Hello art friends!
Here is my mini-collection of drawings and paintings I was able to create this week. This is my third week doing face studies! As you will see, I started using a drawing pen for some of these, which was super fun. I think next week's sketches will be created using ink as well. I was also able to finish up a watercolor painting and started a new oil painting! I will probably finish the oil painting at some point next week and will re-post the finished piece in my next weekly collection post.
Make sure to check out next week's helpful blog post, in which I will be sharing my thoughts about how to stay confident as an artist and sharing your creative work.
Are you obsessed with those cool sketches made by artists that go outside and are able to capture cityscapes or landscapes so realistically AND so fast? Would you like to try plein air drawing or painting but feel like you'll never be able to capture your surroundings realistically? Does the word perspective scare you away or bore you to the point that you abstain entirely from creating artwork that involves different viewpoints from those you are used to?
Perspective is considered to be one of the fundamental components of drawing. A beginner artist may think that it only has to be mastered by landscape or cityscape artists, but this is not the case at all. Understanding perspective and how to create the illusion of depth is essential in order to render believable scenes in all kinds of art, whether it's still-life, interiors, and even animal and portraiture-based artwork. In this post I will explain a few key terms and ideas to grasp before moving on to the One and Two Point Perspective drawing techniques. I will also suggest specific exercises and provide you with downloadable grids that you can use to improve your drawing and visualization skills. With a bit of practice you'll gain the confidence to get out there and start sketching in plein air, which is so important and gratifying as an artist!
I remember first learning very basic perspective in Art class at some point in Elementary school. Our teacher taught us about simple One Point Perspective and we were asked to create a landscape drawing including a path going off into the distance. I remember how my mind was blown back then as I started realizing that creating realistic artwork is quite simply knowing how to apply a series of optical illusions in order to make the viewer believe that a picture has real-life qualities (be it texture, volume, depth, etc.). Later on in life, I learned about more complex perspective in one of my first semesters at university, where I took a SUPER hard course that architecture students took. I was super scared because this class involved numbers, Geometry and being extremely clean/precise. As a child, I had always been terrible at Math and, to the day, I have a tendency to tune out when calculations and numbers come up in conversations! The professor was incredibly strict and took off points for ANY little extra pencil or eraser mark on our assignments, but I passed the course and I honestly learned a ton. That class fast-forwarded my ability to visualize objects in space and gave me the abilities I needed later in order to begin creating realistic art. I promise it is not too hard! If I can do it, you can do it!
Understanding Perspective in Real Life and in Art
Perspective is what gives a picture a sense of three-dimensionality and depth. Take a moment to look out your closest window. Observe how the trees/buildings/houses closest to you appear larger, while the trees/buildings/houses farther from you appear much smaller. Even though the tree closest to you may, in reality, be the same size as a tree farther away from you, they appear to be different sizes to you due to the fact that you are standing at the specific point you are in. Artists must master the ability to create this effect on a flat, two-dimensional surface, be it paper, canvas, or whatever substrate is used. The more complex a picture is, the more important it is for the artist to approach the piece in a methodical and careful fashion.
Take a minute to analyze the following famous masterpiece by the great artist Raphael.
In this fresco we are able to see how the arches in the ceilings get smaller and smaller as they get farther away from us in the distance. Likewise, the human figures that are closest to us in the foreground appear larger that the people located in the middleground (more about these terms later). The combination of all of these things creates a very effective sensation of three-dimensionality, perspective and depth. Isn't it just astounding?
This famous masterpiece is an excellent example of One Point Perspective, which we will get into in a bit. If we place the One Point Perspective grid on top of the artwork, we are able to see how the artist was able to visualize where to effectively place the elements within the painting. Starting our work with a grid made up of straight lines, allows us to better visualize the three-dimensional space which we will place our shapes upon.
Before moving on, here's how the grid applies in a modern picture. Notice how the point at which the lines meet is off center in this image.
Important Art Terms Related to Perspective
Before explaining how to use the One and Two Point Perspective drawing techniques, I would like to just mention a few key art terms we need to be able to understand.
1. Horizon Line
This is the line that separates sky from land (in landscapes) or sky from water (in seascapes). It is also referred to as the "eye-level" of the viewer. The Horizon Line doesn't necessarily have to be right in the middle of your picture. In fact, it is a lot better, compositionally speaking, if it is somewhere below or even above the halfway point of your drawing area.
2. Vanishing Point
The Vanishing Point is placed somewhere on the Horizon Line and it represents the farthest point in your picture. There can be a number Vanishing Points (One Point Perspective has one, Two Point Perspective has two and Three Point Perspective has three). When creating a grid, this point is were the Orthogonal Lines all meet.
3. Orthogonal Lines
Orthogonal Lines (also known as Convergence or Vanishing Lines) are key when drawing perspective. They are diagonal and recede back into the vanishing point(s). A perspective grid can have many Orthogonal Lines or very few of them, depending on the complexity of the picture. The more elements in the picture, the more lines you will probably have to include in your grid.
4. Transversal Lines
These are completely horizontal or vertical lines that are either parallel or perpendicular to the horizon line. They form rectangles or right angles along the grid and are especially useful when drawing interiors (I will provide you with an example in a bit).
5. Vantage Point
The Vantage Point refers to the specific place from which a scene is viewed. This point can actually be very high (referred to as bird's-eye) or very low (referred to as worm's-eye). It is crucial to decide where the Vantage Point is going to be in the very beginning because this will affect the placement and size of all elements within the composition.
Foreground, Middleground and Background are also helpful terms to understand because including a variety of layers within a drawing or painting really helps transmit a sensation of depth. The layer closest to the viewer is referred to as the Foreground, behind it is the Middleground and the layer furthest from the viewer (which in many cases is simply the sky) is the Background. It varies from image to image, but the important thing is that you are able to discern which layers are closest to the viewer and which layers are farther away. This will affect the color placement within the artwork, as well as the sharpness of the elements included in each layer. The image below is an excellent example that illustrates how the elements in the foreground are much more sharp and saturated than the layers behind it.
Finally, foreshortening is a drawing technique that helps us create the illusion of an object/person/animal receding into the distance. The object, person or animal is drawn shorter, in a way that makes it seem as if one part of it is closest to the viewer and the other end is far from the viewer. It is a great way to transmit a sense of depth, even when the only subject included in an artwork is an object or a person. When used in extremes, it creates very interesting artwork. Andrea Mantegna's famous Lamentation of Christ (1480) is an excellent example of foreshortening.
The picture below also shows foreshortening. If you notice, the man's forearm appears wider than the width of his open hand. This is because his forearm is so much closer to us than his hand!
Drawing 3-Dimensional Geometric Shapes
Knowing how to draw three-dimensional geometric shapes is absolutely necessary before moving on to using the One or Two Point Perspective drawing techniques. Why? Because, here in reality, EVERYTHING around us has volume (length, width and height). First, practice drawing simple three- dimensional shapes (use the PDFs at the end of the post titled Geometric_Shapes1 and Geometric_Shapes2 for step-by-step instructions). Once you feel more confident, try placing them within the One and Two Point Perspective grids (I have also included both grids at the end for you to use). If you are already great at this, ignore this step.
