The Secrets to Drawing – Form

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Drawing form

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"The Secrets to Drawing" is the most complete online drawing video course available for learning how to draw.  Drawing is a skill that is learned and developed and this video course is designed to give you the knowledge that you need to draw better almost immediately! The course includes 28 modules and 26 ebooks.


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Description: A look at how to create the illusion of form on a 2-Dimensional surface. Concepts covered include turning shapes into forms, using shadow to further the illusion.

Suggested Materials: White drawing paper, a soft graphite pencil, drawing mannequin (optional)

Next Video: The Secrets to Drawing - Value


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The Secrets to Drawing – Form — 51 Comments

  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.

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