Drawing for Beginners WEA Sydney

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Available Classes

In an easy-to-grasp step-by-step manner, this course seeks to systematically outline and guide you through some of the fundamental principles that lead to a comprehensive proficiency in drawing. We will summarise skills that can be repetitiously applied in a three to five year drawing course; thus giving the beginner the necessary tools in a short time, to build on principles they can practice and repeat over a life time. The underlying assumption guiding these classes, is that absolutely anyone can learn to draw. Suitable for both the very beginner and those with some prior experience.


  • Face-to-Face


  • Basic geometric shapes and perspective: We will start by drawing basic shapes, such as circles and squares; followed by spheres, cubes and cylinders. Having observed these shapes, we will attempt to draw them in relation to perspectival space and the directional fall of light. We will end by examining how more complex forms can be understood in terms of these basic shapes.
  • Drawing and linear direction: Starting with a stick figure - an invaluable tool in describing the major centre lines of any form - we will gradually work towards conceiving of more complex forms in terms of two directional lines and basic geometric shapes, such as cylinders and cubes.
  • The Charles Bargue drawing course and the figure as directional lines: In this class, we will look at how a Nineteenth Century drawing course undertaken by Van Gogh, Seurat and Picasso can help us to better simplify the basic forms of the human figure
  • The human figure and the refinement of directional lines: Employing images of classical sculpture, we will see how we can apply the lessons gained from the Bargue drawing to the figure in terms of basic directional lines. We will integrate this knowledge with the exercises in geometry and perspective addressed in the previous classes.
  • Foliage Study: Students will bring in a spray of any foliage from home and a jar for support. A variety of contour drawings of foliage will be undertaken at eye level, ground level and at varying distances from the student. These will be carefully coloured in with brush and ink. The aim of this exercise is to observe how the leaves of a plant appear at both different angles and distances. This is an invaluable lesson in comprehending how a particular plant species looks at different heights within the landscape and the degree to which we are able to see the shape of foliage at various distances. The class will also include an introduction to aerial perspective.
  • Rock Study: Learn how to employ an assortment of cross hatching, to suggest a rock’s form. You will also be introduced in how to employ a peep hole to more accurately differentiate and record tone.
  • Silhouette Study: Using the image of a tree, students will shade in the form of a tree’s branches and foliage without the initial use of outline. The aim of this exercise is to ultimately gain an intuitive proficiency at determining the parameters of an object’s volume. Students will make continuous use of the eraser to refine the contours of their silhouette. Once the contour of the silhouette is described as accurately as possible, pen and ink will be used to delineate the contours of the branches and their overlapping forms.
  • Fruit and tonality: We will look at how to employ an ink wash in delicately conveying the objects form and tonality.
  • Still Life and the art of composition: In this final class we will examine how to harmoniously compose a work of art in any genre, concluding with an application of this to the genre of Still Life. This class will also introduce students to using a thumbnail sketch.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Learn to observe form, tone and volume in any object.
  2. Gain a sound structural approach to drawing objects.
  3. Accurately conceive of objects in relation to linear and aerial perspective.
  4. Conceive of gradations of light and dark as contingent to an understanding and conceptualisation of structure and form.


  • HB pencil
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Stanley knife
  • A3 sketch book
  • 2x Watercolour brushes, size 6 and 8
  • Indian ink
  • A2 sheet of watercolour paper

IMPORTANT: Please arrive to the first class with all the relevant materials. A lack of materials is not just a handicap to you but to the ability to teach. Materials cost is not included in a course fee. In the event of a course being cancelled WEA cannot be held responsible for the purchase of any course materials. We therefore suggest you purchase your materials closer to the time of the course commencing.


The following stockists below are examples of places you can buy art materials from:

  • Art on King: 199-201 King Street, Newtown. Ph: 9516 2342
  • Eckersley's Art and Craft Store: 93 York Street, Sydney. Ph: 9299 4151. Also located in various locations throughout Greater Sydney.
  • Parkers Art Supplies: 3 Cambridge Street, The Rocks. Ph: 9247 9979
  • The Art Scene: 914 Victoria Road, West Ryde. Ph: 9807 6900
  • The Sydney Art Store: 11 Salisbury Street, Botany. Ph: 9699 2162

You can also purchase materials from places such as Dymocks, Officeworks, Spotlight, Lincraft or online art suppliers such as Art Shed Online.

Dominique Millar

Dominique has two Master's degrees in Italian art history and art curatorship. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Sir William Dobell Scholarship for Classical Drawing and Painting at...

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