Development Teaching Tutorial

Inspiration not intimidation

There are so many great artists out there, do you ever feel ‘I’ll never be as good as that’? Do 100’s of images on all the social media platforms confirm to you that there really is no point in trying?

It’s easy to feel that way; intimidated rather than inspired. But all of those artists have their own creative challenges to overcome. And remember we tend to see the ‘finished/perfectly photographed’ item rather than the workings, bad sketches and off days.

Last year I started the ‘Couch to 5k’ running programme and I’ve decided that for me, learning to run is a bit like learning to draw.

I was a complete beginner and got frustrated with my lack of fitness, but I followed a programme, I practised and got better and I developed my own style (you can see me coming a mile off!) I’ve improved my health, focused on what works, and what doesn’t, and set myself new (half marathon) challenges.

I’ll never be Sir Mo Farah, or Caravaggio, but I can be me. And I would urge you if you’re thinking of sketching and don’t know where to start, have a go so you can be you.

Here’s some tips below on how I think about drawing and shading – hopefully they will lead you down a path where you become less intimidated by other artists and inspired by their creativity and output. Above all I hope you can become confident in your own ability and enjoy the process of allowing yourself to practise and learn. Keep going.



  • Use straight lines to plot in your full composition
  • Check angles; width, height measurements to get the proportions right. E.g this glass jug’s neck is the same size as the base
  • Double check the ‘negative spaces’ around your objects
  • Turn your drawing upside down to check the symmetry




  • Observe your darkest and lightest areas – draw those shapes
  • Shade and blend or use cross-hatching to show your different tones
  • Use directional mark-making
  • Use your rubber to create highlights


I’m passionate about drawing (and now running, who knew?) and I teach friendly classes at Cowes Library. If you’d like to join us or learn more about what we do then click here for more information or follow me on Facebook for up-to-date events and discussions.

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