Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner | A Free Lesson

Today’s newsletter features Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner, the newest book from one of our favorite painting duos, Mark and Mary Willenbrink. Let me allow them to tell you a little about it, in their own words:

“Have you ever experienced the peace of walking through the woods or the excitement of a storm gathering on a beach? Artwork provides the ability for us to capture those moments and share them with others.


“Combining your love of nature with your interest in art, Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner will help you develop the skills necessary for drawing. You will learn the proper tools to use, how to apply techniques to your drawings and make use of some of the tricks professionals use every day. You will also learn basic art principles and develop your observational skills.


“Drawing is a skill that improves with practice. Be an active participant by taking a sketch pad and pencil with you when you go out to enjoy nature, and consider using a digital camera to collect your own reference photos.

“Everyone is an artist, including you, so get ready to have fun!”~Mark and Mary Willenbrink


As a thank-you for being a loyal reader, I’ve included an excerpt on “Problems and Remedies” from this title. See below for the free lesson, and click here to order your copy of Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner, which is now available from North Light Shop. (It’s so new that as I write this, I haven’t even seen the bound book yet; fortunately I have behind-the-scenes access to the pages, and was able to sneak this excerpt for you.)

Happy drawing,

Cherie Haas, online editor**Click here to subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and more!


Free Download! Click here for 7 Mini-Demonstrations: Step-by-Step Drawing for Beginners


Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner, free excerpt:
Problems and Remedies

Just because you see a subject a certain way doesn’t mean you have to draw it that way. The artist is called to enhance the subject and bring the viewer into the picture for an ­entertaining visual experience. Through the process, an artist will run into problems which should be avoided and remedied early, if possible.


Being Led Astray: Don’t place elements which direct the viewer’s eye out of the picture.



Going the Right Direction: Proper direction of the elements can keep the viewer’s interest.



Troubles With Tangents: A tangent is the intersection of two or more elements in a drawing. Though they may occur naturally, tangents can look awkward. In this scene, the branches form unnecessary tangents and create unwanted focal points.



Tangent Remedy: By moving the branches, there are fewer tangents and the scene looks more appealing.



Using Identifiable Forms: Drawing involves communicating identifiable images and forms. Some forms are easier to recognize than others. I find it easier to make a recognizable drawing if the form of the subject is easy to recognize.

Draw With an Abstract Form: While this is recognizable as a drawing, it is difficult to recognize in silhouette. If this subject isn’t drawn just right, the drawing will be hard to identify because the viewer cannot rely on the form for clarity. (above, left)

Draw With a Recognizable Form:  Both the drawing and the outer form of this subject are easy to recognize. Using this ­subject will more assuredly end with a ­successful drawing. (above, right)



Positive and Negative Drawing: Drawings are made up of positive and negative forms. Positive forms are defined by their own shape, whereas negative forms are defined by their surroundings. Cattails and grass may be drawn positive, as on the left, with their image dark against the white of the paper. They may also be drawn negative, as on the right, with their image ­created by darkening the area around them.

• Enjoy this excerpt? Learn so much more when you order your copy of Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner by Mark and Mary Willenbrink.

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