25 Days to Better Drawings: Drawing with Shapes

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Lesson Discussion

  1. Although I know how to draw, I didn’t practice for a long time. This lesson was somehow frustrated to me. Do you think with practicing this method, I will get better and start to be natural?

    • I felt frustrated as well and I am not an artist. I feel he tries to cover to many people’s skill set. However, I comforted myself with the fact that it doesn’t have to be perfect 👌. I think 🤔 he is trying to show us a different perspective in drawing and how we look at things. I was terrified and didn’t draw for a few days and then I thought about what he said practicing makes you a great drawer not skill alone. Don’t know if it helps but good luck 🍀 😉

    • Hi Matt
      I’m new here and must tell this lesson was so so difficult for me.I did not see the square in the center as you drew it and because I kept trying to See what I was drawing I was confused.Had to take a day off too start fresh.after four attempts the drawing is just ok.I decided I had to go on or this would be the bridge I would dye on! My other issue was I say so much more rounding of the shapes which again constricts the Seeing part of the lesson! Any advise?TKS….

  2. First of all happy 2019 to all!
    Thanks Matt for all your great explanations, lessons, exercises etc…

    One the problems for me here was that the cube in the middle is already somewhat distorted – to start from that is quite frustrating.
    Then when I was drawing from what I saw – without pencil measuring – the initial drawing was somewhat longer and I didn’t like it, the second one looked more compact and smaller than the photo – but it was more ok dimension wise.
    Does your eye also plays tricks on you esp. when it comes to dimensions?
    Breaking down to geometrical forms is a great help.

    • Carine, I am with you on that. I think it has to do with the instructor trying to insight students to start with very light lines. He does go over them later but that square in the middle disappears because it is no longer needed. The online handout shows it much clearer. Being able to sight dimensions comes with practice. Though I am now a senior-senior woman who had lots of art lessons in my life starting at about 2 (mother was an artist). I took various classes in college and in community art classes. Going back to these rudimentary classes are hard. I am using them to teach a senior living center. I still have some young seniors who are interested in learning the basics.

  3. Hello Matt.
    I am using 25 Days as a systematic review of the basics as I think perhaps I have missed out on account of having much early experience learning with Betty Edwards’Right Side of the Brain’approach. I found the object we drew for this lesson a real challenge until I simply started at a point and in a direction of my own choosing. I do enjoy your video demonstrations, though.

  4. Thank you Mat for this great excercise.
    I really like your approach and enjoyed this 4th day.
    And after having observed the object for quite a while I actually noticed that I could have made my life even a little easier, because actually the sculpture contains of 3 lines, that do cross each other and so a) I was able to find the center and was b) better able to keep the right dimensions and the right lenght and right angle. And then I started to work on the actual shapes.
    I hope I was able to explain myself.
    It would be a great help in these cases to upload a picture as this would have made everything clearer.

  5. hello Matt maybe you are not aware how extremely helpful this course is for me. the lessons themselves are a joy the way you are teaching is encouraging and the concept itself is logical. l take my time and try to practice every lesson for a week at least one exercise with own “models” per day. I feel for the first time since i started to learn art on my own this method is really helping me progress in drawing. I am taking my time to exercise along with this course and looking forward to continue with your other drawing courses later on like the graphite course or the portrait course or the pen and ink course.

  6. I am SO happy to be here. THIS is why I can’t get it right!!! I draw with line!! Well, not anymore! Thank you Matt, this is a life-changer.

    I receive your emails with links to more advanced projects, like the marker & color pencil glass of ice and coke, and feel confident that one day I will be able to learn to do that with your teaching. Yippieeeee!

  7. Ditto what everyone said, Matt. I love the simplicity vs. complexity of drawing these objects. Yes, they are difficult but with practice possible, and I am improving. I am also drawing the tree along with you as you draw and enjoy it but not too much at one time. I love your teaching methods and will improve because of them in spite of myself. Thank you for all your time and patience. You give us great hope! Anne (I iam reworking the turtle and am waiting for the shipment of alcohol based markers to complete the frog. Who said being old wasn’t fun? I am having a great time with all my free time!. Anne

  8. Hi Matt,is there a huge difference between this course and the course the secrets of drawing?
    I am a beginner so was wondering about the difference between these 2

  9. Thank you for this lesson. As you stated it was faster and more accurate getting the shapes in place first. I was amazed that my eraser got a rest on this one. This is the first time I have understood how sketch artist can draw so quickly. I normally draw slow and use an eraser way too much.

  10. Hi, I just started with course and i’m loving it. I actually though that watching you tube i will become better. What you say about frustration and disappointment are totally truth, yours lessons are exactly what is necessary to fill gaps . Thank you.

  11. Learnt a lot from this lesson as I was one of those people who used to start at one point and was always erasing because constantly nothing would match up. Thanks for putting me straight! I completed the final drawing in quarter the time I would have normally.

  12. I really would have struggled to know where to start with this complex shape, but with your shape approach it was really quite easy. Brilliant explanation thanks Matt

  13. When you mentioned drawing shapes, the first shapes I saw were the triangles of the spaces.
    Is that something we will look at, the shape of spaces?

  14. hi i am doing this with my ten year old daughter who loves art we love this course and are having fun keeping the mind set that it doesn’t have to be perfect!

  15. I’m pleased with the outcome of this drawing exercise. The proportions look pretty close. It does make drawing easier breaking things into shapes and building from there.

  16. Hi Matt,

    I have a proportional scale divider that I used on this lesson. It helped with getting the accuracy a bit faster. Is this a frowned upon method?..

  17. Thanks Matt, enjoying the course immensely so far, one question- which part of the U.S is your accent from? I have a friend from Durham in N.C and he sounds a little like you?

