Learning How to Draw: Connecting the Pieces

Over the course of this semester, I have undertaken an online learning project as a way of learning how to draw. I have always wanted to put the images of characters I have in my mind onto paper. I am certainly proud of the work I have been able to accomplish, thanks to the wonderful learning resources on the internet. This is not something that could always have been done, so I’m lucky that these resources are available to me so readily. I can also see the great help they can be for many different study areas and learners and look forward to working on similar projects with my future students.

I completed my pre-assessment by watching a video and drawing along with it, so that I could eventually compare where I started to where I am now.

A simple pencil portrait drawing


This image is the result. This is where I started. My drawing skills were very limited, but it gave me an idea of where I was and what I needed to work on. I decided that the best way I could start my learning process was to go through the individual parts.

I started with my drawing instruments. If I wanted to learn how to draw, I needed to get drawing pencils and figure out what each of the pencils did and what I would be using them for.



I started learning how to draw the eyes first. They are my favourite part to draw and there were a lot of resources to help me learn how to draw.




Then I took a step back and learned how to draw the basic face and facial proportions. And building off of this I took on how to draw the face from different perspectives in the following lesson I.





One of the toughest lessons along the way was learning how to draw noses, but I stretched myself and learned a lot with helpful resources and much practice.

I took a break from these individual lessons to seek out a learning community. I was secluded in my learning and part of learning is belonging to a community of learners. I was able to find tips and see communication among others learning how to draw.

My last lesson was on learning how to draw mouths. It was a good stopping point and I was able to make connections to other parts I had learned with the shape being similar to an eye, but wanting to keep in mind that the lips join to the face like the nose, so be careful where you put your lines.



I have learned to draw these different parts better than I ever could have before. I felt like I couldn’t but this project made me realize that I can. I will continue to learn and improve my drawing with the help of the internet, but I will search out opportunities in my community when I can. So, how did I progress? Where am I now? Pictures are worth a million words…


I’ve finally been able to put all of the pieces together and show just what I was able to accomplish during the semester through my learning project. Here it is. You can view it on instagram, along with my other pictures for another view of my learning process. Here is my journey unfolded. I look forward to more learning ahead.


Learning How to Draw: Mouths

This week, I took on one of my final steps before putting what I’ve learned together. I learned how to draw mouths/lips. I found mouths easier to draw than noses, because there is a general shape and some lines you can draw. That being said, I didn’t find as many resources as I have been able to find for the other parts I was learning. It’s possible I wasn’t looking in the right places or overlooked possibly valuable resources. However, some of the videos I found were quite helpful and I took away some helpful pointers.

In a couple of the simpler tutorials, I learned basic shapes. I learned to use an oval shape and how to draw the middle line to create a smile or neutral expression, and to try a boxy shape for an open mouth smile. I learned a triangle technique for drawing a mouth from a side angle. All of these drawing tips/lessons I learned with Howcast’s video: “How to Draw Lips| Drawing Tips“.

In an attempt to find additional resources, both because of limited tutorial videos and difficulty seeing light lines in some videos, I found a series of images that go through a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw realistic lips. My attempt is in the bottom right corner of the picture below. It turned out less detailed and less realistic looking than the example, but this is partly because I didn’t really follow the later instructions because they didn’t make sense to me. You have to create dark swatches of pencil to use a brush to dust shading in, which seemed odd to me and not something I wanted to do in my own drawing.


My favourite learning resource is the video by markcrilley that I have embedded below below. He took his time to go step by step and the steps were easy to follow and made sense. Additionally, the result is something that if you practice enough you can see your work improve.

The opening of the instruction starts with a grid. This grid is great for beginners especially, and helps me achieve a symmetrical and realistic shape. Here is what it looks like:



You use the grid as a guideline, with the top and bottom of the mouth extending beyond it, because they are round and not flat.

He also goes into the lines you create to make your lips have a realistic shape, curving to show the shape and shading to make them look realist. The results of this learning tutorial are something I’m proud of, and with the tips given in the video, is something I can recreate. Sometimes my scanner makes the shading look a bit grainy, but you can also check out the results on my instragram.



This learning process has been exciting, and I have learned a lot so far. It is really important to practice, so if you have any additional resources or tips please send them my way; I appreciate it. And if you have any questions about my learning process, please ask.

