Constructing an Iris, Shapes and Negative Shapes

Iris flowers are complex, folded, curling masses of twisted petals and sepals. How do you approach drawing something with so many curling and overlapping layers? The secret is to lay out the structure and then use shapes and negative shapes. Close one eye and flatten the 3D image to interlocking 2D shapes. Click on the

Pen and Ink on Frosted Mylar

Frosted mylar (e.g., Duralene) is an excellent surface for drawing in ink. The plastic sheets are durable and transparent. You can trace over a preliminary drawing or even a photocopy of an object. You can also scratch away highlights or details with a scratchboard cutting tool. Be careful not to get your fingerprints onto the drawing

Drawing Trees with Pen and Ink (video workshop)

Learn how to draw broadleaf and evergreen trees both from a distance and up close details (leaves, acorns, seed pods, and fruit). In addition to studying details of structure, we will explore shortcuts to help you get the form on paper and tricks to suggest dimension and volume. Two advantages of drawing in ink are

How to Paint Raindrops and Dew

With rain in the forecast, it is a perfect time to explore how to draw and paint raindrops and morning dew. Avoid dropping dew drops over every rose you draw, this just turns your field journaling into kitsch. But if you go sketching early in the morning or after a rainstorm, you have earned your

How to Draw an Iris: part 1

I am overwhelmed when looking at a wildly curling Iris petal. But I have learned to calm those worries with a systematic approach to constructing the petal. Close one eye and look at each plane, top or bottom as an angular flat shape. Imagine each as a separate shape like pieces of odd-sized glass. To

Shape vs. Structure

There are two ways of visualizing what you want to sketch, seeing shape and structure. Block in your sketch using shapes then refine your drawing by double checking that the structure is accurately observed. A curling ribbon is a good model to begin thinking about surface shapes. Train your eye to catch the shapes formed

How to Draw Trees

Learn a variety of approaches to drawing coniferous and broadleaf trees. Learn how to make fast sketches to get the gestalt of a tree in moments with pencil or watercolor. Explore methods to capture the branching patterns and texture of foliage in more careful drawings. Make close-ups of the details of a tree by learning