When attempting to draw any geometric shape, straight lines are important. This is even more important when creating three-dimensional shapes because they involve parallel lines and angles. Due to this, I recommend using a ruler in the beginning. If you want to get even more technical, bring out your protractor! Keep in mind that, once you have enough practice, you will be able to create 3D shapes without using any straight-edged tools. Unless you are going for a super clean and precise drawing, slight imperfections will not affect the picture if the perspective is successful overall.
How to Apply the One and Two Point Perspective Techniques
One, Two and Three Point Perspectives are referred to as ¨Lineal Perspectives¨, which means that they rely on the use of straight lines to depict a three-dimensional space and the forms within it. In other words, to apply these techniques we will need to prepare for our drawings by creating grids using a ruler. It is important to note that this grid should be created LIGHTLY. Though it will be heavily used throughout the drawing phase, they will be erased later on.
The One-Point Perspective grid is made up of straight lines that converge at the Vanishing Point. Firstly, decide where your Horizon Line will be placed within your drawing area. Secondly, place your Vanishing Point somewhere on your Horizon Line (remember it does not have to be placed right in the center). Then, carefully draw straight lines from one edge of your paper to the other using a ruler, making sure that they all cross at your Vanishing Point. This kind of perspective is excellent to draw simple cityscapes, landscapes and interiors.
My suggestion would be to begin using this technique to draw simple landscapes and focus on adding in different organic elements with believable proportions. Then, master placing three-dimensional geometric shapes within the One-Point Perspective grid to effectively transmit a sensation of depth (see picture below). Afterwards, one can move on to buildings and interiors.
How to do this exercise:
1. Prepare your One-Point Perspective grid (you can download the PDF at the end or draw it for yourself).
2. Draw a few flat (two dimensional) rectangles or squares anywhere on your grid.
3. Pinpoint the corners/angles of your shapes that are closest to the Vanishing Point (see red highlights in the image).
4. Using your ruler, draw straight lines from the corners of your shapes down to the Vanishing Point. Take into account here that there may be two to three lines, depending on where you placed your shape.
5. Finally, close your shapes with vertical or horizontal lines. Remember to make these lines parallel to the lines you used in your initial two dimensional shape.
Take a moment to analyze this important artwork by Van Gogh. Judging by the lines you can see in the image, where would you say the Vanishing Point is located?
The Two-Point Perspective grid is also made up of straight lines that converge at the Vanishing Point, only this time there are two! This grid is going to help us create the effect of viewing objects (think boxes or buildings) as if we are standing on a corner. It is slightly more complex and is often used when drawing buildings in a cityscape or objects at more extreme angles. Let's start practicing! You can decide if you'd like to use the Two-Point Perspective grid I have included at the end of the post, or if you'd like to create it for yourself. Here are the steps you need to follow to make it yourself!
To prepare a Two-Point Perspective grid, I usually start by folding my paper in half both lengthwise and widthwise. The horizontal fold will be my Horizon Line in this case.
Then, decide where your two Vanishing Points will be on this Horizon Line (I recommend placing them at a good distance from each other). You can see in the image below how I placed my two Vanishing Points close to the edges of my paper. I often like to place them at equal distances from the edges and use a ruler to help me do this.
The vertical lines you can see here will be erased and are not really a necessary part of the grid. You can also see that I have folded my paper two more times. Sometimes I like to do this because the folds help me visualize straight lines as I am creating my grids, but they are not necessary either.
Next, create small marks using a ruler right on the central vertical fold on your paper. You can decide how close or far apart you want these marks to be (I recommend somewhere between 1.5 to 2 centimeters to start out).
To finish the grid, carefully draw lines starting at your Vanishing Points and ending at the marks you previously created on the central vertical line. The lines you draw coming from your left and right Vanishing Points should meet, creating a symmetrical/mirrored effect.
By this point your Two-Point Perspective grid should be finished. If you have never used this technique before, I recommend starting out by drawing simple three-dimensional geometric shapes on it. This will help you understand how it works and will set you up for success in your later drawings.
Next, use the grid to create a cityscape! Remember, these buildings are nothing more than rectangular prisms with a few details added in. Nothing to be scared about!
After enough practice, you will be able to easily conclude what kind of drawing technique you need to apply in each project. The sketch below is something I created a while back. Where would you say that the Vanishing Point is located in this case? Remember that even though certain elements are not always visible within a final piece, the artist must always have them in mind when working so that the sense of perspective is achieved at the end.
If you still feel a bit unsure about taking it outside, I recommend searching for pictures of buildings or houses online and apply what you have learned. Draw one single house or building three-dimensionally and move on to groups of houses, then street views, etc. I assure you, you WILL get more and more comfortable. Thanks so much for reading! I hope this helped shed some light on this important topic.
To conclude this post, I leave you with this great da Vinci quote about Perspective:
"Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship… There are three aspects to perspective. The first has to do with how the size of objects seems to diminish according to distance: the second, the manner in which colors change the farther away they are from the eye; the third defines how objects ought to be finished less carefully the farther away they are."
-Leonardo da Vinci
Hey there! This weekly collection includes the five pencil face studies I did this week. This was my second week practicing faces in different angles, which means I have another two to go, at least. I was also able to finish two oil paintings this week and a fun watercolor painting of a little red-eyed frog.
This week was exciting for me because I finally opened my first online shop on Redbubble. Click here to check out the cool stuff that I have created with my artwork and make sure to visit it later because I am still working on scanning more artwork to place on products. Next week I will also be opening a Society6 store and within the next few months, I'm starting on Etsy!
Hope you enjoy and come back soon!
Do you find yourself struggling to find ideas for new artwork? Is it hard for you to keep the momentum going in order to create large quantities of work? Do you frequently end up copying or building upon somebody's pre-existing artwork because you can't seem to think of ideas for yourself? Are you constantly wasting hours looking on Pinterest or Instagram for the PERFECT idea for your next artwork, just to end up creating nothing at all?
All of these worries and anxieties are quite normal for artists to have, especially when one is just starting out. So, firstly, let me just say that you are not alone and, more importantly, you are not less of an artist for experiencing these feelings. Secondly, let me tell you that you are being way to hard on yourself and that it is quite unrealistic to have high expectations for every single piece you create. In this blog post I will explain the mental approach that I have adopted towards creating art and how, by thinking this way, I have managed to keep a steady work flow and creativity blocks at bay. It's actually pretty simple.
I'm sure by now you have heard how, in ancient times, Greeks and Romans believed that creativity came from divine spirits outside and beyond the artist. At the risk of sounding like a control freak (and contradicting Elizabeth Gilbert), I think it is best to believe that WE ourselves have the power of controlling our inspiration levels. How can we possibly be in control of our inspiration, you ask? Well, it is less about waiting around for the PERFECT idea to come to you and more about taking care of yourself as a human being (this is more important that you might think), remaining open, shifting your mindset in order to be more appreciative of life moments, and consistently showing up to do the work (creativity is a muscle that has to be trained/strengthened).