Learning How to Draw: Looking for a Learning Community

In addition to my learning through mainly youtube videos and still photos, I wanted to expand my network and search for a learning community, specifically an online learning community, engaging in the same adventure as me.

I have been blogging about my experiences and learning process, but my learning is still very much a one-way communication rather than collaboration. I watch videos, practice, post about my learning, but get little feedback and opportunity for discussion and collaboration. An important part of learning, even though I am self-directing my learning, is communicating with other learners. So, in the midst of my learning, I searched for communities of learners learning how to draw using online platforms.

I found reddit a particularly helpful space for what I was looking for. There are multiple communities that I can join and partake in the sharing of my online learning experience. There are two communities that I took interest in and added to my learning project resources.

The first is called “Art Fundamentals: Learning to Draw from the Ground Up“. I believe that this is a group started by a single user, who has made and linked lessons, “extra-curricular” material, an optional challenge, and discussion sections. You can subscribe to the group and post comments to get in on the discussion or ask questions. This group is nice for learning material as well as opportunity to be a part of discussing the material.


The second is “learnart” and it says that it is for “artists that want to improve”. It is a more open community, with many contributors and continually updating series of posts that can be helpful in my process of learning how to draw. I can join discussions that interest me or provide me with the opportunity to discuss issues and ideas that will help me improve my drawing.



A few posts from this community include one on “Beginners: 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me…” underneath the initial post are comments that are also helpful and show how learners as well as people who are learned can discuss things beginners should know. Or this graphic that someone posted on how to draw with your eyes rather than your brain (warning if you are sensitive to certain language: there are curse words in the image). Then there is a comments section to discuss the image and the opportunity for learning from it. You can also post pictures of your art and receive constructive feedback that can help engage in the learning community and get tips on how to improve.

I found a few other spaces that I haven’t explored as much and am not as engaged with, but other learners may find helpful.

  1. Learn How to Draw – By: Helen South
  2. Draw Space

If you learned or are in the process of learning how to draw online, what are some communities and/or resources that you are using, like, have found useful, etc…? If you are working on a different learning project, have you found any online communities that are helping you?

Learning How to Draw: Faces From Different Perspectives

After getting a sense of drawing faces from a front view, I worked at learning to draw faces from different angles and perspectives.
I worked a little more on the front view as well (practice makes improvement!). Additionally, I learned how to draw faces from a side view and from a three-quarter view. My learning of this step has mainly been construction as realistic drawing of facial features have been and will continue to be developed separately and then together as I get better.

I learned a few different approaches. The first approach came from the first video I watched was “Drawing Heads on Different Angles“. It offers a straight forward way of drawing faces from various perspectives. I learned the lines that go into drawing the facial structures for front, 3/4, and side viewpoints. One reason that I prefer this video a little less than the other (which I have embedded above) is that the youtuber draws using a computer program. While this allows him to copy and paste, as well as lighten lines and delete different layers, I as a learner am not always able to keep up with my pencil and paper. However, the information was useful and re-create-able.


The second video I watched, “How to Draw the Head from Any Angle” gave me a different method of constructing a facial structure for “any angle” I please. Additionally, the tutorial is done in pencil and paper, and the youtuber provides video of his own face to show a real life connection to the angles and facial structure we are trying to re-create. I did have to watch the video a couple more times to gain a fuller understanding, but I did enjoy having two ways of creating a facial structure form multiple perspectives.

Faces2 MoreFaces

These are methods I have practices over and over to try and get used to enough to be able to help them construct realistic portraits. I feel that knowing the basic structures to greatly improve my drawing ability. I look forward to seeing how they help me once I am ready to put all the feature together and create a full portrait. I think it may be helpful for me to do so once I learn how to draw noses, mouths, and perhaps hair, so that I can then work on connecting all of the individual pieces I’ve been working on. Also, if anyone knows of any other helpful web resources I would love to hear about them and check them out.

Learning How to Draw: Basic Face

The focus in this learning activity is not about drawing the faces with realistic detail. I’m taking a step back to consider facial structure. While I have already been learning about drawing eyes realistically, I decided it would be best if I learned how to draw the basic facial structure before learning more about specific parts. This way, once I have learned how to draw eyes, nose, mouth, hair, etc, I will know where to place them and work on connecting them into a complete image.

