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What Are Art Fundamentals, How to Learn to Draw Using Art Fundamentals

Yoji Shinkawa inspired studies of line and shape by Gvaat

Take the self-assessment of art fundamentals for artists here.

Originally published on October 23, 2020 – By Gvaat

In this article, I have created a comprehensive overview of drawing and painting fundamentals. I hope to create a resource you can come back to throughout your art journey to check your progress. I will also be referring to this page in other tutorials as a resource for art fundamentals where a birdseye overview is given to all the important elements an artist must learn and keep in mind as they progress in their art studies.

There are a few items always present on the list of art fundamentals no matter the artist. They are perspective, linework, rendering values, composition, form, proportion, and shape language. Also note, some of you probably have also seen a list of “7 elements of art” before. This list overlaps with some of the art fundamentals. For purposes of inclusiveness, here it is: line, shape, form, space, texture, value and color.

Given that the topics on the two lists overlap, I believe having two separate lists is very counterproductive. Therefore, I propose one comprehensive list. One list that includes the above, and other topics I find to be necessary to be on a list of art fundamentals.

Without further ado, here is my full list of art fundamentals that an artist must study.

Gvaat’s list of art fundamentals:

  1. Perspective
  2. Proportion
  3. Linework
  4. Light and Shadow – Rendering, values, rendering texture
  5. Composition (focus, and space)
  6. Knowledge of Subject Matter (visual library and observational skills)
  7. Shape Language (silhouette)
  8. Color
  9. Edge
  10. Form
  11. Rhythm (and flow)
  12. Technique (craftsmanship, finesse, knowledge of tools, and process)
  13. Simplification
  14. Narrative and emotional direction

In this article, we will dive deep into art fundamentals. I’ll explain where the above “7 elements of art” fit within the art fundamentals. We will also go over each fundamental pillar, where I will explain why it is important and what is it that you actually need to learn and practice. 

Finally, I will propose a new model for thinking about art fundamentals and the elements of art, one that I believe will become extremely valuable to intermediate and advanced students. 

Why learn these 14 Fundamentals of Art?

I will propose to you a bold theory: the above 14 fundamentals are all that we need to create a masterpiece. This is because masterpieces are not much more than multiple fundamentals (from the list above) executed and staged together in a masterful way.

If you ever found yourself frustrated with learning fundamentals in drawing and painting, don’t overlook the discussion below! Things are about to get much clearer for you! And if for some reason they don’t, write to me here.

What are the Fundamentals of Art?

1. Perspective

When we see objects in perspective, we see objects get smaller as they recede in space away from us.

One point perspective example by Leonardo Da Vinci. Notice how the walls on each side point to a distant vanishing point on the horizon.

Gvaat’s takeaways:

If you want to create realistic images by drawing or painting, you have to understand and control perspective.

If you were a wizard studying magic, perspective would be the basis of every good spell and potion.

You cannot overlook perspective, the faster you study and understand perspective as an artist, and the faster you can apply it to your drawings, and the better they will look.

Perspective can get very technical. You can learn it in a technical way, but strive to gain an intuitive understanding of it so that it is easier to apply in the future. A good way to do that is to produce many technical perspective drawings, and intuition will come in turn.

1.1. One point perspective – the horizon line and vanishing points

I created a comprehensive resource on learning perspective in this tutorial. Before you ask about it, yes, there is a second point in one-point perspective, it is just too far out to be counted in.

1.2. The horizon line is the eye-level line

When objects are below the horizon line we see the top of them, when objects are above it, we see the bottom of the object. When objects appear at eye-level, they sit on the horizon line.

1.3. Two-point perspective

In two-point perspective, the object is placed between two vanishing points on the horizon line. (Follow this link for perspective overview).

1.3. Three-point perspective

In three-point perspective, the object is placed between three vanishing points on the horizon line.

1.4. Finding the size of equal planes in perspective

There is an easy way to find the size of a plane of an object as it moves away from us in perspective. To find out how, check out my perspective tutorial here.

1.5. Foreshortening

Based on the angle of vision from which we look at an object, some parts of the object are perceived to be much smaller or shorter than they actually are. This is not difficult to see but is often very difficult to draw. Understanding perspective helps a great amount and practicing drawing foreshortened objects does as well.

2. Proportion

Finding the right proportions to communicate your subject matter in your own style is the very basic foundation of drawing and painting. If you want to create coherent pictures from imagination or know how to represent reality in an authentic way, you must get proportions right.

