An Introduction to Drawing for Beginners | WEA Sydney

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Available Classes

This two-day workshop aims to systematically set out the basic principles of drawing for either the very beginner or lay intermediate student. Each exercise will progressively build upon the last. Starting with the most elementary forms and geometric shapes, the course aims to gradually introduce the student to more complex forms and challenges within the process of learning to draw. The class will be well suited to any beginner or individual who has wanted a solid grounding in the basic elements of drawing.


  • Face-to-Face


  • Leaf Drawing Exercise: Using an image of a leaf, a sheet of tracing paper provided, will be placed over the image and traced. Placing the tracing paper on a new sheet of paper, students will mark multiple points to indicate the leaves perimeter. Looking back at the original drawing, students will then fill in the spaces between these points with the remaining contour of the leaf’s outline, as accurately as possible. We will then repeat this with plant specimens. This exercise introduces the student to the fundamentals of observation and contour, while also putting the student at ease in fostering a habit of erasure and correction.
  • Shading Exercise: Between two parallel lines, students will take great care to shade as carefully and as softly as possible, from left to right, from the darkest gradation of the pencil to its lightest. The aim of this exercise is to produce a seamless ascent in tonal gradation.
  • Silhouette Study: Using the image of a tree, students will shade in the form of the trees 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.
  • Rock Study: Students will be given an assortment of small round rocks. Employing a peep hole, students will attempt to record the tonality of the rock as accurately as possible.
  • Aerial perspective and the landscape: In this exercise, we will focus on a section of a landscape print, in order to both observe and replicate its use of line, hatching and shading in the depiction of distant foliage. This practice will help us gain an understanding of how artists communicate the ephemeral characteristics of the landscape at greater distances. The exercise will then be applied to photographic images of distant trees and foliage.
  • 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
  • Antique Cast Drawing: A copy of an antique cast will be set up to draw. The benefits of inanimate cast figures as an aid to drawing will be addressed.


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

  1. Gain a sound structural approach to drawing objects.
  2. Accurately conceive of objects in relation to linear and aerial perspective.
  3. Learn to observe form, tone and volume in any object.
  4. Make use of and/or inventing a light source to model form.


  • Pencils 2H, F
  • Needable Eraser
  • Stanley knife for sharpening
  • A3 sketch book

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.

Interested in this course? JOIN OUR WAITLIST to be notified when vacancies or future classes are available.