Lesson 1 – Introduction

This is the start of a series of lessons designed to help you build a solid foundation of life drawing skills, with the end goal being expressive drawings in your own style. We’ll go through a straightforward and doable drawing process and a set of exercises designed to help you develop the skills in those lessons.

After this lesson… you’ll understand what this course is about

You can watch this lesson in this video, or read it below.

The lessons and exercises come from Mayko – an award winning artist and figure drawing expert, and me, a life drawing student that understands the challenges, because I’m still going through them everyday.

Example of Mayko’s life drawing. She uses vibrant colours and hatching, but the underlying structure is essential to the natural and lifelike feel of the drawing. That’s what we are concerned with in this course.


Again, it’s the basic movement lines and foundation construction – things we focus on in this course – that underpins this dynamic drawing

You’ll only really improve through practice, so to make the most of the mini-course, you’ll need to do the exercises and general figure drawing practice regularly.

Before getting into drawing techniques, we need to talk about the learning process itself.

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First steps

With drawing, the information to practice time ratio is insane. It can take 10 minutes to take in a piece of how-to information, and then take hundreds of hours to actually be able to do that thing well.

So if you take in a large variety of technical advice quickly, you are creating a huge burden of practice debt for yourself.

The tricky thing is that there is so much information out there. Not only is there a large quantity, but a lot of it is advanced and requires a solid foundation before it’ll be useful.

There’s videos detailing expert artists’ drawing processes, ‘everything you need to know about perspective’ books and ‘comprehensive anatomy’ video series and so on.

Many of these are brilliant and extremely useful. Experts have so much information and skill, and they want to show it all to you, which is really generous of them, but there’s a couple of problems.

But there’s a phenomenon called the ‘expert blindspot’, where experts forget all the steps – the temporary failures, bad practices and repetitions – that they needed to get through on their own journey.

The second difficulty is that with so much knowledge out there, it’s easy to forget that you are also aiming to be expressive and go beyond just technique towards creativity. The freedom of your lines, your unique observations and your own aesthetic style can suffer if you’re consumed with technical knowhow and academic correctness.

Mayko and I struggled with this as she tried to teach me – she didn’t realise all the little things I didn’t know, the steps I needed to take before I could learn more advanced things. Beautiful art demonstrations would leave me a bit inspired, but also lost when it came to actually draw.

We have worked through that, and we’ve created this little beginner course, where we can take our first steps together at a challenging but doable pace, and have a good time while we do it.

The big adventurous journey

Learning to draw isn’t a sprint, or a marathon, it’s a big adventurous journey.

We have a rough idea of where we want to go, but we don’t need to know every detail of the journey yet.

We may be tempted to try to teleport straight to the destination, but a) it’s not possible and b) where’s the fun in that?

We just need to start taking steps, and also know the next few streets to walk down.

So what are those first steps?

If you are at the start of the adventure, we would suggest you spend a lot of time learning to build your drawings, rather than print them. This means not trying to draw the figure in detail bit by bit, like a printer would.

Instead, approach it like you’re building – start with a very rough plan, and then build a basic foundation.

Then start to flesh out the drawing with a focus on the most important lines and shapes, still keeping things very simple. Finally, add the last little flourishes of detail.

In other words, develop your observational skills so that you can simplify what you see into the most important shapes and lines, starting with the most fundamental, and simply and slowly adding layers with increasing levels of information in them.

This building process is what this ‘first steps’ mini-course is all about. We are aiming to give you some doable technical advice, and coupling it with plenty of practice so that you can actually ‘get it’, before moving to the next step.

It’ll only work if you regularly undertake the exercises we’ve designed for you. It’ll require a little patience, but we’ll be taking real steps pointing squarely at your goal together.

Try not to rush the process. Each skill needs time and practise to develop.

We are going to add more exercises and additional lessons to supplement this course, so be sure to stay up to date with what we’re making for you by subscribing to our YouTube channel, our newsletter below, our Facebook page and our Instagram page. Thanks for watching!


