Lesson 1- Module 1- Introduction

Introduce | Learn | Apply



©Craig Nelson

Course Description: GID 70 : Drawing for Designers and Illustrators.

Goals: To enhance sketching and drawing skills for designers and Illustrators in a variety of design careers for beginning concept drawings, preliminary drawings, comprehensive drawings and final design drawings.

Instructor: Joe Ragey <ragey@fhda.edu>

Below are listed several books but you are only required to purchase Rapid Viz to read and practice with.

Additional useful texts and other resources:

The Drawing Bible by Craig Nelson (optioinal) ISBN: 13: 978-1-58180-620-5. It is also in reprint and as a Kindle book.

I will teach out of TWO books. These books are NOT expensive and can be found USED for between $5 to $30 on AMAZON. RAPID VIZ text is only for graphic notation and quick design drawing and does not cover any traditional drawing style but is the BEST text to read for the class. The Drawing Bible is second best, and I suggest you get both of these extra books if you can, since I will cover information in both texts during the quarter but I will not require them for class reading or assignments. I also use references from several other texts including but not limited to:

  • Drawing Shortcuts by Jim Leggit, AIA ISBN: 0-471-07549-3 (written primarily for Architects but filled with wonderful quick shortcuts using computers, copy machines and digital tricks).
  • Drawing and Designing with Confidence by Mike W. Lin, ASLA - ISBN: 0-471-28290-8 (Also for Architects, Landscape Architects and Product Designers such as cars, but filled with hints about design drawing shortcuts that I will pass on to you during the course.

Grading Policy: See detailed grading policy and syllabus located in the Syllabus area of ETUDES window. I am NOT a difficult grader for begining drawing assignments and my policy is flexible. As long as you try to draw, you can get an A. I'm here to encourage you, not flunk you! Some students have worked very hard to obtain an F by NOT doing any drawing. Go figure!

Note: There are NO written tests in this course. Your drawings and participation in the class discussions are compiled to form your final grade for the course. Everyone can reach the goal of getting an "A" in this class even if you have never drawn before. I grade based on effort, improvement in drawing and ability to understand concepts. Drawing is a life long learning process and you do not become great concept artists in 12 weeks. It takes lots of practice. Consider this your first practice course for learning how to draw. Grasp and practice the concepts for drawing for design and your drawings will begin to improve with time.

Note: ALL CONTENT for this class is located in the text books mentioned above. Only Drawing For Graphic Design, has assigned required reading for every class session as posted, AND in the online lecture notes that support the texts that I use. There are additional links, articles and support images in the MODULES located in ETUDES DISCUSSIONS.

Flying Dancer

©Craig Nelson


Before beginning this lesson, you should know or be able to do the following.

  • Access to a computer connected to the internet
  • Understand how to use ETUDES server for online learning
  • Have already read the full class SYLLABUS located in the link button to your left in the ETUDES class server.
  • Be ready to take notes about supplies and materials needed for the course
  • Have purchased or be prepared to purchase the text book listed above (required for the class).


  • Learn all about material and techniques in the first chapter in the text book.
  • Learn how to navigate the modules for the online lecture sections of the class.
  • Learn how to find the homework assignments in ETUDES.
  • Learn how to post homework in the DISCUSSION area of ETUDES.
  • Learn how to contact your instructor.
  • Meet your classmates, exchange information in Discussions about your career goals.
  • Talk about why you are taking this class.

Blind Contour

Blind Contour Drawing of Hand

Blind contour uses pen or pencil and is a drawing training technique.

The artist/designer does not look down at the page while drawing, only at the object being drawn.


In this lesson, you will do the following:

  • Explore Etudes
  • Learn about Materials for drawing
  • Purchase the simple beginning materials you need( see list below):
    1. A set of standard drawing pencils that you can find at almost any art or office supply store. You can buy a full set or just get some individual pencils as listed in the text on page 22 and 23. These are standard graphite drawing pencils. I often use a simple # 2 pencil and #3 cheap pencil to doodle with. That way, if I lost it, it's no big deal. You can also use mechanical pencils if you like the line quality. It's your choice. Begin to develop you own style!
    2. You can purchase a drawing pad if you like but make sure you get the ones that allow you to tear out a page with a clean edge so you can scan or digitize the page to upload for homework.
    3. I use ream of cheap bond copy paper for drawing. Paper weight can be standard or a little bit heavier but not card stock weight unless I need to work with water based tools. This is the cheapest way to go instead of a drawing pad. A ream of 500 sheets will last a very long time.You only need to keep a few sheets with you at any given time so leave the rest at home. It also costs a lot less then a fancy sketch pad. The best thing about using cheap paper is that you don't get upset when you crumple it up to toss it in the waste basket.
    4. You can pick up a few sheets of colored copy paper from a place like KINKOS rather then buy a whole bunch of it when you need a few sheets for projects where you need to use white drawing pencils or conte.
    5. A white drawing pencil or conte pencil for working on colored paper to create highlights.
    6. An inexpensive simple file folder or file box to keep your sketches in. Get used to using the folder so you drawings don't look like the cat played with them. My dog likes to chew on my drawings and in some cases he does a better job of adding a bit of texture then I do, but I don't recommend it as a standard practice.
    7. A clipboard or piece of cardboard to use as a backing to draw on when you on location.
    8. Rubber erasers - get the KNEADED type for sure, others are also useful.
    9. Simple plastic or metal ruler.
    10. A pencil sharpener, or art knife. Electric sharpeners can be expensive, so a simple plastic hand sharpener is fine.
    11. Felt tip, gel, ball point,uniball or other type of drawing pens
    12. If your brave you might invest in a quill pen and tips to use, but they are not required and they get a bit messy when your on the road.
    13. A small set of colored pencils. There are many expensive types on the market but for now, try out a cheap set of about a dozen colors. You'll be amazed at how far you can get with just a few tools in design drawings
    14. A few gray markers, warm or cool.
    15. Charcoal sticks can get messy so I don't use them but EBONY pencils are great and very useful so pick up a couple of them. They come in packs of two and work great to draw dark lines. They are my favorite drawing pencils.
    16. Art supplies can get expensive, so don't run out and buy the whole store. Keep it simple and add to your stock as you need to. Trust me. I have boxes and boxes of the "toys" that I never use. I stick to the simple pencils and pens and they do just great.

Back to Top

Al Hirschfeld was one of the greatest illustration line artists of all time. HIs ability to use thick and thin lines to create a variety of shapes, textures and styles all combined to make his drawing style very unique and special. In his drawing process, he began with pencil thumbnails, moved on to scaled roughs and then over tracing paper would begin to work his magic using pen and ink to complete his master works of ink drawings. His illustrations became fine art and are now collectable all over the world. To take a www visit to see some of his beautiful fine art work click on his name or the dancers image below


Al Hirchfield Drawing of Dancers in Pen and Ink

Dancers © Al Hirschfeld
Look at the work of Hirschfeld to gain insight to a masterful approach to line drawing.
Most design drawing is based on simple "line" drawing


These are the assignments for this lesson:


Back to Top

What next?

Go on to the Learn section of this lesson. To get there, click the Next button below or the Learn link at the top of the page.