Introduction to Classical Drawing (Graphite)

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For those who have completed “Classical Sketchbook” and are ready for more challenge: This 8-week course is a series of skill-building exercises designed to prepare students for Bargue Plate Drawing and Cast Drawing with Graphite.

Classical Sketchbook for Beginners is included FREE with purchase of this course, and we recommend doing it first.

Both Intro to Classical Drawing and Classical Sketchbook for Beginners are included FREE with Bargue Plate Drawing and Cast Drawing with Graphite.

The materials list for this course is in the tab at the top of this page.


Introduction to Classical Drawing is a deep dive into intensive skill-building pencil exercises. Just as a classical musician starts with learning scales to develop hand dexterity and tone perception, the classical art student practices essential skill-building exercises that develop hand dexterity and visual perception. Think of these lessons as scales for the visual artist.

Artists who devote at least six months exclusively to classical drawing find that when they return to painting, their painting abilities have advanced significantly: Far more so than if they had devoted that time to painting alone. The greatest painters of art history, from Michelangelo through Sargent, were first trained in Classical drawing.  

Please note: This course is taught at a standing easel. If you need to sit, we recommend using a high stool. It’s not possible to do the exercises correctly while seated at a desk or drafting table. Easel recommendations are on our Help page under Home Studio Setup.

Course Duration
For those who are able to practice 5-10 hours a week, the course can be completed in about 8-12 weeks. There are no due dates or deadlines for our courses, so students can start at any time and work at their own pace.

Course Sequence
For those who would like to follow Sadie’s recommended program of study, we recommend starting with Intro to Classical Drawing and progressing through completing at least one Bargue Plate with Graphite. At that point, continue on to Cast Drawing with Graphite, or any of the charcoal drawing courses, or any of the painting courses. For members who are working with our instructors, we are happy to help you decide.

Video Content Running Time: 3 hours

Course Purchaser Testimonial
This has been the class I’ve been looking for since rekindling my love and desire to draw and paint again some years ago. A method of progressive learning to see and to understand what I’m looking at and a means to break the subject into manageable steps and pieces a little at a time. I started [2.5 months ago] and already feel and see a change in my abilities and my confidence. I have also appreciated finding others that have the same desire to strive and achieve a level of realism, which has given me permission and validation to do the same. A feeling that I’ve carried throughout my life but have felt somewhat out of step with the creatives around in my community. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
— Michelle, Intro to Classical Drawing and Bargue Plate Course Purchaser