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How to Draw

Experience the joy of drawing - a skill anyone can learn - in this brilliantly designed course that teaches you how to draw landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and more.
How to Draw is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 531.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mr. Brody, I take off my hat, so nice to meet you. I came in contact with this course through my public library and just finished another great artist Mr. Christopher Hart exercises. When I brought this course, I really was expecting that the text would have the exercises showing in the DVDs. I purchased 3 of them and they are mostly typing. Another minor issue happens during shipping the DVD's cage arrived broken. Other than that I am enjoying the learning road more than reaching the end of it. Thank you for making high quality education available. I am celebrating that! Sincerely, Elizabeth Zamora
Date published: 2021-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! Excellent! I just finished the 36 lessons and strongly recommend this course. The course’s modest title How to Draw, belies Professor Brody’s comprehensive instruction and insights in art history. The course is well structured with each lesson logically progressing in complexity and utilizing what has been introduced in previous lectures. The course accommodates the beginner as well as giving those who want to develop their talent to a higher level more advanced strategies. Being a “stick figure” beginner I highly valued the student examples and being able to view the lessons multiple times. It is incredible that I now see aggregate shapes, vanishing points, value, focal points not only in artwork, but when walking, in movies, and pretty much everywhere. Although I have completed the course, How to Draw has provided me with additional hours of exercises and projects allowing me to continue to develop my drawing skills. Thank you Professor Brody.
Date published: 2021-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A complex subject made easy to follow As a professional watercolor artist whose drawing skills have waned over the years, I was looking for a comprehensive drawing course that would allow me to teach the subject with some confidence to amateur students. This course has given me that and much more! Mr. Brody is concise and clear in his explanations. His demonstrations are simple and have cleared up some technical problems I have had in my drawing. The substance in this course has risen far above my expectations!
Date published: 2021-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very comprehensive drawing course. I am so glad I ordered this course. It has helped me sketch with increased confidence and perspective.
Date published: 2021-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Who knew?! Although I have only just begun, I feel as though I am in good hands with a knowledgeable instructor who teaches thoroughly, clearly and at a good pace. Perfect!
Date published: 2021-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Happy so far... I enjoy both the historical aspect of the course and the exercises so far. Admittedly I'm only through the 2nd lesson (kind of). So I really can't give much by way of Pros, but I can give you one "Needs Improvement." That improvement is to give the prospective student a suggested list of materials necessary to get started - before Lesson 1. Some of the suggested items are discussed in lesson 2. Without some of these materials, it is rather difficult to complete the lesson 2 or I'm sure, beyond. FYI, I am a total beginner, so I don't have a background in knowing what I need to be successful. So I've put the course on the shelf until I get some of the materials I need. Perhaps I will write more as the course progresses.
Date published: 2021-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Draw I am really enjoying this course. I like the references to other art works and how it applies to the course content. He is very thorough in his approach and provides lots of drawing demonstrations and helpful exercised.
Date published: 2021-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun! Interesting! The best part of this course is I can do it when I have time. Very fun and enlightening!
Date published: 2021-08-29
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Experience the joy of drawing-a skill anyone can learn-in this brilliantly designed course that teaches you how to draw landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and more.


David Brody
David Brody

If you're like most of my students at the University of Washington, it's likely that when you think about "learning to draw" you’re thinking about being able to do this: get the proportions right; get the things to sit on the table; maybe even draw a group of figures...from your imagination.


University of Washington in Seattle

Professor David Brody has been a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Washington in Seattle since 1996. He did undergraduate work at Columbia University and Bennington College and received his graduate degree in painting from Yale University in 1983. Professor Brody has lectured or been a visiting critic at Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Chicago, Harvard University, Capital Normal University in Beijing, and the China Art Academy in Hangzhou. Professor Brody's paintings and drawings have been shown in close to 100 exhibitions in the United States and Europe. These include solo shows at Gallery NAGA in Boston, the Esther Claypool Gallery in Seattle, Gescheidle in Chicago, and Galeria Gilde in Portugal. His work has also been shown at the ARCO Art Fair in Madrid, the RipArte Art Fair in Rome, the Trevi Flash Art Museum, the FAC Art Fair in Lisbon, and Art Chicago in the United States. Professor Brody's work has been published and written about in two monographs and in many articles and reviews. Art in America concluded, "A highly intelligent artist ... Brody is absolutely serious about technique. An emphasis on fine drawing, delicate surfaces, and careful considerations of color and light informs all his pictures." Professor Brody has received numerous awards. He's been both a Fulbright Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow, received the Basil H. Alkazzi Award for Excellence in Painting, and was awarded Royalty Research Fund grants and Milliman Endowment for Faculty Excellence awards at the University of Washington.

