Thursday, March 17, 2011

Essential Art Supplies for the Natural Way to Draw

Kimon Nicolaides book, “The Natural Way to Draw”, requires you to have some basic art supplies on hand. All the supplies you need are usually listed in the first few paragraphs of every chapter in the book. I decided to skim ahead through the chapters and compile the complete list of the supplies needed to complete the assignments.

I prefer to be prepared ahead of time for the assignments, so I can keep on working without any delay (or procrastination). I also prefer to have enough time to find the best prices available for my art supplies. Check your local art store and online to comparison shop for your supplies. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of freight if you purchase the supplies online!

*Tip: Start the book around the same time children go back to school. You will grab some great deals on art supplies!

Please note, I have separated the supplies by assignment schedule.


Schedule One
3B Drawing Pencil, Manila Paper 15x20, Sketchboard, Eyeshade, 4B Drawing Pencil, Newsprint or Manila Paper 10x15

Schedule Two

Same as Previous Schedule

Schedule Three

Lithograph Crayon (Medium)

Schedule Four
Same as Previous Schedule

Schedule Five
Black Drawing Ink, Ordinary Pen & Penpoint (Large point, strong & blunt, prefer ball shaped tip. Do Not Use a Fountain Pen)

Schedule Six
Tube of Yellow Ochre Watercolor, Tube of Burnt Sienna Watercolor, Tube of Black Watercolor, Size 9 Sable Watercolor Brush, Watercolor Pan (cheap), several soft clean rags 6x6

Schedule Seven

Wolfe Carbon Pencil 2B or 3B

Schedule Eight

No New Supplies

Schedule Nine
No New Supplies

Schedule Ten

Tube of Permanent Blue Watercolor, Tube of Lemon Yellow Watercolor, Tube of Viridian Green or Hooker's Green Watercolor

Schedule Eleven
Drapery 3'by 5' - white or solid light color - medium weight and without sheen (x2), Tacks, 2B Drawing Pencil, 4B Drawing Pencil, Kneaded Eraser

Schedule Twelve

No New Supplies

Schedule Thirteen

Tracing Paper 15x20

Schedule Fourteen

No New Supplies

Schedule Fifteen

Practical, cheap anatomy charts or George B. Bridgeman Books on Anatomy,(Optional: small antique casts of full length nude)

Schedule Sixteen
No New Supplies

Schedule Seventeen
HB Drawing Pencil, Rough Toothed-medium gray paper (construction paper, cheap pastel or charcoal paper)15x20 or 18x24

Any two of the following (one black and one white) or all of them:
Black Conte Crayon - medium; White Conte Crayon - medium; Wolfe Carbon Pencil - medium or soft; White Conte Pencil - medium; Piece of White Blackboard Chalk;

Later substitute papers of various colors or brown manila wrapping paper.

Schedule Eighteen

No New Supplies

Schedule Nineteen

No New Supplies

Schedule Twenty
Inexpensive prints or any clear reproductions in books or magazines - black and white or color; reproductions showing the nude figure

Schedule Twenty-One

No New Supplies

Schedule Twenty-Two
Dark Brown Manila Wrapping Paper 15x20, Tube of Zinc White or Titanium White Oil Color, Tube of Black Oil Color, Two Long-Haired flat Bristle Brushes about a quarter of an inch and three-quarter of an inch wide, a cheap palette, a palette knife, rectified turpentine, Oil Cup or Small Jar, Supply of Clean Rags 5" square, prestwood or heavy cardboard

Schedule Twenty-Three

No New Supplies

Schedule Twenty-Four

No New Supplies

Schedule Twenty-Five

Oil Colors: Ivory Black, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Light Red, Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Larger Bristle Brush, Small Flat Sable Brush, A No.3 Watercolor Brush

Also: Cheap Pastel Paper of Various Colors Shellaced; use ordinary white shellac diluted with two parts alcohol to one of shellac.

Venice turpentine, turpentine, sun-thickened or stand oil, dammar varnish (25%)

I am already working through the assignments in the book. I have been averaging two assignments each night after work and I already notice a change in my skill level. I will upload some images of the completed drawings along with my commentary in the next post.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Here is a Method That is Helping Me Learn the Natural Way to Draw

I have been thoroughly searching the internet for a method to improve my illustration skills at home. I spent a large portion of my time reading posts in various art forums and blogs online looking for a solution. My search revealed a lot of references to a classic book by Kimon Nicolaides called 'The Natural Way to Draw'.

Kimon Nicolaides taught in New York at the Art Students' League during the 1930's. 'The Natural Way to Draw' was compiled from his teaching notes and was unpublished at the time of his death in 1938. Kimon's students donated examples of his exercises (their personal artwork) to complete the manuscript and in 1941 the book was finally printed. The book contains blind contour, gesture, and value/mass drawing exercises totaling 375 hours worth of drawing time.

I noticed during my search there were many people with questions regarding the teaching methods in the book. I found only one serious attempt by another artist to guide others through the book's content by example. This blog is my attempt to share my experience with you as I work through the book. I hope it clarifies some of Nicolaides' methods and inspires you to undertake the challenge of learning to draw the natural way.

I plan to post some of the drawings created as I work through the exercises in the book. I will also post my thoughts about the lessons I’ve learned and any information I find that enhances the content in the book. I hope this provokes you to share your thoughts and experiences, too. I am looking forward to reading your comments.