www.TheOldSchoolhouse.com The Artistic Homeschooler • Summer 2015 95
by working from a line drawing of a familiar object. You can find plenty of line
drawings online as clip art or in coloring
Choose a relatively simple image, and
copy the drawing right-side-up. After
you have finished, invert the image, and
copy it a second time. Focus on drawing
the outline or the contour of the image.
Don’t think “dog” or “cat” or whatever
object you are drawing. Instead, focus
only on the lines.
4. Draw negative space.
Another powerful drawing calisthenic is
negative space drawing. Instead of drawing the object itself, the artist observes
and draws the space in and around the
I discovered negative space drawing when I was a boy. I was infatuated
with Superman and wanted desperately to draw the famous letter “S” that
was emblazoned on Superman’s chest.
But no matter how hard I tried, it never came out looking right. Then one
day I noticed that because the letter
S was enclosed in a diamond-shaped
shield, the background was made up
of several distinct shapes. I decided to
draw the shapes around the S rather
than the letter itself. I discovered that
when I drew the shapes accurately, I
also drew Superman’s “S” shield accurately. That’s negative space drawing
in a nutshell.
To get started on negative space draw-
5. Draw with a grid.
ing, try copying the letter D in the image
above. But rather than trying to draw the
letter, focus on the orange shapes that
surround the letter, and draw those. As
with the previous exercise, don’t think
about drawing a letter. Think, rather,
about copying a shape.
Our last drawing exercise is grid drawing.
To do this, you lay a grid over an image
you want to draw, and lightly draw a grid
of the same proportions onto your paper.
If you don’t want to draw the grid directly
on your source, draw it on a piece of clear
acetate or a page protector. Another alternative would be to add a grid directly
to the image with a photo editor.
After you have drawn your grids, copy
the source photo, square by square. By
focusing on a single square rather than
the entire image, you will apply the same
skills you learned in the previous exercises. You will merely be drawing shapes
Here is a picture of my dog Skeeter
with a grid superimposed. Draw a grid
with the same number of vertical and
horizontal squares, and copy it square by
square. As with the other exercises, you
may be surprised at how well you do.
Drawing is a learned skill, and anyone
can learn how to do it. All you have to
do is train your brain, eyes, and hands to
work together. Once you do, you will be
able to draw what you see, and draw it accurately.
James H. (Jim) Pence is a man of many
talents. He is a former homeschooling dad,
a published author, an accomplished singer and speaker, a performance chalk artist, and in his spare time he teaches karate,
writing, and art to homeschooled children. You can learn more about Jim at his
website: jamespence.com. James also represents and blogs for See the Light (www
Right-handed setup for blind contour drawing.
(Reverse the object and paper for left-handed
Turn an image upside down and draw it. Draw the letter D by drawing the shapes
photo with the
aid of a grid.