By This Professor

How to Draw
The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters
How to Draw


An Introduction to Drawing

01: An Introduction to Drawing

Begin by considering the remarkable history of drawing, a history that has produced knowledge, methodology, and techniques that are readily learnable. Assess common misconceptions about talent and genius; discover how learning to see analytically and abstractly helps us draw; and try your first drawing exercise, retracing what our ancestors drew 80,000 years ago....

33 min
Drawing Materials for Line

02: Drawing Materials for Line

Here, investigate drawing materials you'll use throughout the course. Learn about artists' graphite pencils, charcoal, brush and ink, and drafting and measuring tools. Then learn how to set up your work area, and how to place both yourself and your subject vis-a-vis your drawing board or easel....

33 min
Drawing Fundamentals and First Exercises

03: Drawing Fundamentals and First Exercises

Explore essential first drawing exercises and learn how you will apply the skills developed here to much more complex subjects. Grasp how the curriculum-spanning the many pieces making up the "grammar" of drawing, such as composition, proportion, perspective, value, texture, and color-fits together, providing you with the knowledge and ability to explore your own creative vision....

30 min
Line and Shape: Line and Aggregate Shape

04: Line and Shape: Line and Aggregate Shape

Learn about contour line, which describes the outer edges of objects, and construction line, which helps you build the objects you draw. Discover how to draw individual objects by constructing them from basic geometric shapes. Also learn about aggregate shape, which unites a drawing's disparate individual elements....

32 min
Line and Shape: Volume and Figure-Ground

05: Line and Shape: Volume and Figure-Ground

Now investigate cross-contour line (which can transform flat shape into a volumetric solid), oblique or foreshortened shapes, and their relation to geometric solids-principles that allow you to make objects appear three-dimensional. Also grasp the relation of figure to ground within a drawing, and practice drawing three-dimensional still lifes....

33 min
Line and Shape: Positive and Negative Shape

06: Line and Shape: Positive and Negative Shape

This lecture explores the vital concept of negative shape, the shapes existing between the positive shapes representing the objects on the page. Study how artists conceive of negative shape and use it in constructing their compositions. In still life exercises, practice intentionally drawing both "positive" object shapes and the "negative" shapes between them....

28 min
Composition: The Format and Its Armature

07: Composition: The Format and Its Armature

In approaching composition, study the underlying structure of rectangles, the fundamental shape of most drawings. Learn how the character of any rectangle is defined by the relationship of its verticality to its horizontality, and how this relationship affects our perception. Observe how simple diagonals within a rectangle offer numerous possibilities for visual interpretation....

30 min
Composition: How Artists Compose

08: Composition: How Artists Compose

Study how artists think structurally in building a drawing, tying the drawing's content to the geometric underpinnings of a given rectangular shape. Learn about focal areas, focal points, and compositional balance, and how this kind of structural understanding serves to unite the parts of a drawing, creating a unified whole....

29 min
Line and Shape: Line Attributes and Gesture

09: Line and Shape: Line Attributes and Gesture

Take a deeper look at the types and qualities of line, and consider how these attributes affect line's expressive potential. Study and practice nine key attributes of line, from value and width to continuity, shape, and texture. Then explore gestural line-line that swiftly captures the character of a subject....

30 min
Composition: Shape and Advanced Strategies

10: Composition: Shape and Advanced Strategies

Investigate visual strategies artists use in composing drawings. Grasp how shapes communicate, and how the factors of contrast and repetition affect how a viewer reads a drawing. Learn about visual "rhyming" (shapes and directions that get repeated rhythmically), spatial organization (foreground, mid-ground, background), and the narrative possibilities of composition....

30 min
Proportion: Alberti's Velo

11: Proportion: Alberti's Velo

Now begin a study of proportion and measurement in drawing. Learn about a key discovery of 15th century European art, the velo, a gridded device that allows you to create a convincing depiction of a figure, landscape, or other subject. Use your own velo, and draw a proportioned, foreshortened view of an interior....

