By Mike Sibley

An illustrated guide to the order in which the lessons in this topic should be completed, and helpful information on the unique content of Drawspace lessons

This lesson plan/guide has four sections:

  • Sequential List of Core Lessons
  • About Drawspace Lessons
  • Copyright Basics for Artists
  • Info for Art Educators

As an Aside

All lessons listed in this lesson plan are included in the Drawspace course-in-a-book: Drawing from Line to Life: Beginner (The 8-Week Drawing Course):


Figure 0

Sequential List of Core Lessons

The drawing lessons in this topic are designed to be completed in the order listed in this section. The information, skills, and/or techniques in each lesson build on the previous lesson and prepare you for the next.

These 30 lessons are ideal for beginner artists and based on the book Drawing from Line to Life by Mike Sibley, who shares his artistic expertise and over 30 years of experience as a professional artist and graphite pencil specialist.

Figure 1


1.2.R1 Welcome to Drawing from Line to Life

Exploring the process of creating art, choosing drawing supplies, and preparing your pencils for drawing

Figure 2


1.2.A1 Take Your Pencils for a Test Drive

Four exercises demonstrate the values created by different pencil grades and document your current drawing skills

Figure 3


1.2.R2 Creating Powerful Gradations!

Achieving dense blacks and perfect gradations with shading and burnishing techniques

Figure 4


1.2.A2 Blend and Burnish Gradations

Create smoothly-rendered gradations with blending, burnishing, and layering techniques

Figure 5


1.3.A13 Taper Lines With Invisible Joins

Practice drawing straight and curved tapered lines, and then use tapered lines to create seamless shading

Figure 6


1.2.A3 Shade a Lovely Lily

Use blending and various grades of pencils to shade a three-dimensional, realistic flower

Figure 7


1.2.A17 Shade Leaves And a Background

Use shading with tapered lines to draw realistic leave in front of wooden boards

Figure 8


1.2.R4 Transforming Lines into Shading

Examine shading techniques that use lines to create the illusion of three-dimensional forms on drawing paper

Figure 9


1.2.A4 Shade Values with Lines

Use hatching and crosshatching lines to produce a variety of tones

Figure 10


1.2.A5 Shade a Cylinder with Contour Hatching

Use curved hatching lines and blending to capture the three-dimensional curvature of a cylinder

Figure 11


1.2.A6 Shade and Blend a House Model

Use a combination of shading techniques to transform a line drawing into a three-dimensional building

Figure 12


1.2.R3 How to Draw with Erasers

An introduction to beginner erasing techniques used by pencil artists to create basic textures and creative effects

Figure 13


1.2.A7 Lighten Values by Removing Graphite

Use creative erasing techniques to safely return a dark tone to white, and to add white lines to mid-gray tones

Figure 14


1.2.A8 Create Drawings with Erasers

Use erasers to practice drawing lines, shapes, and forms; then use the technique to create an original artwork

Figure 15


1.2.R5 Exploring Erasers as Partners to Pencils

How a soft eraser can make subtle value changes that are difficult to create with pencils alone

Figure 16


1.2.A9 Enhance Atmospheric Perspective with Blu-Tack

Draw and shade rustic scenery, and then use erasers to "move" trees farther backward into the mist

Figure 17


1.2.R6 Drawing on the Magic of Indenting

Discover a fascinating technique for creating white lines on a vast array of different drawing subjects

Figure 18


1.2.A10 Draw White Lines with Indenting

Use an indenting tool to create negative drawings of white lines on dark shading

Figure 19


1.2.R7 Using Hard Grades to Resist Soft Grades

An unusual technique for creating light marks and highlights in dark areas of a drawing

Figure 20


1.2.A11 Use Graphite Resist to Draw Grey Lines

Employ an innovative negative-drawing technique to draw lines and shapes with hard grades of pencils

Figure 21


1.2.A12 Highlight Dark Hair with Graphite Resist

Indent curved lines with a graphite pencil to show the shiny texture of strands of dark realistic hair

Figure 22


1.2.R8 Drawing on Reverse Techniques

How to break down a drawing project into manageable parts so you can work on just one small area at a time

Figure 23


1.2.A14 Divide and Draw Individual Sections

Outline a simple scene, separate its contents into sections, and then add shading/texture to one section at a time

Figure 24


1.2.A15 Draw Textures with Line and Tone

Draw three realistic textures by first drawing details with lines, and then adding the form with layers of tone

Figure 25


1.2.A16 Draw a Delicate Feather

Use the line-then-tone division technique to draw a realistic-looking feather

Figure 26


1.2.R9 How to Plan a Drawing

Secrets, tips, and techniques to help you carefully plan your drawings

Figure 27


1.2.A18 Grid a Map and Outline an Eye

Practice drawing inside a single grid square, and then use a grid to draw a dog's eye surrounded by fur

Figure 28


1.2.A19 Outline a Section of a Welsh Dresser

Render a contour drawing of a section of a wooden dresser using a grid

Figure 29


1.2.A20 Use Multiple Images to Compose a Drawing

Combine elements from different photographs to outline a unique composition

Figure 30


1.2.A21 Draw the Lady with the Lamp

Add shading and your own magic to your compositional drawing of two objects on a dresser

About Drawspace Lessons

Drawspace is logically organized into lessons, topics, and modules:

  • Lessons: Drawspace lessons are the foundation of Drawspace on which all books and courses are created.
  • Topics: A topic is a container for a series of related lessons that are separated into two categories: resources and activities.
  • Modules: A module is a container for a series of related topics.

