Lesson 15: Texture

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    Class# 15: Intro to Still Life Drawing  July 11 - 12            

    Materials needed:  
Pad of Paper
Colored Pencils

    This class is going to be an introduction to the basics of still life drawing in preparation for your final for AR101 that is going to be a still life drawing.  
Let’s start with what a still life is.  A still life is a work of art depicting inanimate (non-moving) subject matter like food, flowers, plants, rocks, or shells or man-made objects like drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins and pipes.  With origins in the Middle Ages and Ancient Greek/Roman art, still life paintings give the artist more leeway in the arrangement of design elements within a composition than do paintings of other types of subjects such as landscape and portraiture. Still life paintings, particularly before 1700, often contained religious symbols (things) relating to the objects depicted. Some modern still life breaks the two-dimensional barrier and employs three-dimensional mixed media, and uses found objects, photography, computer graphics, as well as video and sound.

Here are some examples of still life drawings from art history:

    To do a still life drawing, you must first learn how to draw basic shapes that will make up your still life.  Follow the instructions below on how to draw basic shapes.  Drawing basic forms will help you see correctly. 
As you look at an object, no matter how complicated it may seem, the first step is to reduce it to its basic shape.  
What are the basic shapes?





Now that you know the basic shapes that can help you to do a still life, let’s look at how you can draw each one and how they can be useful.  We will start with the cylinder.  
Below is a link to the steps to draw a cylinder from above.  This can be called a “Birds eye view”.

Here is the link:

Here are the steps to follow.

    1.           Draw a rectangle with your ruler

    2.           Draw two short vertical lines through the top and bottom of your rectangle

    3.           Draw a circle around the top and bottom of your rectangle using the existing lines to help you.

    4.           Erase extra lines so that all that remains is the cylinder.  

    To draw a basic sphere for this project you will simply be doing a free hand drawing.  Below is a link to what you drawing may look like:

    However, you should take a look at the way light hits a sphere (or ball) incase you have one in your still life.  See the link below to study the shadow, reflection and mid-tones for a sphere: 

Although you already learned how to draw a cube when we covered perspective, we will review this information.  The cube is an important shape in a still life because many other shapes can be drawn inside a cube.  Here are the steps to drawing a cube.

    1.           Draw a square:

    2.           Draw the second square above and to the left of the first square:

    3.           Connect Both Squares ... Connect the bottom left corner of the first square to the bottom left corner of the second square. Do this for every corner.

    4.           Erase Unnecessary Lines ... Now you have a cube.


    Lastly, to draw a cone you can use what you learned about drawing the cylinder to help you.  First, draw a cylinder shape using the steps you learned about.  Then, once you have your cylinder lightly drawn, sketch the top of the cone in using the cylinder to help you define the size and straightness.  Here is a diagram that will help you on this:

    Now you know how to draw the basic shapes that will help you to draw more complex shapes.  Practice drawing 5 different objects around your house to practice this.  You can use a soda can, a cooking pot, a bottle, a bowl or anything else you can find.
Once you have the basic shape of the object sketched in, begin to add the details that you can observe.  Trying to use what you learned in all the previous lessons in these sketches.

    Your homework is to do 5 sketches of objects around your house, including shadow and texture.  Once you have finished these 5 drawings you will need to scan them and upload to your Flickr Account.  These drawings should be uploaded to your Flickr page by the evening of July 12.  Any work that has not been uploaded by that time will be considered late and will be marked down one letter grade.

    This concludes the fifteenth class for AR101.  If you have any questions regarding the material or assignment please email your instructor at

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