30 min
Proportion: Accurate Proportion and Measure

12: Proportion: Accurate Proportion and Measure

Study key tools artists use to arrive at correct proportions. In particular, learn how to use an analog clock face as a way to quantify angles, how to use a standard unit of measure to measure across the picture plane, and how to use level and plumb lines. Then put these elements together in practice....

28 min
Creating Volume and Illusionistic Space

13: Creating Volume and Illusionistic Space

Look broadly at how artists create flatness, volume, and space on two-dimensional surfaces. In doing so, study 12 factors that affect how we perceive depth of space, encompassing principles such as overlap, the relative scale of objects, the use of diagonals and foreshortened shapes, atmospheric perspective, and how distance affects color....

30 min
Six Complex Drawing Projects

14: Six Complex Drawing Projects

Apply your knowledge and skills to a number of intriguing and complex drawing conundrums. Among a range of projects, create a still life of boxes, translate a complex figure painting into a line drawing, and draw a carefully composed self-portrait. Also consider common pitfalls-and their solutions-in drawing naturalistically....

30 min
Linear Perspective: Introduction

15: Linear Perspective: Introduction

Linear perspective, a Renaissance discovery that radically changed art, is another core tool for controlling proportion and creating a life-like drawing. Learn about one-point perspective, how diagonal lines recede to a vanishing point, and how to use this principle to create convincing form in space....

33 min
Linear Perspective: The Quad

16: Linear Perspective: The Quad

Combine your knowledge of illusionistic space and linear perspective in drawing an architectural landscape of two buildings on a ground plane. Construct the buildings and the space between them using the principles of one-point perspective. Then draw through the buildings, creating interior floors, windows, doors, and furniture....

27 min
Linear Perspective: The Gridded Room

17: Linear Perspective: The Gridded Room

Learn how to draw a perspectival grid, and look at ways artists use grids to measure the depth of space in a drawing. Then, draw a complete gridded room, beginning with the floor plane. Add gridded walls and a ceiling, controlling proportions in spatial recession. Finally, add interior objects of specific measure in specific locations....

28 min
Linear Perspective: Ellipses and Pattern

18: Linear Perspective: Ellipses and Pattern

Apply the principles you've learned to draw curvilinear volumetric forms, such as a cylinder, cone, and sphere in perspective. Also investigate the drawing of geometric patterns in perspective. Then begin a complex drawing from your imagination, using one-point perspective to construct a believable and measurable interior space....

31 min
Linear Perspective: Advanced Topics

19: Linear Perspective: Advanced Topics

Complete drawing a believable, proportioned environment from your imagination. Next, study two-point perspective, used to accurately draw planes that are angled to the picture plane. Finally, discover how to draw sloping or inclined planes, and learn about three-point perspective, which depicts what we see when we tilt our heads, looking up or down....

29 min
Value: How Artists Use Value

20: Value: How Artists Use Value

In approaching value (the relative lightness or darkness of tones), grasp how the tonal palette of a drawing governs mood and the viewer's emotional response. Learn how we can conceive of the range of values from white to black as a scale. Study how artists use value as both a spatial and a compositional tool, and investigate the passage of light and shadow over form as occurring in nine steps....

29 min
Value: Drawing Materials for Value

21: Value: Drawing Materials for Value

For drawing with value, take a deeper look at the types and qualities of the materials you'll use. Investigate the uses of graphite, charcoal, blending and spreading tools, ink, and the use of fixative. Study the many types and grades of drawing papers, and see how different materials interact with different papers....

29 min
Value: Black and White and a Value Scale

22: Value: Black and White and a Value Scale

Discover how artists use value. With brush and ink, learn to make both white and black shapes and create a still life using only these two values. Then, draw a nine-step value scale, comprising nine distinct tones ranging from white to black....

30 min
Value: Eight Complex Drawing Projects

23: Value: Eight Complex Drawing Projects

Put your knowledge of value into practice, beginning with still lifes of white objects on white backgrounds drawn in a broad palette of light to dark. Learn to see a color's value as distinct from its hue and saturation. Realize a range of value-based projects, from drawings combining interior and outdoor spaces to portraits, full-figure drawings, and drawings translating color to value....

29 min
Value: Side Light and Cast Shadow

24: Value: Side Light and Cast Shadow

Learn how artists draw cast shadows from their imaginations. Start with shadows thrown by blocks and curvilinear solids, in one- and two-point perspective. Consider the expressive value of shadows, and progress to compound surfaces receiving shadows. Finally, learn to draw cast shadows of inclined planes....

