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

How to paint a Sandhill Crane landscape, step-by-step

The big lesson behind this demonstration is flowing from one sketch to another as live birds move before you. Do not get hung up trying to finish one sketch. If your bird moves, start a second, and then a third, right there on the same page. You do not have to finish any of the sketches.

Perspective for Nature Journaling (video workshop)

Nature Journal Club guest lecture by Mark Simmons. Perspective allows us to create the illusion of three-dimensional space on the flat page. Though it may seem intimidating, a basic understanding of perspective gives us a bag of tricks that we can use to add a sense of depth and distance to our scenes, and convincing

How to draw a foreshortened fish (sea bass)

Drawing a foreshortened object is not easy. Your brain must overcome it’s ability to understand that the shape of an object does not really change as you observe it from different angles. This object permanence allows you to understand that a frisbee flying toward you does not really change shape as the observed angle changes. When we draw

How to Draw Landscapes I (video workshop)

Master the five-minute landscape as you develop your plein-aire toolkit. Learn how to show depth in your landscapes (or any drawing). Discover tricks to help you quickly draw forests without getting sick of drawing trees. Explore simple guidelines to enhance your compositions. Experience the simplicity of the four value system and apply it to draw realistic rocks with ease.

How to Draw Mushrooms: San Francisco

Come draw mushrooms at with the San Francisco Mycological Society. Fungi are a delight to sketch and paint. Learn a simple approach to sketching mushrooms and some of the most common errors that can creep into your fungus sketching. Learn how to draw mushroom gills and how to foreshorten the shapes of the caps. Then

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 Mushrooms

Come draw mushrooms at the Fungus Fair. Fungi are a delight to sketch and paint. Learn a simple approach to sketching mushrooms and some of the most common errors that can creep into your fungus sketching. Learn how to draw mushroom gills and how to foreshorten mushrooms. Then head out to the main hall at the

How to Draw Hawks in Flight

Here is another look at drawing hawks in flight. This time I have chosen a difficult angle. The bird, a Northern Harrier, holds its wings up in a steep V. This one is rocked toward you so that the close wing is strongly foreshortened. Lets take a look at how to draw hawks in flight,