What are proportions? The term proportions in drawing and painting refers to the size or scale of something compared to something else in your composition. It is a contextual read of what you are representing. Is the eye the right proportion for the head? Or did you draw the eye too small, or too big? Are the trees in the right proportion to that figure on the horizon? Is the dinosaur the right proportion to the person in the image? Are you trying to be historically accurate with the last example?

Sometimes proportions are harder to notice. A hand or a foot of your figure could be slightly too small, perhaps not noticeable to you, but could clearly be off to someone else looking at the image with fresh eyes.

Gvaat’s takeaways:

Probably the best way to study proportions is to draw from life, and constantly measure the size and scale of objects in your compositions compared to what you see in reality.

If you want to create coherent pictures from imagination or know how to represent reality in an authentic way, you must get proportions right.

3. Linework (line quality)

Vitruvian Man detail – Da Vanci. Notice confident fine lines produced by Da Vanci. Also notice variation of lines inside the silhouette – thinner lines, while the body outlines are thicker.

The linework or line quality is the basis of drawing. Unless you are rendering something to a realistic degree where outlines blend into the edges, there will be outlines for every object in your scene, your linework will show up in the final image.

Lines can vary greatly, and if they vary swiftly and in a manner suited to the image, the result can be magnificent. What kind of variation can we introduce to our lines?

Lines can be thin or thick, lines can also be light or dark. Lines can also be slowly drawn or drawn quickly, and each will have a different kind of energy.

Lines can also be straight or very curvy and all sorts in between, all adding to their character. Then you can have a combination in a line: a fast and confident line that is very thin and drawn lightly, versus a slowly drawn line, also thin but drawn in the deepest darkest tone. Lines can be blurry or they can be sharp. Lines can be a lot of things and require careful study and consideration.

Gvaat’s takeaway:

In each stroke with a pencil on paper, you need to consider if the type of line you are drawing, is serving to help communicate your overall goal with the piece of art you are making.

3.1. Darker lines on the shadow side, lighted on the light side

One easy rule to follow if you aspire to create beautiful linework is to darken the lines in the shadow side of your object and lighten the lines on the lighter side. This will add an extra dimension to your drawing.

3.2. Linework: Line of Beauty

Source: William_Hogarth’s_The_Analysis_of_Beauty

A line of beauty is an s-shaped line. It is basically a curved line that promotes energy, interest, and organic form in your drawing. It was viewed to be a line that will command the interest of the viewer a lot better than a straight line in the opinion of 18th century English painter William Hogarth. Artists often work on incorporating lines of beauty in their art. Line of beauty can essentially be defined as an S curve with a bit of a smaller hook on one side than the other.

4. Light and Shadow – rendering values

A value is a measure of how light or dark something is.

Serov study by Gvaat, Painter on iPad Pro.

4.1. What are values and how to begin studying?

The best way to begin to learn values is to light up a sphere (or an egg) on a surface. As the light hits the sphere, it creates a highlight. The light fades away as we move away from the highlight across the sphere to the shadow side. From the light we get to halftone and then the terminator of the shadow area. Four main areas must have the correct and distinct tonality of values for the object to read properly as a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional canvas:

  1. light
  2. halftone
  3. shadow
  4. reflected light

If values are inappropriately mapped in those areas, the drawing will fall apart.

Gvaat’s takeaways:

The light, halftone, shadow, and reflected light areas must have the correct and distinct tonality of values for the object to read properly as a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional canvas.

Values are contextual, they will read lighter or darker than they actually are, depending on the values surrounding them.

Keep your reflected lights darker than the value of the halftone areas to achieve the best illusion of a three-dimensional object.

4.2. Provide a clear read with values

The 1, 2, 3 read with values is an important basic skill. You must be able to identify the lighter, halftone and darker areas in an image and group them accordingly. In dark or the shadow side, you can often indicate light reflected from other surfaces.

4.3. Context of values

You can use 1 to 10 scale for values. With 1 being lightest and 10 darkest. Or you can use whatever scale you want. The important thing about values is that they read lighter or darker depending on the value next to them. They are contextual… This means that a proper mapping of values is paramount to an image that succeeds in the illusion of communicating form on a 2-dimensional surface.

4.4. Get values right or color will not read right (value more important than color)

Images mapped with incorrect values do not read correctly even if they have a well-designed color scheme. It becomes very difficult to nearly impossible to visually communicate a three-dimensional form and depth of field unless values are mapped properly.

