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Fundamentals of Form Drawing

This course covers, in my opinion, the most important fundamental knowledge and skills for a representational artist.

Note that this content is integrated with the Form, Gesture, Anatomy Course, so if you are doing that course I suggest follow the content there, which pairs the geometric forms with related anatomical structures in the human figure.

That's why it is first in the list - everything else builds on this content and relies on it.  I'm not alone in this viewpoint, but what is unique about the course is that I have developed a sequence of activities that I have found to be particularly efficient at helping my students

It is designed to make this difficult and often counter intuitive information more accessible, and to lead to the student rapidly developing a working knowledge of these fundamentals.  It is what I recommend for complete beginners, but it is also hugely useful, perhaps even more so, for the more experienced artist, who may not have thoroughly gone into these topics - and they have become an annoying limitation.  I wish to show you the ways that things that appear obvious in a successful drawing are less so when you come to draw the thing yourself.  

While this content can be surprising and challenging, I have endeavoured it an enjoyable journey, that investigates and links up the content, and makes it practical right away.  There is even lots of room for creativity int he drawing from imagination parts.

In short, it is my best stab to date at communicating content and skills that representational artists' sometimes go their whole lives  avoiding - and suffering for that.

Over about 8 sessions (plus or minus a few depending on the student and how enthusiastic you are at doing homework!) we work through a series of activities, experiments and both observational and imagination drawing to help you understand and begin to develop an "intuitive feel" for working with the following content.

  • Observational Accuracy

  • Creating three dimensionality in line

  • Rendering form with Tone - using the generalised structure of light on form

  • The basic forms: Cube, Sphere and Cylinder

  • Compound forms and organic forms - seeing the geometric forms as the essence of the organic

  • Directional rendering, cross contouring and strategies for efficiently capturing form

  • Direct experiments that show you the illusions of perspective


Course notes: Cylinders

Once the rules are understood, the challenge is to practice drawing various cylinders to get the feel for how the variables in "Rule of Thumb 4" below need to be balanced to make a cylinder feel authentic.  This is the purpose of the activity shown next. The drawing of the hand shows how this knowledge can become cross contouring of organic form to begin to develop three dimensionality even without using much tone.

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Course Notes: Rectangular Prism

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Course Notes: The Sphere

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Organic Form - Built from Geometric Forms

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Below: Studies by some of Scott's students in the Fundamentals of Form Drawing course

Above: Studies by Scott's students from the Fundamentals of Form Drawing Course