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!
I am going to start out this post with a somewhat embarrassing confession. Until about two years ago, I never had a sketchbook. Pretty much all my drawings were created on loose sheets of paper that ended up in folders (if they were lucky) or lost under piles of junk never to be found again. What can I say? I got busy with full-time jobs that, perhaps were “artsy” and creative, but never really left me the time and energy to explore art for myself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with daily responsibilities and forget about that one activity that we'd really like to spend some time doing if we could ever find some extra time. Keeping up with demanding jobs, family responsibilities, social commitments and making time for health on top of everything else, can keep us from pursuing activities which we know would bring us a great amount of joy and inner peace, but sometimes loose their priority amongst everything else. I’m sure many of you can relate.
It took me forever to fill up that first little sketchbook I ordered from Amazon two years ago. I moved out of the house I was living in back then, got married and was extremely busy giving my all at my job, working overtime several days a week and arriving home exhausted. I had started trying out some new art supplies in this sketchbook (I think mostly watercolor pencils and drawing pens) but wasn’t really serious about it yet. My priorities were still elsewhere. Finally, last year, I became incredibly inspired by artists I was finding online and I made the decision to make time for my own improvement as an artist. I knew that this would not only bring me personal fulfillment, but would also help me become the Art Teacher I wish I had when I was a student.
So little by little I began investing in more art supplies and, this time, I actually USED them. I started consciously setting aside time for my own art after work and on weekend mornings and it went on like that for months. I began getting more and more excited about my personal improvement and finding my voice as an artist. I can honestly say the elation I felt from creating something and sharing it with the world was unlike nothing I had ever felt before. I started to feel like this big part of me that I had been suppressing for so many years was emerging, like I was finally becoming whole. I had never experienced anything as addictive as creating these little artworks that began filling my sketchbook (by this point it was a bigger one). The part of my days which I looked forward to the most were those moments in which I could immerse myself in my art and slowly peel back these layers that would lead me to discover myself as an artist. I haven’t stopped since.
Later on, as I found myself filling not only sketchbooks quicker and quicker, but creating painting after painting on proper watercolor paper, I began investing in higher quality supplies. I am still in the process of creating my collection and finding those specific brands of paper and paint that I love most, but my persistence and personal drive to become better have brought me far from where I started.
Why sketchbooks are so important in an artist's journey:
How to get the most out of your sketchbook:
``The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing.´´
Thank you for reading and have a good one!
What sketchbook brands or formats do you love most? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
Hello everyone! I hope you are having a great weekend!
This little collection includes pencil sketches as well as oil and watercolor paintings. I am pushing myself to continue with drawing one female pose per day. I share these on Instagram and Twitter every morning (Monday through Friday), so if you follow me on there you've probably seen a few of these before. If you aren't following me by now, please do! I'd love to connect!
One of my objectives during this phase of my art journey is to experiment with as many kinds of paint and supplies I can get my hands on. I think this is an essential part of discovering one's personal preferences and style. It is only through firsthand experimentation that an artist can discover which types of media are most enjoyable for him/her and, most importantly, which complement personal style most.
If you've followed my work you probably already know that I have mostly been focusing on watercolor and mixed-media. I have recently started painting in oils and am enjoying working with them very much. I have experience with acrylics and know that I'm not particularly fond of them. After viewing a few very talented artists on YouTube (the great James Gurney being one of them), I became curious about gouache, especially because I heard it being compared to watercolor so much. So I bought myself a set and was very excited to try it out.
What I did for this experiment was to first find a reference image that I could use to paint two separate studies, one with watercolor and another with gouache. I went for an image that wasn't too complex, so that I could allow myself to focus more on getting to know the paint than on creating a masterpiece. I chose this pear image from www.unsplash.com and created the two paintings below. You will see that the styles are very different. Which are you most drawn to yourself? Comment below this post!
Here is a Venn Diagram in which I organized the notes I took throughout the process:
Artwork outcomes will greatly vary depending not only on the type of paint used, but on HOW it is used. Results with either watercolor or gouache can vary greatly even amongst their own kind depending on how ¨loose¨ or ¨tight¨ an artist's personal style is. The quality of paints, paintbrushes and paper/substrate really can affect a piece as well.
I would say that gouache has a greater versatility than watercolor in the sense that it can be used within the same painting to create a mix of transparent, blurred effects and thicker, bolder blocks of color. It's also very useful that one can easily fix mistakes and add lighter values at the end instead of having to worry about protecting the lightest parts of the piece from the beginning. This said, I personally find fast drying paint annoying at times and the fact that gouache reactivates so easily when layering kind of irritated me in the beginning. Also, with watercolor, a large variety of values can be created by simply adding more or less water to a color. With gouache, if one intends to create a more realistic piece, a good amount of time has to be spent preparing colors and values on the palette before starting to paint. Especially because the paint dries so fast. It is important to know that realism can be achieved with both types of paint, provided the artist has enough practice and patience. With gouache, I definitely need it!
To finish up, gouache is an excellent option for those looking to create very stylized, more painterly artworks. It can also work great for lettering, visual journaling, and quick sketches. Artists who like bold color, outlines and expressive styles should definitely give this type of paint a try!
Lately I've been trying my best to absorb as much as possible about what it takes to succeed as an artist. I am SO incredibly grateful for all the artists and experts out there willing to put out information for us to learn from and apply in our careers. As artists, most of us are responsible not only for continuously producing good art, but of promoting it as best as we can and dealing with everything else that comes from selling a product (numbers, money, taxes, etc.). There's just SO much! Is it worth it in order to do what we love and living life on our terms? Totally! Nonetheless, there's a lot of learning involved and if it wasn't for all of these incredible, helpful people putting all that information out there, the learning curve for us new artists would be a lot steeper. I love listening to these talks as I work (yay for multitasking!).
