high school art classes.

Still Life Drawing

Still Life drawing is the next step up. In this course, you'll be drawing random inanimate objects. Still life drawing improves upon the foundational skills built-in basic drawing. You'll spend a significant amount of time practicing observational drawing. You'll also use pen and ink to learn how to crosshatch, a shading technique. In Still Life Drawing, you'll practice sustained still-life drawing. Sustained still life drawing is drawing one object for an extended time, typically spanning hours. This practice will push your ability to analyze the object and improve your ability to correct and make changes to your drawing. If you can excel in this course, the third course will be the ultimate test.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing is the most advanced drawing course that most campuses offer. Life Drawing, also known as Nude Drawing, aims to improve the artist's ability to draw the human form. Though indeed an uncomfortable sight at first, eventually, the subject will effectively be just that, the object of your drawing. You'll learn to focus on every small detail of the body; you'll observe the intricate details of each muscle, just as you would the pores of an orange in Still Life Drawing. You will draw for an extended time, just as in Still Life Drawing.

Drawing Tools

There are many different tools that the courses listed above will help you master. These tools include pen and ink, charcoal, graphite, felt tips, and sumi brushes. Graphite pencils are classified by their shade and hardness via the grading scale. The grading scale measures black and hard lead pencils and ranges from 8B, the darkest and softest, to 2H, the lightest and hardest lead. HB pencils are the typical number 2 pencils and center the scale. Charcoal also comes with ratings, but you'll most commonly use 4B compressed charcoal.

Erasers in art class differ from erasers in the classroom. When one thinks of an eraser, they usually picture a pink rubbery prism. In the art room, pink erasers are typically avoided, as they can easily damage the paper. Instead, artists gravitate toward white plastic erasers, soap erasers, kneaded erasers, or an old dirty rag. These erasers are interchanged depending on the drawing utensil used.

After learning shading techniques, you'll advance to using colors. An important concept you'll learn in drawing class is value. Value is the brightness or darkness of a particular color. Understanding values is essential to becoming a professional artist. When drawing, artists use tortillons or blending stumps to manipulate color to change the value intricately.

As an art major, you'll have different class supplies from other students. Keeping track of all your art tools is essential to your success, mental health, and wallet. Mr. Bollman recommends a tackle box to lug your pencils, brushes, and erasers around. He also recommends locking up your art supplies in a locker or your car if not in use, as these supplies are very expensive. Learn about and take care of your tools, and you'll earn your very own fine arts degree.

Adison Bollman

Adison Bollman

Adison Bollman was born and raised in smalltown Iowa and graduated from North Mahaska High School in New Sharon, Iowa in 2021. Adison currently attends William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa as a double major in Political Science and History. Adison articles help new students navigate through their college journey with emphasis on personal experiences and advice from professors and staff.
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