Values trump color choices. They are more important to get right. When a skilled painter picks a color, they go through a decision process of choosing the right value first (how dark or light the color is), then the right hue (color), and then chroma (how saturated the color is).

4.5. Reflected light darker than halftone

One good rule to follow, that will more often get your forms to read better than not, is to make sure that reflected light on your object is always darker than the halftone. The halftone is in the light side of the subject, and reflected light in the shadow side, so keep the reflected light darker than the halftone. This will usually read better.

Read more in this tutorial on values

5. Composition (focus)

Different compositions arranged from the same subject matter can send a drastically different message about that subject matter to the viewer.

5.1. Hierarchy – creating a clear read with your composition

Just like in the values section, the basic principle of a strong composition has a 1-2-3, (or a 1-2, or a 1-2-3-4 and so on) read in its hierarchy. This reading of the composition can be set by size, from largest and most prominent, to smallest and least significant, or by color: form most saturated to least colorful… or both by color and size, or by a greatest change in values (darkest darks or lightest lights, or both as a focal point), or through sharpness – where the sharpest viewable object is a 1, and objects are blurred out to 2 and 3. And also in many other ways.

Visually, try breaking up the composition into a simple size-based hierarchy: Big, Medium, Small at first. Setting visual hierarchy also involves providing more detail at the focal point. It can also involve shape that provides a hint on where to look.

5.2. Rule of Thirds: Bringing focus to your composition

You can divide your composition into 9 rectangles with 2 vertical and 2 diagonal lines spread equally apart. Places where these lines cross become focal points.

5.3. Compositional Guides

Another way to provide a focal point in a composition is to guide the eye by essentially providing directions to the important section with visual cues forming a path to an end goal. You can arrange elements of your composition in such a way that all elements will point the eye to the focal point.

5.4. Compositional Center vs. Thematic Center

A compositional center is a focus in a composition achieved through some attention-obtaining vice. Like scale – a really large object, or light – a really bright object, or an object in the foreground, or an object with the most detail, and so on.

A thematic center is a location in the composition that is most important to the narrative the image is communicating.

5.5. Golden ratio

In composition, a golden ratio or golden rule follows a ratio of 1 to 1.6. Somewhat of a shortcut to this rule, is a statmeent that in a complex composition with multiple focal points, things should be slightly off center.

6. Knowledge of subject matter

Anatomy is considered as one of the fundamentals of art by many. It is fundamental to me as well, since I love art dealing with the human figure. But what if you only want to draw flowers? The approach to fundamentals of art has to be larger than just anatomy. It is more like having to know the anatomy of whatever your subject is. You should study and know the subject matter in-depth, and end up knowing it intuitively to a fine degree.

Gvaat’s takeaways:

Observe reality by asking many questions about the visual aspects of what you see.

Building a visual library involved drawing something many times. A good exercise to build your visual library is to observe an object, and then try to draw it from another angle, or multiple other angles.

6.1. Observing reality and other artwork

Each artist has a superpower when it comes to drawing and painting. That superpower is the power of observation of reality. So many answers to questions we have when we draw or paint are grounded in our observational skills. What’s great is that this superpower can be trained and I can grow to become even more powerful over time. Amazing artists are keen observers of the world around them.

One of the best ways to observe reality is through what is called the Socratic method. Socrates asked his students questions to guide them through a topic and to keep them thinking. A student is asked a question and is challenged to think, the student provides an answer, and then is asked another question, and another and another, guiding the student and those listening through the entire topic and forcing them to seek out answers on their own. This is different than a lecture and is often a much more engaging and effective way to learn. (You must check your answers with a good recourse from time to time to make sure you are on the right track!)

In the same way, you must ask yourself questions when you observe the reality. Ask yourself questions about why something looks the way it looks, ask yourself questions about why the light is hitting an object the way it is, as yourself questions about why a certain shadow falls on another object in the way does, and so on. Ask questions and then try to figure out the answers while using reality as the ultimate resource. Keep asking questions and try to get to the truth of what you are looking at.

6.2. Building a visual library

Building a visual library is more than just observing other artwork or reality. The best way to build a visual library is to observe than try to draw through observation. Do that enough times and certain shapes and intricacies of the subject matter will become second nature.

A good exercise to build your visual library is to observe an object, and then try to draw it from another angle, or multiple other angles.

