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Exploring Drawing Large!

Hi everybody, following on from our post drawing small, we are now going to practice drawing large.



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It’s up to you what “large” means to you. It will depend on the space and materials you have, and might just be 4 pieces of A4 stuck together, or you may have some old wall paper that you can draw on the back of, or even an old white board you could use. The important thing is that instead of feeling like you are making tight, small drawings, you feel like you are able to make drawings which are looser, and, most importantly, that when you draw you can feel yourself using your whole arm is moving at the shoulder and the elbow, as well as the wrist. 

Let’s get started.

large drawings

You Will Need:

Drawing Materials:
Ideally choose a drawing material which will show up when you are drawing large. This might be a chunky chalk or wax crayon, a chunky marker pen, or a piece of soft graphite if you have one. It could even be a few felt tips or pencils taped together. 

Drawing Surface:
If you have large sheets of paper then great, if not you could use A4 sheets taped together to make a larger piece, or you could open out a cereal box or large envelop to make a larger drawing surface. You might use the back of some old wall paper, or a whiteboard if you have one. You could even use chalk on the pavement. Don’t worry about the “state” of the drawing surface being “perfect”.

Drawing Subject Matter:
Choose an object or two from the “drawing small” drawing exercise.

Large drawing

The aim of this exercise is to experiment with making looser, more gestural drawings, by drawing using the whole arm. “Gestural drawing” is a type of drawing in which you try to capture the simplicity of the object in loose, sketchy marks. This is not a neat, tight exercise, instead have fun using free, flowing lines. 

Before you start drawing, spend a moment taking a close look at the object you have chosen to draw. Let your eye explore the object.

Next, look at your blank sheet of paper, and just imagine, without making any marks, how you might create a loose sketchy version of the object on the page. Imagine your arm and hand moving quickly to create the drawing. Where will your first stroke be? How will it fill the page? Don’t worry over these things, just enjoy imagining your drawing before you actually start.

When you are ready begin to make flowing lines on the page to describe your subject matter. Be aware of how your whole arm is moving. Become aware of the rhythms made by your arm and your marks. Let your drawing build over a few minutes, and if some lines seem out of place, just create new lines in new places. 

Remember to keep looking at the thing you are drawing, as much as you look at the drawing. It’s so easy just to look at your drawing but try your best to keep flicking your glance between subject and drawing, all the time you draw. 

Fill the page, and enjoy seeing tiny made large. And keep it loose.

Extension Activity

Change your position when drawing. Make a drawing when you are crouching over your paper, make a drawing standing up… How does your position effect the freedom of your arm and the marks you make?

Arthur Beresford Jones

Large drawing

Arthur Beresford Jones

Arthur Beresford Jones


Acknowledgment ideas and photographs acquired from