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How to Draw

Experience the joy of drawing - a skill anyone can learn - in this brilliantly designed course that teaches you how to draw landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and more.
How to Draw is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 584.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very clear and well organized Great use of examples, demos, and exercises. Also appreciate the samples from art history.
Date published: 2024-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Draw sent as a gift it was loved and is showing progress
Date published: 2024-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Class I've been making art most of my life and I've never learned as much as quickly as this class. Love the professor too!
Date published: 2024-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really great course The tutor is very informative and instructive. I go to a college class once a week to draw. The information from this course and my college class is perfection in quality. I'm really enjoying drawing. Thank you
Date published: 2023-10-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Figure drawing part is basically an overview I bought this course a year ago but just now got around to watching the figure drawing part. I get much better teachers on YouTube
Date published: 2023-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brody Does It Again Very early in the course, Brody suggests that we can either master each of the lessons (admitting that such an approach would consume over a year) or simply take the entire course and master each lesson as needed. I initially tried mastering each lesson but with inadequate free time caught myself taking shortcuts – and had to start over. SECTIONS: After clearly discussing the tools of the trade in depth, he covers the concepts of line, aggregate shape, and volume. For this part of the course and what follows later, having some familiarity with Geometry is extremely useful - especially by L12 when he combines these concepts with the clock-hand method to accurately draw an open box sitting at an angle from the wall. By this time he has also introduced “gesture": quick, approximation drawings for positions, directions, and amounts. Starting at L15 is linear perspective, the quad w including line management, the addition of grid rooms and how to deal with foreshortened ellipse. By L20 you are able to achromatic scale (the uses of grays to add three-point perspective to the box you've previously outlined. He discusses optical illusion as a nine-step gray scale – something that will help you later make objects “come to life". L21 begins a long, precise section on the instruments for adding value: intensity, tonality, erasure, blending, spreadingm etc. After recapping, L23 begins color attributes: hue, saturation (its purity), and value (lightness/darkness). Now you are getting ready for the more complex sujects: mood, sensations of light and space while translating color into value. Sidelights and cast shadows require both geometry and an expert eye for the interplay of shadow with value. This is where you suddenly realize that walking around your house you see things you never saw before. L26 on hatching may sound obvious, but is quite complex and rewarding. Color theory: hue, value and saturation are in L28-L30 (though his Great Course “The Complete Painting" expands on this topic). L32-L34 on the reconstruction of the figure starting with triangles and trapezoids provides confidence that one could really make excellent drawings of humans with enough practice of Brody’s geometric methodology. PRO: The Guidebook for this course is excellent - in marked contrast to the chopped up Guidebook for Brody’s Great Course: “The Complete Painter" (see my 2020 review). For very good reasons, Thomas Eakins “John Biglin in a Single Scull” is a painting that he returns to frequently and I note that it is featured prominently in other Great Courses on art. Each time, it provides more insights. Although having limited personal drawing ambition, this 2015 course absolutely changed the way I view the world. Now I see light/shadow/color interplays that were simply missed and know where in the course to look for whatever is needed. CON: Although I appreciate Monet’s approach (L30) to light, mood, and palette, I’d never pay $1 for a Van Gogh. After spending many hours teaching us perspective lines, Brody praises “La Crau from Montmajour, 1888” which horrendously violates perspective. There is a carriage in the foreground and a train in the middle ground. Slightly less than equidistant between them, two people walk on a path. The walkers are larger than the buggy rider suggesting poor perspective. The engineer on the nearly double distance (from the buggy) tiny mid-ground train provides no possible rationale perspective lines betwixt the three groups In L29, Brody seems to obliquely justify my Van Gogh recalcitrance when (considering "The Night Cafe") he states: “This is the way many of us colored in a picture when we were kids” and admits that the "planes were now bent and mangled.” Thank you!! A quote (from a Great Course “History of the US Economy” by Taylor) may, in my insignificant artistic opinion, apply to Van Gogh purchases: “…good intentions and activism…(are) not always reality-based." SUMMARY: Brody’s method is coherent, measured and I am convinced, he could teach in his sleep. His recaps and constant restatements help things stick. At $20K+/year for college this course would run at least $5000! This course also provides an appreciation for the massive effort artists make. It is definitely a keeper.
Date published: 2023-05-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from How to draw Too many language lessons and I don't need to draw nakedness I'm not drawing for medical purposes
Date published: 2023-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My husband gave me this class as a gift few years ago and I am so glad he picked the perfect class for me. I like the content and how it is explain. It really goes from beginners to more advance within the same lesson. I like the fact that the professor explain about the different artist and their work while he is explaining the lessons, this makes the class more interesting and creates the right atmosphere to learn and get you inspired. I had come to his lessons more the one time and I will keep using them. If I have to give a negative point is that for me classes in person are better because you can have the professor's feedback of your work, but other than that I enjoy so much this class and I recommend it any time people ask me about it. Professor Brody's abilities to teach are great, thanks!
Date published: 2023-02-08
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Experience the joy of drawing-a skill anyone can learn-in this brilliantly designed course that teaches you how to draw landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and more.


