Drawabox | A free, exercise based approach to learning the fundamentals of drawing

Anyone can learn to draw. It's not some magical talent a few people are born with. It's a skill you can train. We can help.

When I was younger, I was taught that one could practice, and perhaps pick up a little here and there, but if you weren't born with the talent you wouldn't get far. The few drawing courses I took in school, and even those at the local community college seemed to reinforce this notion. Just draw, they'd say. Keep trying until it clicks, and if it doesn't click, oh well.

Here, we approach things differently. We focus on structured exercises that train muscle memory and develop concrete skills in a way that appeal to an analytical mind. This course takes what I learned from Peter Han's celebrated Dynamic Sketching course at Concept Design Academy back in 2013, and builds upon it with a focus on a strong understanding of 3D space and how simple forms can be combined within it to create complex, solid constructions.

The lessons here won't turn you into a master on their own - they will however set you on the right path, help you develop the confidence you need to move forwards, and will leave you with a solid foundation that will be critical in further development of your skills. Whether you're a beginner or self-taught - all you need to bring to the table is the patience and conscientiousness to follow the instructions as they are written and demonstrated, and a willingness to accept and appreciate all your mistakes and failures along the way.

While I insist on the use of ink through lessons 1 to 7, the skills you'll learn here are as applicable to traditional media as they are to digital art. For example, I frequently have students asking if they can do these exercises on their iPad Pro with their Apple Pencil - while you certainly can, the mindset working through them in ink will help you develop faster and more efficiently, building good habits and a greater respect for every mark you put down.

For a while now, many have lauded Drawabox as the best free drawing course online today, but it's not purely because of the lessons. It's because of the community - we started on /r/ArtFundamentals on Reddit, and now have a thriving Discord Chat with thousands of members, all looking to learn and develop their skills in a healthy, encouraging - though not coddling - environment. The community has for years now helped keep Drawabox alive and entirely free, through gestures like critiquing each others' homework to funding Drawabox on Patreon with a few dollars a month. None of this would have been possible without their support.

So, if you're looking to learn to draw and are interested in a structured, exercise-based approach to developing your fundamentals and setting you in the right direction, Lesson 0 (Getting Started) is a great place to start.

A review of Drawabox by a former student
We sell pens!
Uncomfortable's Unsolicited Advice
Here are some of the topics we cover
Check out the full list of lessons
This is an advertisement. Most of the links here are part of Amazon's affiliate program (unless otherwise stated), which helps support this website. It's also more than that - it's a hand-picked recommendation of something I've used myself. If you're interested, here is a full list.


This is another one of those things that aren't sold through Amazon, so I don't get a commission on it - but it's just too good to leave out. PureRef is a fantastic piece of software that is both Windows and Mac compatible. It's used for collecting reference and compiling them into a moodboard. You can move them around freely, have them automatically arranged, zoom in/out and even scale/flip/rotate images as you please. If needed, you can also add little text notes.

When starting on a project, I'll often open it up and start dragging reference images off the internet onto the board. When I'm done, I'll save out a '.pur' file, which embeds all the images. They can get pretty big, but are way more convenient than hauling around folders full of separate images.

Did I mention you can get it for free? The developer allows you to pay whatever amount you want for it. They recommend $5, but they'll allow you to take it for nothing. Really though, with software this versatile and polished, you really should throw them a few bucks if you pick it up. It's more than worth it.

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