The following five podcasts are by far my favorite. They all offer large libraries of episodes to choose from and their topics range from motivational to practical. I hope they will help you as much as they have helped me.
1. Accidental Creative
Accidental Creative is a group dedicated to helping creatives thrive by providing workshops and many other useful resources.
Click here to listen to the episode released yesterday titled ¨Avoiding the Comparison Trap¨.
2. Creative Pep Talk
I find Andy J. Miller extremely inspirational and I quite enjoy his more intimate approach to podcasts. He combines interviews and personal stories in his episodes.
Click here to listen to the last episode titled ¨You Are More¨.
3. The Jealous Curator
105 episodes of inspirational interviews with artists and creatives.
Click here to listen to this wonderful episode titled ¨If It Scares You, Do It¨.
4. Art Marketing Action Podcasts from Alyson B. Stanfield (ArtBizCoach.com)
As artists and freelancers, we have to be our own promoters. Alyson Stanfield is an expert at Art Marketing and puts out a lot of useful information for us.
Click here to listen to choose from 189 different episodes on iTunes.
5. Artists Helping Artists
This is also a very helpful podcast in which artists talk about the business side of art as well as other practical tips.
Click here to listen to the interesting episode titled ¨20 Lists Artists Should Keep¨.
Hello! Here is a collection of pencil sketches and watercolor paintings I have created in the past couple of weeks. Thanks for popping by!
"You want to make an omelette? You've gotta break some eggs."
-Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
In today's post, I will be taking you through the process of preparing an old canvas painting in order to reuse it to make a new artwork! I am a firm believer in using what we have and in being as resourceful as possible in our explorations. Because, as most of you already know, us artists explore a WHOLE darn lot and we have to be smart about how we spend our money.
First and foremost, a bit about the original painting. This canvas was a part of an artwork composed of three separate panels (three long rectangles meant to be hung vertically side by side). The paintings around 35 years old. Probably more. Another important note is that these artworks seem to have been created using very thin applications of acrylic paint. It is definitely not oil. And they don’t have much texture to them at all. I took all of these points into consideration when I decided to use them in my explorations. I knew resurfacing them was going to be easy and that they presented good opportunities for me to work on a size and format I had never worked on before. My main point is, canvases with thickly applied paint or a lot of texture on them will probably require more work because more sanding will be required.
Secondly, I used regular Gesso I had at hand in order to resurface my canvas. There is a lot of debate whether or not it is ¨safe¨ to use oil paint on a canvas prepped with gesso. A lot of folks believe that it should not be done because it is just a recipe for cracking, peeling and an overall less durable painting. Other artists believe that a good quality Gesso can serve as base for practically any type of paint or medium. I think it is up to you to figure out if this will work for your specific type of artwork or not, and the only way of finding this out is through first-hand experimentation. Perhaps your just experimenting and learning like me, and aren't really looking to create a masterpiece that will be passed on from generation to generation. In this case, it doesn't really matter. Something you DO have to keep in mind is that if your goal is to resurface an old oil painting, a whole new set of rules apply. Regular Gesso cannot be used for this purpose. You would need an oil-specific ground and/or primer (I will not go into this process today because it is not something I have personally tried). So, once again, you CAN create an oil painting over traditional Gesso, but you CANNOT apply gesso over an oil painting. Are you with me?
I personally didn't worry much about creating an impeccable surface for this project because, as previously stated, I knew since the beginning that this was mostly an exploration for me. However, if it worries you, a solution is to apply Lindseed Oil prior to starting the painting process. Simply brush this all over the previously dried gesso and allow it to soak for about 24 hours. Afterwards, wipe off the canvas with a dry cloth and let the games begin! The idea is that the gesso will absorb some of this oil and it is less likely to make the painting crack later.
How to Reuse an Old Canvas Using Gesso:
You will need:
-Old canvas painting/print/pretty much whatever as long as it's not an oil painting
-Thick used up/cheap brush
-Glass containers for water
-Linseed oil (*Optional)
1. Wipe clean the old artwork. Make sure it is clear of dust and other particles.
2. Sandpaper the surface using light pressure and focusing on highly textured areas. Don’t fret so much about getting the surface super even if the painting has a lot of texture to it. Wipe surface using a cloth.
3. Apply first layer of Gesso as evenly as possible and allow to dry for a couple of hours. If your Gesso is too thick and this bothers you, you can add a bit of water to it. Make sure that first layer completely dries before continuing with the next step. If it feels damp to the touch, this means you should wait longer.
3. If you want to start off with a textured surface, simply apply a second layer of Gesso. If you don't want so much texture, sand your surface gently once more, wipe to remove particles, and apply second layer of Gesso (you can sand it once more after it dries).
At this point it should be ready to be painted on! But if you are still a bit nervous about not having a quality surface to work on, use the Linseed Oil suggestion I mentioned before. I will be trying this out on the next one!
To end this post, I would like to encourage you to always keep learning and not be afraid of devoting time to a process that might not produce the most amazing of artworks. Keep experimenting and be proud of yourself for simply going through a learning process. I firmly believe that the process matters more than the final outcome in both life AND our artistic journeys.
After I have devoted a solid amount of time into any artwork, I like to analyze it and make notes about what I learned throughout the process. In this case, here is what I wrote:
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