The Complete Online Drawing Course

Learn to draw with our drawing lessons for beginners

Our courses are ideal for absolute beginners who really want to learn to draw. No prior experience is necessary!

They’re jam packed with exciting challenging projects that develop your drawing skills step-by-step.

You’ll soon be creating amazing original artworks that you’ve only ever dreamed of.

Cindy Wider
Course Author and DrawPj Co-founder

Everything you need is right here

We understand exactly what it takes for you to learn to draw

You’ve always wanted to learn to draw and now its the perfect time to fulfill your dream.

We’ve been nurturing absolute beginner artists online since 2008. And for over 20 years in the real world.

Learning to draw involves much more than just technical skills. It’s also an emotional journey. When you study the Complete Drawing Course all aspects of your drawing journey are supported.

Its right here for you. All in the one place.

  • Structured step-by-step course with a 42 week lesson plan (studying 2 to 4 hours per week)
  • Six complete units covering graphite pencil, coloured pencil and charcoal
  • HD videos explaining everything in depth
  • Fully printable course materials
  • A friendly and supportive Facebook community
  • Options for personalised video and written critiques from your instructor

Your one-to-one Personal Instructor

If you choose to study with full instructor support you’ll receive individual feedback for every weekly exercise.

Above is a typical example of a recorded video critique for Unit 3 Portraiture.

Just think how easily you could improve your skills with in-depth feedback like this!

What do our students say about the Complete Drawing Course?

From Beginner Artist to Winner

“About halfway through the course I was starting to feel just a little bit more confident about my drawing so I thought I would venture out and try to draw my own picture of something for our county fair…

I remember submitting it to the judge and when she looked at it she immediately said ‘oh, I’m sorry you’re in the wrong line, you need to be down with the black and white photographs’… I had to stop and explain to her ‘no this really isn’t a black and white photograph… its a pencil drawing’… and it was at that moment that I realised that every dollar and every minute I had spent at was so worth it.”

Angela Deck – USA

Many thanks to Cindy Wider for her brilliant program that gave me a feeling that it is never too late to start drawing.

I was really blessed to find Cindy’s online drawing school. Cindy’s blissful inspiration inspired me to not only study her course but also to continue my studies and become an instructor, so that I can share my experience and knowledge with others.

The only thing you need to keep doing, is to follow Cindy’s wisest advice – “just show up at the table, and the rest will take care of itself”.

Maria Blinova - Norway

The lessons I’ve learned from DrawPJ have definitely helped with my paintings and also to really go the extra mile with all the tiny details that make a painting so convincing. I especially have Tannis (my instructor) to thank for that. She’s a good one for encouraging me to keep tweaking something until it’s as good as she knows (when I don’t think so lol) I can possibly make it.

Claire Osborne - USA

A special thank you to Cindy for making this amazing course and this community and to Brigitte for being so awesome and guiding me through the units. And last but not least, thank you to all my fellow drawpj-ers for being always so encouraging and for each one of you being so inspiring!

Liesbeth Ramon - USA

Your course really has changed my thinking about what drawing involves. I still have much to learn but thanks to this course I feel like have learned so much in such a short time, literally when my day is over and relaxing in my PJs.

A huge thank you also to Cindy for creating this amazing course and to Tannis my incredible teacher for her warm guidance and detailed advice and insights.

Patrick Kiernan - Japan

Brigitte is my online instructor and she is cool! Her feedbacks are encouraging and the tips are very useful. I would definitely say my confidence has increased a lot. The course content is very much in detail. The videos by Cindy make it much more easier to understand and implement so thanks Cindy once again!

Sujithra Narayanan - India

You have created such a wonderful course that allows us mere mortals to develop quickly the art of creating art. It is a huge thanks from all of us…!!!

One thing I am loving about all the DrawPj students being in the one group is how we are inspiring, motivating and praising each other no matter what part of our own journey we are on.

Robert Peters - UK

The Complete Drawing Course Curriculum

Here’s the six unit plan that will take you from your first lines to your own original artworks

Unit 1: Outline Drawing (medium: graphite pencil)

Outline Drawing is the single most important foundation skill for pencil drawing and art. Your vital eye-mind-hand coordination skills will be built step-by-step with deceptively simple looking but challenging drawing exercises.

