How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students

How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students

by Catherine V Holmes


Publisher Library Tales Publishing, Incorporated

Published in Arts & Photography/Graphic Design, Arts & Photography/Drawing, Arts & Photography, Nonfiction

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Book Description

How to Draw Cool Stuff shows simple step-by-step illustrations that make it easy for anyone to draw cool stuff with precision and confidence. With the step-by-step guidelines provided, anything can become easy to draw. How to Draw Cool Stuff is suitable for artists of any age benefiting everyone from teachers and students to self-learners and hobbyists. How to Draw Cool Stuff will help you realize your artistic potential and expose you to the pure joy of drawing!

Sample Chapter

This book evolved out of necessity. After exploring art catalogs and libraries and wading through the “how to draw” section of book stores, I found a few good resources but none that had all the qualities I was looking for in a drawing book. Some ideas were too basic and often insulting to my older, more artistic students. Other material seemed to serve as a showcase for beautiful artwork but lacked any concrete instruction. As a “travelling” art teacher with a limited budget and limited preparation time, I need a single resource that is easy to transport and can be used to teach all levels of students from middle school to high school and beyond. This book was created to fill that need and I want to share it with teachers and artists in similar situations. These projects will allow you to bring interesting and informative lessons that offer clear objectives and foster achievement without the need for expensive/multi-dimensional supplies: a regular pencil and eraser is all that is needed (sometimes a ruler or fine pen). Fancy art pencils, costly paper or kneaded erasers are not required for success. All pages have been student tested and approved.

The Book Details: Inside you will find specific exercises that offer step-by-step guidelines for drawing a variety of subjects. Each lesson starts with an easy-to-draw shape that will become the basic structure of the drawing. From there, each step adds elements to that structure, allowing the artist to build on their creation and make a more detailed image. Each art project comes with a chart including information that the artist should be able to KNOW (facts, basic skills), UNDERSTAND (big ideas, concepts, essential questions), and therefore be able to DO (final assessment, performance, measurements of objectives) by the end of the lesson. This additional information gives these pages more power than just ‘art for art’s sake’ - not that you need it - because art is important enough on its own! Artists are learning about themselves as expressive souls through the process of creating beautiful and interesting work. The best part is, this is stuff that artists want to draw. Information for Teachers using this Book: Teachers can feel confident that they are using instructional time in ways that make a difference for their students when using this guide. Each lesson includes easy-to-follow instruction where the whole process is viewed through a sequence of detailed illustrations that can be linked to historical connections, your curriculum learning standards or adapted into an arts integration lesson. You decide how intense to make each project. The projects can be differentiated to respond to students’ diverse learning styles through a mixture of visuals and text.

For the best results, here are a few tips:

• Lessons are provided on mostly one-sided sheets for easy reproduction. Copy them on the photo setting of your school’s copy machine if possible. The shaded areas will retain their best value. • Post the “Know, Understand, Do” sheet provided on the board so students will clearly see the lesson objectives.

• Encourage your students not to skip any of the steps. Teachers may find that many students want instant gratification and often try to skip to the last step without following the process. There are a few art students who have a “talent” for drawing or have prior experience with drawing complex forms and do not need the steps, however, most do need to follow the sequence in order to achieve their best result. For greater success, they must follow the steps! By doing so, students are training their brains to see shapes within an object instead of the object as a whole. This will simplify the drawing process.

• Tell students to draw lightly. Once they have a basic outline and a few details, then students can make their lines darker and more permanent. Getting heavy-handed artists to draw lightly can be a constant battle but the struggle is worth it once they see the benefits. Erasing becomes easier and fewer papers are crumbled up and thrown away.

• Every student will find a different level of success with these drawing guides. Encourage students to make their work different from the exercises in the book by adding “extra’s” and more details. This makes each work of art unique and personal.

• These simple steps can be adapted to any level - the student can put as much or as little effort into their work as their comfort level allows. NOTE: As a great art teacher, always push your students for more - going beyond the comfort zone is how we learn!

• The techniques and processes presented in this book are well within the reach of what your student can do. On occasion, some students may get frustrated and want to give up. Sometimes a student will declare defeat before even attempting the work. That is unacceptable! Remind them that creating art is a process. In cases like this, encourage your student to try just the first step. They will see that first step is quite easy and may be encouraged to try the next step, etc.