29 min
Value: Oblique Light and Cast Shadow

25: Value: Oblique Light and Cast Shadow

To complete your study of cast shadows, learn to draw shadows produced by oblique light coming from both the front and rear of objects. Then investigate artificial light as it affects shadows projected by objects within interiors. Practice these principles by drawing a complex interior and an invented still life from your imagination....

30 min
Texture: Mark Making and Optical Value

26: Texture: Mark Making and Optical Value

Investigate the use of mark making, such as hatching and other related techniques, as a means of creating visual texture and tonal value. Experiment with hatching and how to use it compositionally. Practice inventing your own marks, explore the huge range of possibilities, and apply them in your drawings....

31 min
Texture: How Artists Use Texture

27: Texture: How Artists Use Texture

Take a comprehensive look at texture, beginning with five master drawings that exhibit contrasting textural personalities and moods. Study the primary factors that affect texture, from the drawing surface to the material's application method and modification through blending, smudging, or erasing. Learn to draw simulated textures such as wood grain and reflective metallic surfaces....

29 min
Color: Color Theory and Color and Light

28: Color: Color Theory and Color and Light

Delve into color theory, beginning with the organization of primary and secondary colors on the color wheel. Learn about analogous and complementary colors, as well as the attributes of hue, value, and saturation. Investigate how color functions in nature, and discover how our perception of color is influenced by light and reflected color in the environment....

30 min
Color: How Artists Use Color

29: Color: How Artists Use Color

Observe how an artist's color palette (group of chosen colors) affects light, mood, and emotion, by studying palettes used through the centuries by major artists. Learn about flat color, open color, and color gradation in art. Grasp vital principles regarding how artists use color compositionally to direct the viewer's attention....

31 min
Color: Color Drawing Projects

30: Color: Color Drawing Projects

Choose palettes of pastels for your own drawings. Do a series of projects, using a specific color palette to create mood, a visual hierarchy, and the illusion of space, volume, and light. Explore how a seemingly white wall is not white at all, but actually a range of colors. This is because an object's nominal color mixes with the color of the light source and the reflected color of other objects ...

31 min
The Figure: A Canon of Proportions

31: The Figure: A Canon of Proportions

Learn to draw the human figure using a set of measures, or a canon of proportions, and simple geometric shapes. In doing so, make a study of human proportions in three views, using the height of the head to measure relative proportions of the body. Take account of how artists have viewed human proportions, body posture, and differences between male and female figures....

30 min
The Figure: The Head, Hands, and Feet

32: The Figure: The Head, Hands, and Feet

Complete drawing anterior, lateral, and posterior views of the human figure. Then, turn the flat shapes used to construct the figure into volume, to get a more naturalistic and three-dimensional figure. Study methods for proportionately drawing the head and conquering the complexity of the hands and the feet....

31 min
The Figure: Artistic Anatomy

33: The Figure: Artistic Anatomy

Like Leonardo, Michelangelo, and countless others, study human anatomy, and learn its value for drawing the figure. Study the human skeleton, with particular focus on visible skeletal landmarks seen on the surface. Investigate the principal muscle groups and their functions, and draw both skeleton and muscles into your figure drawings....

30 min
The Figure: Drawing Projects

34: The Figure: Drawing Projects

Finish exploring human anatomy, covering the muscles of the lower body and limbs. Then bring your knowledge to a spectrum of drawing projects, beginning with a full-length self-portrait in three views. Draw variations such as figures in one- and two-point perspective, a figure within an invented room, and figures in narrative settings....

34 min
Advanced Concepts: Pictorial Space

35: Advanced Concepts: Pictorial Space

Consider how, from pre-history through the Renaissance to the contemporary era, artists have approached the depiction of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional flat surface. Observe how recent artists have taken liberties with Renaissance principles of illusionistic space and set them to contradict one another, creating a whole range of new possibilities for art spanning both the highly ...

29 min
Advanced Drawing Projects

36: Advanced Drawing Projects

Conclude with challenging projects that weave together observation and imagination, as well as abstraction and representation. Explore how to develop subject matter and source material for your drawings. Locate areas of personal interest, themes, and ideas to identify the kind of art you want to make and cultivate your own artistic vision....

32 min