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Session Four

Draw Your Hometown!

Capture a familiar image in a new, expressive way.

So far in our classes, we’ve been working on making drawings based on feelings and ideas rather than objects that exist in the world.  But in this session, we are going to focus on doing a drawing derived from a specific reference point. 

In this case, you will be drawing your hometown. And while the image of the place is certainly familiar to you, you’ll go about in ways that I hope will be new and expand your creative reach.

In a traditional approach, you might make a drawing of a certain object – a building, park, tree, landscape — that you’ve seen in your town.  But in our expressive drawing approach, you will be trying to “re-present” a few chosen bits and pieces of your town in a stream-of-consciousness manner.



  • Pad of drawing paper.
  • Drawing media of your choosing such as a pencil, charcoal, pastels, crayons, watercolor pencils, or conte crayon. Or you might prefer wet media such as acrylic, watercolor, inks, etc.
  • As always – you can also complete the assignment with computer drawing tools, if that’s your preference.



Step One: Create a Sampler

Your first assignment is to visit as many different locations in your town as you can:

The downtown area, a park, your local mall, a favorite intersection.  Take time to observe things closely and carefully, and then find shapes and lines, movements and textures that interest you. You can find them in the smallest things—such as a fire hydrant—or in grander things, such as a big church or office building.

Chose at least five specific reference points to focus on, but don’t attempt to replicate what you see.  Instead, draw your impressions using these lines and shapes – not precise representations, but bits and pieces of them. One good way to do this is by cutting out a square in the center of a piece of paper to create a “frame” to look through.

  • Some of your representations may be as simple as two lines, others may be more complex.  But soon, you will have a sheet or sheets full of raw material you can work from.  Think of the way many writers work: They jot down bits and pieces of conversation they overhear in a coffee shop or descriptions of things they see, which they then use in their stories.  Similarly, you are gathering raw material that will be the basis of your drawing.
  • If you don’t feel like drawing outside, you can create your sampler at home by working from memory: recollections of bits and pieces of things in your experience of your town. Remember, you don’t need to render a precise likeness. Instead, draw symbols, such as a triangle on top of a square to represent a house.


Step Two: Draw your Composite

 Now you’re ready to make your composite drawing:

 First place your samplers close by so you can refer to them.  Choose one or two elements and draw them on a blank piece of paper. Continue this approach: Look back and forth between your samplers and your drawing. As soon as you have an urge to add another element, put it in there, wherever you wish. Repeat the process again and again.

As in previous sessions, keep adding things until nothing else occurs to you to do. At any point, if you like your drawing the way it is, stop. You are done.

Finally, don’t forget to upload your image into our community so others can comment on your work.  Also, take the opportunity to comment on the work of your fellow artists. The community we are creating includes you and your fellow students and depends on your giving feedback and support to each other.

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