IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD

Human Anatomy

The Skull – Front

You are so into starting painting portraits but after trying a couple of times…things didn’t quite work. Yes, I know…I ve been there myself. Here you will find just the right amount of information to get you started – simplified, and easy to follow.

Why you should read this article

If you want to make some progress you need to follow a method; and trust me, there is no better tactic than understanding what lies underneath. Having a good grasp of the skull will help you gradually build your skill drawing and painting portraits.  In this article we will look at the structure of the front side of the skull (next article will be about the side view).

Continue reading “IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD”

Colour Theory – Exercise 1

EXERCISE 1

COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS

We recently looked through some very basic colour theory. I am writing these posts as I study too so I guess it must be quite helpful for absolute beginners. Even if not everything is absolutely clear; at least these articles should be providing a starting point for further research and study. Also I am aiming to create an organised file of articles for someone to follow; then it’s up to you to further expand your knowledge.

Today we will do our first exercise, applying the knowledge we obtained about the Colour Wheel and Complementary Colours. If you haven’t read these articles yet, I strongly recommend you do before starting with this exercise. It will be much easier for you to understand what we are doing and why things happening.

Quick Summary:

  • Step 1: Starting the Exercise: Outlines
  • Step 2: Adding Background
  • Step 3: Base paint for the fruit
  • Step 4: Adding secondary and complementary colours
  • Step 5: Adding Shadows
  • Step 6: Adding highlights

Some advice before you start painting; be patient between steps and let layers dry before applying the next ones.

What will you need?

  • Acrylic Paints: Blue, Yellow, Red and a tiny amount of White.
  • Pencil and Eraser.
  • Canvas (canvas board or some thick paper will do alternatively) and brushes.
  • Finally, it will be very helpful for you to have a reference photo. I literally put two bananas a tomato and a green apple on my kitchen’s counter, used some spot light and click a picture. If you can’t do this…feel free to use this photograph below:DSC_0074f.jpg

Step 1: Starting the Exercise: Outlines

First of all you will have to roughly sketch the shapes of your fruit. Use your pencil for this. No need to spend ages detailing the fruit; remember, everything will be covered in paint anyway. What is important though is to double-check that your proportions are correct. Make sure that your tomato is not very small compared to the apple or the bananas too long compared to the other fruit. No need for precision but be proportionally correct. Allow for 20min maximum (if you spend much more than that you will start overworking the outlines which you don’t want).

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Step 2: Adding Background

With your outlines roughly sketched we are ready to start painting! Grab a thin round brush and load it with some diluted blue paint. Draw a lines which separates your background from you foreground. Again, you can experiment and see where you like it more. Once you have made this decision you can start blocking in with colour the surrounds of the fruit. Remember, the background will be darker than the foreground. You can apply more than one layers of colour until you achieve the desired density and thickness.

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Step 3: Base paint for the fruit

The background and the foreground are now ready and the separation with the fruit is already obvious. We need to provide a nice light base colour for the fruit. I have chosen yellow for the bananas and the apple as it is very easily covered by any other colour. For the tomato use directly red…

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Step 4: Adding secondary and complementary colours

For secondary colours have a look here. Mix some blue with some yellow to create a vibrant green. In reality there is no right and wrong amount of colour. Add a little bit of both until your green satisfies you.  Paint your apple with that and also paint the edges of your bananas. It is important at this stage to define the different planes (top of bananas, sides  bananas). To do this just add a little bit of green to the side of the banana-this difference in light will immediately inform your eye that this is a different plane. Read below for the shadows.

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Step 5: Adding Shadows

If you are aware of the complementary colours,  adding shadows on the fruit is actually very simple. (If you haven’t heard the theory do take a look here). Take some green and mix it with a tiny bit of red  This will create a darker green which you can use to add a shadow to your apple. Similarly, take a small quantity of green and mix it with red. This will create a dark, muted red (adjust the amounts of paint to achieve the desired dark colour-you might need bigger amount of green here). Use this one to add shadow to your tomato. The green darker areas you have used on the bananas will serve as shadows. A trick here is that you can add some orange on the bananas, reflecting the red colour of the tomato. (See photo above).

We also need to add shadows on the table behind the fruit. To do this simply mix some purple. Again do not go crazy. Adjust your colours as you don’t want a very deep dark shadow behind a small tomato which is lit uniformly.  Similar for the bananas. Be careful with the proportions of the shadows too. Don’t make them huge or too small; they are connected to the size of your fruit.