I challenge you to be appreciative of the things around you (people, animals, objects) and to be more mindful of the feelings/thoughts that you are experiencing throughout the day. Pay attention. Be curious. Really observe and try to see things in different perspectives. Put yourself in other peoples' shoes. See the beauty in all things. Take notes. Turn yourself into an open channel. It is actually YOU that decides to turn the inspirational switch on. If you find you are unable to do this, there may be a chance that life has exhausted you and you have to make it a priority to take care of yourself before anything else. It's really incredible how much more productive we can be once we have committed to taking care of our mental and physical health.
I sincerely believe that remaining open, together with an intrinsic desire to improve personal skills and wanting to communicate important ideas to others, should give an artist more than enough fuel to continuously make art. Furthermore, there will always be room to improve artistic skills, whether it is through more technical studies or exploring new mediums/techniques. I have found that these explorations and studies always end up enhancing my work and they allow me to become more confident, which always opens up new possibilities. No matter how talented an artist is, there will ALWAYS be room to grow. What is important is to show up everyday with a desire to improve and progress, instead of waiting for a magical moment to happen.
In all the time I have been drawing and painting, inspiration has never hit me like a sudden lightning bolt. My best artwork so far has always been a result of a brainstorming process, chipping away at an idea, committing to it and allowing myself to enjoy the process. For me, the magical moment occurs after I have decided on an idea and have allowed myself to begin. I get into that magical zone while I draw or paint.
Finally, I want to remind you to take it easy on yourself. Always acknowledge your victories, however small they may be. Do your best to enjoy the process. Always remember this: It's the journey, not the destination.
Specific Ideas to Keep Your Art Flow Going:
1. Stay healthy.
Eat good food. Move more. Make time for your physical and mental well-being. This is the foundation for everything else. If you find you are simply unmotivated to make art, devote time to learning about other topics that interest you, whatever it may be. I find books and documentaries are awesome ways to get inspired.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Focus first on what YOU need to improve or the ideas that YOU want to transmit through your artwork. You can create inspirational Pinterest boards as much as you want, but always value your own work and respect the point you are in in your own journey. Remember that we tend to only see curated galleries of other artists' best pieces. Rarely do we see their failures and their struggles.
3. Make time for exploration.
Try different mediums and styles. Pinpoint what it is about other peoples' work that you find intriguing (color, use of texture, line, etc.) and apply it in an artwork in your own way. Combine different drawing or painting supplies in one same piece. Deliberately try creating "ugly" artwork! Experiment with subjects that you have never attempted before. You never know if you don't try.
4. Talk to other human beings.
It doesn't have to be about art! Ask questions and be interested. Really listen to what they have to say. Sometimes I think about what I have in common with others and what I can create that can resonate with him or her. Art is all about reflecting and connecting!
5. Create a work space that ignites your positive thoughts.
Keep your studio organized. Add decorations that will help relax you and make you happy. I really believe that the environment that surrounds us impacts our mood and creativity.
6. Keep a sketchbook (or several)! If you are ever unmotivated, a sketchbook is able to provide a record for you to see how far you have come. They are also a great way to stay consistent. It is always an interesting exercise to re-work an old drawing or painting in a different way using the skills you have developed since then. Keep a small notebook to write ideas down in as they occur to you throughout the day. Read my post about why it is important to keep a sketchbook as an artist here.
7. Never fear perfection.
Perfection is SO overrated! It is through taking risks that we grow. Nobody is perfect and there will always be room for improvement, no matter who you are. A perfectionist and ever-anxious state of mind will not lead you to create your best work. Read my blog post about the Dangers of Striving for Perfection here.
8. Use your choice of literature, music, movies, photography, etc.
I find ALL kinds of art enjoyable and love using movies, music, literature and photography to get inspired. Think about what it is about that particular movie, song or book that resonates with you and create art based on those ideas/characters.
9. Make note of what you would like to improve and create plans/goals.
Take 30 minutes each week to think about what specific skills you wish to improve (from technical drawing skills to specific techniques or media) and set goals for yourself. Just remember that these goals have to be feasible. Set limits for yourself so you don't get overwhelmed.
I leave you with this quote by amazing artist Chuck Close:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”
Visit artist's website here.
This week I started my days with face sketches. I am pushing myself to draw faces in a variety of angles, which is something I think I need practice in. I was also able to complete my second collage painting based around a picture of my hands. I am really enjoying painting these experimental pieces and am going to continue doing more, which I am selling later. These pieces mean a lot to me because they are the first to actually have a more personal meaning behind them.
I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Cheers!
“Time is the single most important resource that we have.
Every single minute we lose is never coming back.”
Have you ever found yourself getting irritated or anxious after not being able to work on what truly matters to you due to time-consuming “adult" obligations? Do you ever go to bed disappointed with yourself because you weren't able to create as much as you would have liked that day, week or month?
The past few months have been eye-opening for me in terms of realizing how important it is to prioritize tasks and create schedules for myself if I want to succeed as an artist/creative entrepreneur. I had been working for employers full-time for basically my entire career so far until last June, when I decided to resign from the Art Teaching position I had in the same school for five years. Currently, I am working for an employer only part-time teaching art and working on my own artistic projects the rest of the work day.
The first month or so after resigning, my husband and I had our hands full moving from our old apartment into the house we are living in today. After we were relatively settled in, and I felt like I had a decent work space set up (and the mental capacity to start this new phase in my career-gulp!), I began creating lists of both short and long-term goals that I wanted to accomplish. I knew from the start, that if I wanted to get anywhere as an artist, I would have to get serious, take matters into my own hands, and accomplish at least one thing every single day that would help me get closer and closer to my goal. I am lucky to have had those full-time job experiences which helped me develop a strong work ethic, organizational skills and an urgency to get things done.
It's been a struggle to fit everything I want to get done into one day, of course, as it probably is for most self-employed artists. Even though I consider myself relatively good at sticking to the commitments I have set for myself, it has been hard to remain disciplined working from home. It's been especially hard to focus on more business-related tasks because I am enjoying myself SO much as I finally have time to devote to my own artistic journey. During this time I have also learned that when one works from home, distractions are ever-present and that people who have never experienced being self-employed are prone to thinking that because you are working from home and doing your own thing, you must not be under pressure at all. Yeah, right!
Being the owner of a small business means managing accounting, inventory, marketing, finding time to network and create relationships with other artists/art enthusiasts, managing websites and social media, AND making awesome art. Not to mention, when one is self-employed, usually this means having to find different ways to diversify your income, which means juggling a bunch of things at once. Your level of success and income depends solely on you and the hustle you are willing to put in once you have defined your goals. As artists we are fully in charge of our own careers and, the sooner we realize that we are running a business and have to both learn to think strategically and follow through with decisive actions, the more successful we will become. For all this to happen, it is imperative that we learn to take control of our time.
