Learn How to Draw: Foundational Techniques

The principles of drawing broken down into my three key principles: Proportion, Angle and Tone
Free tutorial
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (122 ratings)
4,392 students
1hr 3min of on-demand video

By the end, students will learn how to effectively use the three key principles of drawing: Proportion, Angle and Tone.


  • The setup I will use will include: An easel or drawing board, a large sheet of paper, masking tape (to secure the paper to the board), charcoal, putty rubber
  • You could substitute pencil for charcoal, however shading would take longer.
  • Putty rubber will be useful for erasing mistakes or adding detail towards the end of the drawing, but it is not essential.


In this course, I will draw a picture from a photograph while describing my approach in detail. I believe that regardless of the medium or subject you want to draw, there are three key principles that should be mastered first:

1. Proportion - Identifying the relative sizes and position of the main features in your picture is key to having an accurate drawing. By marking out on your page roughly where the main features will go, it will help you make a plan of what to draw and where to start from.

2. Angle - Angles help convey the perspective of the picture. By accurately drawing the angles of the main features you can convey a strong sense of depth.

3. Tone - Using light, dark and shades in between is essential for creating a sense of space and volume within the picture. How light falls on the objects within the picture tells you about the kind of space you are in. With my method I will show you how to divide the picture into 5 grades of tone and how to shade them to create a sense of space and volume.

After mastering these three principles, one can learn how to draw or paint with other mediums and learn to appreciate their differences. In this course I will teach you using charcoal as I think it is ideal for practising the three principles without worrying about color. Charcoal also has the advantage that you can shade large areas quickly, and you can erase it with tissue paper or putty rubber.

I am passionate about teaching and will be happy to receive your pictures and give you feedback and encouragement!

Who this course is for:

  • A patient student who wants to learn the foundational techniques of drawing which can be applied to any medium.


Watercolor Artist
Shizue Takahashi
  • 4.2 Instructor Rating
  • 155 Reviews
  • 4,792 Students
  • 2 Courses

Anybody can learn how to draw. Through many years of teaching, I have developed a simple method based on three key principles: Proportion, Angle and Tone. By understanding these principles, and a bit of practice, you will be able draw pictures which will convey a sense of light, space and depth. Drawing and painting has given me so much joy that I now enjoy teaching and passing on the techniques I have learned over my lifetime. My aim is to create online courses which I can share with a wider audience, to help anyone who wants to learn how to draw!

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