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Step 6: Adding highlights

This is the final detail and here is where we will need the small amount of white. Before you apply pure white for the highlight we need to brighten the areas around that dot of light. For your apple you can mix some of your green with some extra yellow and little bit of white (mixing with white will be looked at later. If interested you can read the theory here). Do the same for your tomato; mix some red with a little yellow and white.. You only need small amounts and you don’t want to make it stand out too much; just prepare the ground for the light. Finally, drop a touch of pure white for the light concentration reflection.

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As mentioned above, this is an exercise…do not expect to create the most beautiful painting of your artistic career! Focus on learning and applying the theory!

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The Artist says:

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“I have been passionate about painting since I remember myself. I started by just eexperimenting with colours, colour mixing and colour application. However , it’s not always easy to achieve what you want unless you know exactly what you are doing. Techniques are different for different media; colour theory though is the basis of painting and is the same for everything! I decided to teach myself the basics; and here I am sharing that with you!

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…

CHROMA

Love Sketching & Painting

Παρουσίαση2

Colour Theory – Tints, Shades and Tones

TINTS, SHADES AND TONES

ADD SHADOWS AND LIGHT

Before moving on to a series of exercises covering the theory of the recent articles we will have a look at another aspect of colour theory; the tints, shades and tones. This is nothing more than mixing your base colour with white, black and grey respectively.  Recently we discussed how we can create shadow and “mute” our colours by mixing them with their complementary ones (COLOUR THEORY–COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS). In this article we will see how this can be achieved by using only your base colour, black and white.


Previous Article: COLOUR THEORY – SHAPES


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  • Tints – Colour + White When mixing your base colour (for example a blue) with white, you create a tint of blue. This is paler than the original colour and can be used for various purposes. It could be applied to a well lit surface of an object or maybe applied it to a mountain which sits quite far from you in the landscape you are painting. When you want to make a less vibrant colour then just mix it with some white; it instantly becomes paler.
  • Shades – Colour + Black In the contrary when mixing a base colour (say a red) with black it instantly becomes darker. Depending on the amount of black you add your original colour could disappear completely. Therefore be careful to keep a balance between your initial colour and the very dominant black. These colours could possibly used for darker sides of an object. Of course uses are not limited to light and shadow. Sky is the limit for use of tints and shades.
  • Tones – Colour + Grey In reality this is just a combination of the above. If you Add some white to your original colour (tint) and then you drop a little black in the mixture then…obviously you have created a tone! Again here there is no limit to different mixtures; one must play around with the amounts of black, white and base colour to achieve the desired outcome.

Materials

As always we are trying to keep this as short and simple as possible. Our focus is to learn the theory rather than spending time preparing loads of materials etc. For now you will need the below. Allow for 1.0hour.

  • Acrylic paints: Blue, Yellow, Red (or any other you fancy!) + White, Black
  • Canvas
  • Brushes
  • Water and Cloth to clean your brush (avoid mixing everything together and ending up with a messy canvas)
  • Pencil, Rubber and Ruler (if you are very organised) for your grid

Exercise

Lets quickly put all this onto a canvas sheet to witness the difference between tints, tones and shades and realise how dominant black can be. Quickly sketch with a pencil a 4×7 Grid. 20180608_222111

Fill the first line with white, grey and black and the first column with various colours you would like to explore. For ease, I have just used the primary and secondary colours (COLOUR THEORY – BASICS). Now the fun part begins; we need to start mixing and making combinations. It is pretty straightforward but as I mentioned above…be careful with the use of black! It is dominant colour and you could end up having a muddy black table in the end!

  • Summary
  • Colour + White = Tint — use it for highlights
  • Colour + Black = Shade — use it for shadows
  • Colour + Grey = Tone — use it as midtone (bridge light and dark)
  • Black is dominant colour; be careful with the amounts you use

The Artist says:

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“I have been passionate about painting since I remember myself. I started by just eexperimenting with colours, colour mixing and colour application. However , it’s not always easy to achieve what you want unless you know exactly what you are doing. Techniques are different for different media; colour theory though is the basis of painting and is the same for everything! I decided to teach myself the basics; and here I am sharing that with you!

 

 

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…

CHROMA

Love Sketching & Painting

Παρουσίαση2

 

 

Colour Theory – Shapes

SHAPES ON CANVAS

DRAW OUTLINES FOR YOUR PAINTINGS

Today we will keep the article very short and simple; not because sketching is an easy job but because going into very deep detail is beyond the scope of this tutorial. For more information about sketching you might want to start reading here:

In any case, applying sketching knowledge to painting will definitely help you and allow you to progress and understand things faster. Very roughly, due to perspective, shapes distort; for realistic paintings you have to draw in perspective rather than regular shapes as you already know them (read here). Also, tones change due to distance; colours look paler as you move further away and more vibrant and “complete” as you come closer. We will cover all these aspects in due course. Regarding the basic shapes for painting, all you need is either a hard pencil (HB, H or 2H) or a thin brush and acrylic paint.