7. Shape language – cohesiveness, unity, style, shape, silhouette

Shape and silhouette play a large role in every image. Silhouette design should be driven by the message you are trying to convey about the object

7.1. Shape and silhouette

Silhouettes play a very big role in our emotional response as well as our ability to properly read an object or a person. When someone you know very well is far away, you can usually tell that it is them by their silhouette, since it is a powerful visual that identifies that person for us.

The way our brains read silhouettes is probably ingrained in evolution and our ability to survive, we read silhouettes before the details of what is inside of them. We can usually tell silhouettes apart, one that represents danger from one that represents no harm and so on.

Silhouette design is extremely important to our image and our art style, and to our ability to represent reality. It should be driven by the message your are trying to convey about the object.

7.2. Learning simple shapes

Learning to draw simple shapes: square, circle, triangle is the basis for learning to draw anything. Simple shapes are then converted to simple forms (see below), simple forms are composed into a complex form.

7.2. Shape and design – shape language

Shape language or shade design is the aesthetic of forms and shapes you produce on canvas. When this aesthetic is carried throughout the entire composition, the image acquires unity and cohesiveness. A strong and distinct shape language is associated with an individual art style. One artist may stylize by rounding the shapes of their forms, and another by creating very angular forms with sharp corners. Each artist in that example has developed their own shape language.

Gvaat’s takeaways:

Learning to draw simple shapes: square, circle, triangle is the basis for learning to draw anything. Simple shapes are then converted to simple forms (see below), simple forms are composed into a complex form.

Silhouette design should be driven by the message you are trying to convey about the object

Shape and silhouette play a large role in every image

8. Color

Color is a complex topic. It is something that has to be learned through lots of patience and practice. I created a resource that goes over major pillars of art theory for artists in this post: Color Theory for Artists, Learn Color Schemes and Contrasts!

Color study by Gvaat in Photoshop

9. Edge

Edges help provide a clear reading of the image. They separate objects, and situate the foreground and background contrasts.

Gvaat’s takeaway:

Edges with sharp contrast (found edges) will attract attention, while blurred edges (lost edges) with little contrast in value and color will fall back.

9.1. Lost and found edges in rendering

In painting a found edge is a sharp edge. A lost edge is a blurred edge.

9.2. Edges for a clear read of the subject

You must identify some edges for your subject matter that absolutely must read clearly for your message. Or identify if there are actually any edges that must read clearly at all? It all depends on what you are creating and your style. You must have a plan in regard to edges. Edges with sharp contrast will attract attention, while blurred edges with little contrast in value and color will fall back.

10. Form

Complex forms can be drawn by connecting simple forms, studying simple forms therefore must be emphasized.

10.1. Learning simple forms

A form is a three-dimensional object in space on your canvas. Forms have multiple facets. Base forms are the cube, sphere, cylinder, and cone (a cone starts like a cylinder with 1 vertical on the opposite edge). We must learn how to draw simple forms to draw complex forms.

10.2. Rotating simple forms at will

Rotation of simple forms at will in perspective is a fundamental skill that will combine multiple items on this list into one focused practice. It combines – (1) perspective, (2) shape, (3) form, (4) linework, (5) knowledge of subject matter into one exercise. Practicing the rotation of basic forms is a great exercise that we have to get right on our journey to art mastery. This is because once we can rotate basic forms, we can combine them to create complex forms. We should then be able to rotate complex forms at will.

11. Rhythm (and flow)

Rhythm is everywhere. In beautiful visuals, there is great rhythm. Don’t exclude it from your studies.

11.1. Rhythm

Gvaat’s takeaways:

Rhythm as a measure of motion. Rhythm in how the image unfolds in front of us. Rhythm with which the image was made should at all times be considered.

In drawing and painting there is rhythm in outline, color, light and shade.

Let’s review a quote by Andrew Loomis:

rythm is the flow of a continuous line resulting in a sense of unity and grace. – Andrew Loomis

I offer you a quote from one of Bridgman’s famous books on studying anatomy for artists, this one really resonated with me, and I hope you will see why rhythm should be included in this list after reading it:

… Rhythm was not invented. It has been the measured motion of the Universe since the beginning of time. There is rhythm in the movement of the sea and tides, stars and planets, trees and grasses, clouds and thistledown. It is a part of all animal and plant life. It is the movement of uttered words, expressed in their accented and unaccented syllables, and in the grouping and pauses of speech. Both poetry and music are the embodiment, in appropriate rhythmical sound, of a beautiful thought, imagination or emotion.

