Drawing Basics – The Online Course

(29 customer reviews)


Featuring 62 lessons and over 22 hours of video content!



SKU: CRS102 Category:


Drawing Basics is our "foundations" drawing course. Instructor David Jamieson guides students through a series of exercises designed to build the fundamental skills required to draw anything, beautifully.

The course is divided into 9 Modules. The first half of the course begins with an introduction, then presents a sequence of simple exercises designed to build skill and confidence with the materials. Exercises focus on lines, shapes, values, value "progressions" – continuous transitions between light and dark.

In the second half of the course, students are taught to apply these skills to drawing simple forms: the cube, the cylinder, and the sphere. These volumes embody a kind "vocabulary" of form, and once familiar with them, students will be able to approach more complex subjects, such as figures and portraits, with greater confidence.

The course concludes with a careful drawing of an arrangement of volumes with different "local values" – some lighter, some darker.

Each module is divided into specific "lessons" that unfold in sequence. Key concepts are discussed at the top of each module in short introductory videos, which are illustrated with visuals – diagrams, motion graphics and 3D animations. These concepts are then applied in extended demonstrations, some lasting well over an hour in length.

The online course features:

  • 62 distinct lessons
  • 22 hours of video: nearly every pencil stroke is recorded
  • Complete demonstrations of each exercise
  • Diagrams and animations to illustrate key concepts
  • A thorough discussion of drawing materials and their uses
  • Detailed supporting documentation
  • Question & Answer threads on each lesson page

Our previous online course in portrait drawing, with over 10 hours of video content, was already the most comprehensive instructional resource available online. Drawing Basics is even more extensive. Clocking-in at over 22 hours, it surpasses other instructional videos on the market by orders-of-magnitude. Add to this the wealth of supporting documentation and discussion threads throughout the course, and it's clear that Drawing Basics is the new gold-standard of drawing instruction on the internet.


About our Online Courses

Our online courses are accessed exclusively on our website. All content is hosted "in the cloud". The video content is not downloadable and is not available on DVD, but is instead streamed online and requires an active internet connection. Once purchased, however, student access to the content will never expire. Students may login to the class at any time for as long as they wish.

Suggested Items

Drawing Basics makes use of reference material for many of the course exercises. While printable PDFs and photo references are provided in the course, it's recommended that the 3-dimensional volumes be drawn from direct observation, or "from life".

As a convenience to students, we offer a "solids kit" that includes two of each volume addressed in the course – cube, cylinder and sphere. Purchase of a kit is not required to complete the course, but saves students the trouble of procuring their own volumes to draw.

We also offer a 9 step neutral value scale to assist in the value exercises in the course. The scale includes nine glossy swatches of neutral grey in equal steps from dark to light. Each swatch is grommeted and detachable from the included metal binding ring.

29 reviews for Drawing Basics – The Online Course

  1. Tzipporah Bragg (verified owner)

    The instruction offered in this course is the best I have seen for this subject. It is organized very well, from everything you need to know about drawing materials and setting up your space and how to hold a pencil to an understanding of all the basic elements of drawing including perspective, the importance observing tonal value and how to properly render it. Also, David’s instructions are very clear as he explains what materials should be used, how they should be used, why each part of the drawing process is necessary for learning these basic drawing skills and learning to draw well. This course truly provides anyone with the knowledge of how to draw well through the best drawing practice possible. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect and this course teaches you how to do just.

  2. Susan Chan (verified owner)

    The Vitruvian Studio online art courses are the best art classes I have ever taken – bar none, and I have taken many over the years. I have just completed my second Vitruvian Studio art course. This course was ‘Drawing Basics’ and took 62 hours, which seemed an intimidatingly long time to begin with. However during the Coronavirus lockdown period, it has been time well spent and has served me as art therapy. To be taken step by step, beginning from learning how to hold a pencil, learning about shapes and values, through to drawing a still life with three objects, I have learned so much, not least, patience while drawing. It was David’s thoroughness and attention to detail that I particularly admire. I am looking forward to putting what I learned into practice.