Previous Article: COLOUR THEORY – COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS


 

Using a Pencil

In the first case, using a hard pencil will allow you to draw your basic shapes and will prevent leaving very heavy and bold marks (which would definitely happen when using soft pencils 2B, 3B etc or charcoal). Light marks on your canvas can easily be covered with paint. Also, you will avoid mixing your paint with black dust (ie. charcoal) which will make the final result dirtier and darker. Of course you can always apply more than one layers of paint to avoid this problem; it’s entirely up to you. I just find it easier to roughly and lightly sketch the shape using a hard pencil and then paint on top of that. See below:

Light marks on your canvas can easily be covered with paint…

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Using brush and paint

In the second case you start shaping your subject directly using paint and brushes. This is very good fun for two reasons. If you use reasonably diluted paint you can always rub it back and clean your canvas. It might leave a mark on your blank canvas but you shouldn’t worry too much as this can easily be covered by the next layer of colour. The second reason is that using a brush and paint you can’t be too precise with your shapes; this way you avoid spending ages detailing something you will then completely cover with paint. I find this technique quite easy, fast, fun and relieves me off the stress of detailed drawing. Of course the amount of detail you want to add is up to you but remember…this is just a trace to help you paint a bit more accurately later.

…avoid spending ages detailing something you will then completely cover with paint.

Few tips when using a brush:

  • Use diluted paint – it’s easier to cover it up later
  • Use light colours – for the same reason
  • Use slightly thicker paint for shapes that are closer to you (gives a sense of perspective – helpful for you); see the blue garlics above.
  • Start simple and experiment – trying a very complicated composition will not help you – most probably will frustrate you.
  • Use less  defined shapes as it is less probable to look wrong (a wobbly building looks very wrong while a wobbly tomato looks like a wobbly tomato…still tasty though!)
  • You might want to use a combination of pencil (for some basic shapes or for perspective lines…) and brush (for rougher shaping afterwards.

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Materials

Presumably, you have already experimented with one technique or the other. I would suggest you choose a simple subject (like the bananas and the apple I sketched above) and try shaping the outlines on two separate canvases using both techniques. You will have the chance to compare the two sketches in terms of detail, speed, accuracy and ease. Allow for 0.5 hour.

  • A small brush (a round brush will be helpful),
  • Some diluted acrylic paint (light colours will be covered easier when you block in colour later).
  • Cloth to erase/rub the paint if you need.
  • 2x Canvas (canvas pad – easier and cheaper for this exercise)
  • A hard (2H or H) pencil  (for part of your sketch you might want to try using a soft pencil – 3B or softer to see the difference).
  • Rubber

 

A quick summary of the above is here:

  • Principles of Perspective and Tone.
  • Pencil – More detailed sketch – think if necessary
  • Brush – less detailed but quick and easy

The Artist says:

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“I have been passionate about painting since I remember myself. I started by just eexperimenting with colours, colour mixing and colour application. However , it’s not always easy to achieve what you want unless you know exactly what you are doing. Techniques are different for different media; colour theory though is the basis of painting and is the same for everything! I decided to teach myself the basics; and here I am sharing that with you!

 

 

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…

CHROMA

Love Sketching & Painting

Παρουσίαση2

 

 

Colour Theory – Complementary colours

COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS

AN EASY WAY TO ADD SHADOWS

Last week we looked at the Colour Wheel which is the foundation of the colour theory. The complementary colours were mentioned in that article, however we didn’t look at those in detail.

20180523_195621When mixing primary colours (red, yellow and blue), the secondary colours occur (orange, green and purple). An easy way to remember which the complementary colours are, is to visualise the colour wheel. Those sitting opposite are called Complementary colours. See below; green is red’s complementary colour, purple is yellow’s and orange is blue’s.

Another easy way to memorise this is that its primary colour’s complementary is the one created by the other two primary colours. ie. red’s complementary is green (blue + yellow). Anyway, lets not make it to complicated. With practice you will be able to remember instantly, until then just open the Colour Wheel and have a look.

The amazing thing with complementary colours is they have the ability to “mute” the primary colours with which they are mixed. This allows you to easily add shadows to your paintings. It is very very useful when you are working with limited palette of colours (ie. red, yellow, blue).