David Brody

If you're like most of my students at the University of Washington, it's likely that when you think about "learning to draw" you’re thinking about being able to do this: get the proportions right; get the things to sit on the table; maybe even draw a group of figures...from your imagination.


University of Washington in Seattle

Professor David Brody has been a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Washington in Seattle since 1996. He did undergraduate work at Columbia University and Bennington College and received his graduate degree in painting from Yale University in 1983. Professor Brody has lectured or been a visiting critic at Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The University of Chicago, Harvard University, Capital Normal University in Beijing, and the China Art Academy in Hangzhou. Professor Brody's paintings and drawings have been shown in close to 100 exhibitions in the United States and Europe. These include solo shows at Gallery NAGA in Boston, the Esther Claypool Gallery in Seattle, Gescheidle in Chicago, and Galeria Gilde in Portugal. His work has also been shown at the ARCO Art Fair in Madrid, the RipArte Art Fair in Rome, the Trevi Flash Art Museum, the FAC Art Fair in Lisbon, and Art Chicago in the United States. Professor Brody's work has been published and written about in two monographs and in many articles and reviews. Art in America concluded, "A highly intelligent artist ... Brody is absolutely serious about technique. An emphasis on fine drawing, delicate surfaces, and careful considerations of color and light informs all his pictures." Professor Brody has received numerous awards. He's been both a Fulbright Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow, received the Basil H. Alkazzi Award for Excellence in Painting, and was awarded Royalty Research Fund grants and Milliman Endowment for Faculty Excellence awards at the University of Washington.

By This Professor

How to Draw
The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters
How to Draw


An Introduction to Drawing

01: An Introduction to Drawing

Begin by considering the remarkable history of drawing, a history that has produced knowledge, methodology, and techniques that are readily learnable. Assess common misconceptions about talent and genius; discover how learning to see analytically and abstractly helps us draw; and try your first drawing exercise, retracing what our ancestors drew 80,000 years ago....

33 min
Drawing Materials for Line

02: Drawing Materials for Line

Here, investigate drawing materials you'll use throughout the course. Learn about artists' graphite pencils, charcoal, brush and ink, and drafting and measuring tools. Then learn how to set up your work area, and how to place both yourself and your subject vis-a-vis your drawing board or easel....

33 min
Drawing Fundamentals and First Exercises

03: Drawing Fundamentals and First Exercises

Explore essential first drawing exercises and learn how you will apply the skills developed here to much more complex subjects. Grasp how the curriculum-spanning the many pieces making up the "grammar" of drawing, such as composition, proportion, perspective, value, texture, and color-fits together, providing you with the knowledge and ability to explore your own creative vision....

