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Tips and Lessons on Sketching and Drawing, Part 2

Recommendations based on sketches and studies in

my "Women of the World" series

In my previous blog post, I shared with you Part 1 of tips and lessons on sketching and drawing. I emphasized the importance of researching your subject matter and sketching and planing your ideas before starting your artwork. The research and planning aspect of the process was particularly important for me as this series focuses on women from distinct parts of the world, in various native garbs or represented through their customs.

The notes I gathered during the process of creating the sketches and studies for the Women of the World series are not strict rules but are rather suggestions to help you improve your drawing style.

I hope you enjoy the lessons and learn something new along the way.


The next step after your research and planning process is to sketch out a composition. A composition is a balanced arrangement of objects, shapes, and other elements that brings coherence to the drawing. Therefore, you should start with organizing, arranging, and combining the objects to create a visually pleasing drawing.

There are many rules to composition, but chances are, you can make a balanced and aesthetically pleasing composition with just a few guidelines. Familiarize yourself with some of the following concepts:

Focal point: As the artist, you control where you want to direct the viewer's eye. The focal point is the primary center of interest in a drawing. The focal point influences the placement of other objects in the drawing in relation to the focal point.

In this picture, the focal point is placed on the eyes as they absorb a spiritual surrounding.

Depth: Arrange the elements so that they create the illusion of depth on paper. The larger objects should be placed in the foreground (generally in the middle or lower part of your drawing). The smaller elements are naturally in the background (generally in the middle or higher part of your drawing). You can also add an optional middle ground.

Balance: A stable arrangement of objects within the composition will present the viewer with a pleasant image. In this study, the flowing fabric is spread through the study, thus creating sense of balance around the central figure.

Texture: By definition, texture is the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface. A variety of lines, straight or curved, can help create the illusion of texture in a drawing.

In this picture, short, thick lines, and undefined edges produce the texture the fur in the shawl and wrist warmers on this Russian woman.

The impression of embroidery around the elbow of this Spanish dancer was simply created with circles and dots.

Value: When defining it, artists refer to value as the arrangement of opposite elements such as light versus dark colors, rough versus smooth textures, large versus small shapes, etc. Value creates visual interest, fun, and drama.

Notice how the rose encapsulates the light versus dark value.

My next lesson will guide you from drawing with shapes and lines to adding embellishing details.

Stay tuned!

A bientôt!


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