Free Lessons: The Great Masters!

Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are long gone but their drawings live on and serve as teachers of classical techniques developed during the Renaissance. As a child (during the early 60’s), I studied the Great Masters while spending Saturdays at my local public library in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. These books were the beginning of my journey as a self-taught artist.

Fast forward to the 1990’s and the dawn of the Internet! This exciting new venue enabled me to share my skills with other aspiring artists through simple, step-by step illustrated lessons. These lessons now enable you to draw in the styles and techniques of great masters, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. You can recreate their masterpieces and/or create your own original drawings based on their techniques.


Study for the Head of a Girl

Employ the drawing techniques of Leonardo da Vinci to create a soft, delicate portrait of a beautiful girl. Leonardo was a master of hatching; his shading is mostly made up of lines that are drawn at an angle of around 45 degrees.

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Study of a Rosebud

Draw a gorgeous rosebud with basic hatching lines in the style of Leonardo da Vinci. As a left-handed artist, his diagonal hatching lines were drawn downward (from the upper left to lower right) and/or upward (from the lower right to the upper left).

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Sketch of a Youth

Use basic hatching techniques to sketch a portrait of a youth in the style of Michelangelo ‒ the ultimate perfectionist. During his lifetime, he destroyed several of his own drawings and even scrapped his original painting on which the Sistine Chapel version was based.

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Secrets for Drawing Caricatures

You have no doubt seen caricatures of politicians, celebrities, and other famous people in the media and online. These artworks are obviously cartoons ‒ yet they still look like the person on which they are based. How is this accomplished (you may ask)?

The facial characteristics of most people wander outside generic guidelines. These deviations from what is considered “average” are used by artists to create caricatures. For example, if the eyes are far apart, draw them even farther apart. If his or her eyebrows are heavy, thick and dark, draw them heavier, thicker, and darker! If he or she has a big chin or nose, draw it larger! If the hair is thin, make it thinner and if it’s thick, draw it thicker!

But, that’s not all! Professional caricaturists also exaggerate the following facial spaces:

  1. The vertical distance from the hairline down to the eyebrows.
  2. The horizontal distance between the eyes, from one inside corner to the other.
  3. The width of the face from the outside edge of one cheekbone to the outside edge of the other.
  4. The vertical distance from the bottom of the nose to the top of the upper lip (as an aside, this distance is considered the most important distance on the face).
  5. The length from the edge of the bottom lip to the bottom of the chin.


Draw a caricature of someone you know, such as a family member or a friend, either from life or a photo! Choose a good photo or find a patient model. If you work from life, be prepared for a few giggles! A brief overview of the process is as follows:

  1. Observe the overall shape of the head and face, and exaggerate it as you draw.
  2. Lightly sketch the location of each individual feature. Constantly refer to your model for unique or unusual aspects of their features that you can exaggerate in your drawing. (Remember, this person may draw your caricature someday, so be nice!)
  3. Continue adjusting and changing until you are happy with your drawing.


Free Lessons: Create Art in Color!

Draw with colored pencils and markers, and paint with acrylics and watercolors. Until Thursday, April 28, 2016, you can download three free lessons authored by Drawspace authors/artists.

Use Impasto to Paint with Texture (Beginner to Advanced) by Cailin Green

Create a richly textured painting with tissue paper and a painting knife. This project is fun, easy to do and requires only a few supplies. The dazzling three-dimensional forms catch light and create shadows in the peaks and valleys of the paint.

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The Ancient Art of Creating Mandalas (Beginner to Advanced) by art therapist, Judith Campanaro

Explore the history, art, and science of the sacred Mandala as inspiration to design your own symbol for inner harmony. Suggested media include colored pencils, markers, and/or watercolors.

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Draw a Vibrant Red Poppy (Beginner to Intermediate) by Tannis Trydal

Use layering, juxtaposing, erasing, impressing, and the grid method to render a colored pencil drawing of a red poppy.

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