Though I feel like my personal artistic journey is just beginning and I still have a lot to learn, I am happy to report that I have made decent progress towards my first set of goals, which included defining what it is that I want to offer, creating a cohesive online presence through my website and various art/creative platforms, growing an organic following on social media and to continue working hard at developing my artistic skills. I have managed to keep up with frequent posting on my main accounts (some daily, some weekly). I have also made it a priority to create blog posts twice a week and am continuously learning about SEO in order to reach a larger audience. I've learned SO incredibly much already and am progressing towards better time management, which I consider to be the foundation for everything else. Here are a few things that I have implemented myself and have allowed me to progress slowly but surely towards my objectives.
9 Useful Time Management Tips
1. Define your goals
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” –Yogi Berra
First and foremost, you have to think about what is most important to you. Define what it is you want out of life at personal, career and family/social levels. These are all equally important. Who do you want to become? For me, it helps to think about the people I admire, even if they are not in the same field I am in professionally speaking. What is it about their personality that draws you to them? What kind of energy do they put out into the world? What would you say THEY prioritize? What steps do you think you have to take in order to become the version of yourself you want to become?
Once you know what you want in these three categories, set specific goals for each. Make sure these goals are measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Personally, I never think more than a year in advance. I list my goals for the year (perhaps around 5) and flesh out more specific things to work on each month based on those goals.
2. Create a weekly schedules and daily to-do lists
“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.” –Napoleon Hill
After thinking about where you want to be at the end of the year and breaking that larger goal up into monthly tasks, you have to think about what specific actions you will have to take each week to make those monthly goals happen. Creating weekly schedules and daily bullet lists whenever necessary is extremely helpful. For me, they are essential in order to function on a day to day basis.
I am usually pretty strict about following my time-block schedule from Monday through Friday, but for the weekends I prefer to leave my days a bit more open and flexible by creating simple checklists of things I have to get done. By keeping things more flexible on Saturdays and Sundays, I am able to work around family gatherings, social commitments, or other special events. As long as I make sure to check off my to-do list items, I go to bed happy, knowing that I made some progress.
Creating daily to-do lists is especially helpful on more chaotic days that will be full of important and varied activities. When I know one of these days is coming up I create my to-do list, making sure to highlight the activities I need to prioritize. These bullet lists include appointments or errands that I didn't initially account for in my weekly scheduling. If I am not able to get through my daily to-do lists, which happens more often than I'd like, I take the next day as a new opportunity instead of beating myself up about it. Life happens and, though it is important to create plans, we also have to remain flexible and keep in mind things are always going to pop up.
The image below is what my ideal work week looks like. I really recommend creating a schedule using time blocks. However, I highly recommend you to modify your schedule's format depending on what works for you personally. Remember to include personal/self, work and family/social time in there! You can create a re-usable template either digitally or by hand, whatever floats your boat!
My Ideal Work Week:
3. Learn to say NO
“We must say "no" to what, in our heart, we don't want. We must say "no" to doing things out of obligation, thereby cheating those important to us of the purest expression of our love. We must say "no" to treating ourselves, our health, our needs as not as important as someone else's. We must say “no.” -Suzette R. Hinton
Remember, time is finite resource and every single minute that goes by is a minute you will not get back. Life is short and we have to make sure we are spending our valuable time doing activities that will get us closer to our goals and overall happiness.
Set your non-negotiables from the start and account for that time EVERY day. For example, for me, it is extremely important to have time to work out, enjoy home cooked meals, and to get decent rest every single day. These are things I need for my health and well-being. It is also a non-negotiable for me to have time to spend with my husband at the end of each work day and to have the opportunity to catch up with extended family or friends on weekends. These are things I need at a family/social level. It is imperative for you to make time for those special people in your life.
I will not take on projects or say `yes` to social gatherings that are not going to contribute to my goals in some way. These needs will obviously vary from person to person. Always keep in mind that your mental and physical well-being is just as important as anything else. I firmly believe that the better you take care of yourself, the better artist you will be. Not to mention, you will be able to create art for a longer time.
4. Identify personal time-wasters and cut down on distractions
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks."
We live in a world of constant distraction. If we aren't careful, we can waste entire days without being productive at all. You need to assess for yourself whether those activities that are taking away so much of your time are helping you get closer to your goal in any way. Be honest with yourself! If they aren't, cut them out. For example, if you find yourself stalking people on social media for hours on end, engaging in constant negative small-talk with so-called friends or other activities that will bring nothing positive to you, cut those activities out of your life. I personally am completely unapologetic about it. If you find this too hard, at least avoid doing it during times when you should be positive and focusing on your work.
Make sure you are using social media only for work-related tasks during the day so that you aren't trying to finish up important things late at night, when you should be resting in order to be fresh and productive the following day. Not resting properly will affect your work and productivity and will perhaps even throw your entire week off.
Schedule in times for non-art related tasks in a smart way so that you use your most productive hours for creative tasks. Instead of checking your email once every few hours, check and respond to emails once a day and make sure not to spend more than 30 mins on them. Make things like phone calls, errands, home chores, etc. all revolve around your production time as much as possible.
Keep your phone on silent during times that require special focus and attention and try to diminish multitasking. Studies have found that if you are trying to do several things at once, it is likely the outcomes of those things will be mediocre. Instead, set specific times for each task and focus on one thing at a time.
I really recommend setting aside some time at the end of each week to think about what your personal time-wasters are and when it is you find yourself getting sucked into them. Modify your schedule if at the end of the week you find something didn't work for you.
5. Keep studio/office, artwork and computer files organized
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned." -Benjamin Franklin
A lot of time is wasted when we have to look for things. By keeping your work area, supplies and artwork organized you will not only be able to find whatever you need faster, but you will avoid lost/damaged work, accidents and a lot of anxiety. At the end of each workday, I like to spend a few minutes organizing my studio/office so that the next morning I am inspired to start right away.
As artists, our computers, phones and other devices collect a lot of reference image files, scanned artwork, etc. I recommend keeping these digital files organized and labelled appropriately. Being organized is especially important because, being self-employed, you will have to stay on top of several different sources of revenue and specific client projects. Not to mention, we are also responsible for keeping track of our monthly income and spending. It is very important to create a system for organizing receipts and invoices as well as contracts, client emails and other necessary documents. Create back-ups on a regular basis.
6. Set reminders and alarms throughout the day if necessary
“Work is a necessity for man. Man invented the alarm clock." -Pablo Picasso
If you're anything like me, time goes by fast when you are in the process of creation. Even though production time is extremely important, as business owners it is imperative for us to stay on top of many other things as well. I use my phone to set reminders and alarms on days in which I have to be somewhere at a specific time (appointments, meetings, classes, online workshops/webinars, etc.). For me, punctuality is essential in order to transmit professionalism and seriousness. It shows you respect other people's time and that you have your priorities in check. Also, each day can be very different as a self-employed creative and it can be a lot easier to forget things when you have no co-workers or bosses reminding you what you have to do and where you have to be. It's imperative that you set your own systems.