  3. Stijn Dekoninck (verified owner)

    If you’re looking for a structured, step by step course about the fundamentals, then you’ve found it! Very happy that I found this website and would definitely recommend. David’s also a great teacher who guides you every step of the way.

  4. Shawn M Knox (verified owner)

    I had always joked that I’m a photographer because I can’t draw but I set out to change that. In a college class I took previously we spent about 2.5 weeks of a 15 week semester drawing geometric objects and never really had a lot of direct instruction on adding form and value to our drawings. We were told to do it but never really how. I would have to say that this course is easily a full semester of work on just what I had longed to learn in that college course. This course has helped fill in that huge gap in my understanding of drawing. For those of us that don’t have the option for live classes, this is the perfect option. My drawing overall has greatly improved as a result of this experience and I will return to these lessons and concepts often. This course is the most affordable and thorough option for improving your drawing fundamental out there.

  5. Ryan Carson (verified owner)

    I cannot recommend this course more. David and the team took the time to include the *real* methodology, instead of just giving us a highlight reel. I learned SO much and am extremely grateful to have discovered this course. On to the Portrait Course!

  6. Richard Hambrook

    This course was absolutely amazing and worth every penny! The instructor was really responsive and answered all of my questions quickly. He made me feel comfortable with my progress and was truthful yet supporting. I got more of an understanding of facial structures and how to see them. I will be taking another course.

  7. Paul (verified owner)

    In my opinion this course is an excellent means of acquiring the necessary basic skills for drawing. The detailed and systematic approach paves the way leading towards mastering drawing basics. The serious student will have found, at the end of the course, the knowledge, the method and procedure as well as the tools to further the journey towards becoming an artist.

  8. patricia bueter (verified owner)

    I loved this course. I honed in on some forgotten skills and picked up some very useful information. David is a fabulous teacher and is really thorough and clear. I finally understand, “Triangulation!” I can recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn to draw!

  9. Neelesh Joshi (verified owner)

    What an amazing course and resource! I’ve always wanted to learn how to draw and so glad I came across Vitruvian Studio. The lessons engaged me both analytically and creatively and hard great sound and video production. I will be taking more courses as are available – Thanks David for helping me begin my long journey!

  10. martin otheguy (verified owner)

    The course “basic drawing” is of exceptional quality and demonstrates a serious and remarkable methodological rigor. The course structure is coherent and well articulated. By following the lessons, I dived into the world of drawing and I integrated instruments that allowed me to build a solid foundation. I would like to emphasize here the competence and pedagogy of David Jamieson. Having the opportunity to watch his technical gestures and listen to him for hours (and listen again for countless times) has given me a deep understanding of this artistic expression. In doing this course, it seems obvious that the pleasure of drawing is in the process and not in the result. Finally, I would like to mention the rare generosity that emerges from the teachings of David. Thank you very much, I learned to love drawing. Le cours « basic drawing » est d’une qualité exceptionnelle et fait preuve d’un sérieux et d’une rigueur méthodologique remarquable. La structure du cours est cohérente et fort bien articulée. Au fur et à mesure que les leçons s’enchaînent, j’ai plongé dans l’univers du dessin et j’ai intégré des instruments qui permettent de bâtir de solides bases. J’aimerais surtout souligner la compétence et la pédagogie de David Jamieson. Avoir l’opportunité de regarder ses gestes techniques et de l’écouter pendant des heures (et aussi de le réécouter un nombre incalculable de fois) m’a permis d’accéder à une compréhension profonde de cette expression artistique. En faisant ce cours, il semble évident que le plaisir de dessiner se trouve dans le processus et non pas dans le résultat. Finalment, j’aimerai mentionner la rare générosité qui se dégage des enseignements de David Jamieson. Merci infiniment, j’ai appris à aimer le dessin.

