Coursework – Freehand Sketching

Freehand sketching is a massive part of both the Junior and Leaving Certificate DCG subject, but it is also relevant to many other aspects of life. Effective sketching is another form of talking and thinking. It allows us to solve and communicate various ideas and problems that we encounter in every day life.

It allows us to develop our visualisation skills and spatial awareness by sketching out objects of various shapes, sizes and orientations in which we can then piece together to visualise the problem and solution. Its also the most effective way of communicating an idea or design across to others as the old saying goes ’a picture paints a thousand words’.

Since this is a Transition Year Module, the freehand sketching course has been broken up into 4 simple lessons which should be completed over a 2 – 3 week period. These lessons cover Sketching upside down, 2 Dimensional shapes, 3 Dimensional objects and Shading.

The Sketching upside down lesson is based on a theory developed by Betty Edwards which involves forcing the observer to activate the right side of the brain. This is done by confusing the observer with an image that is upside down as many people are left brain dominant. The left brain automatically switches off due to confusion and the right brain switches on and focuses in on  specific lines and curves rather than trying to understand the whole image, which step by step gradually depicts the initial image.


This theory was chosen for lesson 1 as many students lack self-belief in their sketching skills, which is where this lesson counter-acts their preconceptions and instils a belief that they actually can sketch.

Lesson 2 builds on the students newly found self belief by breaking away from the grid paper and forcing the students to develop their skills by practicing and working on  questions which aim to improve their sketching of lines and curves.

Lesson 3 further develops their knowledge and technique by introducing the students to 3 Dimensional objects which incorporates all the skills that the students have learned to date.

Lesson 4 aims to enhance the students communication skills by introducing them to the correct method of shading sketches. This lesson covers line shading along with tone and texture and how these techniques help to communicate a clear and vibrant sketch.

Click on the images on the left-hand side of the page to navigate into a particular lesson.