7. Assess and improve time management strategies
“Practice without improvement is meaningless." -Chuck Knox
At the end of each month, it is useful to sit down and think about what worked in your scheduling practice and what didn't. Maybe you find you are able to be more effective creatively in the morning, in which case you should consider scheduling in your art-production block earlier. You can leave tasks that require less critical thinking (responding to emails, posting on social media, etc.) at a later time. Or perhaps you do some research and find out you get more engagement when posting on social media at specific times, in which case you should not waste time on them at other moments of the day. Assessing your systems regularly will allow you to keep improving your productivity levels over time. Improvement is the name of the game when you are building a business!
8. Consider delegating tasks
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do." -Jessica Jackley
I am SO guilty of burning myself out after wanting to do everything alone! Because I am interested in a very wide variety of things, I get excited and want to learn/experiment with them first-handedly. I start new things when I already have a lot on my plate and perhaps even succeed at finishing everything on time, but my health takes a toll. I have to remind myself that the tasks that I set out to achieve have to be feasible.
One thing I have learned these past few months is how important it is to define goals and streamline systems in order to reach success sooner. There are things that you have to be willing to set aside if you want to become amazing at one specific thing.
Once your business takes off and/or you have the resources to get help, I suggest you do it. You can delegate the tasks that don't excite you as much like maintaining your website, cleaning your studio/office, scanning and organizing artwork, etc. This will allow you more time and energy to focus on producing artwork and this will allow you to develop artistically faster!
9. Be consistent and never forget to celebrate your accomplishments
“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." -Theodore Isaac Rubin
We tend to focus on everything that we have yet to do and don't take a moment to realize how far we have come since we started. It wasn't until I started writing this blog post, for example, that I realized all of the things I have been able to do in only a couple of months! PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK FOR YOUR HARD WORK EVERY NOW AND THEN. Milestones are important and acknowledging them will encourage you to keep working hard towards your goals.
If you have done your absolute best every day, you ARE progressing and you should be proud of yourself. You should be proud of yourself for being brave enough to even take this entrepreneurial route and for working hard to create the life you want to live.
Finally, I want to encourage you to dream big and never let fear hold you back from achieving your dreams. You can get anywhere if you believe in yourself and set yourself up for success by learning, planning and being consistent. Don't let perfectionism, fear of failure, or criticism get in the way of something you truly want. Also, take it one step at a time! Remember that getting things done is better that not doing them at all. After all, growing a business is a learning process and we will be improving throughout the way. The important thing is to do our best on a daily basis and to never give up!
What are you greatest time-management challenges? How does your control of your time impact your work? I'd love to hear your answers!
This was my last week drawing hands at the beginning of my work days. I can't believe it's been a month of morning hand sketches! I can definitely see a lot of improvement compared to the first week (see sketches in this post). I am still thinking about what my next subject for morning sketches will be.
This week was kind of nuts for me. Between business appointments, family commitments to attend, work to finish for family, other work popping out from out of nowhere with very tight deadlines, and a lot of house cleaning, I didn't have the time I would have liked to paint. I did, however, explore a new method in the only painting I was able to finish. I've always loved creating collages and wanted to try to paint a composition made of various pictures meshed into one. I'll be experimenting more with collage painting for sure!
Thanks for coming by today and I hope to see you around soon. :)
In today's post I will be explaining a few techniques that are very useful to know when you are ready to start giving drawings a sense of realistic volume and depth. Once you can create basic outline drawings, the next step is to start practicing further observational skills which will allow you to pinpoint light and shadow areas as well as other details in subjects. This is an essential skill to develop as you work your way towards creating more realistic artwork.
I will be including seven different shading techniques commonly used by pen and ink artists. However, I use many of these myself when drawing with pencil and they can be used when drawing with charcoal, chalk, and many other kinds of drawing media. I will not be going into the graphite blending technique that is commonly used to create hyperrealistic drawings because what I want to get across with this lesson is the importance of value placement, more than creating realistic texture.
Value placement is an essential idea to understand and great artworks can be created monochromatically as long as value is placed effectively (see an example of a portrait created in grayscale here). Many artists argue that value is even more important than color. It is common for artists to create sketches prior to starting paintings and, in these sketches one of the most important things to decipher (besides proportion and placement of elements within the composition) is where the darkest and lightest areas will be.
Let's begin with the topic! Hatching, crosshatching, stippling, etc. are traditional drawing techniques that have been used by artists for centuries. All of these are nothing but patterns and groups of lines (or dots) placed in well thought-out ways in order to transmit a sense of volume, three dimensionality, depth and texture. Some artists style is more controlled and precise, which lead to cleaner and more organized lines, while others have a more free and expressive style. I greatly recommend looking for drawings by Van Gogh, Durer and Da Vinci to be able to see different results.
First off, I want you to take a moment to observe the following etchings created by Giorgio Morandi.
These etchings were created by using a combination of hatching and crosshatching. I want you to notice the lightest areas in the artworks, as well as the darkest. Notice how the lightest areas have nearly no lines in them, so they look almost entirely (or entirely) white. Now notice how the darkest areas are full of lines to the point at which they look close to (or entirely) black. Try pinpointing the different values in between the lightest and darkest throughout the drawings. How many can you count? How many variations in value do you think you can create using only one pen or pencil? Practice creating value strips showing gradual tonal changes using the downloadable PDF at the end of the post (VALUE_STRIPS.PDF). This will help A LOT!
Now take a moment to observe this piece by Jean-Baptiste Greuze created with only red chalk. Notice how this drawing is more complex due to the nature of the subject. Notice the whitest areas and the darkest areas and the values in between.
In this drawing, the artist used a mixture of shading techniques. I can find both straight lines, contour lines and even some scribbles which create the texture of curly hair. Understand that different shading techniques can be used together in one same piece.
Ok! Moving on!
Different Shading Techniques
Here are seven different shading techniques that you can use in your drawings and sketches. When using all of these techniques, it's important to keep in mind that, even though lines do not have to be super perfect, you do have to take your time and think about what your doing. It is essential that the characteristics of your lines (length, thickness and direction) are consistent throughout your piece. What's even MORE important, is that the lines you create accentuate the form of the object you are drawing. Increase the density of your lines by placing them closer together or creating a second (or even third) layer overlapping the first in areas that you want to appear darker. If you need practice drawing sets of parallel lines, I recommend practicing until your hand becomes steady enough. Practice each of the following techniques using the dowloadable PDF at the end of the post titled SHADING_TECHNIQUES.
1. Hatching/Parallel Hatching
This can be considered the most basic of all of the shading techniques included here. It involves creating groups or patterns of parallel lines. These lines don't have to be completely vertical or horizontal. They can also be slanted or follow any angle you'd like, as long as this direction is uniform throughout the area you are shading.
2. Cross Hatching
Cross Hatching is like taking parallel hatching to the next level. You create a first layer of parallel lines (in any direction) and a second layer of lines is drawn on top in a perpendicular or nearly perpendicular manner. This technique is probably the quickest of all due to the fact that you are able to create darker values faster than with the other techniques. I tend to go for this method most of the time myself.
3. Contour Hatching
This technique involves using lines that follow the curves or lines of the initial contour/outline drawing. When used correctly, contour hatching enhances volume and three-dimensionality in a very striking manner. With this method, it is important to be able to visualize the three-dimensionality and planes of whatever it is your drawing.
