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10 Minutes of Drawing a Day

We ran this course in April 2020 on our Facebook group, and posted it to our Instagram page. It's a great way to spend a month improving your drawing. The exercises are varied and will hopefully challenge you. Our group is open to all skill levels and is very friendly and encouraging.

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Exercise #1

These one minute drawings help you improve your ability to accurately and quickly draw your subject.
* Choose a subject— still-life or a photo
* Do a one minute drawing.
* Repeat for 10 minutes
* Try different angles, or focus in on details, for each one.
🎬 Here’s my demonstration video

one minute drawing

Exercise #2

Draw without looking at your page.Seeing is such an important part of drawing. This exercise gives us a break from trying to create an accurate drawing and focus on the seeing part. The result can be surprisingly good! I found my drawing to be much more dynamic and interesting.* Choose a subject
* Look only at the object, not at your page.
* Focus on little details, line changes and angles.
* After 5 minutes (which will feel like a long time) look at your drawing.
* Repeat this process with another subject.
🎬 Here’s my demonstration video 

Exercise #3

Spend 10 minutes drawing Train in the snow, Claude Monet, oil on canvas, 1875.
The aim is to spend time with the painting. When you draw it you see all the details. You can admire the brushstrokes and the composition. I used natural charcoal for this but you can use whatever you like. Enjoy!
🎬 Here is my demo

copy Monet

Exercise #4

 Draw cylindrical objects
* Draw a few cylindrical objects focusing on its form.
* Imagine you're drawing around the object, draw lots of circular lines.
* Once you've drawn a few objects try something more complex like a person.
* Continue to focus on form and circular lines rather than details

🎬 Here's a short video of the exercise

Exercise #5

For this exercise we’re using paint as a medium for drawing.
* Choose a still-life or photo to draw from.
* I really enjoyed using paint and went with a dry brush to apply the paint on my first attempt.
For my second drawing I used a palette knife to get the paint down.
* These two examples are done on cardboard but you could use paper. The painted cardboard gave me a bit of texture too.
* I think this is great for freeing up your work.

Here is a short video explanation 🎬

Exercise #6

Grab a spoon and draw your reflection
I started with looking at my reflection in the back of the spoon.
I used a soft charcoal as it gave a similar effect to how my reflection looked. It also helped me get away from details.
I then drew my reflection in the other side of the spoon, which was upsidedown.

🎬 Here's the video

Exercise #7

 Contour drawing of a room

* Choose a room in your house and do a contour drawing of the furniture and objects.
* You’re looking for lines.
* No shading.
I simplified mine down a lot then I added some of the more obvious lines I could find. I ignored my pattered bedding. You don’t need to put in all the details.

Here is a time lapse video 🎬

Cotour Drawing of a bedroom

Exercise #8

 Charcoal and a tissue drawing
I used some soft charcoal and a tissue for this drawing. Pencil and an eraser will also work.
I first did a quick sketch of my guitar.
I wiped it over roughly with a tissue.
I worked on it again.
Wiped it over roughly
Worked on it once more.
This adds depth to your work without having to try too hard.

🎬 here's a short video


Exercise #9

Continuous line drawing.
My naughty kitty makes an appearance in my time lapse video, luckily he didn’t walk on my sketchbook. 🎬

I love this exercise, it’s satisfying to fill a page up. You end up with a pattern without a focus on any one drawing. Choose a subject that has some interest to it but nothing too complicated— a banana, cup, simple plant.
* Use a pen for a nice crisp line— no accuracy required. Spend 10 minutes on this 
* Keep your pen on the paper.
* Do a line drawing of your subject.
* Rotate your page as you go (see video).
* Vary the size and shape.
* Distort your subject to squish it into smaller spaces.

Exercise #10

 Copy a drawing using different techniques.
This drawing was taken from the Australian impressionists book, it was done by George Sutherland, Jane Sutherland's father. Jane Sutherland was a well known Australian impressionist artist. I chose this image as it doesn't focus on faces so I could just focus on the angles and shapes.
* First I just drew what I saw using a fine point biro pen. I spent a few minutes on this one.
* Next I drew a contour drawing of the image.
* Lastly, I drew the image using vertical lines only, this was a bit trickier than the other two.
🎬 Here's a link to the video 👉


Exercise #11

Vertical line drawing
The less concerned you are with how it turns out the more fun you can have. You will need a bit more focus to stop yourself doing outlines and horizontal lines but that’s half the challenge!
* Choose a subject with plenty of dark areas.
* Draw the dark areas with vertical lines.


Exercise #12

Simplifying a painting to basic shapes
I found this landscape painting by Arthur Streeton and decided to simplify it down into its most basic shapes. It's like creating a detailed sketch in reverse, instead of building up the sketch, you're breaking it down.
* The first sketch took the longest, I took a few minutes sketching the painting, not going into too much detail.
* The second, I simplified the sketch down further, focusing on shapes rather than objects in the painting.
* The last sketch was the most basic of shapes, it turned into an abstract like image, with only a few simple lines and shapes.
* If you have trouble seeing the basic shapes, make the image smaller.

