Oct 31, 2010

Drawing Basics: Anatomy of the Skull

A skull drawing, drawn in color pencil.
Today, I will cover the basic anatomy of the human skull. Below you will find two charts diagramming the bones of the human skull, a frontal view (anterior aspect) and a side view (lateral aspect). I have labeled the bones and key parts of the skull for reference when discussing the head.

Oct 29, 2010

Watercolor Basics: Transferring a drawing to watercolor paper

A rub transfer is a very useful technique in watercolor painting. Since watercolor is transparent, you always need to keep your sketch clean and light. This becomes somewhat difficult to maintain once you have a really complex composition or subject to draw. This transfer technique allows you you work out the drawing and make corrections to the drawing on another sheet of paper without worrying about keeping it clean and light. This is why a rub transfer comes in handy, because once you have completed the drawing you can transfer a very light image onto the watercolor paper. Another advantage of this is that if you mess up your watercolor painting, you still have the original drawing to transfer onto another piece of paper and start over again.

The materials you will need are a 2B graphite pencil, tracing paper, drawing paper, and watercolor paper.

1. Finish your drawing on a piece of regular drawing paper. 

Todays sample is a bulb of garlic.

Oct 27, 2010

Drawing Basics: Drawing the Mouth and Lips

Mouth drawn in charcoal
Today I thought we would look at how to draw the mouth and lips. The mouth is not difficult to draw once you understand its structural elements. 

First, we will learn a simple technique for drawing the mouth and lips. Then, we will look at a the basic structure of the mouth to see how it fits on the face.

An Easy Way to Draw the Mouth and Lips

Below is a chart demonstrating a simple step by step process of drawing lips that I learned awhile back. It is a great shortcut for drawing lips and as you can see we start out with some very basic shapes.

Steps to a simple method of drawing  the mouth and lips.

Oct 24, 2010

Painting Basics: Landscape Step by Step

The finished painting from the landscape painting demonstration.
I have been posting a lot of figurative stuff lately, so today thought I would do something different. I thought I would cover some of the basics of landscape painting and do a basic step-by-step demonstration on how to paint a simple landscape in oil paint.

In this demonstration, I will be covering a little about atmospheric perspective and dealing with handling color.

1. Tone the surface. I start by toning the surface of the canvas with some color to knock down the white of the gesso. This also gives me a warm surface to build on as I paint, creating a nice contrast of color as the tone peeks through the painting. I used Burnt Sienna for the tone.  

(I am using an 11 x 14-inch panel for this exercise)

2. Draw in the shapes found in the landscape. I took Raw Umber and drew in the shapes with a small paintbrush. The shapes don't have to be precise, we are not copying a scene exactly. We are using the scene as a reference or guide. The scene just provides the material, we will decide how to organize the composition and what colors to use.

Oct 22, 2010

Watercolor Basics: Mixing Complementary colors

In a previous post, we talked about how to mute color with complementary colors. I have mentioned before that I personally prefer not to use black in watercolor. This is because watercolor is a transparent medium and sometimes the black right out of the tube is somewhat opaque. This means when you are mixing black into another color, your watercolor risks getting muddy and dull. The best way to get black when you need it is to mix the complementary colors together. In this article, I will show you some color mixing tips using complementary colors with watercolor to get black, a nice gray color (usually for cast shadows), and samples of muting green. 

1.  Mixing Black

Using complementary color to create black 
The colors I use:

a. Carmine + Viridian
b. Vermilion + Viridian

In the image to the right, you can see how example A does not come out quite black, it’s more of a purple. This is because Vermilion, which is a warmer red, is actually a more direct complement of Viridian. With example B I get really nice neutral black.

Oct 20, 2010

Drawing Basics: Simplifying Shape and Form

A while back, I mentioned that you can use basic shapes and forms to simplify the subject to get a better general sense of the subject before moving on to the structure and the detail.

Today, I thought I would discuss the basics shapes and forms a little more throughly and apply the concept to a couple of simple drawings. Understanding and finding the basic shapes will make drawing easier. 

Oct 17, 2010

Color Basics: Color Saturation, using complementary colors to mute color

Muting with Compliments
Sometimes the best way to make your painting feel more colorful is by using the saturated colors sparingly in your composition.

