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Pencils 101 - Elizabeth Johnson

Pencils 101 - Elizabeth Johnson
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Any task is better accomplished with a solid foundation. The basic Pencils Series includes 3 workshops, Pencils 101, 201, & 301. They are a succession of lessons designed to help you progress well in your drawing skills from line drawing to shading and even creative perspective.

The first few lessons contain specific drawing exercises that may seem odd but are meant to change the way you see the same things that you have been looking at for years. This change of perception can happen quickly but not without intentional exercises. So we have to approach it in an unusual way. These drawing exercises have been proven to be effective in the test of time and with hundreds of my students. I encourage everyone to begin with the Pencils Series.

Although you have the freedom to make your own choice, skipping the foundation lessons can lead to frustration if you try to do projects for which you are not ready, resulting in disappointment. Please give yourself the time to get established with some basic skills before jumping into the deeper water. The right-brained lessons really do bring quick progression in your skills and you will be so much more pleased in the long run.

One of the wonderful things about the online format is that you can move along at your own pace. Sometimes you will run into a lesson that creates a bit more challenge for you and you need to just stop and sit there for a while. And sometimes life gets in the way and creates a slight detour for a few days. In a group class setting the group must move on whether you are ready for it or not. So, it is nice that here in our internet drawing world you can wait when you need to wait and soar when you are ready to soar.

Pencils 101 begins at the very beginning helping you to learn to see with an artist’s eye and develop your skills in line work and basic shading.

These 5 lessons are the foundation and first step toward creating beautiful drawings. Elizabeth starts these lessons gently for the most inexperienced would be pencil artist. You will begin by working through some right-brained exercises that will open up the world of drawing for you.

Each of the Pencils Workshops 101, 201, & 301 contains a series of five progressive lessons meant to be taken sequentially.There is a total of 15 lessons in 3 workshops.
The lessons are numbered from #1 to #15.
Pencils 101 Workshop includes lessons 1 through 5.
Pencils 201 Workshop includes lessons 6 through 10.
Pencils 301 Workshop includes lessons 11 through 15.

Taking all three Workshops in sequence, and therefore all 15 lessons in order, is suggested but not required. If you begin with Pencils 201, you will notice that it begins with lesson 6. Similarly, Pencils 301 begins with lesson 11.

  • Pencils: graphite drawing pencils in grades B, 2B, 4B, & 8B. I use predominately Derwent Graphic pencils. Other quality brands are Sanford, Cretacolor, Faber-Castell, & Prismacolor Turquoise. I would not suggest using General’s Kimberly pencils.)
  • Erasers: Kneaded Eraser, Paper Mate Tuff Stuff Eraser Stick and General’s Factis Oval Eraser
  • Paper Blending Stump: You can get a variety of sizes from very narrow to quite large. I usually use only sizes 1/8”,3/8”, and 7/16” size with the 7/16” being the one I use the most often.
  • Paper: Sketch paper - The packaging must say the word sketch rather than drawing. Drawing paper is a completely different surface than we want now.There are many brands of papers and many grades of papers. Strathmore,Canson, and Bienfang are reliable brands for the grade you will need for these classes. Cheap papers will not cooperate with your pencil and you will not be pleased with the results.
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Soft Brush: You can purchase a soft drafting brush. However, it is not necessary to spend money on this item. A soft fluffy paint brush or make up brush will work just fine. Just be sure they are clean and soft.
  • Clear Plastic Sheets (2)
  • Graph Paper: You will need 1 sheet of graph paper with 1” squares. I have given you a template that you may print in 8” x 10” size or you may draw it yourself.
  • View Finder: 1” view finder. I give you a template for this.
  • Other supplies to consider:
  • Erasers: A hand held battery operated eraser can be a benefit but is not required.
  • Pencil Sharpener: Battery or electric sharpeners are nice but not required. They are not good for the softer colored pencils.
  • Templates: Circle and oval templates can be helpful but are not required.Tiny circle templates are especially helpful for portraits.
  • Pencil Extenders: These are helpful when a favorite pencil gets uncomfortably short.
  • (I have found the Derwent pencil extenders to be the best quality and most versatile.)
  • Sanding Block: This is a handy and inexpensive tool. However, if you prefer, you may simply cut small strips of sand paper.
  • Small Tin: A small tin or another container whose lid can be secured. This serves as a
  • bin for your pencil shavings, saving you chronic trips to the trash basket.
  • Small Mirror: You will use this to double check your work.
  • Pencil Case: A case or bag that will protect your pencils in transit.
  • Bathroom Tissue: HaHaHa!!! Bet you never thought you'd find that on your art supply list. But it really does work. It must be the very cheap, very thin, very not soft kind.


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 Please keep this receipt for future reference to any class you have purchased from Creative Workshops. If you need to contact us with a question about a class, this receipt will help us reply to your inquiry in a timely fashion.

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