Thursday, August 17, 2017

3 Drawing Tips for Beginners

Drawing Beginners 1 cvr


Are you new to drawing, or just want a refresher on the basics? Well, you’re in luck. Below you will find three essential drawing tips from top artists featured in the digital edition of Drawing for Beginners, presented by Drawing magazine and ArtistsNetwork.

These fundamental guidelines will help you enhance your skills and produce more successful drawings. Enjoy!

1: Stand Back and Glance Back and Forth

Throughout your drawing, take a break and stand back several feet, glancing back and forth between your draw­ing and your reference image many times. This gives you fresh eyes — the same effect as if you left your drawing for a while and came back, so you can see if it’s accurate.

If you don’t do this, you’ll find out the hard way that you inevita­bly end up with a drawing shaded so heavily it leaves a ghost image you can’t fully erase. I recommend using this secret throughout your drawing sessions — especially before you start heavy shading.

– Sarah Parks

2: Draw Upside-Down

When you can’t figure out what the verbal identity of an image is (a bird, for example), you start focus­ing more on the shapes that make it up. This tricks your mind into taking on complex images you would otherwise find intimidating.

– Claire Watson Garcia


Drawing Beginner upside down bird

Upside Down Bird (by Claire Watson Garcia, pen)

3: Basic Shapes and Measurements in the Human Figure

A trapezoid shape, with the wide part at the top, works well to suggest the upper portion of the human trunk from the shoulders to the waist. A shorter trapezoid, turned upside-down, can be used to rough in the area of the trunk from the waist to the crotch.

In the average person, the crotch is the mid-point of the figure. The arms and hands hang down to the mid-point or slightly past.

The head is roughed in as an oval shape. The average adult human is approximately six head-and-neck-lengths high. The two trapezoid shapes representing the trunk are usually as long as two head-and-neck sections.

The upper legs extend up into the lower trunk to connect with the pelvis, making the area taken up by the legs and feet approximately the same length as three-and-a-half head-and-neck sections.

– Claudia Nice


Drawing Beginner figure measurements

Bonus Tip!

Check out this video from Alain Picard about thumbnail sketches, an integral part of art-making and an important step in the learning process for drawing beginners. Follow along as Picard shares how you can accomplish three problem-solving goals with thumbnail sketching: simplifying values, clarifying shapes and designing the composition.


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3 Drawing Tips for Beginners

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Painting During the Golden Hour

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Painting During the Golden Hour

Headed North by Julie Gilbert Pollard, oil painting.

Headed North by Julie Gilbert Pollard, oil painting.

Add a Glow to Your Landscape Canvas

It’s no secret that landscape paintings filled with stunning light make us feel something extra, right? Sunsets on a landscape canvas can transport us to a time and place of serenity and calm. Painting during that spectacular time of day known as the “golden hour,” when light is at its best, is something to set aside time for, artists. You’ll be mesmerized with what you create.

landscape painting by Brian Keeler

Cayuga Moon, Sheldrake Point, NY (oil on linen, 30×36) by Brian Keeler. Contributions by Brian Keeler and Cherie Haas.

Inspirations from the Past

Painting the landscape, figure or portrait with dramatic light effects has a long and distinguished lineage of artists that we can look to for inspiration. The 17th century Baroque artists who portrayed the figure as their main theme is probably the best place to look for this artistic heritage, with painters like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, DeLatour, Velazquez, and others.

With the landscape painters it came a little later with painters such as Turner, Lorrain, and Constable. But our plein air proto-impressionist painter is Corot who trail-blazed in the Italian and French countrysides in the early 19th century, painting directly from the motif. The tradition of painting light in the landscape came to certain apogee in the last part of the 19th century with the impressionist painters and John Singer Sargent.

How to Paint It Yourself

Paint during the hours of high drama at the end of the day or sometime early in the morning. During these times of day, the raking light of the sun brings out the forms, chromo, and heightening essential aspects of the landscape. The quality of light gives us a good boost of juice to seize the moment and express what we see on our canvases.

Whether we’re looking directly toward a sunset, at the effects of late afternoon sunlight (observing the play of light as it courses over and around forms), or watching the cast shadows that reveal the topography, we avail ourselves of the inherent drama of atmosphere at its most sublime and dramatic. When skyscapes and clouds enter into our consideration they add another entire element to our expressive possibilities.