  11. Mark Romanowitz (verified owner)

    Wow.. Where to begin… Bar none the best drawing class I have had. I’m in my late 50s and I have been drawing a long time. I wanted to take this course for several reasons:
    – First, I wanted to see what Vitruvian was all about.
    – Second, I wanted to go back over the fundamentals and make sure that I had a solid foundation for later study if the first reason proved that Vitruvian was the place to learn.
    I have not been disappointed – rather, my expectations have been far exceeded. I learned things that I have never seen elsewhere. The practice of determining angles, value progressions, envelopes, etc.. are examples. These are all invaluable. Like Vince Lombardi at his first practice with the Packers holding up a football and saying; “This gentlemen, is a football” David Jamieson starts at the very beginning and takes you through a series of logical steps to bring your abilities to a high level and fill in anything you may have missed elsewhere. He also presents the logic and reasoning behind all of the exercises. The computerized demos of basic perspective, light, turning the form, etc, round out the instruction to make this a comprehensive, thorough, and fully practical course for anyone. Always wanted to draw but think you can’t? Take this course. Been at it for years and think you don’t have anymore to learn? Take this course… You will be pleasantly surprised. One thing more… Go ahead and get the exact materials David lists, particularly for the paper. I bought a lesser expense mid-tone paper. I found it burnished way to easily and made my results less than they could have been had I used the better paper he recommended. Thanks, David for a very well done course. It was well worth the time, cost and effort. All the best, Mark

  12. Mark Galli (verified owner)

    An amazing course led by a gifted teacher. A professional artist friend (who had seen my paltry pre-course drawings) said my final drawing was very impressive and that I was now ready to draw anything. Not that I’m as refined as I want to be–lots of practice still ahead. But I now know all the principles and techniques I need to employ in any drawing I attempt. The course was a huge confidence builder.

  13. Kenneth Aaron (verified owner)

    Hi David, I hadn’t written during the course but thought I’d share my thoughts. Your class is exactly what I was looking for. In high school, decades ago, neither the 15 year old nor the art teacher had the patience for the 15 year old to learn to draw. I became a photographer instead. But I’ve always wanted to learn. I realized my failed attempts over the years was simply because I lacked basic skills. I was trying to learn too much at once, and didn’t know what skills I needed. Long and thorough, this course gave me the skills and time to practice them. One specific thought, I didn’t realize just how lightly you were placing pencil to paper until the arrangement exercise. I can be a bit ham-handed, so for me, the time spent doing your lessons taught me the nuance of pencil on paper. Terrific course! Absolutely worth the time!

  14. Kathleen Wildman (verified owner)

    This is the course to take to learn to draw. Of all the courses I’ve had—in person and online—this was the best: it taught me skills as well as a methodical approach and how to make a critical assessment of what I’m doing.

  15. John Wallace (verified owner)

    A wonderful introductory course blending theory and practice in a most enjoyable learning environment. David is one of those rare teachers capable of bringing life to his subject and making a profound and lasting impression on his students.

  16. Jessica (verified owner)

    Probably the most important message I got from this program is to be patient with myself and the drawing. That this is a process of creation that takes time to develop; my pencil skills, my understanding of the process, my understanding of value and the relationships within the drawing in order to enhance credibility and enjoyment of my drawing for the viewer.

  17. jennifer breskvar (verified owner)

    I am really pleased with how much I have improved with the drawing basics course and the guidance of a great teacher. I know I will return to these lessons again and again on my drawing journey!

  18. Helle Nygaard (verified owner)

    I have just completed Drawing Basics with David Jamieson. It is a very well made online course both in terms of its content and how it is presented. David’s teaching is clear, detailed and logical, and I have learned a lot from it. I highly recommend this to anyone who are interested in learning the basics of drawing. I hope more online courses will be made available such as in painting still life. Thank you David for sharing your knowledge!

  19. Gihan Zohdy (verified owner)

    I shall be forever graeful for having discovered the Vitruvian Fina Art Studio when searching for education in the visual arts, especially how to begin. David Jamieson provides indepth instruction on the building blocks of drawing; lines, curves and polygons, then values and shadow buidling, and these done using the naked eye for gauging angles and dimensions. All these are crucial in preparing the scaffolding for a successful drawing.
    I have already signed up for more from the Vitruvian.

  20. Gary Spahn (verified owner)

    This is my first experience with internet teaching. I found that it was more helpful than live teaching due to the flexibility if offers. David was an excellent teacher , responsive, and I learned a great deal. I recommend it as a great value and I plan to take further courses from Vitruvian.