When stippling, tone and texture is built up by applying dots in different densities. This technique takes time and you have to make sure that you don't start creating lines instead of dots.
5. Tick Hatching
This method is similar to stippling but instead of making dots, you make short lines. In darker areas, lines are placed in an overlapped manner. I personally don't use this method very much because I find the texture it creates looks like hair! However, it is very useful when using oil pastels or similar media to create Impressionist-style art.
6. Woven Hatching
Woven Hatching leads to a very interesting outcome when done correctly. This technique involves creating sets of short(er) parallel lines in one direction and then placing another group of parallel lines next to it in perpendicular or near-perpendicular directions. Crosshatching can be later added to add density in areas that require darker values.
Scribbling is an excellent technique to use when drawing specific subjects like trees or hair because it not only creates values, but also transmits a sense of texture. In the drawing below I used scribbling to create the leaves of the tree and the effect of grass below it. I love scribbling!
Practice the different shading techniques described using the PDF titled SHADING_TECHNIQUES attached at the end of the post. Then, before starting with more complex figures, practice shading simple geometric shapes (use PDF titled GEOMETRIC_SHAPES).
Steps to Achieve a Successful Shaded Drawing
1. Select a good, contrasted photograph as reference
What makes an effective photograph? Firstly, make sure it is large enough to allow you to view details. Do not select blurry photos. Secondly, make sure the photo is not over or underexposed and has a good balance of light and dark areas. I recommend selecting a photo that has only one visible light source hitting the subject so that you can easily distinguish where the lightest parts and darkest parts will be. Try going for a simple object first. Perhaps a simple still life photograph with only one or two objects in it?
Start out with something like this. You can download this image for free use here or find other great pictures to practice from at www.pexels.com.
Photograph by Lisa Fotios. Find her photos at www.pexels.com or visit her website here.
2. Create a light pencil sketch including only outlines of shapes
Practice your observational/drawing skills to create a simple, outline drawing of your subject. Focus only on the general shapes, proportions and locations of the subject(s) in relation with one another and within the composition.
I strongly encourage you to keep practicing your drawing skills and not resort to tracing, but I have included my outline drawing in PDF form for you to download if you wish to only focus on shading techniques today (CHERRY_OUTLINES.PDF).
3. Take a moment to observe the reference picture and answer the following questions:
-Where is the light source located in relation to my object(s)? Is the light in front, behind, below, above or to the side of the subject?
-Where are lightest/whitest parts of the subject?
-Where are the darkest/blackest parts of the subject?
-If there are different colors included in the photograph (in this case we have red and green), how do they relate to one another in terms of their value? Is the red included here LIGHTER or DARKER than the green? This is very important! It may be easy to notice different values within one same color, but once more colors are added in, it is important to notice how they compare to one another in terms of lightness or darkness. For example, in this picture, the values of reds in the cherries are darker (for the most part) than the green in the stems. The green in the stems is pretty light when compared to the reds of the cherries and this is something that has to be translated within a one-color drawing.
*If you still feel unsure, I recommend you take your time when preparing your initial sketch. Create a map for yourself using LIGHT pencil strokes within your outline drawing. I do something similar when painting with watercolors in order to remind myself what areas will be left completely white and which areas are darkest.
I recommend starting your drawings with pencil if you haven't practiced these techniques much and move on to pen and ink once you feel more confident. Pen and ink drawings are wonderful and super fun but each and every line you create is permanent and it is easy to get discouraged if your drawing doesn't turn out the way you want it to. Experiment with different techniques and go for the one you feel comes most natural to you. You can move on to exploring combinations of techniques and more complex subjects as time goes by. The way I usually start this type of drawing is by placing my hatching in darkest areas and go back and forth adjusting values as I see fit.
5. Consistency is key
It is essential to keep in mind that the lines you are creating are meant to ENHANCE and not DISTRACT the viewer when the piece is finished. So, again, remember that line length, thickness, and direction should show some kind of consistency. Take your time! These kinds of drawings are very much a mental exercise as much as they are a drawing exercise.
I hope this helped you in some way and I wish you have fun practicing and developing your art skills. Do not hesitate to get in touch with me for any questions or if you are interested in my work. I'd love to hear from you! Talk to you later art friends!
Hello art friends!
This was my third week starting my work days with hand sketches. That means that next week will be the last week I will be doing studies of this subject as frequently as I currently am. I will do my best to close this hand month by creating some paintings that include hands. I also did a watercolor wine glass study and, for the first time, I pushed myself to paint a portrait of a specific person using oils. I needed to find a quality picture of somebody's face that not only I knew well, but others around me knew well, in order to get feedback. Because of this, I decided to go for a picture of a well-known celebrity that I found online.
Thank you for coming by and make sure to visit next week to read more about art tips I have learned as well as my personal progress! I am super excited to announce that October will be the month in which I start selling my work online! Yay!! :) Have a great week!
Hello and thank you for coming by!
In this post I will be explaining how I go about drawing my simple, faster faces. It is essential for the beginner artist to learn about facial proportions and effective placement of facial elements before moving on to a more realistic drawing style. Only after anatomical proportion and proper location of features is understood, should one move on to things like value, shading and texture.
I have included a section briefly explaining how I draw each individual facial element (eyes, nose, lips, ears and hair) and have also included some notes about how features can be modified when drawing either male or female characters. Before we start, it is important to keep in mind that facial elements come in ALL shapes and sizes. So as long as you stay within these general ¨rules¨, you CAN and I actually ENCOURAGE you to experiment by making face shapes, noses, lips, and all the rest in slightly different shapes and sizes.
For this tutorial, you will need:
-A pencil (I recommend an HB)
-Sketchbook or paper of any kind
-Eraser (preferably a gum eraser)
1. Drawing the Head Shape
The way I draw the initial head shape is by starting with a large circle (1). I then make a vertical line dividing the face in half (2) and add a centered, small horizontal line a bit below the circle, which will be the chin (3). The shorter you make this horizontal line, the narrower/pointer your chin will be. The wider you draw this horizontal line, the wider your chin will be. The further down from the circle you draw it, the longer the face will be. The closer to the circle, the rounder the face. It all depends on the facial characteristics you are going for.
Once that is ready, draw two vertical lines down the left and right sides of the large circle (4). At the point at which these vertical lines touch the circle, I draw two curved lines downwards, connecting them to each side of the chin line (5). At this point, you can erase the vertical lines running down the sides of the head, as well as the bottom half of the circle. Leave the vertical line dividing the face where it is.
2. Drawing your Guidelines
As I had mentioned before, when drawing faces, it is essential to be aware of placement and size of facial features within the head shape. In order to achieve this, we will add guidelines that will help us along the way. Aside from the vertical line we already have dividing our face width in half (which will help us place the nose in the appropriate place), we will add a horizontal line dividing our face length in half. This will be the line that tells us where to place our eyes. This line will then be divided into five parts. Five eyes should fit along this line. Eyes should be drawn in the ¨2¨ and ¨4¨ sections of this line. The nose line will be placed halfway down the eye line and the chin. Finally, the mouth line will be placed halfway down the nose line and the chin.