• If all of attempts at drawing seem to be preventing your student from achieving success, you may want to allow that student to trace. The drawings on these pages are presented on a smaller scale in order to discourage tracing, however, it is better to allow tracing as opposed to your student doing nothing at all. Modifications for assignments can include tracing if need be, just have the student add their own unique twist by shading or adding “extra’s” that are not seen in the examples provided. Tracing without even trying - NOT OK!

• This book is great for substitutes. Copy a bunch of these lessons, put them in your sub folder and take your sick day without worry. With enough practice, eventually students won’t need a “how-to” book. A shift in the brain will occur and your students will be able to mentally break down the simpler image behind the complex one without assistance. That is when they will become Super Smart Artists! Information for Artists using this Book: Following these exercises is a great way to practice your craft and start seeing things in terms of simple shapes within a complex object. Professional art pencils and paper can offer a variety of results, however, the techniques discussed in this book can be successful by using everyday supplies. This book is intuitive but you may come across a few challenging steps. Follow the tips below for best results.

• Try blocking out the information you don’t need. When you begin drawing one of the artworks in this book, cover all of the steps shown with a blank piece of paper except for the first one. Draw just the first step that is exposed. After that step is finished, uncover the next step and work on it. By blocking out the steps you are not working on, the artwork becomes less challenging to attempt. Continue uncovering each step one by one and adding to your artwork until it is complete. It is a simple tactic but it works by getting you to focus on just one action at a time.

• Patience is necessary. Don’t rush, take your time and practice patience. Don’t crumble up your paper in frustration every time you make a mistake. Look at your artwork and figure out the lines that work and the lines that don’t. Change them as needed. This is easier when you:

• Draw lightly. Start with a light, sketchy outline and add more detail as the drawing progresses. Once all the lines look good to you, then they can be drawn darker and more permanent.

• Don’t be too concerned with trying to make your drawing look just like the one in the book or spend a lot of time trying to get both sides of a supposed symmetrical object the same. Even our faces are not perfectly symmetrical. Your unique (and sometimes imperfect) approach is what will make the artwork engaging and beautiful. If your drawing doesn’t look “perfect,” that’s OK!

• Want your artwork to look even more professional? Draw your object large then shrink it on the copier using the photo setting. The details and lines appear finer and your work looks more detailed. A great trick to try!

• Finally, don’t worry about what your neighbor’s artwork looks like. Remember: everyone can draw but no one can draw just like you. That is what makes art so special. If we all drew exactly the same way, art would be boring and there would be no point to it. Look at the way your art work comes out after you finish and compare it to your own previous work. You will probably be impressed with yourself!

Tips for Shading:

• “The Basics” chapter displays several different shading techniques. Using heavy pressure with your pencil will leave dark lines as light pressure will leave light marks. A combination of both with a gradual transition from one to the other is one approach to realistic shading. Practice using different pencil pressures to create a variety of tones.

• Be careful if you choose to smudge your artwork to create shading effects. The technique of smudging an artwork with a finger to create shadows can blur some intricately drawn lines and ruin a beautiful drawing. However, when done properly, smudging can be a quick and effective way to add depth to an artwork. This can be an acceptable practice, just beware of making mud! Rubbing too much will cause all of those fine lines and contrasting shades to become the same muddled, flat gray tone. This takes the depth away from a drawing and makes the work appear less detailed. For best results when shading with the finger rub technique, just smudge a little.

• You will see some examples in this book where hatching and cross-hatching are used. This is another shading technique which can be a unique alternative to smudging or pencil pressure when creating shading effects. Try them all and see which one works best for you.

Why We Need Art Drawing makes you smarter! Believe it or not, artists are not just mindlessly copying what they see when following the activities in this book. By completing these projects, artists enhance their creativity and artistic confidence while gaining powerful tools for understanding what goes in to creating visual works. Students are actually re-training their brains to see in a different way. This allows them to express themselves and become competent, savvy, literate, imaginative, creative and perceptive in art and in life. Let your students, coworkers and the world know that ART IS IMPORTANT!


Excerpted from "How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students" by Catherine V Holmes. Copyright © 2014 by Catherine V Holmes. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Catherine V Holmes

Catherine V Holmes

Catherine V. Holmes is an art/ELA teacher and visual artist from historical Plymouth, Massachusetts. She studied at Boston University and at Bridgewater State College where she earned her BFA and MA in ED. She is currently working towards her second Master’s from the University of Scranton.

View full Profile of Catherine V Holmes

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