Outline Drawing Lesson Plan

Week 1: Getting Comfortable
  • Create a Pre-instruction drawing (so you can measure your progress as you work through the course)
  • What pencil to use for drawing
  • A special way to hold your pencil for sketching
  • Using the wrist motion for sketching curves and shoulder motion for sketching straight lines
Week 2: Six Pencil Techniques
  • Learn six different pencil techniques
  1. Shading
  2. Broad Strokes
  3. Chisel Point
  4. Fine Lines
  5. Hatching
  6. Cross-Hatching
  • Getting to know your erasers
  • Learn to draw with your hard plastic eraser
  • Learn to draw with your kneadable eraser
  • Optional: Prepare and use and electric eraser
Week 3: Your First Project – ‘The Old Hay Shed’
  • Transfer the Old Hay Shed outline onto your drawing paper using graphite transfer techniques
  • Fill in the drawing using the six pencil techniques
Week 4: Scribble Drawing, Construction Drawing and Basic Shapes
  • Scribble gesture drawing
  • Construction Drawing
  • The Four Basic Shapes
  • How to see shapes within objects
  • ‘I spy shapes’ game
  • Variations of the four basic shapes
  • How to draw objects using the construction drawing method
  • Sketching lines and halving them
  • Sketching the four basic shapes
  • Sketching basic shapes variations
  • The almighty ellipse
Week 5: Construction Drawing Methods
  • Construction drawing using the Pencil measuring technique
  • Construction drawing from a photograph
  • Construction drawing using a ruler
  • Drawing the simple solids, cube, sphere, cylinder and cone
  • Construction drawing of the human figure
  • Construction drawing using ‘accents’
Weeks 6 and 7: Final Unit Assessment Project - Grid Method
  • Introduction to the Grid Method
  • Choose a grid method artwork project from a selection with varying degrees of difficulty
End of Unit Quiz

Test your knowledge of what you have learnt in the previous seven weeks.

The Outline Drawing student experience

Learn more about the outline drawing lessons in this unit through the experience of one of our wonderful students.

Unit 2: Shading and Form (medium: graphite pencil)

The secret key to creating ‘photo-real’ pencil drawings is shading and form. As you master these these two vital skills you’ll see your outline drawings come alive and almost ‘jump’ off the page.

Shading and Form Lesson Plan

Week 1: Shading
  • Learning to see shapes in the shadows.
  • Learning to see values in objects.
  • Advice on using a still life set-up for drawing.
  • How to render the smooth shading technique for large or small areas using graphite pencils prepared in two different ways.
  • Create a Value Scale using the smooth shading technique and graphite pencil.
  • Learn how to see the difference between six values ranging from white to very dark grey graphite.
  • Learn to shade three different important tonal changes that help you achieve the optical illusion of a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional page.
Week 2: Light and Shade Theory
  • Introduction to the basic theory of light and shade needed to create the illusion of a three-dimensional image on a two-dimensional surface (a page)
  • Revision of Construction Drawing and Shading the four basic shapes from flat outline drawings into the illusion of three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional page (please note; outline drawings are provided for you to transfer directly onto quality paper ready for shading)
Week 3: Value Map
  • Introducing a value map.
  • Shade several simple man-made objects while working from illustrations using a photograph and value map with a step-by-step approach (outline drawings are provided)
Week 4: Drapery
  • An introduction to the study of Drapery
  • The Five basic folds
  • Shade a piece of drapery using drawings provided to transfer directly onto quality paper. Use a photograph and create a value map as a reference
Week 5: Value map and Realistic Drawing

Shade an outline drawing of a man-made object while working from illustrations using a photograph and value map with a step-by-step approach (an outline drawing is provided.)

Weeks 6 and 7: Final Unit Assessment Project - Shade a drawing
  • Shade a drawing of a man-made object to create a three-dimensional appearance in graphite pencil on quality paper.
End of Unit Quiz

Test your knowledge of what you have learnt in the previous seven weeks.

The Shading and Form student experience

See how a real student makes incredible progress through the shading and drawing lessons with the invaluable support of her instructor.

