Dec 27, 2010

Drawing Basics: Anatomy of the neck, part three

As we slowly move our way through the anatomy of the human form for the artist, we move to a new group of neck muscles in this post. We move away from the vertebral and scalene muscles and on to a new batch of muscles located at the front of the neck.

Today, we will look at the muscles that attach to the hyoid bone and control swallowing. Like the other anatomy posts we will review the origin, insertion, and action of each muscle. 

Let's take a look.

Dec 18, 2010

Watercolor Basics: How to paint a glass, transparent objects

A watercolor painting of transparent glass.

Painting transparent objects can be tricky. The question is how can we illustrate the form of the object while still allowing the object to appear see-through or transparent. With painting transparent objects, there are some basic tips that can help us achieve this goal more easily. They are:

 1. Using a basic nine value scale, with 0 being the lightest and 9 being the darkest, use 0-1 for highlights and 8-9 for the darkness of the ridge and thick areas of the glass. 

2. Don’t forget that glass has thickness. Make sure that when you draw the shapes of the object, draw out the thickness of the glass as well. 

3. Glass has shadows. Even the transparent objects have shadows. This can be easily forgotten by beginners. 

This demonstration is going to focus on painting a clear glass in watercolor to demonstrate how to paint transparent form. Today, we will paint a glass object with complex shapes in a step-by-step process.

Dec 17, 2010

Quick Tip: How to Draw Books

I often get asked what books I would recommend for learning or improving drawing or painting technique. For me, this is a difficult question to answer because I find peoples' interests and tastes so vast and varied there is no one recommendation I could make to fit all the interests, concerns, and needs that pertain to drawing and painting technique. I do not want people to rush out and buy an art book based on my opinion and find out its not what they are looking for. 

To give an example, when I teach landscape painting I will lend my books to my students. Each person will inevitably prefer a different book. They may prefer one over another because of the style of painting, the techniques taught, or the subject being used in that book. Because of this, I have found it best to not recommend a generic list of landscape painting books and try to apply it to everyone. 

I do have my favorite books and I am happy to share that as I like to talk about all things art, but I find myself making a different recommendation to my students. I thought I would share that with you today.

Dec 15, 2010

Drawing Basics: Foreshortening Form

Foreshortened arm
A good example to describe foreshortened form is when a person points their finger directly at you. From your vantage point, his arm is not seen lengthwise, as it would be if it were resting by his side. Instead, the arm is visually compressed between the hand and the body. The distance between the two appears smaller and the arm takes up less visual space as the position relates to your view. This is because bulk of the surface planes of the arm are now running perpendicular to your viewpoint.

Foreshortening is a critical part of drawing three dimensional form. Today we are going to define foreshortening and examine how it works. Let's start with a simple box.

Dec 12, 2010

Drawing Basics: Anatomy of the neck, part two

Muscles of the neck, posterior view

In  part one of the anatomy of the neck we looked at a few of the muscles that shape the neck. Here is another view of those same muscles.

In part one, we saw the muscles as viewed from the side. In part two, I will illustrate those same muscles viewed from the back, or the posterior view. Along with the new diagrams I will list the origin, insertion, and action of each muscle as I did in part one.

We will cover the muscles in the same order we did last time.

Dec 8, 2010

Drawing Basics: Anatomy of the neck, part one

Anatomy of the neck
Moving down from the skull and the muscles of the face, the neck seems like a good area to cover for a human anatomy for artists topic.

You may be surprised at how many muscles are in the neck, but this makes sense. The neck can move in complex ways and that requires many structures working together.

Today, we will look at the skeletal structures and some of the major muscles of the neck.  As with the post on the muscles of the face we will review the origin, insertion, and action of each muscle.   

Lets start with the skeleton.

Dec 5, 2010

Color Basics: Tints and Shades

Saturated color straight from the tube is great. Color adds to  the expressiveness of a painting or it attracts attention to a work as the saturated color pops into someones view easily. 

Though this does not always tell the full story we wish to communicate. Sometimes painting with saturated colors straight from the tube can cause the colors to compete with each other, creating confusion within a scene.

When painting realistically, we will need to change the value level or the lightness and darkness of the color to relate the local area of the image to the scene as well. 

Shades and tints are one way to adjust the lightness and darkness of of a color. Today, we are going to look at these. We will look at what shades and tints are, how they work, and we will look at some reasons why we might want to use them.

What Are Shades and Tints

Shade is the term used to describe a color that has been mixed with black to darken the color. This can be useful when painting an area in shadow. For example, if painting a blue couch that has a single light source coming from one side, parts of the couch will be in shadow. To change the value level of those areas of the couch in shadow we can add black to the blue to lower the level of perceived light in that area and darken the couch.

Tint is the term used to describe a color that has been mixed with white to lighten the color. Tints are useful when working in the light areas of a subject. Using the blue couch again, some of the light areas of the couch will receive more light than others. This will cause the value levels to change within the light area. Mixing white with the blue used for the couch is one way to lighten those areas to look like more light is reaching those spots. 

Both shades and tints can be used to reduce the saturation or intensity of color without any consideration for the effects of light as well. An example of this might be when painting for a Christmas card illustration we may decide we want a deep dark red in the illustration rather than a bright red. We can add black to our primary red to get the desired shade.  

(To see a discussion on the levels of lights and dark go to the value scale post.)

Let's look at tints first.

Dec 1, 2010

Drawing Basics: Structure and Anatomy of the Ear

Charcoal drawing of an ear

The ear is one of those areas that seems simple enough to draw, but on closer examination, it turns out to be a fairly complex form.

Like other features, ears are different for everyone. They may be shaped differently, some short and curled, others long and flat. They may stick out or lay pressed against the head. Earlobes even vary in shape. The right ear can vary from the left ear on an individual as well.

Yet, even with the great variety in ear shape and size, there are some characteristics of the ear that are similar from person to person. These characteristics are what we can identify as key components of an ear. We use these components to work out the shapes and structures within the ear.

Today, we will look at the anatomy of the ear to see the basic shapes, structures, and forms the ear creates.