Rembrandt van Rijn

As you enter the world of drawing or painting, you find a vast array of information, tutorials, techniques, inspiration, materials, and tools.

Where should you start?

If you want to learn drawing and painting, you should limit yourself to a few options. More choices mean more problems occurring at the same time. More problems mean less success at the beginning, more frustration and a higher chance to stop.

Therefore I advise to start with only one tool / material. Graphite or charcoal on paper is ideal for this. Graphite / Charcoal and paper are cheap, readily available and almost everyone has used it before. So we do not start at zero. We can learn to draw straight lines and nice ellipses quite fast. The key here is repetition.

In addition to that a huge problem pool is left out immediately: Color.

We all love color, but we can use it much better if we understand its foundational element: Value.

To use value nicely, you should be able to lay down ten different values from white to black with graphite / charcoal. Learn to identify different values in black and white images of paintings or photos and fill your paper with value charts. The goal is to learn to recognize and reproduce each of those ten values.

After that, you should learn to move from one value to another using by altering the edges between different values. Edges can be described as sharp, firm, soft and lost.

You will find many tutorials on values and edges online. Watch one or two and move to the exercise quickly. You learn by doing it not by watching somebody doing it.

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