HOW TO DRAW: August 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Doodling for the Drawing Challenged

Do you like the look of doodling on scrapbook layouts but you are hopeless at driving a pencil? Me too. My doodles do not have that graceful free flowing look that I admire in the magazines. More like the drunken rambling of an inebriated spider with a Texta tied to his leg.

Here’s a tip that you might find useful.

Find a piece of fabric or clothing that incorporates something in its design that you could use as a doodle on your layout. Lay a sheet of acetate (the sort used for overhead presentations in offices) over the fabric and with a permanent marker pen, trace the part of the design you want to use for your your doodle.

Let the ink dry properly, then cut around the outside of your tracing. The great part of this is that you don’t need to cut right up to the edge of your tracing or in the tricky little loops and curls because the acetate will be transparent on your layout so you will only see the doodle.

You can attach your doodle to your layout either by carefully applying a glue stick under the pen marks (so you won’t see it from the front) or by incorporating brads into your design and using them to hold your doodle in place. And, unlike with doodles done directly onto the layout, you can play around with the positioning.

You can find things to create your doodles from all over the place. I have made them from such things as part of the design of a tray cloth that my Mother embroidered many years ago. I just used the parts of the design that suited me. I didn’t slavishly try to trace all the design as that would have been too busy.

Other sources I have used are: the embroidered pocket on jeans, part of the design from my kitchen tablecloth, patterned shirts,bedlinen, etc.

You can use the doodle you create as a stand alone embellishment or you can add flowers or ribbons to it to dress it up a bit. It looks just great and is so flexible and easy to apply to your layout you'll want to use this technique over and over again.

Karen Bellamy is a digital as well as a traditional scrapbooker from Australia. She writes the Scraps of Mind blog which she describes as:
A feast of Scrapbooking information and tutorials for both the Digital Scrapbooker and the Traditional Paper Scrapbooker. Seasoned with Antiques & Collectibles, Music inspired, and Blog Presentation articles to add some extra spice. All served up with a light hearted and fun style.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Figuring Drawing: Practice Makes Perfect

The best way to hone your figuring drawing skills is to practice. Even if you are primarily interested in landscape painting, you should be able to depict incidental figures to give a feeling of life to the subject. The figure is a foil to a landscape, and if it is not executed convincingly it can destroy the effect of an otherwise good canvas.

Life drawing should be a part of your training, and, if possible, should be acquired in an art school. However, you can learn to draw the figure well by sketching people at every opportunity. Sketch people in the subway, in the park, at home, at play. Draw at all times.

Observe how people walk, sit, and stand; notice their gestures. You will discover that you can often identify someone you know at a distance by the way his head rests on his shoulders, and you will see the different postures of the old and the young. Make notes on how clothes are draped on a person, and how wrinkles form in a sleeve when the arm is bent, raised, and hanging at the side.

The drawings do not have to be large - from 2 to 6 inches will do. They will probably have to be small if you are trying to capture any action. Indicate the line of action first and then draw the figure around it. Some of your early attempts may resemble scribbling, but get the action.

Obtain a small sketchpad that can fit into your pocket or purse and carry it with you at all times. Fill the pages with sketches, using a pencil, a fountain pen, or the newer felt-tip pen. If you use a pencil, don't use an eraser. You are not out to collect neat pads of figure drawings. If the line is not right redraw a corrected heavier line over it.

The advantage of using a pen is that it leads to a more direct handling. But do not be concerned about technical handling of the pen. Put the lines down as you feel them. Observe how the shape of a suit or a dress is affected by the figure.

In time your pads will contain a collection of both action sketches and studies of form. As these pads are filled you will develop your figure drawing and acquire enough knowledge to place a single figure or a group of figures convincingly in your composition.

While constant sketching will increase your powers of observation and general facility in handling incidental figures, some time should be spent learning at least the rudiments of anatomy. Study bone and muscle structure, so that you acquire knowledge of how it affects the figure. It is not essential to know all of the anatomical designations, but you should be able to identify and know the function of the main bones and muscles. You should know the relative proportions of the male and female figure. Most important is to know the working of the movable masses, that is, the head, the rib cage (chest), and the pelvis.

There is no substitute for drawing the figure from life, but you can get a great deal of help from wooden or plastic manikins, which are for sale at most art shops. They can be studied to advantage by checking with an anatomy book in arranging the various positions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Introduction to Drawing and Painting With Pastels

Pastels are a wonderful medium to work with. If you are used to painting in wet mediums like oils and acrylics then you should give pastels a try. They are a very refreshing and enjoyable approach to creating art. This article will introduce you to the various pastel mediums that are available as well as touch on a few pastel panting and drawing techniques that you can incorporate into your next work of art.


Soft pastels are probably the most popular of the various pastel mediums. Artists love the soft texture and the ability to paint on the colors which allows more freedom and usage of various techniques. Soft pastels can cover large areas and are well suited for blending. By varying the pressure, soft pastels can be applied in very light layers or impastos.

Because soft pastels are so delicate they can break easily so proper storage is important. Do not toss your soft pastels in a loose box or drawer. They must be stored in a cushioned box or tray for protection.

With excessive use, your pastels will become dirty by picking up other colors. This will eventually make it difficult to recognize your colors. You should get used to keeping your pastels clean by wiping them with a tissue every now and again.