Without rhythm there could be no poetry or music. In drawing and painting there is rhythm in outline, color, light and shade.

Rhythm as a measure of motion. Rhythm in how the image unfolds in front of us. Rhythm with which the image was made should at all times be considered.

As Bridgman noted, there is rhythm in the line, and color and light and shade. The rhythm of a line, as noted by Loomis, is in its continuous flow. Rhythm in color and light and shade can be considered in the same way. Look at a composition you created recently, find a color or value and evaluate its rhythm. Look at how much space it takes up, and evaluate which section appears first to the eye, how the area guides the eye through it, and where the eye exits it – find movement in it. What is it’s rhythm? Does it help the overall image?

11.2. Flow (Unity)

Flow means the art piece is not in conflict with itself, everything belongs, all the pieces flow together. Without rhythm in line, color, light, and shade, there will be no flow to the image.

12. Technique

In drawing and painting, some part of a beautiful execution comes from the finesse of the artist. That is to say, a master can add a highlight to a drawing a surface with a swift and confident stroke, where a novice would slowly overwork the area instead.

12.1. Craftsmanship or finesse

To get to better drawings faster, we must spend some time working on craftsmanship in our artwork. How much control do we have over the writing utensil? Can we make the line thin or thick at will? Sometimes we know what the gradient should be in a rendering, but have trouble actually producing it on canvas. Mastery of craftsmanship means less friction between what you envision and what you can put down on paper.

12.2. Knowledge of tools

Knowledge of your art tools is indispensable. You must know your tools extremely well. If it is just a pencil, you need to know how to sharpen it to a pointy edge, or how to sharpen it to show more led, how to create thin crisp lines with it, and how to shade with the pencil at a steep angle and so on. If your tool of choice is Photoshop or some other digital software, the same principles apply. Knowledge of your tools will help you improve your art, and it will also help you achieve results faster.

Here is a guide on using pencils. (and another on what pencils to get here).

And here is one on best Photoshop shortcuts for artists.

If you are into traditional materials, here is a detailed guide on materials for oil painting.

12.3. Process

So much (if not all) of technique in art is sequential. If you have three steps to complete your artwork, things will look drastically different if you complete them out of order. There is just so much variation. Having a process that supports your technical execution and your style is essential. Coming up with a process that is all your own is part trial and error and part looking at the process of other artists and trying to replicate some aspects of it.

13. Simplification

Reality can be extremely complex, often capturing it on canvas, or reflecting it in stylized artwork means having the ability to simplify. Include everything that is necessary and nothing more.

A quote by Eistein on design are pertinent, because strong design spans all fields, I find it relevant:

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

Actually there is some debate on if Einstein ever said this, reportedly what he actually said was this:

It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience. – Albert Einstein

I like both versions and they do really apply to learning art and art fundamentals! What I like about the second, is that Einstein wants us to make an effort to simplify but is unwilling to give up experience. For artists, this means we want an essence of an image, and we don’t want to fail the viewer in their experience of the thing we are representing, we want to be faithful to the object we are representing, but we want to show as simply as we can without giving up the really good stuff.

Simplification in art is can be a difficult subject. It is especially difficult because most of us grew up trying to copy something exactly when we were trying to draw. Exact copies are not the goal of beautiful art vast majority of the time, even in art that is very realistic. Captureing the essence of the subject matter in a beautiful, lyrical way is much more often the goal.

This is why simplification is on this list, it has to be studied and practiced. You have to put in a real effort to simplify something without giving up much.

14. Narrative and emotional direction

Stories are embedded in all human communication. Being able to tell a great story with your visuals is as important as the technical skill of creating them.

14.1 Telling a narrative

We are used to stories. Stories that have a beginning and a middle and an end. Stories keep the viewer engaged! If you have a good hook, you can potentially keep the viewer engaged longer than if you had no story to tell. Telling a story is one of the best ways to have the viewer become invested in your artwork – this means the viewer spends more time with the work, which in turn has the potential for greater emotional impact.

14.2 Emotional message and emotional direction

Why do artists try to connect with the viewer emotionally? There are many reasons, but one of the strongest that undoubtedly benefits the artist is that an emotional connection greater impacts the viewer. A beautiful work of art that invokes emotion in the viewer will impact the viewer.