🎬 Here's the link to the video 👉

Exercise #13

Unconventional still life.
I found some objects that I wouldn't usually put together.
* I arranged them in a way that looked interesting.
* I used charcoal and spent the full 10 minutes drawing it.

🎬 Here's the video


Exercise #14

This is a sketch in two colours. Try to think of doing a sketch in each colour one over the top of another— it’s not a painting! Choose less obvious colours. I didn’t reach for green but instead picked yellow and blue oil pastels.
* Draw your subject using one of the colours.
*  Wipe over roughly with a tissue. If your using chalk pastels you may wipe most of it away but that is fun too 😊
* Draw with your second colour. Try to think of it as starting from scratch not adding a new colour.
* Wipe over it again and finish off in your original colour choice.

Exercise #15

Draw onto newspaper
This exercise is pretty simple. Draw an image onto newspaper.
* I chose to draw my favourite teapot with an artline pen
* I chose a page from the newspaper with areas of colour.
* I drew over the newspaper page upside down.
🎬 Here's the link to the video 👉

Exercise #16

Drawing Americana by Charles Sheeler (1931). This painting seemed fitting for our current situation. Not sure I have a room that tidy though ☺️
The aim of the exercise is to explore this painting through drawing it rather than creating a good copy of the artists work.
* Spend 10 minutes drawing this painting.
* I used a fine ballpoint pen as the work is pretty precise.
For more info on the painting 👉


Exercise #17


Copy a figure and re-draw the background
  • I copied this angel figure from a drawing by Giordano.
  • I created a new background that was out of context for the figure.
  • I drew my lounge room as the background for the angel.
🎬 See the video

Exercise #18

 Choose an moment in your day to capture in a drawing ✍️
* I chose to draw whilst making a cup of tea.
* Use whatever drawing medium you prefer. I went with charcoal for this one
* Spend 10 minutes drawing.

Exercise #19


 Plein Air Drawing
* Find a scene to draw outside or looking out of your window.
Capture it in a 10 minute drawing.

🎬 Here's the video

Exercise #20

Draw around your subject (negative space)
I think it works well to have an interesting background for this one. Choose an object and draw everything you see around it.


Exercise #21

Drawing a crumpled piece of paper
The subject of this exercise is a crumpled piece of paper. You should be creating a nice variety of tones here. I definitely get lost in all the creases but I’m not going for accuracy.
* Get drawing with your pencil first. I’m using a 5B.
* Once you’ve got plenty of dark areas down, take your eraser and roughly rub across the whole drawing.
Start your drawing again over the top.
Rub over it once more.
Draw again with your pencil and the use the eraser to create some of the lighter areas.

Exercise #22

Copy this Japanese Print
* I copied this print (it was from a postcard from my sister when she was in Japan)
I think it would be interesting to use different tools to draw this with, I used graphite

🎬 Here's the video link 👉

Exercise #23


 I thought this would be a fun exercise for today— overlapping drawings 😊
* Select a few objects around you.
* Draw then one at a time allowing them to overlap each other.
* Rotate the page so you don’t end up with a “picture”.

Exercise #24

Drawing detail only
* I chose a subject with lots of intricate detail, the palm of my hand.
* I focused only on the detail and didn't draw any outline.
* I followed the lines and creases in my hand.
* You can use any detailed subject such as a leaf or wood grain.

🎬 Here's the video link 👉

Exercise #25

Copy animal studies by Frans Snyders. I thought this would be an interesting exercise. Thanks Sue Ellen Gorman for the video of your friends brainstorming session. When I was looking through Lines of Thought I came across the section on Brainstorming. Lots of artists brainstorm by doing quick sketches. Have a go at copying some of Fans Snyders animal studies. They are originally done in pen and ink but I used charcoal for this exercise.

Source: Lines of Thought by Isabel Seligman

Exercise #26

Draw an object through a glass
👉I found this odd looking figurine and thought it would be great to draw.
👉I also found a glass that would distort the figurine.
👉I used a pen for this one and focused on the patterns and shapes caused by the glasses distortion.

🎬 Here's the video 👉


Exercise #27

Exercise #28

Looking for shapes in a portrait.
* I started off with a quick self-portrait, looking at the shapes of the shadows on my face.
* My second drawing, I really focused on just Drawing the shapes of those shadows.
* I avoided focusing specific facial features such as my eyes and nose and just tried to draw the shadows that fell across them.

🎬Here's the video 👉

Exercise #29

Drawing a found pattern
Find a pattern that you are drawn to and draw it.
* Focus on the details and the repetitiveness.
* I used a fine biro.
It’s a lovely way to spend ten minutes.

Exercise #30

Our final exercise for April!!
Draw on a different coloured background
* I chose one of my favourite teapots to draw.
* Getting some black paper, I got to work with a couple of chalk pastels.
I drew in a loose way to capture my teapot.
The main aspect of this exercise is drawing on a background that isn't white.

🎬 Here's the video 👉