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The very first step is planning. Here are a few things we need to sort out in this step: is the lighting perfect? Is my sitting position getting the best angle for the painting? And where am I going to put the main subject on my paper?
If you have the answers for the above questions, then you are ready to start. I use a regular number 2 pencil to draw a rectangle to show my painting area. You do not need to draw a rectangle like this when you use the entire paper.
Now I am drawing the outline of the main subject, the lemon here. As you can see, I use short, straight lines. Each session of the line reflects my observation and thought. Do not draw and paint without careful observation, because we want our drawing and painting to carry our response and feeling of the moment.
After you drew the outline of the main subject, pause for a couple of seconds, think, is this what I want? Is there a better way? If you are sure that you have done what you intended to do, then go ahead to add more marks to the drawing.
Now I include the placement of the cast-shadow and the lines which divide the light and shadow on the lemon. I also circle the place for the highlight area and mark where the background changed its dimension.
Drawing is a way for us to record our thoughts of how we plan for the painting. The composition is important, so spend enough time to figure out what you want, before proceeding to the next stage.