Unit 3: Portraiture Foundations (medium: graphite pencil and charcoal)

Realistic portraiture is considered by many artists as one of the ultimate skills and challenges. In this unit you’ll master the skills required to create amazingly realistic portraits using pencil and charcoal.

Portraiture Foundations Lesson Plan

Week 1: An Introduction to Portraiture
  • Introduction to portraiture
  • Shading individual features of the face in graphite pencil
Week 2: The Human Adult Face
  • Learn the sighting technique to help you measure proportions when drawing objects close up from life
  • Proportion and placement of the individual features of the Adult face
  • Take a photograph for your portrait project using the instructions provided
Week 3: Produce a Portrait
  • Draw a portrait of a three year old child ‘Isha’ in graphite pencil
Week 4: Charcoal
  • Introduction to charcoal
  • Learn twelve charcoal techniques allowing you to create hundreds of textures
  • Learn to draw hair with a variety of different hairstyles presented, using charcoal and white conte on grey paper
Week 5: Drawing Hair
  • Draw a variety of objects using charcoal with white conte on grey Mi-Teintes paper using the construction drawing method
Weeks 6 and 7: Final Project
  • Begin your project: A self-portrait or portrait of someone you know and see often
  • Your portrait will be drawn on the smooth side of grey Mi-Teintes paper using charcoal and white conte
End of Unit Quiz

Test your knowledge of what you have learnt in the previous seven weeks.

The Portraiture Foundations student experience

Take a closer peek at the portraiture lessons and the wonderful results that are possible when you study this course.

Unit 4: Perspective and Proportion (medium: graphite pencil)

Draw objects from your imagination with amazingly accurate proportions by learning the rules of perspective with our colour-coded easy step-by-step process.

Perspective and Proportion Lesson Plan

Week 1: Introduction to Perspective
  • Introduction to Perspective
  • Practice one-point Linear Perspective through drawing various objects using a step-by-step procedure
  • Use Freehand Perspective to draw wooden floor boards in a fun exercise
  • Complete a simple interior with floor tiles using one-point perspective
Week 2: Drawing in Perspective
  • Learn to draw a basic rectangular shape from both interior and exterior view in one-point perspective
  • Draw a book case and then a fence using freehand perspective in one-point perspective to learn the rules of dividing and spacing objects as they recede into the picture plane
  • Learn to draw an accurate ellipse in perspective
Week 3: Two Point Perspective
  • Progress from one point perspective into basic two and three-point perspective by drawing a simple house from an exterior view
  • Draw an open door and steps to further expand your knowledge of basic perspective
Week 4: Sighting Technique
  • Learn how to use the sighting technique to help you measure proportions of objects that are at a distance away from you
  • Draw simple objects from life using the sighting method
Week 5: Practice Drawing in Perspective
  • Draw an imaginary interior room in one point perspective using a basic template then decorate it with simple objects of your choice using either one or two point perspective
Weeks 6 and 7: Final Project
  • Begin your project: An exterior drawing in graphite pencil of a building in three-point perspective. You will be using the rules of perspective in combination with the grid method. Once you have drawn the image you will then be given the option to apply a variety of textures to shade this drawing.
End of Unit Quiz

Test your knowledge of what you have learnt in the previous seven weeks.

The Perspective and Proportion student experience

See how a real student journeys through the perspective and proportion lessons to master this essential drawing skill.

Unit 5: Coloured Pencil Techniques and Colour Theory (medium: coloured pencil)

Every artist needs the ability to mix colour properly, lay colour pencil onto paper in the correct way and have a toolbox of techniques to get the desired effect. During this unit you will unlock the secrets to creating great looking results with coloured pencil.

