Tag Archives: pencil

SI Youth Sketchers: Let’s Face It!

Before the winter holidays our youth sketching crew participated in a 4-week course introducing the basics of drawing realistic human faces. They also drew faces of animals and fantastic creatures as well. Everyone agreed that making human faces look real is one of their biggest challenges in drawing. Helen, a 16-year-old SI sketcher, commented on how she really wants to improve drawing Manga characters. But realizes that learning to draw realistic people is an important step in creating better Manga people. So we mixed the real stuff with what this crew loves to do—drawing from the imagination. In the above photo Hannah (facing camera) and Megan get focused on the proportions of a plaster cast statue bust.

Scroll down to view everyone’s work.

Each lesson emphasized blocking in basic shapes of the face and head, measuring proportions, placement of facial features, and contour lines. Students then adapted the lesson to concept art exercises and their own free drawing.


Plaster casts make great models because they never move! In the above photos, our youth sketchers study realistic, accurate proportions while using charcoal.


Our first lesson focused on drawing profile views of the human face. We started by doing study sketches of a skull to learn about the overall shape of the head and how to sketch guidelines to place facial features. Then everyone sat on the drawing horses to draw the profile views of each other, a great introduction to drawing people from real life.



As they faced each other, students had 40 minutes to draw accurate proportions of the head and features of the model’s face. Because the model was always moving, capturing a likeness was a fun challenge. Megan kept telling Hannah to hold still! Above left is Helen capturing a likeness of Rena, hat and all. Shown above right is a portrait sketch of Helen drawn by Hannah.


One of our most interesting and challenging lessons was to ‘morph’ a face of a human character into an animal; then animals into other animals or creatures. The imaginations of our young artists really shined through in their sketches! Shown clock wise, starting above left: Rena cranks out amazing morph and face study sketches; Rena character morph sketch; Helen’s realistic dog to cartoon cat; Hannah’s favorite musician turns into a gazelle.


Students drew from work by Leonardo da Vinci and Corot to learn about measuring proportions and feature placement of front and profile views. Then students were told to pretend they had 20 minutes to create a storyboard for an animation director. They had to include the sketch of the Girl with the Beret (by Corot) in a visual story using different camera angles and zooms. It was really fun to watch these future concept artists in action.

And now… for studies and drawings by our SI studio youth sketchers…












Draw to Learn: Louden Nelson Sketchers Explore Materials

The fall semester saw a lot of excellent work by students at Louden Nelson Community School.


Sketchers tried their hand at a variety of different media including Prismacolor pencils, pastels, and charcoal.


Students also studied proportion grids, contours, and tonal values of faces. Above left is Melissa’s drawing of dog. To the right is Amanda’s drawing of a woman’s face.


As students advanced in their skills they delved into realism. Above left are Maria’s pastel drawings of a plant and flower. Above right are Melissa’s study sketches of the contours of a pumpkin drawn from real life.

Above left are Corey’s pencil and charcoal studies of an egret (positive/negative space lesson) and a fox (cross-hatch pencil technique). To the right are Rafa’s positive/negative studies of an egret.


Some students began animation character design. Above left is Rielly’s charecter sketch and to the right is Stormie’s tonal value concept sketch.


Above left is Michael’s 2-point perspective study sketch. Above right is Maria’s atmospheric perspective drawing.


Above left is Mayra’s pastel drawing after the artist Picasso. To the right is a page out of Arastas’ abstract art sketchbook.

And now… for all of our student drawings…











































Monterey Youth Center Explores Form, Proportion, and Color

As we head into the holiday break, the Monterey Youth Center Sketchers continued to improve their skills in drawing from observation and imagination. Students drew from plaster casts of eyes, 3D objects such as pumpkins and artwork by big-time artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso, and Van Gogh. We also explored using color and techniques such as cross-hatching lines and stipple (using dots to create tone). Shown above are drawings of eyes by Sergio. He used an easel as he used charcoal to draw from a large plaster cast of an eye as well as the ink stipple technique as he drew from a reference picture.

Scroll down to see the outstanding work done by our sketchers. Click on images to view larger for details.

Working from a measuring grid, students learned to enlarge a face while maintaining accurate proportions. Drawings shown clockwise starting above left: Adrian; Rohsaan; Michael B.; Gerardo S.


Shown above are large-format compositions by Cristian. While using an easel he explored charcoal, graphite, and pastels as he drew from photos and cubist artwork by Pablo Picasso.


Ink stipple technique and pencil studies of eyes. Drawings shown clockwise starting upper left: Rohsaan; Castro; Jorge; T.J.


Students learned to layer red, yellow, and blue Prismacolor pencils to create a realistic apple. Above left is an drawing by Gerardo S. and to the right is Sergio’s drawing.

Youth Center sketchers also experimented with pencil techniques to create tones and textures. Above left is Castro’s cross-hatched line drawing of a fox. To the right is Sergio’s drawing after a landscape sketch by Vincent Van Gogh.

As students continued exploring realistic form, proportions, and tonal values they used a measuring grid to draw a dog. Drawings shown clockwise starting upper left: Michael B.; Salas; Josh; Rohsaan

For the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays our sketchers drew from real-life pumpkins. They learned to do study sketches of contours and tonal values before finishing a large-format charcoal drawing. Above left are pencil and charcoal drawings by Roberto and to the right is a charcoal drawing by T.J.

And now… for the cool drawings by Youth Center sketchers:

















Michael L.




Juan G.



















Michael B.


Jose A.




Martin V.







Lively Bring-Your-Own-Object Drawing Session

Bring Your Own Object was the theme for an uber-creative morning of Level 3 drawing by our youth sketchers. Hannah’s iPod playlist woke everyone up and we rolled into studying the form and surface texture of objects. We also had assorted studio objects on hand as students sketched storyboard compositions and camera zoom-ins on the object. This was a fun, focused concept art class (several of our students are aspiring concept artists) that produced very interesting drawings. Shown above is Rena’s charcoal rendering of her friendly little creature from home.


Shown clockwise, starting upper left: Level 3 youth sketchers start the morning; After finishing her pencil studies of windup robot, Megan begins her storyboard charcoal sketch; Ray’s charcoal study of a coffee pot; Megan’s windup robot studies and zoom-in composition.

Shown clockwise, starting upper left: Once again, the ever elusive Hannah avoids the camera; Always fun to chat with parents and show them progress at the end of class; Ray zooms in on the patterns and textures of a pineapple; Helen’s sketched different views of her stuffed animal, then she did a wonderful mix of different close up camera angles.

Shown clockwise, starting upper left: The crew; Table full of fun things to draw; Hannah’s detailed, up-close zooms of an antique iron; Inventive shadow play by Helen

And… exquisite character studies and camera angle zooms by Rena: