Category Archives: Highlands School

Highlands School: Form, Positive and Negative Space, Charcoal, Prismacolor Pencils

Highlands Sketchers are always exploring new drawing materials and techniques. Above is Kayla’s large-format charcoal study of the proportions and form of a skull. Below are pics of students drawing from observation and imagination as they experiment with graphite, Prismacolor pencils, and charcoal. Highlands teacher, Hilda, pulled together a superb 3-tone sketch of the plaster-cast hand and sphere. Kayla shifted gears from drawing big with charcoal to doing character sketches from our ever-popular Nicktoons book.

We’ve also had an excellent sketch session as students continued learning about positive and negative space while drawing a large-format egret in charcoal, shown below. The Highlands ‘Abstricken’ crew (Nick, Zach, and Koa) continued with their mission in creating a collection of abstract compositions. And Hilda forged ahead with yet another charcoal object drawing; this time our friendly skull named Bob.



























Highlands School: Weeks 3-6: Contours, Form, Positive/Negative Space, Proportion, and Getting Abstract

Originally posted 11/10:

Using artwork by artists such as Kandinsky and Mondrian we worked with lines, shapes and patterns to create abstract drawings. Scroll down to view everyone’s drawings.

Abstract compositions (shown clockwise, starting upper left) by Kayla, Zach, Tyler

Students also began drawing realistic form and contour edges. Kayla’s dragonfly (upper left) shows how she started with guidelines for accurate proportions of the wings and body. Sage’s dragonfly (upper right) shows how she added contour lines for the edges of the wings and body.

Sara’s wolf (upper left) shows how she began with basic shapes of the wolf’s body. Joe’s drawing shows natural looking contour edges of the wolf’s fur and muscles.

Dave’s study sketch of the egret (upper left) shows how he used guidelines as he drew the negative space around the bird’s head, neck, and body. His final drawing (upper right) shows lighter and darker tones for details.

Emily laid down bold designs, colors, and tones to try new directions with lines and shapes. View her new drawings in eXpReSsiOn sEsSiOn: Click here

The past couple of weeks Angel has been really focused in his work and made big breakthroughs with his drawing of the tiger (shown above). Accurate proportions, controlled line work, and shading make for a powerful composition.


You put together your skills and expressive line work for a set of balanced imaginative compositions! You’re so ready for the next stage of drawing: realism


Your work is moving in a solid direction for a series of abstract compositions. Keep building on this direction. Possibly try a series that adds figures to the intricate, controlled chaos. :-)


Intensely, wonderfully abstract line work! Would like to see you develop more abstract compositions, perhaps a series of drawings. Great effort in sketching the negative space around the egret–big step toward drawing realistically! The lighter and darker tones are a nice touch.


These are really tight compositions! Looks like you’ve gained a lot more control of your line work over the months. :-) Create more!


Your lines and shapes keep showing more and more confidence in your skills. Let’s keep working on sketching light guidelines before finishing with darker outlines. Powerful abstract composition. Keep it going!


Really like how you used freer, more expressive lines and shapes in your abstract work. Excellent work in drawing accurate proportions of the dragonfly. Maybe you can build out a series of drawings of cars and trucks.


The egret was a major step for you in drawing realistically! It shows a great balance with your abstract compositions. Keep building your observational skills along with drawing from your imagination–your inner artist is starting to show in your work.


Nice drawing! Don’t forget to view your drawing in eXpReSsiOn sEsSiOn: Click here Maybe you can create a series of drawings based on your Native American roots.


BIG-time improvements in your sketching skills, Dave! Really like how you kept sketching until you found the shapes of the negative space around the egret’s body. The lighter and darker tones add a lot of interest to your composition. Erasing out the highlights on the egret’s neck is a nice touch.


You’ve got an natural artistic balance between drawing from observation and from your imagination. Overall, the proportions of the dragonfly and wolf are very well drawn. And your abstract sketches show lots of potential for further development into full-on, intricate compositions.


These drawings show that you’re ready for the next level of drawing: realism. Great how you did study sketches to find accurate shapes of the negative space around the egret’s body. Keep it going, man!


These two compositions show tremendous potential in developing your observational drawing skills (the accurate sketch of the dragonfly) and drawing from your imagination (the abstract drawing). With focused effort, your work could see dramatic growth. Check out your drawings in eXpReSsiOn sEsSiOn: Click here


Drawing realistic contour edges was a challenge for you, but you pulled together accurate sketches of the egret and dragonfly. Both drawings show your eye for accurate proportions and attention to details. Your abstract compositions show your confidence in cutting loose with original artistic ideas!


The proportions of the dragonfly’s wings and body are very accurately drawn. Nice job of using thinner, lighter lines to show the transparent wings. Nice abstract composition, too! There is a true artist lurking somewhere in your brain. With some focused effort you’ll bring it out onto paper. Be sure to check eXpReSsiOn sEsSiOn to view your drawings: Click here


You’re making steady progress in drawing with lines and shapes. I know drawing a realistic egret was a challenge for you. But each time you made a new sketch, the contour edges of its body became more accurate. We’ll keep working on building confident line work.


The past couple of weeks have shown a more focused effort in building your drawing skills. Your series of egret drawings shows more control of your line work and more accuracy in sketching realistic contour edges.

Highlands School: End of Year eXpReSsiOn sEsSiOn

Originally posted 6/10: I’ve had the pleasure to work with this core group of sketchers all year and look forward to their return in the Fall, 2010. They’ll be taking their imaginations to the next level and applying their skills to projects such as a Drawing League yearbook called ‘Live to Draw, Draw to Live’ and sketching tournaments with other schools. Miranda is also a key artist in this group (she couldn’t let go of her colorful Geisha rendering to post on the blog). Students will be finding their own directions by learning to utilize drawing in disciplines such as graphic design. Shown below are all sorts of student drawings including concept sketches for skateboard designs.



Matt G.


Matt S.