…complementary colours…have the ability to “mute” the primary colours…

Try mixing red with some green. You will instantly notice that the red becomes darker, almost dirty, which gives the impression of shadow. You might want to experiment with the different combinations. I did my exercise recently; see the results below. Later this week we will look at a more comprehensive exercise.

Materials

Again just try to keep it simple.This is not an attempt to create a beautiful painting; we are just trying to explore how complementary colours work.  Allow for 1.0 hour.

  • A small brush (any type will do),
  • Yellow Acrylic Paint
  • Blue Acrylic Paint
  • Red Acrylic Paint
  • Canvas (canvas pad – easier and cheaper for this exercise)
  • A pencil and a rubber

20180523_201132

A quick summary of the above is here:

  • See the primary and secondary colours on the Colour Wheel.
  • Those sitting opposite on the colour wheel are called complementary colours.
  • Mix complementary colours to create muted colours which can be used as shadows.

The Artist says:

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“I have been passionate about painting since I remember myself. I started by just eexperimenting with colours, colour mixing and colour application. However , it’s not always easy to achieve what you want unless you know exactly what you are doing. Techniques are different for different media; colour theory though is the basis of painting and is the same for everything! I decided to teach myself the basics; and here I am sharing that with you!

 

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…

CHROMA

Love Sketching & Painting

Παρουσίαση2

 

 

STUCK IN THE CAGE

Human Anatomy

The Ribcage

In this article we will see step by step how to draw the front part of the rib cage. I only tried this myself a few days ago so I am sure it will be very helpful for absolute beginners. I will try to keep the article short and easy as usual.

Continue reading “STUCK IN THE CAGE”

Aristotle

Ancient Greek portraits

An Ancient Greek philosopher which is a dominant figure in my home city. Aristotle is one of the most important and famous personalities of Ancient Greece and streets, universities and squares have been named after him in modern Greek cities. Aristotle was born in Stagira (norther Greece) and was a student of Plato in Athens. After his teacher’s death, Aristotle was invited to teach Alexander the Great (previous bust drawing – BUST -2). His teachings are foundation of the modern Western Philosophy and cover many areas as physics, biology, arts, politics and psychology.

The inspiration to draw this bust is now obvious. It was a good exercise for me, getting the proportions of the face  and the shape of head right. I quickly put a small grid on my paper and tried to measure the proportions of the width and length of his face.  First step was to locate the zone of his eyes. That gave me a good reference point to build the rest of his face. I achieved this by defining the forehead’s proportion to the rest of the face.

Once the eyes were roughly in place it was easier to define the position of other features. I started top to to bottom. Firstly, I tried to deal with the nose by making it proportionally right to the forehead. The width of the nose was measured proportionally to its length.

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With the nose roughly sketched I looked at the width and position of the mouth and chin. The width of the lips roughly lines up with the middle of the eyes. The chin literally occurred by sketching the outline of the lips. This areas is easier to draw by adding tone rather than trying to precisely sketch outlines.

A new element for me was the hair. It was a challenging task to decide how to better sketch the hair. I am not sure this is the best way to do it yet but it seemed a bit easier roughly shaping it and then defining it better by adding tone. The same applies to hair on the head and facial hair.

After having on my paper and being satisfied that I don’t want to add any more details (mainly because at this point I am quite tired already) I add some highlights by rubbing out the charcoal or strengthen the tone in some places. This way I increase the contrast and make the drawing a bit more impressive. Still working on this though!

I hope you enjoyed! You can see my previous bust drawing here:

DSC_006923 - Αντίγραφο busts mobile

THE ARTIST SAYS…

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“Busts is a collection of charcoal drawings which represents my first steps in the world of life drawing and drawing of human figures and faces in general. In these first drawings I am just trying to put in practice the theory that I read in sketching books or the instructions that our tutor gives during our life drawing classes. Hopefully, as I progress and practice more, the quality of my drawings will improve and more confident lines and powerful tone contrasts will appear.”

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves. Meet the man behind the  scenes. Visit THE ARTIST… 

Love Sketching and Painting

CHROMA

Παρουσίαση2 - Αντίγραφο

JULIAN – 1

30/04/2018

Today the session was different to the previous ones. First of all we had a male model which I had never drawn before. But the main difference was the content of the session itself. Our tutor organised for us two exercises.

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The class started setting up the model…behind a screen! We couldn’t see him at all. We were only allowed to quickly go behind the screen and take a brief look and then run back to our easels and sketch. We were allowed to go back and forth as many times as we wanted however we couldn’t take our sketch pads with us.

