The Secrets to Drawing: Form

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Lesson Discussion

    • Your comment was so long ago Paul, I am wondering how you did or are doing. I love Matt’s teaching but I feel the same way as you. These are core topics but they really seem like they are too advanced for me too. Wondering if, as an absolute beginner, I am in the right place!????

  1. Should I go ahead and purchase a mannequin at this point, lesson 4? Should I spend much time drawing it yet or wait until I am farther along? Seems a bit of a leap.

  2. My philosphy is to learn by doing. I can’t learn if I don’t do. So dive in, draw, draw, draw. Let the mistakes happen, have an eraser handy and take chances. You will get it eventually.

  3. It appears that there is a white space between the contour line and the shading of the internal forms, particularly noted on the mannequin drawing. Also I noted a dark line where the cast shadow begins. I have heard that shadows should always be of the same value but you are clearly lightening the shadow as it gets further from the object. Just a few observations. I really enjoy the course so far. Thanks,

    • Hi Alfred,
      Thanks for your comment. Sometimes objects will have a “reflected highlight” just beyond the core shadow on a object. This is usually more prevalent on rounded objects. This area is lighter in value when compared to the core shadow (usually a mid-tone). Also, the light source will play a role in how shadows are viewed and drawn. Multiple light sources can produce multiple shadows. When you consider that light can vary in strength and direction, the shadows can become quite complex. Depending on the intensity and direction of light, cast shadows can and do often fade in intensity. I have found that every time I think I’ve found a “rule”, I’m proved wrong. I now accept that there is never an “always” in art.

    • Hi Ana, We are experiencing some issues with the download feature at the moment. We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Please be sure that you are downloading from a computer. The downloading feature is only available on computers.

  4. So I noticed during your mannequin drawing, you leave a little space of white between the edge of the line and the darkest value (generally on the left sides)… would this be considered the reflected light you referred to before?

  5. Matt – I have a horrible time drawing things like vases etc to be correctly bilateral. Inevitably one side is flatter than the other. Is there any tips to help make this easier.

  6. These lessons are amazing!!I have learned more the past few days than I have in months..Starting to feel like I can be the Artist I have always dreamed of being..Thank You!!

  7. I am enamored by the lesson I learned drawing the organic shape. I struggled and struggle. I finally realized that I wasn’t “seeing” the shading and shadows as they formed the “cliffs” along the near side of the form. Then trying to keep my touch light and the line strong at the same time. I find this difficult with all of my drawings. Is there a trick or a tip that any one could relay to me? I didn’t watch the video, I learn best by reading and doing. Perhaps I should have watched the video. I am always short on time. any comments are welcome

  8. this video is very help full. the other ones i find a bit harder though i already can draw people that look almost real. the problem also is that i don’t have the pencils needed. to find them i think i need to go to a different department of the country.
    thanks again,

  9. Hi, Sir. Your lesson are very clear. I am very poor in drawing figure. I lover to draw other shapes. But to draw people i find very hard. Thank You very much now very late at night it going to be mid-night. God bless. Amen.

  10. Hi Matt. I was able to download the first ebooks but not this one. It seems to work but then all I see is a black screen. I cancelled my trial membership to upgrade to an annual membership so I should have access to all the ebooks now. What do you think is happening?

    • Hello again Matt. Forget about my question, it is working now. By the way, your website is truly amazing, I finally found what I have been looking for for so long now and even more. Also, I am a French Canadian and I don’t have any difficulty to understand you, the pace is also perfect. Merci beaucoup!!!

  11. Hi…. I used my football mascot toy bear instead of an art mannequin… it worked well as I created the illusion of light on it and it looks 3D’ish… thanks for another great lesson 🙂

  12. hi I am so happy to b taking this course cant wait until I can learn to draw people. I am already a landscape painter but I want to add people to my scenes thank you for making this so easy.

  13. I know you said people have issues drawing the circle, I have issues drawing the lines to the square and triangle, they are off, they become a rectangle or some skewed pyramid, I know it has to be perspective, any help on that?

  14. I will be taking time to reflect on what you have taught me so far; and to practice drawing objects in my home and yard. Enjoying the instruction so much. Thank You

  15. Hi Matt – you made art fun !! thanx a lot for your mega awesome lessons !! I have tried to download your videos but have no idea how to do it .. 😉 Happy Easter btw 🙂

  16. Thank you! It’s much simpler when value of shadow is broken down into 3, as opposed to a gazillion:) Would be value of the cast shadow closest to the object be “always”/more often than not darker than the core shadow?

