Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Art Masterclass - 

May 2011

From The Artist, the monthly magazine for amateur and semi-professional painters, giving practical instruction in painting and drawing in watercolour, pastels and oils, as well as news of art events, exhibitions and competitions open to leisure artists;


Drawing with Linda Birch

Drawing with Linda Birch


* Keep your pencils sharp. This is extremely important if you want to make accurate marks. By all means use a pencil sharpener, but preferably sharpen pencils with a craft knife. In this way you can achieve a shaped lead, which is useful for making specific marks. For example, a chisel shape to your pencil is useful for leaf shapes and foliage masses. And you are allowed to use an eraser!

* If you are on a budget, a roll of wallpaper lining paper is excellent for drawing on, and inexpensive. Also you can draw big, which is always good for your drawing.

* Draw what interests you Things we like, we tend to stick at and enjoy.

* Draw with other tools. Try working with a twig and ink to make drawings full of character.

* Don’t worry about what others think. Draw to please yourself. Buy a sketchbook for doodling in and trying things out. Sketchbooks are private, you are not committed to showing anyone if you don’t want to. Jot down thoughts, information and ideas in them. My sketchbooks are the most precious things I have; through the years they have become a visual diary

* Work not talent makes you a better draughtsman. Talent is a gift, but if it is not used it wastes.

* Take your work seriously. Those who know no better will say how relaxing art is. No, it isn’t! It just takes you away from one set of problems and gives you another! But the thrill of getting something right once in a while will keep you going.

* Join a group that includes other beginners. Better still, go on a residential course for beginners. Four days of sustained drawing will improve your skills no end.

* Don’t let either timidity or over-confidence affect you. Build your confidence slowly, and don’t try to run before you learn to walk. Be modest, there is always more to learn, but have confidence in yourself.

* Be aware you are standing on the same road as Rembrandt and Turner – they are just a bit ahead of you! You and anyone else who picks up a pencil to draw is an artist whether you class yourself an amateur or not.

* Remember you will make mistakes! This is how we learn so don’t be discouraged. All you need to learn to see and be able to draw is persistence. Just keep trying.

* Above all, enjoy the journey!

Basic shapes

There are four basic shapes from which it is possible to create almost anything


Pencil choice

Cat drawings

The effects of pencil grades on simple cat drawings from light (HB) to dark (6B)

Pencils come in a range from soft to hard. The softer pencils have a B added to the number, for instance HB is the hardest of the soft range followed by B, 2B, 3B, 4B and so on up to 9B. The harder pencils have H added to them: 2H, 3H through to 9H. 9H pencils are really hard, make only pale marks, and tend to make grooves in the paper, but they are useful for very delicate, technically precise drawings. A good set of pencils for drawing would be: HB, 2B, B and 6B

The softer the pencil, the quicker it wears down due to the larger amount of graphite present.

Pencils do not contain lead; the composition is graphite, some clay and a little casein. The harder the pencil means more clay is added, and the softer pencil has more graphite

More hints and tips for drawing by Linda can be found in the May 2011 issue of Leisure Painter

LP logo

Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this


Tell us your hobby experiences

Want to comment on this article or ask other laterlife visitors a question?

Then visit the comment section of the Later Lifestyle Network, click on the 'Discussion Tab' (you can't see this until you are logged in) and create a new topic or add your views to an existing one. 

feeling Good

Feeling Good

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

Looking to the future

Looking to the future

Tell us about what you would like to see here on in the future or any changes you would like to see. Just email

Latest articles

To view indexes to previous articles click on laterlife interest index. To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature at the top right of the page.
Back to Laterlife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti