You have a vision for the work you’d like to make, however, to draw, paint or sculpt portraits and figures proficiently or imaginatively, you need to learn basic skills first. Otherwise, you will try and try and in the end it will take you much longer to get your desired results. 

You likely have talent; but you have to work on developing it. You would neer expect to be able to speak another language, play the violin or ski down a diamond trail, without following and practicing certain rules and techniques and making art is the same. 

But how do you get started?

We begin our Basic Drawing courses by asking you to make a series of blind contour drawings- a blind Contour drawing is a technique where you look closely at the contour of an object, or person or yourself and transfer it in one continuous line to paper without looking down to see what you’re doing.

By staring at the subject continually, rather than at the paper to see what you’re doing, this forces you to slow down, and take time to look at the object to analyze it and reproduce it. You become very aware of form, proportion, light and shadow and how they reveal and define form. 

After that are other fun exercises to help you develop your skills drawing form, perspective, light and value and composition. People, buildings, objects, you’ll begin to see everything through these different lenses, and the effect is significantly improved art.

The best mindset to get started is to know that you’ll need practice, and that every professional artist and designer that you admire started in the same place that you are now. 

If you wanted to get better at playing the guitar, would it be the same thing to experiment on your own for 3 hours as it would be to practice with exercises developed by an expert for 3 hours, giving you tips on form and technique and getting better? 

We’ve noticed that students frustrated with their current skill level develop incredibly quickly by following the basic art exercises that we developed and teach, and then they are able to move on quickly to making the work they’ve imagined in their mind, work that really impresses admissions counselors at the top art schools.  

So, what are the fundamentals that you need to learn and practice?

There are many principles of drawing, and we like to start with the principles of: 

  • Line
  • Form
  • Perspective
  • Value
  • Composition

Line– An element of art used to define shape, contours, and outlines; also to suggest mass and volume. It may be a continuous mark made on a surface with a pointed tool or implied by the edges of shapes and forms.

Form– Form is the three-dimensionality of an object. Shape is only two-dimensional; form is three-dimensional. 

Perspective– is the method of showing depth that uses position – Placing an object higher on the page makes it appear farther back, overlapping, size Variation – Smaller objects look farther away in the distance, Value – Lighter values look as if they are farther back and darker values look as if they are closer. 

Value  – value is the range of lightness and darkness within a picture. Value is created by a light source that shines on an object creating highlights and shadows, it creates depth, making an object look three-dimensional. 

We teach a Value Scale, which is a scale that shows the gradual change in value from its lightest value, (white) to its darkest value (black).

Perspective – When lines created by the edge of an object or building look like that are pointing to the distance and these lines meet at one point on the horizon

Composition – the term used to describe the arrangement of the visual elements in a painting or other artwork. It is how the elements of art and design—line, shape, color, value, texture, form, and space—are organized or composed.  


In Ashcan’s Basic Drawing Classes, which we offer online and in person, you’re given steps to build your foundational drawing skills.  And if you take your art education seriously, and you dream of having a future career in any of the visual arts, you will have to accept the importance of the fundamentals.

And once you’ve completed the basic program you’ll draw faster, and be able to sketch ideas from your imagination faster, you’ll draw with accuracy and knowledge rather than just a feeling that it looks right

 Your ability to see and understand basic principles is crucial to your success as an artist. Your goal is to create a portfolio that will stand out in a sea of other portfolios so that you can gain acceptance into the school of your dreams. But with so much to learn it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

The best thing you can do is just start somewhere. And if you find that you want a regimented practice routine to keep you on track I cannot think of anything better than our Basic Drawing Courses. They cover form, line, perspective, value, and composition in fun ways with exercises that you can practice every day.


Please feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation or to ask us any questions.

You can sign up for Ashcan Art Portfolio Prep Classes!- Manhattan, Queens, Long Island or Online- ⁠
Intensive, Fine Art, Art Competition & Portfolio, Design, Digital Art & Private Lessons⁠!

Contact Us

About   Courses   Contact

email us! infomanhattan@ashcanart.com
Online: (212)967-8101 | Manhattan (212)967-8101 | Flushing (917)563-7852 Little Neck (718)819-0004 Syosset (516)226-3820

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