5+1 Ways to tell if your art is rubbish

The ugly truth

Since you are reading this blog you are certainly involved with art in a way or another. As such, and no matter your skill level, you can’t deny this question has crossed your mind a few times: “How do I know if my art is good?”. Although there is no definitive answer to this, there are definitely some ways to weight and judge your artwork. Stand opposite your latest painting and run through the following list. Process that in your mind and  you will realise how close your work is to be called “art”.

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The secret behind Inktober’s success

A phenomenon that started for fun

Inktober started in 2009 by Jake Parker. It has since grown into a worldwide thing with thousands of artists taking up the challenge every year. The amount of beautiful ink drawings filling our social media feed is incredible; making this month very interesting artistically. What is the secret though behind Inktober’s big success?

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PROFESSIONAL SKETCHES IN 3 STEPS

PROFESSIONAL SKETCHES IN 3 STEPS

Technique and Attitude

It is very common for beginner artists to start a new drawing and despite putting a lot of effort and time into, the result still shows lack of technique and experience. If this has happened to you, don’t panic; you are not the only one. There are different ways of improving the quality of your drawing quite easily and fast. Some would call it technique; I would say it is more of an attitude towards the way you make art. Following these 3 easy steps, it is more than certain that your next drawing will look much better!

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THE REFRESHMENT CALLED “SHARING”

THE REFRESHMENT CALLED “SHARING”

Share knowledge. It’s good for you

I have taught Maths, Physics and English previously. The biggest satisfaction was seeing my little students doing great in their exams and gradually building a good understanding on these subjects. I didn’t expect that sharing art knowledge through my blog would give me the same feeling of satisfaction and happiness.

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WHY LIFE DRAWING?

Life Drawing Sessions

A great way to challenge and teach yourself

If you have felt the urge to create and improve your artistic skills but doing so in the isolation of your room doesn’t feel tempting…be sure there are loads of people who feel the same way. After spending a few months working on my own, I eventually found something that worked very well for me and boosted my motivation.

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Beginner artist? Here are some great news!

PDF TUTORIALS

Working on something useful and exciting

As a beginner artist you most probably have inspiration and materials. What you lack though is skill and knowledge. Unless you follow a formal arts course, it can get very tricky to gather all the information you need to get you started. I have experienced that myself and requires loads of motivation to power through this first stage….and also some help!

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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

JANE – 2

25/06/2018

Last week unfortunately I had to skip my life drawing class and today it felt really awkward the first ten minutes; I thought I had forgotten to hold the charcoal stick! I was trying to refresh my memory as to how we draw the ribcage, what I had learnt about the skull and mainly how do we put all this together. Th bright side is that after a few wrong lines I slowly got up to speed again.

Our model today was Jane. Jane was the first model I ever sketched and this truly a good opportunity for me (and yourself if you wish!) to look back and see the progress I have made the past few months (see JANE).

As usually the model did three short poses. Finally, the class picked their favourite one as the long pose; we picked pose number three. Lets go through them one by one.

For the first pose Jane was sat on a table with her legs crossed. This pose gave me a good sight of her torso and breast. I tried to quickly sketch and remind myself the structure of the head and the Ribcage (and mainly how these affect the skin of the body). I am quite happy with this pose as we didn’t spend more than 7 minutes.

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For the second pose Jane stayed on the table however she turned her back towards my side. I spent less than five minutes sketching this pose as in the meanwhile I had a quick chat with my tutor. She pointed out that my lines should be less heavy and bold! I spent most of my time sketching the model’s left foot. Feet are always a challenge! Apparently, the model appears to wide here but as mentioned before, I am not too worried as this served mainly as a warm up for the longer pose.36176870_1244913152309111_163261482266525696_n.jpg

For the third pose Jane returned pretty much to her original position; main difference being that instead of crossing her legs she now had a stool to support her right leg, while the left one was touching the floor. I couldn’t see her right arm almost at all. As before, I had a good view of her torso and legs. In my first attempt (short pose) I didn’t make any effort to sketch the legs. I only focused on the upper structure. As you can see below (drawing on the left hand side) the sketch is quite technical – I tried to put together previous knowledge before starting the long pose.36283152_1244913288975764_902433458511413248_n.jpg

Finally, after a quick tea break (actually it was fizzy drinks and cheese snacks break…) we went back in class to start with our long pose. The class decided pose number 3 was the preferable one (and I totally agreed). This time I did spend time drawing the whole body, including legs and upper structure as well. I was lightly criticized by my tutor for being too technical and strict with my drawing but at this stage I would like to learn the structure and then allow myself to go crazy with colour and lines. I had the time to add some tone too to satisfy myself with a complete drawing.

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The Artist says:

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“It is so amazing when you start studying the human anatomy before you go to the next class. You gain an understanding of how things work together and then instead of just sketching individual shapes and planes you understand how the body structure works as a whole!

 

 

 

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