Next lesson: Lesson 2: Movement lines

Avoid the big mistake that led to all my other mistakes

Get the free guide - 'Life Drawing Success'

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  • John February 3, 2018   Reply →

    Thanks very much , enjoy your drawing lessens very much and they are really great
    Thanks. John

    • Kenzo February 3, 2018   Reply →

      Thanks John, really appreciate your kind comment 🙂


      • Naima May 18, 2019   Reply →

        Hello , how are you, your video incouraged me a lot, I am graphic designer but I wanted to be artist n still I want to, I, had lost my hope I wanted to learn drawing since when I was 20 year old, now I am 35 , I don’t know why n what comes in my why n I stop drawing may be my inner fear , now I feel that I am too late to start please help me I want to live happily which is not yet possible without learning drawing I am sure you will understand me n will respond me. Thank you.

        • Kenzo July 11, 2019   Reply →

          Hi I’m glad the videos are helping. The solution to everything is consistent practice. Even when you don’t want to or you feel like you’re not progressing, keep practising. Good luck!

      • poppapattie@gmail.com June 18, 2021   Reply →

        Hi Kenzo I have been advise to get ststartse with your programe and iam so inteterrsed in your tuturial i have been looking for this step by step programe for some time now and li think i mmight be falling in love with you and you mum ,i am 68 year man just starting out and im sure this is excactly what i have been looking for just hope is not late for me ,once again thank s to you & your mum. DAVE Patterson 68years oll oxford Nother Canterbuury New Zeald mom,0212732711

  • Kamiah Overaa March 5, 2018   Reply →

    I’ve just stumbled across this website and can’t wait to get stuck in. I take weekly life drawing classes, but this is perfect for getting extra practice in. Thank you! – Kamiah Overaa

    • Kenzo March 5, 2018   Reply →

      Hey Kamiah – thanks for your comment, I’m glad we can be of assistance 🙂

  • Victoria Chan May 6, 2018   Reply →

    Hi Kenzo and Mayko,

    Thank you so much for the tutorials and useful resources! I’m afraid I have binge watched quite a lot of them (I couldn’t resist) and have now built up quite a lot of practice debt. It is so inspiring nevertheless. I have never tried life drawing before. I used to think life drawing was ‘formal’ and boring, but your examples have shown it to be so fun and creative. Now I can’t wait to get started.

    Your videos and content are of excellent quality. I also love how short and straight to the point the videos are (especially good for late night binge watching). You website is similarly clean and clear too. I love your style. It all seems too good to be true that all this is available for free and ad-free.

    I’m just wondering, why you are providing this for free. Is this promo for paid online classes later on?

    • Kenzo May 12, 2018   Reply →

      Hey Victoria thanks for your great comment! I’m glad you are enjoying the site and the videos – it’s really nice when someone appreciates the hard work. Doing all this is very rewarding and fun, and helps us with our own art too. We also may put out a paid course one day, if it’s something that people would find really useful. That would help us spend even more time on Love Life Drawing, but we’ll see what happens 🙂 Thanks again, Kenzo

  • Wendy A August 27, 2018   Reply →

    I’ve just found your website and beginners course whilst prepping for a life class I’ve agreed to go to in the coming fortnight. I’m pretty new to drawing and just finished a C&G course, and I want to progress without formal education. I’m pretty nervous and lack confidence. But having just watched the first 2 lessons it’s given me the confidence and inspiration to give it a go. Just about to find the newspaper…………

    Thank you x

    • Kenzo September 24, 2018   Reply →

      Hey Wendy, that’s great to hear! It is tough to have confidence at first, but if you can get through the tricky early stages of learning to draw figures, it gets better and better 🙂

  • Mette F December 27, 2018   Reply →

    I’m so incredibly happy that I found your YouTube channel and website. Not only has it helped me tons with great teqniques and exercises, but it has also helped me improve my mindset. Amazing videos and tutorials – keep up the great work!

