Back to Drawing 101: Beginner’s Mind

Posted by on Feb 12, 2010 in Drawing | 3 Comments
illustration of tar pit1.2 scene Back to Drawing 101: Beginners Mind

I WAS SITTING AT MY COMPUTER a few days ago, as the machine rendered out a 3d scene. I was on a deadline–I’d be up most of the coming night– but I just sat, did nothing, and watched it create a “painting” pixel by pixel. It was a large scene and would take about an hour to render out into an image. As each little square was raster­ized, I saw beautiful things and ugly artifacts appear out of the white background on my LCD screen. I had spent all day strug­gling with setting up the scene, and untold hours learning to do that, but still, it was odd to just sit there as a spectator as Vue did it’s myste­rious but astro­nom­ical calcu­la­tions and created the resulting image: my artwork.

The image was surpris­ingly sucessful partly due to luck and some good default settings, since I am still learning this. And the good parts even had a painterly feel to them–just what I wanted. Even in a digital creation like a 3d rendering, it’s those areas that look like a beautiful pencil line, or brush stroke that I look for.

I had just reached a certain level of technical sophis­ti­ca­tion that was so far beyond where I had started as an artist that I an epiphany of sorts. I had completed a painting without touching paper, brushes, or any tradi­tional art materials. Was it a painting? Or what? It spiraled me right back to the time before I took my first begin­ning drawing class in college. I drew pictures for fun.


Also this week, an illus­trator friend gave me the link to James Gurney’s blog, gurneyjourney. I had always been a fan of his imagi­na­tive realism, most famously, Dinotopia.

Gurney reminded me that, as techni­cally advanced as our media may become, the funda­men­tals do not change. Down there at the founda­tion is:

 drawing skills. 

And I don’t mean drawing talent. I mean skills that anyone can learn. If you happen to be very talented, you may go farther and get better than the average person. But any Joe can learn to draw that six-pack. It’s been proven.

illustration of dmw new Back to Drawing 101: Beginners MindBut it was another book on Gurney’s site that caught my atten­tion: a new edition of the 1921 classic, now out of print and forgotten, Drawing Made Easy, by Edwin G. Lutz. James said he had learned from this and other books at an early age.

Here is the new edition. You can order it on Gurney’s page. This is the book they didn’t want us to know about in fine art school.Now it’s been given back to us. Anyone from a child to a Michelangelo can get something useful from of this book.

That was just the begin­ning. I wanted the original edition. I found a pdf version of the scanned book.
To to make sure this book is avail­able free to anyone wishing to learn to  draw, I put it on my own server here (pdf, 6mb). Right-click or Option-click on the book and select Download linked file.

illustration of dme cover Back to Drawing 101: Beginners Mind

I love this one from first sight of the cover. Don’t sell it short. It’s poten­tial is nothing less than the trans­for­ma­tion of human conscious­ness. Now anyone can learn to draw. Here are some of it’s irresistible and charming pages.

illustration of rabbits Back to Drawing 101: Beginners Mind

illustration of Picture+7 Back to Drawing 101: Beginners Mind

illustration of butterflies Back to Drawing 101: Beginners Mind
I found more more old and out of print drawing books:
Practical Drawing, also by Edwin G. Lutz, is where you go after you know every­thing in Drawing Made Easy. You can tell it’s a little more serious by the cover. Then after 20 years or so of perfecting your drawing skills, go back to Drawing Made Easy! I did.

illustration of practical drawing cover Back to Drawing 101: Beginners Mind

You can get Practical Drawing, digitized, online at Google books.
Another classic, Creative Illustration, by Andrew Loomis. Find the html version here on my server.

illustration of creativ ill cover Back to Drawing 101: Beginners Mind

You can download five other classics by Andrew Loomis at Pinwire Books. Remember to donate something to them so they can keep these price­less classics avail­able.
I’m going back to my 3d rendering now. I’m going to keep on spending my days studying 3d modeling and rendering with the same zeal as before. But in my off hours, I will probably be drawing, maybe rabbits.


  1. mohammed
    November 13, 2014

    Please send me how learn to draw step by step

  2. Amie
    July 7, 2014

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  3. Rashmi
    April 5, 2013

    Very good way of learing ‚am able to draw it very correct with the help of the instur­cu­tions ..lovely am loving it ‚also pls confirm were to dwn load the stuff of Drawing make easy .i want to down load it complettly .pls revert ..


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