Adult Learning to Draw for Life

8 Week Course: 2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17 and 3/24.

Fridays 6-7:30pm

Cost: $420 (includes the class fee and cost of room rental)

Max: 7 Students
Min: 3 Students

Location: First Parish in Wayland
225 Boston Post Road, Wayland MA
Youth Room

A list of suggested materials will be provided, and will cost approximately $90. 

Instructor: Mei-Ling Ellerman

“Learning to Draw for Life,” is a popular 8-week beginner drawing course for adults held in person at First Parish in Wayland. Local artist Mei-Ling Ellerman teaches a curriculum that will both support and challenge you to hone your drawing skills. Carefully designed exercises and ample feedback on your drawings will strengthen your skills of observation, which will in turn rapidly improve your ability to draw accurately. In Level I, we will study contour drawing, tonal values, negative space, shading techniques, proportions, perspective, and color. You will practice the fundamentals of drawing by drawing subjects ranging from animals to fruit and botanical drawings. You will also learn to use different mediums including graphite pencils, colored pencils, and conte crayon pencils like the Old Masters. My students are always surprised at how quickly they learn and start to develop an artist’s eye. 


Cancellation Policy


In the fall of 2021, I took a painting class at The W Gallery and loved it, but realized that my next step should be a drawing class, so I signed up for Mei-Ling Ellerman's 8-week "Learning to Draw for Life Level I" class on Zoom through The W Gallery. As a complete beginner, I was amazed at how much I learned and accomplished in just a few classes. Mei-Ling is a truly gifted teacher who taught us how to truly see our subjects in terms of light and dark and transfer those values onto paper. Mei-Ling continually shared her expertise on types of drawing paper, pencils, tools, and styles. She expertly guided us though short exercises and longer projects each week. I loved the class so much that I immediately took her next 8-week class (Level II) on Zoom focusing on figure drawing and portraiture. Again, I learned so much and look forward to taking more of her classes.    - Sarah

I initially signed up for Mei-Ling’s drawing class with some trepidation. Although I really wanted to learn to draw, I wasn’t completely convinced that I could learn. I’ve been a painter for about ten years but I paint abstractly because I had never developed the art of drawing. Fortunately, Mei-Ling is a wonderful teacher – she is very supportive and encouraging. She broke down each assignment into manageable parts and gave very helpful feedback at each step in the process. After a few weeks, I realized that with some guidance and practice, I really could learn to draw!! I loved the class and am now taking her follow-up class which focuses on figure drawing and portraiture.      - Judi Stein

Making a Viewfinder Device

1 piece of approximately 8x10 inch glass/acrylic/transparent stiff material – this is your picture plane. You can use a larger piece of glass but create a wider frame from black paper which still reduces your viewing area to approximately 6x8 inches.
Note: If you are using glass from a frame, you may want to fold pieces of masking/painter’s tape around it to protect yourself from the edges and to make it slightly less breakable.
1 Erasable whiteboard marker (preferably black)
1 Sharpie (ideally medium to fine tip. You can use the erasable marker if you don’t have a sharpie, but draw on the other side of the glass)
Piece of black or dark paper

1) Using a ruler, draw a line down the center of the glass horizontally and vertically, like crosshairs, with the permanent marker (or the erasable marker if you don’t have a permanent marker). If you use the erasable marker, then flip the glass over when you attach the black frame.
2) Cut the black paper to the same size as your picture plane, 8x10 etc. Draw an X on the paper, so that each line starts at one corner and runs to the corner diagonal to it.
Then, if you have an 8x10 piece of paper, measure one inch from the edge on all sides, but connect the lines where they touch the X. This will form a rectangle, that you can cut out, and it will leave you with approximately a 1-inch rectangular frame for the viewfinder. You can just tape it on.

Supply List

Supplies: A good online resource with discounted prices is Dick Blick. They also have stores but with a limited supply. Some supplies will be available on Amazon or at Michaels.

~ Strathmore 400 white Drawing Pad (or a similar pad) 11”x14” (also available on Amazon or Michaels/Craft stores)
~ Strathmore Toned Gray Mixed Media pad 11”x14”
~ 1 rubber or plastic and 1 kneaded eraser (square grey)
~ 5 Graphite pencils: 2H, 2HB, 4B, 6B, 8B
~ Tortillon/blending tool
~ Pencil sharpener
~ Conte crayons in Pencil form (not the rectangular crayon sticks)– Black, white, and at least two red/skin color pencils. You can buy a set like Conté à Paris 6-Count Sketching Pencils Set, $16 on Amazon.
~ Colored pencil set, with at least 24 pencils, such as Prismacolor Premier or Faber-Castell Polychromos. Prismacolor pencils are more affordable, rich in color, and are fine for everyday art. My students tend to buy Prismacolor. Artists who focus on animal and botanical drawings tend to use Faber-Castell Polychromos, which are significantly more expensive, but layer better and are likely more erasable. Either are fine.
~ Small mirror for self-portrait (first class), either a small standing mirror or a mirror you can prop up at face level.
~ Viewfinder Tool (you will make one to use starting the second week). Requires a sheet of 8x10 glass (such as from a cheap photo frame), erasable black marker (whiteboard marker), a sharpie (indelible marker), and a sheet of black paper/construction paper.
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