I recommend adding these guidelines LIGHTLY, because they are going to be erased after they have served their purpose.
2. Drawing the Different Facial Elements
We are all good so far, but many of us (myself included) have trouble drawing at least one of the facial elements, whether it's the eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, ears or hair. Do not attempt to leave something out simply because you think you're not going to be able to draw it properly. Remember, practice makes perfect and if you want to ever be able to create a realistic drawing, you have to start at some point!
I am going to give you a brief description of how I go about drawing simple versions of all of these necessary facial elements. I hope my handwriting isn't too horrible!
Once you have finished drawing your facial elements, erase all your guidelines.
3. Drawing Hair
There are many different ways to draw hair, depending on the hair style you'd like your character to have. It can be long, short, straight, curly, wavy, etc. I cannot go into all the different hair styles here, but I strongly encourage you to experiment with different types of line (curved, straight, wavy, etc.) in order to transmit the characteristics you'd like.
4. Bringing it All Together
By this point, your face should be completed. Here are two examples I have drawn for you displaying the differences between male and female characteristics.
5. Final Details
Add as many details (textures, shading, etc.) as you'd like. I personally don't add many details to this type of face drawing and prefer the sketchy look.
I hope you enjoyed this post and got something out of it. Feel free to download the PDFs below (already in letter size ready for printing) and to use the image files included in this post for practicing as you wish. In next week's post I will be explaining different quick methods of adding shading and value to sketches! Cheers my art friends!
Hello! Here are some sketches and paintings I did this week . This was my second week starting my days with hand sketches and it's amazing to see how much I have improved already. I can tell I am getting faster and faster at drawing the initial hand shapes and proportions. Next week I want to focus on creating cleaner and more effective hatching and crosshatching when adding in shadows.
The first painting included here was created with gouache and it is literally the second painting I have done using this media. Gouache is something that I want to keep improving at. The second was created using watercolors and it was a remake of a painting I had done several months ago. This exercise was something I was interested in doing because I wanted to be able to compare two paintings of the same subject created months apart. After that are my morning hand sketches of the week which I post on Instagram and Twitter every morning from Monday through Friday.
Original photo by Jonathan Pielmayer found on Unsplash here.
And last but not least is something I don't usually do much of and didn't know if I should include or not. This is an acrylic canvas painting that I created as a present for my soon to be born nephew. My sister-in-law asked me to create some room decor for him that included a Winnie-the-Pooh inspired quote and I came up with this. Hand-lettering is something I really enjoy so I had fun coming up with nice design. I am also creating some watercolor paintings of Winnie the Pooh for his room but will not be posting those.
Thank you for coming by! Enjoy your Sunday!
Hey there art friend! I'm so glad you're here!
In this post I will be sharing the list of my current favorite and most used art supplies. I am also experimenting with oils and gouache as much as I can, but would like to gain more experience with different brands of these types of paint in order to include them in a future list. For now, let's begin with the supplies I love and can honestly say I've used a substantial amount of so far.
1. Watercolor Paper
I have been able to try out a few different brands of watercolor paper by this point. Though I am far from being a paper connoisseur, I am slowly reaching a conclusion about which brands and varieties I should continue buying and which I shouldn't. Three of the brands I have had a chance to experiment with are Canson, Fabriano and Strathmore. I have had good experiences with the heavier weight varieties of these brands because, even though I rarely do wet-on-wet, I do have a tendency to be a bit rough when painting and enjoy being able to apply many layers. Even though the Fabriano paper I bought was heavy weight and allowed for lifting, blending, and layering, it ended up being way too textured for my taste, especially when trying to add colored pencils. I have liked both the 300 and 400 series of Strathmore paper and hope to try out the 500 series soon. The Canson watercolor pad is my latest watercolor paper acquisition and I have just started using it. What I can tell so far is that its texture is smoother and it can take a beating, which I think complements my painting style.
2. Idea Notebook and Planner
The reason why I've decided to include these two items in the list is because planning and keeping track of ideas has been a FUNDAMENTAL part of my development as an artist. I believe in setting plans and goals when trying to improve at pretty much anything in life and love writing things down. Because it is one of my objectives to improve my artistic skills, I set plans each week for myself. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you probably already know that I start my days with sketching specific subjects I want to improve at (last month it was the female figure and this week it's hands). In my personal planner, along with every other important thing I have to do, I include daily and weekly art goals that I make sure I complete. I also have mentioned that I love carrying a small notebook with me wherever I go so I have somewhere to jot down ideas if I need to. I bought this little red notebook at Target and my planner was ordered through Amazon. You can find the link to order this beautiful planner for yourself here.
I have bought very few individual expensive paintbrushes and am using them mostly for painting with oils. For the most part, I use round and angled paintbrushes from sets that I have ordered through Amazon. I ordered this Artify set a while ago and they are still going strong (even though the ones I use most have chipped handles due to my cat attacking them mid-painting session). Their bristles have also endured my not-so-delicate usage as well. Most recently, I ordered this set of smaller detail brushes and they are working pretty well so far.
4. Small Mixed-Media Strathmore Sketchbook
Almost every sketchbook I have bought so far is of the spiral, mixed-media variety. I like being able to use all sorts of different supplies in them for any kind of study/exploration I feel like doing. I have even used oils in this little sketchbook (having gesso-ed the paper). I love this smaller sketchbook because Strathmore paper has worked for me and I can take it with me wherever I go.
5. Prismacolor Premier Soft-Core Colored Pencils
At the beginning of my art journey I was very in much into mixed-media. I still like the idea of combining different media in one same piece, though lately, I am pushing myself to complete more paintings using only one type of media because I think this will help me improve in each specific technique independently. What led me to this conclusion was noticing that I was using colored pencils as a crutch whenever I couldn't achieve the effect I wanted using only paint, OR because I was being too lazy to continue painting layers. However, when a specific subject calls for finer details or specific textures, I do bring them out. I have bought myself a package of white Prismacolor pencils because they finish fast and I find them very handy.
6. Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolor Pocket Box
This is my latest watercolor acquisition and I really love it! Colors are super vibrant and creamy. However, I have found that I do pull my Sakura Koi watercolor set out when I need specific colors that this set doesn't have (like gray and black). I'll probably go with Winsor and Newton when I finally decide to invest in fancier professional grade watercolors because I am loving them so far.
7. Sakura Koi Watercolor Set (24 Colors)
This was the watercolor set that started it all for me. At this point, I have already bought two. For the price, you get an incredibly wide array of colors of, in my opinion, excellent quality. These are not as creamy as the Winsor and Newton watercolors, but they are by no means chalky or grainy. The color payoff is great. They are great for those who paint outdoors because of its portable design. I got mine through Amazon for $22. Go here if interested.
