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Lesson 10

Drawing & Communication: Still Life

Dean Estes and Jessie Nilo co-teach drawing classes, and have enjoyed hundreds of students over the years.
These visual art exercises are meant to strengthen our visual communication and learning skills. Whether or
not you will use these particular methods in your own artwork, the practice of learning various art methods
can inform other areas of your artistic growth, and increase your capacity to learn from different art methods.
If you are advanced at still life, please set up your own still life and draw it while this video is playing.
If youre new at still life drawing, relax and see how much you can learn. There will not be a test. You dont
have to like it or ever use it again. But you just might pick up something new!
Supplies needed as you watch this video:
White or light-colored LARGE economical paper, such as 18 x 24 newsprint (several sheets).
A drawing board, thick cardboard backing, large book, or other hard surface to support your paper.
Clamps or large binder clips to attach your paper to the board.
A dark, bold charcoal stick and/or charcoal pencil, and a kneaded eraser.
Also prepare and cut out your own viewfinder that youll use with this video (see template on next page).
When youre ready to start the video:
Lean your paper (which is attached to a drawing board) on a chair facing toward you, as in this photo.
Sit on a different chair thats facing your drawing board (kitchen chairs work well for this). You might want
to cover the chairs with rags or plastic to catch dust from the charcoal.

Lesson 10

Drawing & Communication: Still Life

The best way to learn art is to make a lot of mistakes. If you always pull short of making a mistakeif
you say, I dont know if thats going to work, so Im not going to try it youre going to take ten times
longer to improve in your craft. Because its only doing that thing and then saying either, Oh! Thats
amazing! or Darn it, I liked it so much better two minutes ago! in both cases, youve learned a lot.
Dont cheat yourself of those valuable mistakes. On the contrary, make tons and tons of them!
Jessie Nilo in our Drawing & Communication lesson

Make a Viewfinder
(you can use this template)
During the drawing video, youll see our on-site
students using a viewfinder for our negative
space exercise. Please make your own viewfinder
with the instructions below. During the video
exercise, youll notice the image has already
been cropped for you on the screen.... but still,
you should practice doing this exercise on your
own with real objects, after doing the negative
space drawing presented on the video.

Outside dimensions: approx. 4.25 inches x5.5 inches

Find a dark piece of thick paper or thin cardboard or card stock. (You could use white or
light paper if you want to, but its easier to look
past the edges if its dark.)
Outside dimensions: Ive used 1/4 of a letter size
sheet of paper. You could fold a standard piece of
card stock into fourths, then cut along the fold.
Inside dimensions can be approx. 2 inches x 2.75
inches, or whatever you like. If youre drawing
on a sketchpad that is skinnier or more squareshaped, adjust the dimensions of your viewfinder to match your drawing paper.

If you prefer, you


can tape thread to
one side of your
viewfinder to
mimic crosshairs
separating your
view into 4 quadrants (optional) for
reference of how
to break up your
drawing paper.

Inside:
Cut a rectangular
opening, using
scissors or
an X-Acto knife
approx.
2 inches x 2.75
inches

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