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The preliminary drawing classes offered at TCNJ are a great source of learning and executing a drawing practice. The course is designed for students who are starting out in fine arts and are still trying to find their interest. For those who are already aware of their niche, the class’ structure helps students to find and create personal style. Here are some tips to help get you through:

open mind

1. Be Open Minded

Many art students walk into this class having a fairly good idea of what they want to pursue. Often, the aspirations are outside of a drawing practice. However, this class teaches you just how important drawing is to almost any other form of art and how they directly relate to each other. This class will help students appreciate the work put in drawing.

Image result for artists charcoal

2. You will Go Through Charcoal

Make sure you have plenty of charcoal on hand. These six hour classes require drawing after drawing to be computed. Many people overestimate how much they can get out of a piece of charcoal. They often only last for two or three images, depending on the values being achieved. Just keep this in mind when buying supplies.

Image result for hands covered in charcoal

3. Get Used to Being Dirty

Not only does this class use an insane amount of charcoal, it is only after intense scrubbing after class that you discover that the charcoal does not wash away easily. Despite being a powder at this point, it stains fingers and cuticles. If this is truly bothersome, the best thing to alleviate it to bring wet wipes to class and wipe your hands as often as you can.

bored4. Be Patient

This class is six hours long. It is monotonous. It is repetitive. It is because of these unkindly characteristics that the class is so effective. They say that practice makes perfect and the constant repetition is the practice.

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5. Try New Things

People tend to think that drawings are only successful if they are life-like. Here, the professors introduce a few different ways to capture gesture and emotion. Different techniques do include realism, abstraction, straight line only, scribbles and an endless amount more. This class teaches some of this but more importantly, gives you the push to try them on your own.


6. Use the Sketchbooks

It does get boring for some people, but as stated earlier, practice does make perfect. The sketchbook is another outlet for creative thought and practices, it just gets frustrating doing them every day. If the professor assigns them to be done everyday, which they often do, be careful not to fall behind. You don’t want to find yourself covered in charcoal the night before they are due.

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7. Keep up with Readings

Just like any other class, the drawing classes may require weekly readings. They are supposed to sync up with whatever is being emphasized for that week. Do the readings to get ahead and get inspiration and prompts for your sketchbooks.

do the reading

8. Use the Studio

The drawing studio is accessible outside of the class periods. It is a great environment to work in because of the minimal flowing traffic. It is easy to set up (especially with larger drawings) all of the supplies you will be using, including the object for observation. The studio is provided, and there is little to no distraction. Use it to your advantage.

Image result for TCNJ art department drawings

Drawing classes at TCNJ are a great resource for obtaining skills that will be used elsewhere, especially by those pursuing art in any form. No matter your current skill, it never hurts to go back to the basics to build the foundation for those skills. With these tips, the class is sure to be beneficial to your future.


Samantha Leigh

Studying at TCNJ as an art student of the class of 2021.

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