30 min
Line and Shape: Line and Aggregate Shape

04: Line and Shape: Line and Aggregate Shape

Learn about contour line, which describes the outer edges of objects, and construction line, which helps you build the objects you draw. Discover how to draw individual objects by constructing them from basic geometric shapes. Also learn about aggregate shape, which unites a drawing's disparate individual elements....

32 min
Line and Shape: Volume and Figure-Ground

05: Line and Shape: Volume and Figure-Ground

Now investigate cross-contour line (which can transform flat shape into a volumetric solid), oblique or foreshortened shapes, and their relation to geometric solids-principles that allow you to make objects appear three-dimensional. Also grasp the relation of figure to ground within a drawing, and practice drawing three-dimensional still lifes....

33 min
Line and Shape: Positive and Negative Shape

06: Line and Shape: Positive and Negative Shape

This lecture explores the vital concept of negative shape, the shapes existing between the positive shapes representing the objects on the page. Study how artists conceive of negative shape and use it in constructing their compositions. In still life exercises, practice intentionally drawing both "positive" object shapes and the "negative" shapes between them....

28 min
Composition: The Format and Its Armature

07: Composition: The Format and Its Armature

In approaching composition, study the underlying structure of rectangles, the fundamental shape of most drawings. Learn how the character of any rectangle is defined by the relationship of its verticality to its horizontality, and how this relationship affects our perception. Observe how simple diagonals within a rectangle offer numerous possibilities for visual interpretation....

30 min
Composition: How Artists Compose

08: Composition: How Artists Compose

Study how artists think structurally in building a drawing, tying the drawing's content to the geometric underpinnings of a given rectangular shape. Learn about focal areas, focal points, and compositional balance, and how this kind of structural understanding serves to unite the parts of a drawing, creating a unified whole....

29 min
Line and Shape: Line Attributes and Gesture

09: Line and Shape: Line Attributes and Gesture

Take a deeper look at the types and qualities of line, and consider how these attributes affect line's expressive potential. Study and practice nine key attributes of line, from value and width to continuity, shape, and texture. Then explore gestural line-line that swiftly captures the character of a subject....

30 min
Composition: Shape and Advanced Strategies

10: Composition: Shape and Advanced Strategies

Investigate visual strategies artists use in composing drawings. Grasp how shapes communicate, and how the factors of contrast and repetition affect how a viewer reads a drawing. Learn about visual "rhyming" (shapes and directions that get repeated rhythmically), spatial organization (foreground, mid-ground, background), and the narrative possibilities of composition....

30 min
Proportion: Alberti's Velo

11: Proportion: Alberti's Velo

Now begin a study of proportion and measurement in drawing. Learn about a key discovery of 15th century European art, the velo, a gridded device that allows you to create a convincing depiction of a figure, landscape, or other subject. Use your own velo, and draw a proportioned, foreshortened view of an interior....

30 min
Proportion: Accurate Proportion and Measure

12: Proportion: Accurate Proportion and Measure

Study key tools artists use to arrive at correct proportions. In particular, learn how to use an analog clock face as a way to quantify angles, how to use a standard unit of measure to measure across the picture plane, and how to use level and plumb lines. Then put these elements together in practice....

28 min
Creating Volume and Illusionistic Space

13: Creating Volume and Illusionistic Space

Look broadly at how artists create flatness, volume, and space on two-dimensional surfaces. In doing so, study 12 factors that affect how we perceive depth of space, encompassing principles such as overlap, the relative scale of objects, the use of diagonals and foreshortened shapes, atmospheric perspective, and how distance affects color....

30 min
Six Complex Drawing Projects

14: Six Complex Drawing Projects

Apply your knowledge and skills to a number of intriguing and complex drawing conundrums. Among a range of projects, create a still life of boxes, translate a complex figure painting into a line drawing, and draw a carefully composed self-portrait. Also consider common pitfalls-and their solutions-in drawing naturalistically....

