Monthly Archives: May 2017

5 Important Things to Learn How to Draw

1. Find the Best Drawing Tools for You

The first step of learning to draw is figuring out what drawing tools you want to work with and gaining an awareness of what your chosen drawing medium is capable of. Working with a graphite pencil is quite a different experience and utilizes a completely different process than working with a stick of charcoal, oil pastel, pen and ink or colored pencil. Drawing Secrets Revealed by Sarah Parks and the video download Top 10 Art Techniques can really help you reach your fullest potential by giving you an understanding of the different drawing techniques used with different drawing media. For example, if you want to really work on your mark-making with an emphasis on hatching or cross-hatching, you’ll probably want to work with graphite. For more expressive marks, reach for charcoal.

2. Use Mistakes as a Lesson

When you start to draw the first thing you will want to do is loosen up—literally. You want to draw fluidly and spontaneously, so the first thing I was always taught to do is warm up with exercises like drawing circles or cubes. This gets your hand and eye working in concert and can bring about a certain level of focus that you’ll need as you start to sketch.

Another of our drawing tips that I’d like to share is to be mindful that as you learn to draw you don’t have to erase. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you must. Oftentimes, “incorrect” marks can be guidelines for you as you zero-in on the right way to draw the curved shape of a vase or tilt of the nose. Leaving those marks—known as pentimenti—is something that master draftsmen have done for centuries, so you can too.

3. Use Negative Space

Drawing for beginners also means learning to see and to draw negative space as well as positive space. In other words, spend time drawing the shapes of the space around objects as well as the objects themselves.

It sounds easy, but oftentimes this basic drawing idea is hard to truly understand until you actually do it. But once you capture a few angles, the negative space will take as much prominence in your drawing as the object you are drawing.

4. Practice by Working with Lines Only

Take time as you work through drawing tutorials to work only with line. Create simple drawings using hatchings and crosshatchings alone. Discover how you can layer line, or use different sides of your implement for smooth and crisp marks or smeary strokes. Decent drawing tutorials will tell you the same because drawing basics like this are what allow you to really command the best from the medium, be it graphite, charcoal, pastels, or any other implement you choose to draw with.

5. Don’t Use Symbols

One of the best drawing exercises you can practice involves symbols or, actually, resisting the temptation to use symbols. You see, when you start to learn drawing, there is always the urge to draw objects or figures as shapes, ovals for eyes for example. But in reality, the structure and shape of eyes is nothing like an oval. Instead, you must use light and shadow and proportion to truly capture a person’s eyes in your drawing.

To practice this, sit in front of a mirror with a lamp tilted over your face to create strong light and shadow shapes. Practice creating a basic drawing of the abstract shapes of light and shadow on the features of your face. Creating a drawing step by step in this way frees you to see abstractly and that is the secret to drawing art. You learn to draw what you see, not what you think you see.

Steps to Landscape Drawing Imagine Where, When, and How You Will Be Drawing

John Singer Sargent may have been able to start painting landscapes in any location or during any hour of the day, but the rest of us need to select a contemporary landscape painting location based on the time of day, season of the year, and conditions that prevail. One spot might be inspiring in the morning and boring in the afternoon; or the location may require more time to paint than is available. It is therefore important to take into account what the landscape painting conditions are likely to be at the various locations you are considering. Most professionals take note of the locations they pass and try to remember the best vantage point and the optimal time for returning.

Artist Thomas S. Buechner says, “The older I get, the more attractive the subject matter that is closest to the bathroom becomes.” He was joking, of course, but he does try to avoid spending too much time searching for the “perfect” landscape artwork location because there are always a variety of choices available, some more convenient than others.

Artists Matthew Daub and William Hook had much the same advice when they cautioned against the expectation that the landscape would be greener or more picturesque on the other side of the hill, or down the road, or on the other side of the stream. Honored landscape artist Clyde Aspevig, a man of intense personal motivation, picks locations where he can create several good paintings without having to pack up and move his equipment.