8. Drawing Pens
Though I rarely mix ink and watercolor myself, I do enjoy creating ink sketches from time to time. I really like Micron Pens (who doesn't?) and have also used Staedtler pigment liners. I tend to reach for .3 and .5 points most. I bought the brush tip LePen Drawing Pen out of whim at my local art supply store and it has been a nice addition to my collection. I am still experimenting with it. Here is a sketch I created using a combination of the Staedtler and LePen pens (this sketch was made in my small mixed-media Strathmore sketchbook).
9. Canson Mix Media Sketchbook
This is the third Canson Mix Media Sketchbook I have bought. I love them for daily studies and explorations using all sorts of media. Though I love spiraled sketchbooks, I will probably be buying more and more non-spiraled varieties as my journey progresses. Even though the paper in these Canson sketchbooks is pretty smooth and it does buckle, I have been able to produce great watercolor paintings in them like the ones below.
10. Blue Scott Shop Towels
These towels are the best. I have used regular paper towels before and end up using so many! I use them throughout my painting process (they are great for lifting and drying when I get sloppy) and also for cleaning. I use them when painting with all different types of media, including oils.
11. Pencils, Mono Eraser, Kneaded Eraser, Charcoal Pencil and Blending stump
I am not a pencil/eraser snob. I create my drawings with anything I can get my hands on. I have a wide array of pencil grades in my studio of both Prismacolor and cheaper brands. In many of the pictures I upload to Instagram and Twitter you can see my used-up ugly erasers that I refuse to replace, for some reason. I enjoy gum erasers very much and these are what I use in my quick pencil sketches. For more realistic drawings that will take me longer, I use kneaded erasers and have also recently acquired a Mono eraser through Amazon that has worked pretty well for me. Mono erasers (or similar) are essential for realistic drawings that require erasing very thin, delicate lines. You can get one here. I bought this set of Derwent blending stumps and my kneaded eraser at my local art supply store that I use like a mad woman in my more realistic drawings (you can see the poor things in the picture below). I also enjoy using the all-graphite pencil and charcoal sticks that were part of this Castle Art Drawing/Sketching set I bought last year.
12. Wooden Desk Easel
Last but not least, I just HAD to include this easel in my list! I ordered it through Amazon a couple of months ago and I have found it incredibly useful so far. It is very inexpensive and its design is pretty practical. The reason I was looking for a desk easel is because I noticed the perspective was slightly distorted in some of my drawings because of the angle I was working on them. Sitting and drawing on a flat, horizontal surface can lead to distorted drawings. Having my reference photo and my drawing/painting at similar angles allows my eyes to better create an initial sketch to move forward from. You can find the easel here if you are interested.
I hope this was helpful in some way or, at least, gave you a few ideas for you to use! Thank you for reading and I wish you an amazing rest of the week! If you have any other great supplies that have made a difference in your own art journey, please comment below! I'd love to hear them!
Hello! This week was a tad busier for me in terms of non art-related appointments and obligations. I have been meeting with different accountants in order to choose who will be helping me set up the financial/tax side of starting my own business. I have finally decided who I'm going with and am super happy because this means I will be able to move forward with my online shops very soon.
Next week I'll be starting to teach my after-school acrylic painting and oil pastel extracurricular classes at the wonderful school I used to work at full-time, which means shifting my schedule around a bit. I am super happy to be seeing my old students again, and also meeting new ones! Teaching classes means having to do plan work and also buying/transporting supplies, so that's something else that I will be having to schedule in as I try to build my business.
As some of you may already know (especially if you follow me on Instagram), this week I started my days with hand sketches. I really want to improve my hand-drawing abilities and will be doing my morning sketches of this subject for probably the entire month of September. Near the end of the month I plan to start painting hands with gouache. I also started a new oil painting this week and will be posting about it soon.
I usually like having reference photos or real life objects in front of me to get inspired by when creating an artwork. Even though I am not particularly interested in taking the hyperrealist route, I use photographs because they remind me of details that I may or may not choose to include in my painting (or drawing), and might otherwise forget. I have found that, at times, it is these little details in photographs that my painting was lacking in order to become great. Perhaps when I become experienced enough as an artist I will have sufficient information stored in my mind to be able to paint anything without needing a reference, but I really doubt it. There are a lot of very experienced people out there that use reference photos and most of my favorite artists in history did as well. Having something to look at, even if you aren’t trying to create a perfect replica of it, is super useful.
This said, I have to admit that I am very much against tracing and even using grids (after you have arrived at a certain level of ability). I don’t even like to print out reference images, but prefer to work directly from my computer screen or from real life. Many artists recommend printing out the picture before starting a painting and working from it in order to ensure colors, values and proportions are true to the image. If you are going for something very realistic or simply believe it will be more comfortable for you, go ahead and print the image. I personally don’t because my style doesn't involve recreating images 100%. Even if it means my version of the reference will end up slightly distorted, have colors that may look a bit unnatural, or certain angles don’t completely make sense, I like this more because there is more of myself in my artwork. I view imperfections and deliberate modifications by the artist as good things. All of this is my opinion and my personal way of working. Finally, tracing doesn't help an artist exercise observational and drawing skills as much as drawing from life or from a separate image does. I really recommend not doing it after you have surpassed that initial level of drawing, no matter how hard it may be at first.
Getting back to photography, making time to take photos of the subjects you are most drawn to is incredibly important for an artist. In a previous post I talked about how sometimes it’s difficult to make time for this. I've shared links to sites that offer free quality photos that you can use to create artwork from and even sell (click here to go to this post). These sites are lifesavers for us who have a full or part time job aside from being artists and don't always have the time necessary to do an actual photo session. I don't think there is anything wrong in using photos that aren't ours in these cases, as long as we have permission to do so. I believe that using them to get daily practice in is SO much better than doing nothing at all. However, there is nothing as rewarding as creating an artwork completely on your own, from start to finish. Going though the process of brainstorming and visualization, finding the actual object(s) you want to shoot, sketching out composition ideas and arriving at the photo that you will later be using to create your artwork, may be a lot of work, but it is totally worth it at the end.
Photography is definitely an art form in itself and learning to take perfect photos takes a lot of learning and practice. I took my first Photography class when I was in High School and later on took a course in university in which we were still actually processing photos in dark rooms (man do I feel old)! It is important to know that simply taking a photo doesn't ensure that it will be able to be used for a drawing or painting. Things like resolution and lighting can make a photo extremely difficult to work with and even result in bad art. Below I am sharing a few key things to keep in mind when taking reference photos for your artwork. As artists, we should spend more time doing drawing and painting than taking photos, so we should make the process as simple but effective as possible.
Things to have in mind when taking reference photos for your art:
Here are a couple of good pictures I ended up with that I will definitely be using to create some paintings. Try not to get too hungry!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this was helpful!
This week I really felt like painting something different and challenging for me. I went for a bear and a dog, because I love animals and hadn't painted one in a long time. As you can see, I am still practicing drawing the female body in different poses. Next week I will be starting my days drawing hands in different positions because it is something I have to improve as well. I also included here an oil painting of pears that I finished this week. Still have a lot of exploration to do with oils, but I am enjoying them very much! Thanks for popping by and hope you enjoy these pieces!
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