Aim of this exercise was to improve our observational skills and our memory. A good understanding of the human body structure was very helpful as by picking up some information then you could build up and complete your drawing. Most of the students struggled (including myself). I managed to make the following drawing which did not please me at all. I acknowledge that this was a very useful exercise; very frustrating though!

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Following this first challenge our tutor had prepared another task for us (and the model…). The students were sat in a circle leaving a small “corridor” empty in the middle of the class. The model had to walk slowly up and down the class making a small stop in the middle taking a pose for a few seconds. We had to capture the movement in our drawings. Purpose of this exercise was to create quick lines with flow instead of completed sketches.

A second wave of frustration hit me as I managed to quickly draw different poses along the way however I completely missed the element of movement. Again I understand the value and use of this exercise but I think it needs loads of practice to actually capture the flow and the movement!

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Finally, the tutor set up a long pose which lasted for about an hour. The model, who was a tall muscular middle aged man, was holding a spear with both hands. This led his muscles to stretch and his torso to take a very sculptural form. The pose was not particularly easy as from my position the neck was hidden – i couldn’t understand how the head sits on the shoulders. I had to scrap my first drawing before I actually managed to form the correct figure.

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The Artist says:

“Since I joined the life drawing classes, I have really developed a completely different way of looking at the objects around me. I try to spot the details and I try to understand how different elements of an object affect the proportions, the shape and the tone. Studying the human body is quite challenging but really rewarding!

 

 

 

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…

 

CHROMA

Love Sketching & Painting

Παρουσίαση2

 

 

BUST – 1

This is my first ever attempt to draw a bust. When I was a student a few years ago, taking free hand and architectural drawing classes I was always jealous of one thing! I was jealous of my classmates who were preparing for the Fine Arts School exams.

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They had to train sketching busts. All shorts of Ancient Greek philosophers, poets and politicians were standing there on  the selves ready to be drawn! It was so amazingly impressive how the students used to use charcoal and within minutes their white paper would turn into the face of a philosopher. The contrast between heavy black and plain light describing the sculptures’ surfaces would just amaze me. I wanted to be able to do this….and here I am! Starting with this first bust…not quite sure who this is but definitely a good start!

 

This ties in brilliantly with my Life Drawing classes. See sketches from the weekly life drawing classes I joined recently here:

LIFE DRAWING

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LIFE DRAWING


 

 

THE ARTIST…

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“Busts is a collection of charcoal drawings which represents my first steps in the world of life drawing and drawing of human figures and faces in general. In these first drawings I am just trying to put in practice the theory that I read in sketching books or the instructions that our tutor gives during our life drawing classes. Hopefully, as I progress and practice more, the quality of my drawings will be improving with more confident lines and more powerful tone contrasts.”

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves. Meet the man behind the  scenes. Visit THE ARTIST… 

 

Love Sketching and Painting

CHROMA

Παρουσίαση2 - Αντίγραφο

 

TESS

09/04/2018

After three long weeks of no drawing classes due to the Easter break, yesterday evening we gathered again at the Bath Artists Studios for another very fruitful session…with a new model this time!

Yesterday we had the chance to draw Tess, a young girl of medium height and with a well weighted body. Our tutor highlighted that the main focus during that session should be on the shape of the muscles when they stretch or they contract. The tutor asked Tess to do 3 short poses (about 5mins each) where she would either stretch her arms upwards or bend to the front so her back muscles have a more sculpted shape.

For the long pose the model was sat on a stool on a table. I had a very interesting position as this time my horizon (eyes level – read more here) was lower than my subject. Also, the crossed legs of the pose were a challenge for me, especially considering that the foreshortening of the front leg distorted slightly the proportions (see bottom photograph).


…the foreshortening of the front leg distorted slightly the proportions…


Unfortunately,  i didn’t have the time to complete the shape of the head or the tones in that area. However this should not be a problem as we will have the same model for the next two weeks. I managed to add tone to the body and that is a personal success as have recently struggled to complete a drawing within the time available during class. I am really looking forward to challenging myself the next weeks adding more detail to my work!

See work from previous sessions: LIFE DRAWING

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28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_oThe Artist says:

“The life drawing classes I joined recently are getting on fine. It takes a lot of effort and practice but i believe that my hard work is being rewarded with slightly better shaped figures and added tone. Also, I have learned to use charcoal more effectively now and I think I wouldn’t go back to use of pencil for a larger scale drawing. Let’s see where this drawing trip takes us…

 

 

Love Painting and Sketching

CHROMA

Παρουσίαση2