Each series of related lessons is grouped together in a topic, and each series of related topics is grouped together in a module. Each Drawspace lesson is either a resource (requires no supplies) or an activity (requires supplies).

Resource: Information and/or Demonstrations

A resource (R) lesson is a heavily-illustrated mini textbook of information. Resources discuss and/or demonstrate art-related topics such as techniques, skills, styles, artists, philosophy, and/or history. The information in each resource serves as a reference for one or more related call-to-action activity lessons.

Activity: Call-to-Action Requiring Supplies

An activity (A) is a call-to-action assignment or project that requires supplies. Each activity includes a list of all supplies needed to complete the assignment(s).

Naming Conventions for Lessons

Each Drawspace lesson is assigned a unique number/letter curriculum code based on its:

  • Module number
  • Topic number in a module
  • Type of lesson: Resource (R) or Activity (A)
  • Rank (sequential ranking in a resource or activity)

An example of curriculum code for a published lesson is:

1.1.R15 Understanding Talent: Module 1; Topic 1; Resource R; Rank 15

In addition to a unique curriculum code, each lesson is also assigned a unique Drawspace Publishing ISBN number, which is then legally-registered with Library and Archives Canada and The Canadian ISBN Service System (CISS).

Sizing Up the Sidebars

Scattered throughout most lessons are sidebars filled with useful information related to the topics being discussed. There are six different types of sidebars and each is easily identified by a simple icon.

Figure 32


Definitions of visual art terms with a focus on the vocabulary of drawing and painting to help you better understand the content of lessons.

Figure 33

As an Aside

Inspirational and/or informative art-related information, such as contemporary and historical artists and their experiences and philosophies.

Figure 34


Invaluable info to save you time, energy, and frustration by suggesting easier ways to do some tasks or how to take better care of your supplies.

Figure 35


Better safe than sorry! Protect your drawings (or yourself) from potential mishaps by learning how to prevent problems before they begin.

Figure 36

Visual Challenge!

Enhance your ability to see as an artist by finding and/or examining specific art-related components in drawings or in your environment.

Figure 37


Gather your drawing supplies and try a new technique, spend additional time practicing a skill, and/or create a sketch or drawing.

Assigned Degree of Difficulty

Drawspace lessons are designed for students of all ages and abilities, including many for whom English is not their first language. The overall text content of lessons is simple and direct, but not dumbed-down.

Each author of a lesson selects the most appropriate level from the following six options:

  • Beginner (B): knows very little about drawing.
  • Beginner to Intermediate (BI): has basic drawing skills.
  • Beginner to Advanced (BA): includes all skill levels.
  • Intermediate (I): has a solid foundation of beginner skills and techniques.
  • Intermediate to Advanced (IA): has a solid foundation of intermediate techniques.
  • Advanced (A): aspires to learn advanced techniques within specific areas of expertise.

Copyright Basics for Artists

Copyright is a form of protection that grants artists of all disciplines the exclusive right to sell, reproduce, or exhibit their own original creations.

You are Protected

Artists who live in a country that has signed the Berne Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Property (also known as the Berne Convention) automatically own the copyrights to their completed original creations. An artwork can only be considered original if you were the first to bring the work from its intellectual conception to its creative conclusion.

Artworks that you create from step-by-step lessons are completely yours to display, share, reproduce, and add to a website, but are not considered original.

Drawspace is Protected

All Drawspace published lessons, books, and illustrations are also copyright protected by the Berne Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Property (also known as the Berne Convention), Library and Archives Canada, and The Canadian ISBN Service System (CISS).

Drawspace content may not be shared, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transferred, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author and Drawspace Publishing.

Info for Art Educators

Drawspace lessons and books are used by home-schooling families, private art teachers, and art educators in diverse learning environments such as schools, colleges, universities, recreational organizations, and senior centers. All resources and activities can be worked.

Lessons in this topic are authored by

Mike Sibley

Figure 31

Professional graphite pencil artist, art educator, and author

I've been drawing professionally since 1980 and I've learned a lot in that time. Why should I expect less-experienced artists to have to learn those lessons the hard way, when I can provide short-cuts from my own experience?

I can't think of a single reason. And little gives me more pleasure than to see a novice artist take a giant step forward.

- Mike Sibley