Upside Down Drawing For Beginners

Let’s get right into this upside down drawing for beginners exercise! Grab a pencil and paper and draw the image below.

Start by drawing a frame or (picture plane) to fit your drawing into. I used the dimensions 9" wide x 8" tall.

Now lightly block-in the big general shapes. Try to get the big shapes in the right place in your picture plane.

Try to look past the subject matter you’re drawing. Just look at the red shapes and draw them the best you can.

Once you have a block-in that looks accurate you can start to refine each shape to make it match the shape in the image. Work on one shape at a time. Once it looks good move on to the next one.

You can look at my drawing sequence below and use it as a guide. Take your time and do your best.

My drawing of the image

drawing for beginners: layin

Here is my block-in of the large shapes.

I started by drawing a picture plane that was the same proportions as the image, 8" x 9".

Then I blocked-in each red section with a simple shape. I was careful to make sure each shape was placed in the right spot.

(Notice how these shapes look very similar to the lesson 3 abstract shape exercise).

drawing for beginners: halfway point

Here I have begun to refine the block-in. I look closely at the red sections and try to duplicate the lines over my simple shapes. I complete one section at a time and then move on to the next one.

drawing for beginners: finish

Here is the finished drawing. Notice that I didn't draw every little wiggle and undulation I saw in the image. This is called simplifying.

You will find that you can simplify your subjects and still end up with a very convincing drawing. (We'll talk about simplification a little latter).

Finished with your drawing? Great! Now turn your drawing upside down and see what you have. Do you see a man on a horse? (Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the image right side up).

How does your drawing compare to the image? Can you believe that you drew such a complicated image? Do you see how focusing on just drawing shapes made it easier?

Does your drawing look distorted or weird? That’s OK too.

The whole point of this drawing for beginners exercise is not to get a perfect drawing. The point is to shift your perception and see things a different way.

In this exercise you were trying to look past the upside down subject matter and draw the shapes in the image. You were telling your brain to draw shapes not a man on a horse.

Do you see the difference? You were looking at abstract shapes and trying to draw them in the right place in your picture plane. This is seeing with the Artist’s Eye.

Hopefully this exercise showed you that if you shift your perception and look for abstract shapes instead of looking at objects (like a man on a horse) that drawing becomes much easier.

This is the most important concept for beginners to understand. It is also the most difficult because it’s so hard to explain with words. It’s a shift in your perception, only You can make that shift.

If you’re struggling with this concept Don’t Worry, just keep it in the back of your mind and eventually it will Click! And you will Just Get It.

Here's Another Exercise you can try

Expand on this drawing for beginners concept by trying the following.

Look at some new magazines upside down and examine the photographs. Try and look at the abstract shapes in the picture instead of the objects in the picture. If you do this enough your Artist’s eye will begin to see shapes first and the objects second.

If you want to crank it up a notch, get some tracing paper and trace the shapes in the photos. Start at the top left and trace one abstract shape at a time.

Your Artist’s Eye is starting to developing nicely. Let’s continue it's growth and learn some important drawing concepts. We’ll start with the contour line.

Lesson 7: Contour Line

› Lesson 6: Upside down drawing for beginners


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