Telling good stories is not an easy task. A good visual story must be orchestrated. We have to work on it, and we don’t usually just land on it by accident. What are you trying to say with your image? What elements you will enlist to help you say what you are trying to say?

Does your composition support your narrative? Did you create a thematic focal point that makes sense to your story? What emotion are you trying to convey? Do subjects in your story have the body language or the shape language to support that? Do the colors support your message? There are many questions to answer with regard to creating an impactful image.

A narrative is the story we are telling with our image, and an emotional direction is the way we are telling that story. These elements can serve to dictate any other element on this list. You can try simple illustration exercises to improve in this: pick a word (usually an adjective) and try to illustrate it quickly, and practice often!

Now that we covered the all art fundamentals on my list, let’s discuss the best way to study after you have been studying art fundamentals for a while.

Gvaat’s proposed model for thinking about art fundamentals.

I use the word fundamental, as in integral to the success of the visual you are creating. Recently, I made a big shift in how I think about art fundamentals. This helped me see more improvement and it accounted for taking a lot of frustration away from my drawing sessions.

I am changing how I think about learning to draw. When discussing building up drawing skills. Yes, you must learn the principles of drawing, but referring to them as “fundamentals” for the entirety of your art journey is counterproductive.

Here is why:

After a very basic introduction to art, thinking of learning to draw by learning “fundamentals” does not help us improve any faster.

When something is fundamental, it is essential, it forms a base or a core of something. However, fundamentals can also be viewed as the very basic principles, in other words – something that a beginner should study…

Here is the reality: In learning to draw, we must study fundamentals perpetually, as we improve in art. This is because masterpieces are not much more than multiple fundamentals (from the list above) executed and staged together in a masterful way.

There is not much more to learn after fundamentals in drawing and painting, the rest is composing, staging and layering fundamentals on top of each other to get to the finished piece. In a masterful drawing, complexity comes from the highest level of execution of many fundamentals – all at the same time. ​

If we should study something perpetually, we shouldn’t give it a name that suggests that it is something mostly beginners should study. Having to study “fundamentals” again and again in your third and forth (and beyond) years in learning to draw can be, and is, frustrating.

This is why students often do not want to study – because studying “fundamentals” means “going back”, taking a step back sucks when you want to improve! Even though in reality it is of course a step forward, it is just we should think of it in different terms.

Therefore, I feel like it is counterproductive to talk about elements of drawing as fundamentals, fundamentals are a foundation, something on which a structure sits. In art, fundamentals are the foundation and the structure as well. They are everything. ​

From now on, I will be thinking about fundamentals as the elements of drawing and painting. I submit to you a metaphor that I feel is much more helpful in learning to draw.

Learning to draw is like learning a language.

It is a lot more like learning a language than building a house. In fact, creating a drawing is a lot more like speaking than building a house. A house must be built in stages, a beautiful drawing can be built in stages sure (and most of the time it should be), but a master can start with the roof if they so wish. While starting with the roof would not work for the builder…

When you learn a language, you have to learn the letters, then words, then string words together into phrases, then make sentences, paragraphs, and finally, when you have mastered a language, you can write prose or poetry.

And when you are really good at the language, your poems rhyme beautifully, there is a flow to the words, you are precise with using exactly the right word at the right place, you have control over the elements of language.

Drawing is very much the same. You first need to learn how to draw lines, then shapes, then forms, then you need to learn to place these forms in perspective, then you must learn to draw complex forms, and value, and color, and and and on. When creating a beautiful drawing, like a beautiful poem, you must mix these elements together, in a very special, unique and masterful way.

Ultimately, drawing is like speaking because both are forms of communication. It makes sense to take on a similar approach to studying each.

Try referring to learning to draw in this way. Break up your study time into focusing on every single element of drawing and painting from my long list above, and then focus on putting them all together in a drawing that is more complex. In time, as if a magician you will find yourself pulling elements out of thin air and landing them on your canvas in a beautiful way. When it turns out well, it feels magical, as if you are bending air. The reality is, that behind that magic are hours and hours of focused practice and thinking.

Try thinking of art fundamentals as the elements of art and see if it works for you. Feel free to provide me with feedback here.

Take the full self-assessment of art fundamentals for artists by clicking here.

Artist self-assessment of knowledge of art fundamentals

You can also take the Artist Self-Assessment below. It should help you better understand what areas to focus on. Good luck!