I often get asked ‘what should I draw?’ I think drawing anything is worthwhile but there are some objects that are useful to draw and everyone can get hold of. I explain why these objects are good for teaching certain skills.
Pots, Jars and Vases
You may think these are a bit dull to draw but they are can develop your observational drawing skills. Everyone has these at home too so they are something you can easily find. They are good for learning ellipses (circles in perspective) see my post What are Ellipses? if you would like to know more about ellipses.
Try drawing different sized pots, jars and vases and you can practice shapes and comparative proportions (how tall or wide something is in comparison to something else).
Fruit and Vegetables
These are easy to get hold of and because they are round shapes they are good to draw. Studying how light hits a round sphere is a good drawing exercise for shading and tone. See my post What is a Tonal Value? for more information about tone and how to learn about tones. Try moving the apple or orange in different angles and observing light bounce off them. Put them on a shelf and draw them in strong daylight to get the best results.
Chairs or Stalls
Slightly more challenging subjects as they will test your perspective skills, chairs and stall are all about angles. They are are good for learning about angles (particularly if we can see the legs of the chair or stall). The other skill that chairs and stalls are good for is learning about negative space.
Negative space means the space around things and if this can be observed then it will improve your observational drawing skills. See these examples of negative space drawings below, they have really tested the observational skills and got the eye trained at not just looking at the objects but the spaces around them. For more on negative space, watch my YouTube video – YouTube Video on Positive and Negative Space
Fabric is worth studying on its own because folds and creases are challenging subject matter. It is often the folds and creases in a fabric that give the game away if not observed correctly because they tell the story of how the fabric falls and what is underneath it. Observe fabric and you will become better at drawing and painting clothed figures.
Drawing and painting fabric is excellent for blending skills because most fabric has smooth blends from dark to light as it folds and creases.
If you find a draped sheet or cloth is too difficult try an item of clothing on a peg or coat hanger. There is a bit more structure to clothing that is hung up but it still gives you opportunities to observe creases and folds of fabric.