Iguana Art Academy

Sample Lesson (Drawing Essentials 1)

Welcome! I am Tim Chambers and I am glad to share with you an excerpt of one of our course lessons here at Iguana Art Academy. We offer courses in a variety art genres, including drawing, film, video, painting, with more in the works.  This lesson is Lesson 5 from Drawing Essentials, and we’re learning how to achieve a 3-dimensional look in our drawings. All courses at Iguana Art Academy follow the lesson format that you see below.

Every Iguana Art Academy lesson consists of a presentation (video or slide) and an assignment. Within each presentation students will enjoy five helpful segments:

  1. Welcome: an introduction to the session
  2. The Art Life: a visit to the teacher’s studio for a glimpse into the life of a professional artist
  3. Review: refresh of the previous lesson’s highlights
  4. Lesson: consists of:
    • instruction discussing concepts and principles
    • preview of the lesson assignment
    • a demonstration of the assignment that takes all the guesswork out of the assignment with step-by-step photos and guidance!
  5. Art History: most lessons include a visit to the Iguana Museum of Fine Art (IMOFA), which houses an amazing collection of fine art sure to inspire as you enjoy beautiful examples of what you are learning in class.
  6. Assignment: every Iguana lesson has an assignment that enables you to put into practice what you’ve learned. Assignments are geared to be done in a reasonably short time (though you can devote additional time if you like) and are challenging (consistent with course level).

Enjoy lessons at your own pace. The Iguana method will help you successfully apply each lesson’s concepts and techniques and have a good time doing so! We have found that our “book” format, with its step-by-step illustrated format is more effective than video. You can move through the slides by clicking on the arrows (backward / forward). As with all lessons, you’ll find assignment details below. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.



Every lesson includes clear guidelines, goals, and tips to help you apply what you’re learning. What you see on this sample page is identical to what you will see on your lesson pages.

Assignment Goals: to identify planes and their changes in value from one another.

Materials needed: 4H/HB & 6B pencils, sharpener, sketchbook/paper, stick of butter with wrapper.

AS5 Guidelines:

Follow the step-by-step examples I gave you. Review the lesson via the recording or the slide pdf on the Previous Recordings page.

  1. Set up a still-life consisting of your stick of a freshly unwrapped (not melted!) stick of butter resting on a table. Rotate the butter/wrapper until the shading looks pleasing to you.
  2. Draw, keeping in mind:
    1. Sketch your lay-in lightly with your 4H pencil
    2. Shade slowly, patiently, comparing the value of each plane
    3. Show me the difference between the horizontal & vertical planes, the butter, wrapper, and table top
  3. Review. Step away from your drawing, then come back and see if there’s anything that jumps out to you as being ‘off’. Get someone else’s opinion, too.
  4. Shoot/Scan your drawing as described on the Photographing your Assignments in the FAQ section on the class webpage. Before submitting your image, edit it in a photo editor so it looks as good as your drawing. You can use the onsite Aviary editor or go to www.picmonkey.com to edit your image.
  5. Save your edited image, naming it exactly as “FirstName-LastName,AS5” (e.g. “Tim-Chambers,AS5”)
  6. Upload to the IAG. Instructions found in Student Resources.
  7. Visit your class’s IAG (Iguana Assignment Gallery) to share encouraging feedback with your peers! *Make sure you’re logged in with your personal account when uploading to and viewing the IAG.


What is the IAG? That’s our Iguana Assignment Gallery, where students upload their assignments and share feedback in an interactive gallery and chat format as shown here. For how it works, visit our IAG FAQs page.

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