My first step was to get the basics down. I watched: “How to Draw a Face- Basic Proportions”. I watched the video once without drawing anything. I watched the video again, and drew as I watched. I did a second drawing without watching the video to fix mistakes and practice what I learned separate from the video. I gained a sense of where I’d gone wrong. The first image is more stretched out and more funny looking overall. As with eyes, I believe drawing these basic proportions until they feel more natural is an important part of my learning process.

First Face Shape2ndFaceShape

I watched a second video, by the same youtuber, to learn key characteristic differences that can act as clues to the characters sex. The video is called “Drawing the Differences: Men’s and Women’s Faces” Learning the basic differences between male and female characteristics acts as a starting point that can help, but can be altered to fit the variance that exists in realistic images of people. In the video it is stated that these are just guidelines. I personally found them helpful and noticed a difference in my ability to draw faces that depict a distinction between male and female faces.



From this point, I will continue to draw these basic proportions multiple times until I get used to them. Then I will work on trying out different looks or styles beyond the basic. Additionally, these first videos are only the front view of faces. I will also work on drawing face shapes from multiple angles.Here are two videos that will help me with this:

  1. How to Draw the Head from Any Angle
  2. Drawing Heads on Different Angles

As always I would love feedback and any recommended resources. As this is an online learning project, gaining any feedback and ideas on how to improve my learning process is helpful to me.

Learning How to Draw: Eyes

Eyes 1Eyes


In my next step in learning how to draw, I have started by learning how to draw realistic eyes. The eyes in the first picture are what I’ve drawn using different tutorials. In each of the tutorials I’ve learned different ways of drawing eyes realistically. I’ve concentrated on different aspects of drawing eyes in each. I’ve learned about eyelashes, eye structure and important shading and highlighting.

Three helpful tutorial videos are: How to Draw a Realistic Eye (markcrillley), How To Draw A Realistic Eye (Circle Line Art School), How to Draw an Eye – Step by Step (Proko).

For the fourth eye in the first picture, I used a website with step by step images. You can check it out here. I found this to be a helpful step between using video tutorial to drawing eyes on my own. This is done as I get a sense of the steps as a learning tool, but also responsible for making connections from what I’ve learned.

I worked on drawing eyes without the use of tutorials, so that I can build up my skill from what I’ve learned. However, when I’m drawing I will find parts that I don’t think I’m doing right, so I go back and watch some more tutorials and then continue to draw and see what I’ve managed to correct and what I need to work on.

Some more tutorials I’ve used in this ways are: How to Draw a Realistic Eye (LethalChris Drawing) and How to draw a Realistic Eye (Step by Step) (by: Pete Mystique). I found the video by LethalChris Drawing particularly helpful.

In addition to learning how to draw eyes, I watched a great video on how to practice drawing. In this video Syrca provide ideas on how to practice and thus improve your drawing skills. The main idea is to continuously draw (in this case eyes) a specific thing until you get faster at completing the image and you feel completely comfortable with the basic ideas. He says that once you do this then you will be able to try out different styles and use your ideas. This is a goal I have in drawing portraits. I want to be able to draw from my ideas not just other images.

I would love to hear any ideas or of any extra sources that may be helpful in my learning project. Thanks!


Learning About Drawing Pencils








At the start of my learning projects, I bought a pack of drawing pencils so that I could use ideal materials for portrait drawing. In order to learn how to draw specific things, I wanted to learn about the different pencils and when to use each.

I have created a “Learning How to Draw” playlist on Youtube that I continuosly update to include any tutorials or informational videos I think could help me. I have also added entire youtube channels that are dedicated to teaching people how to draw.

For this specific learning material I used a video called “Basics of Pencil Textures“. From watching the video I created the image shown above. I learned about the different types of pencils and their leads. The ‘H’ is for its hardness and the ‘B’ is for its blackness. The numbers place it on the scale. Harder leads will be used for details and sketches and blackness for creating softness and it one I use more when I draw eyes. HB is also a pretty standard pencil that I can use when I’m not sure.

When I start watching a tutorial, I look for information about the pencil they’re using or otherwise I use what I learned in this video to make my choice.

As always I would love any feedback that can help me on my journey.