    • Hi Natasha,

      The value that we see in any shadow is dependent on the actual color and value of that particular surface and the intensity of light within the scene. The value of the shadow may be different in different situations, so there’s not an “always or never” here. The best thing to do is to make comparisons for yourself when you draw any subject.

  17. Hi Matt, at the beginning you say that “forms have link or links with “….”, which I cannot understand in the video and it does not appear in the ebook. It also states it is very important to understand that. Thank you for typing the word for me, if possible. Your videos are excellent

  18. Hi Matt, just a small doubt. You say that all core shadows have to be on the same side of the picture. However, in the arms, in this drawing, they are on opposite sides… I understand, according to how the light hits the object they are correct as they are, but the idea that they have to be all on the same side, confused me a bit. Thanks for clarifying.

  19. This module video has helped me so much. I never knew that this was the right way to do form…it’s a lot easier and simpler and it ends up making you a better artist ad well. It’s a relief. Thankyou for such a clear concise video construction. Possible a little to fast in the discussion and when you draw. By the time you draw in the lines then shade I’ve missed it. A little slower in would help.
    Possible just

  20. Hi, I’m brand new to sketching and don’t have a stuffed animal or mannequin. I find drawing cubes very challenging. Yesterday I found a tutorial on this site about sketching a pencil sharpener. After an hour struggling to get the angle somewhat OK I had to logout and get on with life. I’m unable to find that video again and would love to practice very very very simple things while following along with you (drawing does not come easy to me at all). How can I go about finding the easy easy still life videos?

    And..I’m thrilled to be here. All other sketching courses are far too advanced for me. I’m starting at this is a dot. A dot becomes a line, so thank you for meeting me right where I am.

  21. Matt, silly question…I’m using a sketch book and the graphite smears everywhere. I almost want to rip out the pages & throw them away there’re getting so blurry and messy. I’m using a General’s layout pencil. Is this just the way it is? If I ever get decent I’ll be sad to see my creations melt away.

    • Hi Kathy,

      Some smearing is normal, but if it is smearing this much, you may want to think about the paper. Is the paper in your sketchbook very smooth or does it have a little texture. A little bit of texture will help to keep the drawing media in place and reduce some of the smearing. You can also use a paper towel or spare paper under the palm of your hand while you’re drawing to reduce or eliminate smearing. It may smear a little, but what you’re describing seems excessive.

  22. Thankyou!!, I watched this lesson and thought Oh goodness, i’ll never be able to do that. But i just went slowly and followed what you said and that little manikin appeared on my paper. So thrilled. Thanks, you are a great teacher.

  23. Hi There, I am having issue on shading. I can not seem to shade properly. I have lines through it and I don’t seem to be able to get my shading light enough. I believe this is all practice but can you do a YouTube videos on the proper techniques for shading? Such as pencil strokes and movement, and how to hold the pencil correctly in your hand in order to get the cohesive and consistent shades from light to dark. I am practicing but I can not grasp the techniques.

  24. This video is easy and simple to understand. However, I have a question. When I try to draw some more complicated objects, in my drawing they looks somewat distorted compared to the original. Some parts of the object bigger than should be some parts are smaller than shoul be. How I can solve this issue and improve my drawing skills?

    • Hi Iskander,

      It sounds like you know exactly what to do. You are seeing the distortion and recognizing it. Make notes and then move on to the next work. Pay attention and be patient. You’ll gradually improve.

  25. Does art have to be “sketchy” I notice that your lines and shading tend to be more sketchy and broken etc..I’ve always had a hard time with being sketchy and have always tried to be very realistic. Is this something that I should try to practice? I have heard you mention that an artist needs to “let go of perfection..” Maybe I ought to do more timed excercises? It’s hard for me to not look at the extreme details. Any advice?

    • Hi Anant,

      I find that I don’t use my manikin that much – so, it’s probably better to find some actual humans to draw. The manikin is best used when you need to draw a figure from imagination and you need help visualizing the figure in space. It will help you lay out the basic shapes of the figure when used in this way, but I don’t think it’s that useful as a tool to help you get better at figure drawing.

  26. I feel like I must be missing something and hoping that it comes in the next lesson “value”. I have no idea what I am doing with the shading or how to get it like you do Matt. I don’t know if your site notifies people when they comment. I may switch back to Udemy, at least for the classes I do have there. My question – am I where I should be as an absolute beginner?

  27. One of the issues I seem to have is that I can shade pretty well lightly, and shade pretty well in the core shadow, but when it comes to midtones, I have less ability to make a smooth differentiation. Eventually, most of my drawings end up looking ok, but they are really dark as compared to what I expect. I suspect I need to take time to practice the shading from light to dark, but are there other exercises you’d recommend, Matt?

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