  21. Frans Rijnbout (verified owner)

    Outstanding step-by-step instruction.

  22. Clifford (verified owner)

    This is it. This was the class I was looking for. Just as the description says, it is about the very basics of drawing. If you are just starting out in my view this is the place to start because it gives you a foundation in which you can grow and develop on. I would even go as far as to say it is an essential class. As I was going through the course not only was I learning about line, shape, value, and such, I was also developing a rapport with my pencils, paper, and of course, my eraser. David has a real talent not only in his own artwork but as a skilled instructor. His explanations, his pace of instructions, his teaching style all point to someone who earnestly wants you to understand and succeed in drawing.

  23. Chris Gardhouse (verified owner)

    David, I couldn’t agree more with the other comments. The course you put together was more than I’d hoped for. Anyone wishing to pursue strong drawing basics will be well served to sign up for this. I look forward to taking more courses through Vitruvian Studios knowing that they will be well thought and highly instructional. Thank you for all your time and talent. Next…practice, practice, practice! Wishing you continued successes, Chris

  24. Angela Schuurmans (verified owner)

    Great and super extensive course! I’ve not come across another course that shows such detailed instructions and videos. Really grateful for being able to learn this way! I’m also working on the portrait and painting course, but I wanted to start with the drawing basics.

  25. Abraham Alayon (verified owner)

    The Drawing Basics course will greatly improve your skills. David Jamieson covers subjects such as value, techniques to achieve proper proportion and much more in great depth. The college drawing courses I have taken did not come close to Vitruvian Studio’s thoroughness in teaching the fundamentals of drawing. I highly recommend Vitruvian Studio for art education!

  26. Ricardo Acuña (verified owner)

    This Drawing Basics course has been the most satisfying online learning experience I have ever had and the best art course out of many that I have taken. After finishing it I have seen a great advance in my artistic skills and I have gained a better understanding of the fundamental principles of drawing. David is an excellent teacher and a great artist, I hope to continue learning with Vitruvian. Thank you very much for this great experience.

  27. David Odom (verified owner)

    I absolutely recommend Drawing Fundamentals. The course well exceeded my expectations with thoughtful content, immersive explanations, detailed examples and exercises, multi camera demonstrations with articulate process narrative, and a progressive skill building curriculum clearly thought through by a well versed instructor and educator. With current events driving more and more schools to online offerings there is a sea of noise claiming to cover the “fundamentals.” I looked at fundamentals content from many of the leading online platforms and in my humble opinion nothing came close to the structure, focus, and depth of content that Drawing Fundamentals presented. I feel fortunate to have discovered this course and the value received vastly outweighed what I paid for the online experience.

  28. Leifi Ames (verified owner)

    I took the Drawing Basics course and it has transformed my drawing skills within weeks. I can see huge improvements in my work. I’m not going to say it was easy, because it’s not. I think you have to go into the course knowing that it will take focus and patience, but it will be worth it and you’ll be happy with the results. Although I don’t think it’s 100% necessary, I highly suggest paying extra for the critique. You probably won’t need a lot of critiquing until more than halfway through the class, but having that extra help will make a huge difference in your ability to improve quickly. David Jamison is an amazing teacher. He has a kind and professional personality that makes the class very enjoyable. This is a rare opportunity to learn from a master artist. You really feel like you’re getting your money’s worth when taking this course because there are over 20 hours of video and you literally see every single pencil stroke that he takes to complete each exercise. I loved this class so much, that I have already signed up for the portrait class that Vitruvian offers.

  29. Kathleen Bonnet (verified owner)

    Excellent course! I love the sequential structure and attention to details and how well David explains and demonstrates what he is teaching. I have taken other art classes and have some experience, so I initially started with the Portrait Drawing. And it is such a good course, that I decided that I did not want to miss anything from the basics skills that are fundamental to really becoming a masterful artist. David is an outstanding artist and teacher. He goes step by step, explaining and showing the how to of everything and gives plenty of practice materials to develop the skills. I am really impressed. I feel I have found what I was looking for. I am enjoying what I am learning, and I am already looking forward to more online courses. Keep them coming!

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