30 min
Linear Perspective: Introduction

15: Linear Perspective: Introduction

Linear perspective, a Renaissance discovery that radically changed art, is another core tool for controlling proportion and creating a life-like drawing. Learn about one-point perspective, how diagonal lines recede to a vanishing point, and how to use this principle to create convincing form in space....

33 min
Linear Perspective: The Quad

16: Linear Perspective: The Quad

Combine your knowledge of illusionistic space and linear perspective in drawing an architectural landscape of two buildings on a ground plane. Construct the buildings and the space between them using the principles of one-point perspective. Then draw through the buildings, creating interior floors, windows, doors, and furniture....

27 min
Linear Perspective: The Gridded Room

17: Linear Perspective: The Gridded Room

Learn how to draw a perspectival grid, and look at ways artists use grids to measure the depth of space in a drawing. Then, draw a complete gridded room, beginning with the floor plane. Add gridded walls and a ceiling, controlling proportions in spatial recession. Finally, add interior objects of specific measure in specific locations....

28 min
Linear Perspective: Ellipses and Pattern

18: Linear Perspective: Ellipses and Pattern

Apply the principles you've learned to draw curvilinear volumetric forms, such as a cylinder, cone, and sphere in perspective. Also investigate the drawing of geometric patterns in perspective. Then begin a complex drawing from your imagination, using one-point perspective to construct a believable and measurable interior space....

31 min
Linear Perspective: Advanced Topics

19: Linear Perspective: Advanced Topics

Complete drawing a believable, proportioned environment from your imagination. Next, study two-point perspective, used to accurately draw planes that are angled to the picture plane. Finally, discover how to draw sloping or inclined planes, and learn about three-point perspective, which depicts what we see when we tilt our heads, looking up or down....

29 min
Value: How Artists Use Value

20: Value: How Artists Use Value

In approaching value (the relative lightness or darkness of tones), grasp how the tonal palette of a drawing governs mood and the viewer's emotional response. Learn how we can conceive of the range of values from white to black as a scale. Study how artists use value as both a spatial and a compositional tool, and investigate the passage of light and shadow over form as occurring in nine steps....

29 min
Value: Drawing Materials for Value

21: Value: Drawing Materials for Value

For drawing with value, take a deeper look at the types and qualities of the materials you'll use. Investigate the uses of graphite, charcoal, blending and spreading tools, ink, and the use of fixative. Study the many types and grades of drawing papers, and see how different materials interact with different papers....

29 min
Value: Black and White and a Value Scale

22: Value: Black and White and a Value Scale

Discover how artists use value. With brush and ink, learn to make both white and black shapes and create a still life using only these two values. Then, draw a nine-step value scale, comprising nine distinct tones ranging from white to black....

30 min
Value: Eight Complex Drawing Projects

23: Value: Eight Complex Drawing Projects

Put your knowledge of value into practice, beginning with still lifes of white objects on white backgrounds drawn in a broad palette of light to dark. Learn to see a color's value as distinct from its hue and saturation. Realize a range of value-based projects, from drawings combining interior and outdoor spaces to portraits, full-figure drawings, and drawings translating color to value....

29 min
Value: Side Light and Cast Shadow

24: Value: Side Light and Cast Shadow

Learn how artists draw cast shadows from their imaginations. Start with shadows thrown by blocks and curvilinear solids, in one- and two-point perspective. Consider the expressive value of shadows, and progress to compound surfaces receiving shadows. Finally, learn to draw cast shadows of inclined planes....

29 min
Value: Oblique Light and Cast Shadow

25: Value: Oblique Light and Cast Shadow

To complete your study of cast shadows, learn to draw shadows produced by oblique light coming from both the front and rear of objects. Then investigate artificial light as it affects shadows projected by objects within interiors. Practice these principles by drawing a complex interior and an invented still life from your imagination....