Coloured Pencil Lesson Plan

Week 1: Twelve Colour Pencil Techniques
  • Getting to know your colour pencils; the advantages and disadvantages.
  • Introduction to the traditional colour wheel
  • Learn to read the traditional colour wheel
  • Learn how to use light, medium or heavy pressure along with either a sharp or dull tip to create textured and non-textured areas of tone
  • Learn to draw twelve popular coloured pencil strokes
Week 2: Six Popular Colour Schemes
  • Using your new skills, you will produce a colour swatch using the twelve hues of the colour wheel plus earth hues and neutrals
  • Learn six popular colour schemes
  • Select one of the colour schemes and colour in the abstract drawing provided
Week 3: Learn to See Colour as Tone
  • Learn to see colour as tone
  • Create a Colour Temperature Scale then a coloured pencil drawing of a sphere to help you understand how to create the illusion of depth, space and form through the use of tone, hue and the temperature of colour
Week 4: Sighting Technique
  • Continue to learn how to use the properties of colour, Hue, Chroma and Value to depict form
  • Learn how to layer and juxtapose colours to create various textures and from while drawing a realistic drawing of an apple
Week 5: Draw a Gorgeous Flower with Burnishing
  • Realistic drawing to practice many of the skills you have learned in this course so far. You will be taken step by step from the very first outline drawing through the final layers of fine details.
Weeks 6 and 7: Final Project – Luscious Strawberry
  • Match your colours – Do your best to mix and match your colours similar to the reference photo provided in your notes. Suggested colours will be provided for you as ideas
  • Use layering, partial layering and juxtaposing along with the five major areas of light and shade to create the realistic drawing ‘Luscious Strawberry’
  • Use tiny amounts of acrylic paint to create highlights or reflected light areas
End of Unit Quiz

Test your knowledge of what you have learnt in the previous seven weeks.

The Coloured Pencil Techniques student experience

Take a look at the incredible artworks a real DrawPj student creates in the coloured pencil drawing lessons.

Unit 6: Compose Original Art (medium: your choice!)

Composition is the final area of study which brings the previous five units of study together. You’ll learn the secret to the three major stages that can be used to transform a simple idea into a fully completed original artwork.

Compose Original Art Lesson Plan

Week 1: Heart and Soul Stage
  • An introduction to the study of Composition and the three major processes used in this unique course, to compose original art
  • An example of the artistic and emotional process involved in creating an original artwork from just a simple thought
  • Stage One: The Heart and Soul Stage: learning to include your little sketch book in your whole life. This little book which needs to be used long before you show up at the table to create your final artwork
  • Learn where original ideas can come from and explore ideas for possible drawings and paintings through writing
  • Create Thumbnail Sketches to help you bring your subconscious thoughts into the conscious by learning to use loose simple sketches
Week 2: Six Popular Colour Schemes
  • Stage Two: The Planning stage; how to take an idea into a finished artwork by using the rules of composition combined with onsite sketching and other reference materials
  • Ten aspects of composition to consider which can help you to create successful and balanced compositions every time
  • Draw a series of rough visuals (thumbnail sketches) using the rules of composition and several different compositional structures presented
Week 3: Thumbnail Sketch
  • Prepare your own reference library or ‘Treasure Chest’ to trigger your creativity
  • This could contain magazine clippings, holiday photographs, material samples,various objects and memorabilia gathered from opportunity shops, outings or from your everyday life experiences
  • Compose a small original drawing as a rough-visual ready to paint in week five
Week 4: Draw a Stylised Artwork
  • Make any necessary changes to your composition from week three by refining your drawing and then transfer the image to your quality paper
  • Six popular colour schemes; a refresher course from Unit Five
  • Learn about three different art styles and research online or in art books to discover artists (either modern day or the great masters) who are using these painting and coloured pencil art styles.
  • Choose from one of the three different drawings to experience creating an art style.
Week 5: Complete Your Practice Project
  • Select a colour scheme and one of the art styles you researched in week four to draw your image that was created in week two; or design a new image to suit your preferred art style
Weeks 6 and 7: Final Project – Your Original Artwork
  • Produce an original artwork of your choice within the themes of either still life, landscape or an interior. The medium will be coloured pencil on paper. You may select an art style from the selection of drawing styles researched in week four or one of your own. You must fulfil as much of the grading criteria as possible
End of Unit Quiz

Test your knowledge of what you have learnt in the previous seven weeks.

The Compose Original Art student experience

See how a real DrawPj student completes the lessons in the composition unit and creates a wonderful original artwork as a grande finale!

Study with your instructor in 5 easy steps

Step 1.

Read the course notes and watch the videos


Step 2.

Complete your weekly exercises or project (2 to 4 hours per week)

Step 2.

Scan or photograph your drawings

Step 4.

Email your drawings to your instructor


Step 5.

Your Instructor will provide detailed video feedback or a written critique.

Begin your drawing journey today!

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