OCAD Studio: Rhythmic Drawing from Life Part 1

Drawing Project #2

Rhythmic Drawing from Life Part 1

Finding flow-through lines and blocking in the shapes


This project will help you to approach your work in a more expressive manner. You will learn to produce an artistic interpretation of a simple subject, making use of flowing, expressive lines.

In part 1, you will learn how to use flow-through lines to capture the general composition and proportions of your subject, before adding a simple set of shadow shapes.

This main purpose of this project is to observe the relationship between different aspects of your subject and seek out lines that flow from one part to another. These lines will form the basis of the drawing’s composition and the visual rhythms therein. This approach will serve you in good stead when you tackle more complex subject matter or arrangements of shapes and figures.



  • A3 drawing paper
  • 2B and B pencils or charcoal
  • Pencil sharpener or a knife and sandpaper block
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Hard Eraser
  • Drawing board (at least A3)
  • A simple still life subject (fruit with leaves, teapot, small curiosities etc. Preferably lit by a single dominant light source.



Step 1

Take time to observe your subject before drawing. Look for one or two major lines that flow through the entire subject. This line (or lines) will form the backbone of your composition. Lightly sketch them in with a few sweeping strokes.

Step 2

Add several more lines to define the approximate shape of the object. Try to make these lines flow as well, where possible.

Step 3

Begin connecting your initial lines with secondary flow-through lines. These may become apparent as you work so keep an eye out and don’t hesitate to alter the lines, as the purpose of this exercise is to find rhythms within your subjects, and these rhythms may take time to emerge.

Step 4

Once you’re happy with the overall impression your drawing gives, you can lightly erase any early lines that no longer form part of the drawing. Even though you will remove them, they will still be an underlying aspect of the drawing’s composition.

Step 5

You can now begin defining smaller forms with shorter connecting lines. Keep things loose as you work – you don’t need to make a finely detailed drawing at this stage.

Step 6

The final thing you need to do is define and lightly shade in any major shadow shapes. This will provide a great basis for you to work from in the second part of the project.


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