What are the five basic skills of drawing?

The five principles of drawing as taught by George Rous (who, incidentally, also taught an introductory version of this course), are:

The simplest drawing is a good drawing.

The eye is the most important tool in artistic skill. Use it when you want to draw interesting features of figures, buildings, scenery, trees, animals, objects, and people.

A drawing needs three things: a subject, a color, and a shape.

The goal of the illustration is to make the viewer see the shape and subject in a vivid and compelling way.

The purpose is to make you excited, want to look at it more closely, and want to share it with your friends.

The human figure is the subject in the artwork. Don’t make it a model.

There are a bunch more skills that might be added here as well, like the artful use of color, and the way to tell what is the subject of a sketch, the way to tell how big a subject the drawing is, the way to determine the perspective, and how to make a drawing interesting to an audience. I might add on other skills as they become available.

If you are looking to learn more drawing classes, I think you will be delighted to find some really cool courses available at ArtCamp San Diego:

Art Camp San Diego: Art and Illustration ( is a free online art-making course that brings together contemporary art with a healthy dose of practical skills. Over 150 instructors have contributed art and techniques from more than 80 countries.

You can find other online art courses, as well as a few hands-on courses, at The Art and Illustration: A Course in Illustration Course has been widely praised as an excellent introduction to drawing and illustration.

As a reminder, if you have a photo you would like my ArtCamp San Diego readers to send me of your favorite drawing, please send at the following address: [email protected]

The class will feature a selection of drawings by some of my students, as well. We can take your picture and create a drawing from it if necessary. The class will start the Monday after Thanksgiving.

I hope you enjoy Art Camp San Diego as much as I did! Please let me know!

Your Instructor, Michael L. Williams, is a California native with an M.F.A. in English from the University of California