    • Kenzo January 4, 2019   Reply →

      Hey thank you so much! I’m really glad our site has been useful 🙂

      • Denese June 9, 2019   Reply →

        Hello my name is Denese and I and I’ve just stumbled onto your site. I’ve been wanting to take art for a while now and have a great interest in digital art however I did not take formal schooling in high school but I have drawn since I was a kid and I wanted to start somewhere. I’m very interested in schooling but I’m finding that I’m lacking a lot of the formal skills that I need to progress. Going to school seems very expensive and I basically have a regular job and I wanted to know if it was worthwhile going through an extensive program. Im very happy to have come across your program so far I’ve seen is very professional and I am looking forward to diving in and learning as much as I can. Something that will help me on my journey as an older person looking to become an artist. I suppose it’s never to late for anything. Thank you.

        • Kenzo July 11, 2019   Reply →

          Hey Denese, you can go to a school or teach yourself. Successful artists have done both. Which will work best for you depends on how you learn best. However, if you go to a school, do a lot of research first. Look at what the students are doing there – check it’s the type of artwork you are interested in!

  • Don January 25, 2019   Reply →

    I think this is great and I am going to give it a go (I am a beginner, again). I have subscribed and received the ‘Life Drawing Success’ guide which sure has me pegged. My only question is I don’t seem to be able to log in? I can find no place to create a password and register. However, I shall begin the Beginner Course immediately. Thanks for this great resource.

    • Kenzo February 9, 2019   Reply →

      Thanks Don and good luck with it! The login is for an older course that’s no longer available. This beginner course is open and free to all, no login required.

  • Abhilash March 6, 2019   Reply →

    Hi Kenzo. This is an awesome course. But I want to know what pencil are you using to draw in the videos. Especially when you drew the rib cage. I tried different graphite pencils and they simply don’t feel right when I draw from the shoulder. The lines are not clear. Can you suggest some pencils to follow through your course.

  • Abhilash March 9, 2019   Reply →

    Hi Kenzo.

    I am finding it exceedingly difficult to get clean straight lines using my shoulder. Right now I am at the rib cage section. Is it okay to quit trying using shoulders and rely on elbow and wrist. I have been trying to draw with my shoulder for the past two weeks without any success.

    • Kenzo May 10, 2019   Reply →

      If it’s messing up your practice Abhilash, no worries to give it a rest and come back to shoulder lines later on.

  • Dave Marshall February 23, 2020   Reply →

    Hello Kenzo
    I have been following your tutorials for awhile now and enjoy them very much. I also get your news letter and am participating in figuary. My question is what is the cost of your up coming course in Canadian currency ?
    Thanks for your dedication to help budding artists.
    Dave Marshall

    • Kenzo October 8, 2020   Reply →

      Hi Dave! Firstly, sorry for not replying to your message until now. Thank you for your message and for your interest in our course. You can find a link for our most recent course here. We are really proud of this course and have already received really good feedback from students about how much they are enjoying it. Take a look and if you would like to join we will be holding it again in early 2021. If you join our newsletter you will be the first to know when course enrolment is taking place. Thanks again.

  • Pat white May 26, 2020   Reply →

    Hi Kenzo-
    I’m really loving your classes.
    After about 40 years it’s great to get back to life drawing which I have been meaning to do for ages!
    The models and poses are fantastic and your tutorials are so helpful.
    I love Meiko’s drawings and wondered what she uses in the coloured ones- pastels or chalks?
    Could you let me know as I’d love to experiment with a bit of colour

    • Kenzo October 8, 2020   Reply →

      Hi Pat, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. I haven’t had a chance to check these comments for a while. Mayko uses soft pastels for her colour images. I hope you get a chance to play around with colours, and it would be great to see anything you come up with shared on our community pages! Take care and thanks for your comment.

  • Joe February 8, 2021   Reply →

    Hello Kenzo,
    Just wanted to say thanks for these lessons, they are greatly appreciated. I’m on lesson 2 involving the Movement Lines and wanted to pass on to others that if you are looking for some great images to practice with then google “judo images” and you’ll get a good variety of dynamic movement images.

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