One way to reduce the saturation of a color is by mixing the complementary colors together to mute the color. All muting means is to reduce the intensity or saturation of the hue, bringing it closer to a neutral gray color. Placing a muted version of a color next to a more saturated hue will make the saturated color stand out. 

Lets look at color saturation and how to mute color using the complimentary colors.

Oct 15, 2010

Water Color Basics: A Cosmos Flower

Watercolor Demo: wet in wet, wet on Dry: Cosmos Flower
by Hsuan-Chi Chen

In this demonstration, I am going to show you a couple of the same principles as the last watercolor demonstration. Those techniques are the wet-in-wet and wet-on-dry techniques of watercolor painting.  Mastering these two basic techniques, you can create form and color variation, control the paint better, and achieve a whole lot more with watercolor. 

Oct 13, 2010

Drawing Basics: Proportions of the Head

The proportions of the head
Today, I thought I'd cover the proportions of the head and  offer some standard guides to help out with determining where to place the features of the head. I will walk through some the proportional guides of head to create a better understanding of how the features fit on the head and how they relate to each other. 

Just like in the figure proportion post, I will be using the length of the head as a measurement for some of the proportions covered today. 

Lets look at the proportions of the head.

Oct 10, 2010

Color: Analogous Split Complementary Color Composition

Split Complementary Color
There are plenty of ways to organize color in you drawings and paintings. One such way is to use the color complements as a way to create harmony, balance, tension, and contrast when and where you want such elements in your composition. Today, I will introduce one method of using the color complements called analogous split complementary color and I will give an example of how it can be applied. 

Artists devised a way to combine the use of color complements and and the analogous colors to design their compositions. This method is known as analogous split color complements or analogous split complementary color.

Let's look at how to apply this to painting or drawing.

Oct 8, 2010

Watercolor Demo: Pineapple Guava

Watercolor Demo

This post is a demonstration of painting a watercolor painting from start to finish. The subject of this demo is egg-shaped green fruits, called pineapple guava. The fruits' waxy skin turns blue-gray when the light hits the surface. In this demo, you will see how to use wet in wet and basic layering techniques.

Oct 6, 2010

Drawing Basics: Drawing the Eye

Drawing the eyes.  
Drawing or Constructing the Eye

When drawing or constructing an eye, it is good to consider the hidden forms that shape the elements on and around the eye, like the shape of the eye itself, the bone structure of the eye socket, and any muscles around the eye. The eye has form and volume. It sits in a recessed part of the head with the brow protruding over the front plane of the eye. Learning the basic form of the eye will assist you in drawing eyes more realistically.

First, lets look at the basic shape of the eye and how the eyelids wrap around it.

Oct 3, 2010

Drawing Basics: Figure Proportions

7 and a 1/2 head figure proportion study
I thought I would write about proportions of the human figure and introduce to you a system that I was taught in school. This is a set of guides used to create proper proportions relative to the head size. That is, we measure the figure in heads lengths.

For this post I am using a 7 and 1/2 head tall figure for the proportional measurements. You may see elsewhere guides measuring the figure as 8 heads tall. Don't let this confuse you, both are just slightly different approaches to resolving the same problem, which is how do I make sure all the parts of the body proportionally relate to each other and to the figure as a whole. The answer is that artists came up with was to measure the parts of the figure against the height of the head as a standard of measurement. In this case the body will be seven and a half heads tall and everything will fit as it compares to the height of the head.

Oct 1, 2010

Watercolor Basics: Texture Techniques

After learning how to mix color in watercolor, one of the next things you can try is to create different textures. Watercolor can be used to create some nice textures. Here are just a few different techniques for creating different textures in watercolor.

Wet in Wet

An example of painting wet in wet.

Wet in wet is one of the most common techniques and is used to create soft blended edges. This technique requires some practice to master it. The more you practice the more you get a better feel for how to paint wet in wet.

Steps to Paint Wet in Wet

1. First, paint a wash with any color you want. Be sure that you donʼt have too much water on the paper,or not enough water on the paper, either will cause problems with the blending. Being able to judge the amount of water needed comes with practice.

2. While the color still wet, add a layer of a darker color on top. At this stage be sure that the brush holds more paint than water. Tap the brush on a paper towel or cloth to get rid of excess water to ensure that the brush would not have too much water.