Nov 28, 2010

Color Basics: Color and Value

Looking back at the post about the value scale, we can see that value is the level of darkness or lightness of a surface. In a grayscale, the lighter the surface the closer it comes to the value level of white. The other side of that is the darker the surface the closer it comes to the value level of black. Color has value properties as well.  A color can be lighter or darker than other colors. 

Another way to look at this is to see the value of a color separate from the other properties of the color. We can remove the hue of a color to reveal the color's value. In this post we will do just that. We will look at a color sample and then remove the hue characteristics to see how the colors compare in value.

Nov 24, 2010

Drawing Basics: The curve of the spine and gesture of the torso

Drawing the human figure has its challenges, which is why I like the subject. Since we are accustomed to seeing the human form and wired to understand and interpret its movement and actions, there are many elements that can go into drawing the human figure. There is plenty that can go wrong as well. Not only do we need to evaluate the proportions and shapes the figure creates, we also need to look at the placement and location of the forms within the body. This will help give the figure we draw a sense of weight. 

One area that has a dramatic impact on the feeling that there is weight to a figure is the how we draw the large shapes of the head and torso. Drawing the forms to line up in a straight line will cause the figure to look stiff or stretched out. This is because the spine curves. This curve directs the direction the forms move and their location as they relate to each other.

Lets take a look at how the head, ribcage, and pelvis positions relate to each other to see the curve of the torso as its surface moves vertically.

Nov 20, 2010

Watercolor Basics: Yosemite Landscape Demo

Watercolor Demo: Landscape of Yosemite
Watercolor painting of Yosemite
Yosemite Landscape in Watercolor

In this demonstration, I am going to show you some of the principles of watercolor and landscape painting. First, in watercolor, always start with lighter colors on your painting, because of the nature of watercolor, you can easily cover a light color with a darker color to create more depth. Second, in landscape painting, having atmospheric perspective, we generally will have lighter backgrounds and darker foregrounds. 

Based on these two principles, we are going to start with background mountains first and then the foreground trees.

Nov 16, 2010

Drawing Basics: Drawing an ellipse.

The ellipse is a shape that commonly appears in the shapes and forms of everyday objects. If we want to draw those objects in a way that mimics what we see in life, we will need to understand the ellipse as a shape and how it functions.

Today, we are going to look at how to draw an ellipse and how the ellipse behaves in three dimensional space.

Like drawing a circle or other uniform shapes, drawing a uniform ellipse can be done with a little practice.  Let's start by the looking at how ellipses are formed visually.

Nov 7, 2010

Drawing Basics: Muscles of the face

Last Sunday I posted a blog post about the human skull and I figured, that today, I would continue and build on that last post. 

Today, we will look at the muscles of the face. We will look at the general placement of each muscle and review the action for that muscle.

Each muscle has origin and an insertion points. These are the anatomical terms for the different places muscles are attached.

Some General Anatomy Terms
The origin of a muscle is the point or points where the muscle attaches to a fixed location or locations, this is the part of the body is unaffected be the muscle moving. The insertion is the reverse of this attachment, the muscle is attached to the part of the body that is moved by the muscle. For example, the bicep of the arm is attached to bones on the torso, this is origin, and spans across the humerus to the bones forearm, this is the insertion as the arm moves when the muscle contracts.

The action of a muscle is the movement that occurs when the muscles contract.  For example, the bicep of the arm pulls the forearm up bending at elbow.

Nov 5, 2010

Watercolor Basics: How to Use Masking Fluid

Article and painting by Hsuan-Chi Chen

Today, we are going to look at how to use masking fluid in watercolor while working on the bulb of garlic that we did in last week's watercolor basics post. One of the things we can do with the masking fluid is create really neat and clean highlights. This is because masking fluid can cover any shape and size of area on the painting, even for really tiny areas. It is a really versatile tool when it comes to watercolor painting.

Let's look at how to use masking fluid in a step by step demonstration of this painting.

Nov 3, 2010

Painting Basics: Value Pattern Studies, choices in composition

Painting realistically is not just about painting what you see. As we paint, there are choices to make along the way. We can play with the composition to make the painting visually more interesting.

Today, I have painted three quick studies to show how a simple choice can make a dramatic change to the look of a painting. These studies are value studies. In these studies, I am looking at how the basic value pattern changes my composition. I reduced my composition down to three values, two that are fairly close to each other on the value chart and one that is not.  

Value pattern quick studies