If you are looking for more in-depth landscape painting approaches, consider the Oil Painter’s Solution Book on Landscapes, with answers on everything from materials, to brush techniques, and what to paint first.

6 Photography Tips and Tricks for Creating Artwork for Life

1. Memorize the scene before you paint

Don’t forget that when you want to transform a photo into a painting, first look at the scene, person, or composition with your own two eyes if possible. Take in the view, make mental notes, and memorize the scene. Only then take out your camera and photograph your composition carefully.

2. Identify the source of light

As you turn photo into painting, remember that consistency in your treatment of the light source is key to a convincing painting. So look at your photo and ask yourself, where is the light coming from?

3. Illustrate the shadows

Shadows are crucial to study when you are going from photos to paintings. Often times you can lose the light in the shadows with a photograph, so be sure to interpret these hidden areas when it comes time to paint them.

4. Don’t forget to squint

Even when using a photo reference, it is important to squint. You will see patterns in your reference and avoid unwanted patterns on your canvas.

5. Crop the photo thoughtfully before you start painting

Painting from photo references can make you forget that thoughtful cropping of the scene you want to paint or draw is necessary. This will help you reduce a lot of work composing on the canvas. If you take the picture with this in mind, you significantly cut down your workload.

6. Low-res photos are better than high-res ones

You don’t have to paint from photos that are large, with high resolution. Instead, use small photos of low resolution. It will help you to not rush into the details. And small, indistinct reference photos force you to simplify and reduce what you depict.

Our Best Photo Reference Guides

For Landscape Reference Photos

There are several resources that can help you learn to successfully go from photo to painting. The first is a unique photo-painting guide full of landscape photography reference photos. Photo Reference for Artists: Landscapes is full of images that will allow you to create art from photo references that are significant to you. There are over 400 images to choose from so you are sure to garner strong results with whatever image you pick.

For Improving Photo Reference Techniques

One of our editor’s top resources on painting from photographs is the video download, Painting from Photos: Pastels with Maggie Price. In this video workshop, Maggie reveals how to correctly use a photo reference to make artwork that is not just about copying static images but instead gives you convincing and lifelike paintings as a result of careful observation and understanding.

For Water and Sky Reference Photos

And to capture the ever-changing water and skies you see and so want to depict in your landscape paintings, use Photo References for Artists: Water and Skies to help you.  You’ll find compelling images to draw and paint from and more than 400 photo painting references to choose from.

 

This is our Most Popular Book on Color Theory & Color Mixing

1. Color Theory: For Oil and Watercolor

Color Theory: For Oil and Watercolor is the one-of-a-kind resource for conquering color. It’s instantly accessible and I can take it wherever I go—in the studio or out when I am doing color sketching, so I am able to master color theory on my own timeline. What lured me to this eBook is how it teaches me how to select the perfect hue every time—no matter where I am, what the lighting conditions are, or what I am painting. That means when I mix colors, I do it with confidence and the results aren’t muddy or off! And that means finding the joy in color and discovering the ability to make your colors “sing,” according to artist-instructor David Gallup, who compares color theory to musical composition. What could be more appealing than that? And because it is just a click away, I didn’t hesitate to make it mine– the payoff is so huge and important to the development of my art.

2. Color Concepts

Learning how to see and mix colors is crucial, and doing it with pastels is a reward in and of itself because my colors come out so strong, so bold, and so right! That’s the power of Maggie Price’s instruction in Color Concepts, proving that big rewards for art can come in very small packages. This pint-sized resource has become my secret weapon for basic color theory because Maggie tackles practically all the key color concepts, from hue and intensity to value, contrast, color temperature, and more.

3. Color Essentials: A Painter’s Guide

Do you want to reach the next level of sophistication in your painting? Top artist and instructor Lea Colie Wight gets you there! In Color Essentials, your creativity and spontaneity come to the fore. You are handed the tips and strategies of how to mix colors and adjust new color combinations, mix colors that are vibrant, and create color studies that will be the making of great painting after great painting. Color-mixing mastery is at your fingertips with this video download, and it is the gateway to expert color approaches that are completely your own.