Drawing is at the heart of making art. You can make observational drawings of the objects and people you see around you, or doodle and draw from your imagination. “Drawing is taking a line for a walk” said modern artist Paul Klee. Regular drawing sessions will have many health benefits and drawing is linked to improved memory and reduced stress. Use a sketchbook or journal for making regular drawings (see J).

Rembrandt, Two Women Teaching a Child to Walk, c1635

Rembrandt, Two Women Teaching a Child to Walk, c1635


The secret to observational drawing is being able to see the simple shapes that make up complicated objects. Try the following activity to help you explore the building blocks of drawing. You will need a subject to draw for the second part of this activity. It could be a view through a window, a person, an individual object, or group of objects (see S). Start by looking around you, look for the different shapes we can see in everyday things. 

Geometric shapes are regular and precise - such as squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles.  You can see them in many human-made things, like buildings, machines, and furniture. 

  • Draw some geometric shapes that you can see around you.

Irregular or curved shapes can be seen more often in nature. These might be ovals, spirals, or curves. These shapes feel like they have more movement. You can see them in clouds, trees, leaves, or flowers.

  • Look outside if you can and draw some of the irregular or curved shapes you can see.

As artists, we can use these shapes to help us make pictures. Even the most complicated pictures are made up of the same simple shapes we already know. Now study your chosen subject, looking for the simple shapes that make up what you see. On a new piece of paper draw these shapes. Use big shapes or as many small shapes as you like. Once you are happy with what you have drawn, use a coloured pencil or felt pen to turn these into more complicated shapes. Use some pencil shading or coloured pencils to finish off your drawing.


  • Drawing paper
  • Pencils
  • Coloured pencils
  • Thicker fibre tipped pens 


Use drawing pens to make clear, single lines or pencils for making drawings with subtle shading and dark shadows. Pens come in different thicknesses and pencils can be very soft or hard. Experiment with as many as you can to find what you like best.

Artist InspirationDavid Bomberg, Leonardo da Vinci, Edgar Degas, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, Cy Twombly, Vincent Van Gogh