  18. Wow this course is amazing, you are brilliant at explaining the techniques & the reasons why it’s vital to improving drawing skills !
    Another great lesson thank you

  19. Well Matt this is another Wow this course is amazing, you are brilliant at explaining the techniques & the reasons why it’s vital to improving drawing skills !
    Another great lesson thank you

  20. Excellent lesson this, thank you. Two points Matt, one an observation the other a question.
    My observation is that observation is critical. I did not realise just how much one needs to actively look to replicate – a quick glance will not do it.

    Second, a question; when you draw a circle your hand appears to hover above the paper but I wondered if in fact you “stabalise” your hand by having it in contact with the paper or even if you drop your little finger slightly to make contact with the paper. Is it even important (apart from the obvious that you could smudge whats laid down already)?

    • Hi Simon,

      Yes, observation is crucial. There is a reason why it’s called “visual art” ;). I usually stabilize my hand with the palm or more specifically – my curled pinky finger. I usually don’t have an issue with smudging since drawing a circle usually takes place early in the drawing process. This is when I draw out the initial shapes and not much else is on the surface.

  21. Hi Matt,

    What an interesting lesson! I really enjoyed it. What I particular love about this course is that we get to see how you draw, which is so helpful. Talking the talk is one thing, but walking the walk is another. And you definitely walk the walk! You are such a fantastic artist. In this exercise I started with the shape of the small triangle in the middle and worked out from there. I also noticed the triangles in the negative space. Overall, my drawing was surprisingly good. Thanks Matt, you’re the best!

  22. One other thing Matt. How much practice would you recommend a day? Would you recommend doing the exercises outlined daily? How much “sketching” should one attempt when first learning? For example, seeing an object and just trying to draw it.

    • Hi Pandora,

      The more you practice, the better you will get. For this course, yes – the exercises are meant to be done. If you are taking each lesson on each day, then you should be doing the exercise each day. Again, the more that you practice, the better you will get – this is true for anything – not just drawing. If you want to see improvement faster, then practice more. There isn’t a set number of minutes or hours you need to practice – it is different for everyone. Some will improve faster than others.

  23. Thanks Matt. Sorry I didn’t explain properly. I didn’t mean these specific exercises – obviously they should be done each day, as that is the purpose of this particular course. What I meant was generally. I find it very challenging to draw something realistically proportionate. Hence, for example, would it be a good idea to start each day with some “warm up” exercises such as the blind contour drawing before attempting to sketch something. It’s a given that the more you practice drawing the better you will become. I just wondered if there are specific exercises that you did each day, or if one should just jump in and try to sketch something. In any case, your reply answered my question I think. Thanks Matt.

  24. Hello Matt,

    I am really enjoying going through the 25 days to better drawing. I am on module 4 and a hoping that you can help me translate in my brain your instructions as I am left handed and the drawings are at a reverse. I will keep practicing this lesson to try to figure it out but some advise would be appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Teri,

      I know it may seem as though things are in reverse, but the concepts and the approach is no different. You are just making marks with your left hand. Remember, drawing is really about observation, not the actual action of making marks.

      • Thank you Matt,

        I will practice practice practice.

        I hope you and your family have a nice labor day weekend and stay safe from this new variant here in NC.

        From Asheville – Thank you again,


  25. do you suggest giving the drawing a try ourselves initially or following you along as you draw? just wondering what the optimal way is to watch these videos

  26. Hi Matt,
    I’m not so long here now, but I made already some progress, your lessons are good to follow. With this course I had the same problem like others, to see the square in the middle like you did, but after start with this it came out not bad. I really have the problem to simplify things.
    I think I can grow with this your lessons, thank you so much from Germany 🤗

  27. Hello Matt, I am understanding your concept of looking for basic shapes in drawing. This is giving me much success. But in this exercise I cannot see the rectangle in the base of the shape from which the other shapes extend from? I have tried other approaches but it seems it is the rectangle base that will makes the drawing successful. Thanks.

  28. I loved this video about drawing shapes first. It works like a charm. When I saw that image, I thought ‘no way’ can I draw that. But I did.

    Thank you.

  29. Really enjoyed the lesson. The problem I had was what some of the other students had with making every thing look like it was connected in the center. My second sketch was better because I drew that part first and then centered the lines over it. I am not as fast at drawing as I should be but I hope to get better. It is fun learning. Thank you.

  30. I had the same problem as others of not being able to see the initial rectangle in the middle where you started. Would it be possible to overlay a red outline of the rectangle on the video so viewers can see what you are seeing? Is it possible that some of us see a triangle in the middle rather than a rectangle? I am one of those people who try to draw and spend so much time erasing and redrawing. I’m excited to try the shapes because I know it’s got to make drawing easier and more enjoyable! Thx so much for such excellent lessons!

    • Hi Judy,

      I had the same issue during the lesson. Had to open the reference image on a large screen and look hard at it. If you look closely, you will see that the center of this shape is a metal block/rectangle and each “arm” extends from a different side of it: the stabilizing arms from the top and the bottom, and the arms with balls on them from the four remaining sides.
      Hope it helps!

  31. Well this is hard to do,
    i go practice this on more things to get the hang of it, before i go to the next lesson.

    Thank you Matt fir this lesson.

  32. I found this very hard to do. Maybe there is another drawing course I can take to practice my proportions as that’s what I have a hard time doing. I’ve done it twice and still not happy with it.

    I guess I need to practice more ..

  33. Finished the drawing and I have to admit, at first I didn’t see the center square. But after really looking at the reference photo it finally caught my eye. And it became an integral reference for placing the other elects of the subject. Pretty happy with the results, my proportions of the vertical shapes was spot on, but the two side arms and balls were not quite long enough. Nailing proportions has always been my nemesis, but I have seen improvement after drawing something everyday for the past 5 months. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll nail it!

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