Over Watkins landscape painting by Brian Keeler

Over Watkins Glen, NY (oil on linen, 26×30) by Brian Keeler

Painting Strategies for the Golden Hour

+Do quick sketches ahead of time. There’s the chance that you only have moments to observe. Take them. Make quick references and color notes.

+If you decide to commit to painting in the moment, lay in the main divisions and articulate objects with a short hand of strokes to indicate strategically placed reference points. Try to get a more or less complete statement in one sitting, whether it be an hour or three or four.

+Take extra time and go back to the studio. Tune up the landscape canvas you’ve been working on by focusing on seeing the color story through, making any necessary compositional changes, and pushing them to completion.

Summertime Glow

Now that the last weeks of summer are upon us, I hope you find many mornings and evenings to enjoy the golden hour yourself, be it with a canvas and paint, or simply sitting outside and letting yourself watch the color drama and golden glow unfold. When you are ready to put your own unique spin on the golden hour, then Discover Oil Painting – How to Paint Skies & Clouds will be waiting for you. It’ll give you the strategies you need to create paintings to match the glory of Mother Nature and all her colors. Enjoy!


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Oil Painting Basics: Brushes 101

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Oil Painting Basics: Brushes 101

Hey beginners, don’t be intimidated by oil painting — especially when you have the fundamentals laid out for you from such an accomplished artist like Julie Gilbert Pollard.

Below you’ll  gain an overview of some of the basic materials you’ll need, including brushes for oil painting and tips for cleaning them, pulled directly from her book Discover Oil Painting. Enjoy!


Best brushes for oil painting |

Julie’s Basic Oil Painting Brush Kit, from left to right: bright bristle, filbert bristle, small and large flat bristles, an old bright bristle cut into with scissors (for making loose ragged brushstrokes), Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold II round, assortment of Winsor & Newton Monarch brights, flats and filberts; and a fan bristle. (Pin this!) **Article contributions from Cherie Haas

Brushes For Oil Painting

Brushes come in a variety of styles. Eventually, you’ll determine your own favorite brushes to use. Until then, you’ll probably want to experiment with a few different brush types and sizes.

Here are some basic brush descriptions, though the length of the bristles often varies from brand to brand:

  • Round: round with a pointed tip
  • Flat: flat with squared ends
  • Bright: flat with shorter bristles than flat brushes
  • Filbert: flat with rounded ends
  • Fan: flat and shaped like a fan — the only fan brush I use is one out of which I have cut some of the bristles in a ragged pattern to make a very rough scraggly mark

I use hog bristle brushes in a variety of brands, from Nos. 2 to 10 for the lion’s share of my painting, but I also like synthetic mongoose brushes, flats, brights and filberts in several sizes.

The synthetic mongoose brushes I use are Winsor & Newton Monarch brushes. They are sized differently from bristle brushes, with a No. 14 being about 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) wide. The Monarch Nos. 0 and 2 are good for small branches, as are the Nos. 0 and 2 filberts. I use a Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold II No. 1 round for tiny twigs and for my signature.


Oil painting basics: brushes 101 | Julie Gilbert Pollard,

Free As a Bird (oil painting on canvas, 12×24) by Julie Gilbert Pollard.

How to Clean Oil Paint Brushes

You’ll need odorless mineral spirits (OMS), a rag and tissues or paper towels. (I use the least expensive pop-up facial tissues.)

It’s especially important to clean your brush between values, and often different colors of the same value, if you don’t want your colors to mix. If you’ve been applying a light-value color and need to add a darker value, simply wipe the brush with a tissue.

However, if you want to add light value over dark, the brush needs more thorough cleaning. Wipe the brush, then wash in OMS by rubbing it over the coil in a silicoil brush cleaning tank. Wipe the OMS off the brush firmly with a tissue before picking up the light-colored paint.

I generally only change brushes when I need a different size or shape, not because the brush isn’t clean enough. Normally I use about three or four brushes during a painting session, and I clean them as I go.

I used to grab a different brush instead of cleaning the one in my hand. By the end of a painting session, however, I would be too tired to clean them properly and would leave them to be cleaned later on. I ruined a few brushes that way. So now I clean as I go, which is quick and easy. It makes clean-up at the end of my painting day a breeze.

Want More from Julie Gilbert Pollard?

In the quick video tutorial below, Pollard demonstrates how to simplify the subject of your painting by seeing the large shapes without the distraction of color. Follow along as she chooses a monochrome color to underpaint these shapes as values — for the perfect first step in your oil painting process.

Still want more from Pollard? Check out her video workshops on

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Win an Original Thomas Schaller Watercolor!

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