30 min
Texture: Mark Making and Optical Value

26: Texture: Mark Making and Optical Value

Investigate the use of mark making, such as hatching and other related techniques, as a means of creating visual texture and tonal value. Experiment with hatching and how to use it compositionally. Practice inventing your own marks, explore the huge range of possibilities, and apply them in your drawings....

31 min
Texture: How Artists Use Texture

27: Texture: How Artists Use Texture

Take a comprehensive look at texture, beginning with five master drawings that exhibit contrasting textural personalities and moods. Study the primary factors that affect texture, from the drawing surface to the material's application method and modification through blending, smudging, or erasing. Learn to draw simulated textures such as wood grain and reflective metallic surfaces....

29 min
Color: Color Theory and Color and Light

28: Color: Color Theory and Color and Light

Delve into color theory, beginning with the organization of primary and secondary colors on the color wheel. Learn about analogous and complementary colors, as well as the attributes of hue, value, and saturation. Investigate how color functions in nature, and discover how our perception of color is influenced by light and reflected color in the environment....

30 min
Color: How Artists Use Color

29: Color: How Artists Use Color

Observe how an artist's color palette (group of chosen colors) affects light, mood, and emotion, by studying palettes used through the centuries by major artists. Learn about flat color, open color, and color gradation in art. Grasp vital principles regarding how artists use color compositionally to direct the viewer's attention....

31 min
Color: Color Drawing Projects

30: Color: Color Drawing Projects

Choose palettes of pastels for your own drawings. Do a series of projects, using a specific color palette to create mood, a visual hierarchy, and the illusion of space, volume, and light. Explore how a seemingly white wall is not white at all, but actually a range of colors. This is because an object's nominal color mixes with the color of the light source and the reflected color of other objects ...

31 min
The Figure: A Canon of Proportions

31: The Figure: A Canon of Proportions

Learn to draw the human figure using a set of measures, or a canon of proportions, and simple geometric shapes. In doing so, make a study of human proportions in three views, using the height of the head to measure relative proportions of the body. Take account of how artists have viewed human proportions, body posture, and differences between male and female figures....

30 min
The Figure: The Head, Hands, and Feet

32: The Figure: The Head, Hands, and Feet

Complete drawing anterior, lateral, and posterior views of the human figure. Then, turn the flat shapes used to construct the figure into volume, to get a more naturalistic and three-dimensional figure. Study methods for proportionately drawing the head and conquering the complexity of the hands and the feet....

31 min
The Figure: Artistic Anatomy

33: The Figure: Artistic Anatomy

Like Leonardo, Michelangelo, and countless others, study human anatomy, and learn its value for drawing the figure. Study the human skeleton, with particular focus on visible skeletal landmarks seen on the surface. Investigate the principal muscle groups and their functions, and draw both skeleton and muscles into your figure drawings....

30 min
The Figure: Drawing Projects

34: The Figure: Drawing Projects

Finish exploring human anatomy, covering the muscles of the lower body and limbs. Then bring your knowledge to a spectrum of drawing projects, beginning with a full-length self-portrait in three views. Draw variations such as figures in one- and two-point perspective, a figure within an invented room, and figures in narrative settings....

34 min
Advanced Concepts: Pictorial Space

35: Advanced Concepts: Pictorial Space

Consider how, from pre-history through the Renaissance to the contemporary era, artists have approached the depiction of the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional flat surface. Observe how recent artists have taken liberties with Renaissance principles of illusionistic space and set them to contradict one another, creating a whole range of new possibilities for art spanning both the highly ...

29 min
Advanced Drawing Projects

36: Advanced Drawing Projects

Conclude with challenging projects that weave together observation and imagination, as well as abstraction and representation. Explore how to develop subject matter and source material for your drawings. Locate areas of personal interest, themes, and ideas to identify the kind of art you want to make and cultivate your own artistic vision....

32 min