Pastel crayons are of medium hardness. They are a cross between soft pastels and hard pastels. They give you the ability to work with painting techniques associated with soft pastels, as well as give you the ability to create sharp lines. They are available in a variety of colors and are quite popular for outdoor drawing because of their durability.

PASTEL PENCILS Pastel pencils are similar to pastel crayons only they are encased in wood. They are perfect for doing detailed line work and can also be used for blending.


These wonderful pencils are noticeably different in consistency having a sort of waxy feel to them. They can be used as either a wet or dry medium. A wide range of effects can be achieved with these pencils because of the ability to use water. You can cover wide areas of your paper by creating lines and then transforming them into colorful washes.


Oil pastels are also noticeably different in consistency as the pigment is bound using oil rather than gum. From your very first stroke you will instantly notice the rich deep tone that these pastels produce. Oil pastels are fragile and very sensitive to temperature. Try your very best to keep the wrapper on your oil pastels as you work or your hands will get quite dirty. Just like oil paints, you can use turpentine with your oil pastels if desired.


Blending The characteristics of pastels make them differ in some ways when compared to other painting mediums like oils and acrylics. Unlike oil and acrylics which can be mixed on a palette, pastels must be mixed directly on the support (unless you are using the dry wash technique as described below). One such way to mix pastels is by using the blending technique. Blending is when two or more colors are combined by rubbing the colors into one another with your fingers or other blending tools. There are a number of tools available for blending and are discussed below.

Kneaded Eraser

You can purchase a kneaded eraser in any art store. Kneaded erasers are soft and pliable and can be made into any shape. Soften a kneaded eraser into a point and it can be used as an effective blending tool.


A variety of paint brushes can be used to move and blend the pastels on your support. Both soft and hard brushes can be used depending on the pastel medium you are using and the desired result.


The tortillon is a great tool to have available for softening edges. When it gets dirty or worn down, you simply unwind the paper to reveal a fresh point.

Cotton Swab

This is another great little tool to have available. It is also great for softening edges and for getting into those smaller areas of your work.


The dry wash technique is best suited for laying out large areas of color. This technique is great for landscape paintings when you need to block in large areas of sky. For this technique you will first need to scrape or crush a pastel into a powder. Then with a soft brush, cloth or other suitable tool, pick up some of the powder and apply it to your support and work it in. You can achieve a variety of different effects with this technique. You can mix different powdered pastel colors together first on your palette, or you can overlay individual layers of color on your support.

I hope you enjoyed this article on pastels. For more free pastel painting & drawing techniques visit our main site: and our art instruction blog: today!

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cartoon Drawing Tips For Kids

Cartoons are fun. Well almost. If you are like me you certainly love to watch cartoon figures. But drawing cartoons is another story particularly if you are not aware of the basics.

If the thought of creating beautiful cartoon characters gives you high, read on, here you will find some tips that you can readily use to improve your skills and reduce the time taken to create beautiful cartoon characters.

There are certain things that are same for every style of drawing, be it realistic drawing or cartoony, now we will go quickly through the basics before getting specific to cartoony style.

1. Select your tools wisely. Clean your hands before starting your drawing. The paper you use for your work should be of good quality. Low grade, off colored paper will make your drawing look pale. Your first sketch should be made with light lines and for finalizing you should use deep-colored and prominent lines --so choose your pencils carefully.

2. Many times beginners find drawing a smooth line difficult. Remember drawing smooth lines will be easier if you do not support your hand on your wrist like we are used to do while writing. Doodling and drawing some circular shapes just before you start will also help you to draw smoothly.

3. Learn to draw facial features and hand carefully. Hands are more difficult. Experts often judge a person’s drawing ability from how well he can draw human hands. So practice drawing hands with care.

4. Study about basic forms and proportions of human body. Learn about basics of human anatomy and various ratios of human figures.

As a cartoon creator you will have certain liberties, you do not need to bind yourself with strict body proportions rules. You can draw four fingered (Thumb + Three) hand that makes your work a bit easier.

But one challenge you will face while drawing cartoons --cartoon characters needs to be more expressive and certainly you have to create this expressiveness with some lines drawn with your pencil.

Keep in mind that three areas of human face that play major role to express emotions are

1. Eyelids (wide open, half closed, almost fully closed etc.),

2. Eyebrows (raised, normal, crooked etc.) and

3. Lips (forming downward bow, upward bow etc.).

Other than these you can also use, hair (properly combed or ruffled), garments (well kept or torn) to create characters that tells a story.

Hope you find this tips useful. Coupled with some practice these tips will help you to take your cartoon drawing skills to a new level. Enjoy the fun of drawing beautiful and expressive cartoon characters.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Introduction to Pencil Drawing Supplies and Techniques

Drawing is a wonderful art form in itself, but it is also an excellent exercise for other forms of art, like painting for instance. Learning how to draw will truly open your mind to your surroundings enabling you to really see what is before you.

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Choosing your drawing supplies

There are a variety of different drawing tools available for todays artists and what you choose to work with is based on your own preference. It comes to down to experimentation. You have to work with a number of different things before you find the tools that fit your style of drawing.

Don't go out and spend a ton of money on your drawing supplies in the beginning. You can really get started with a beginner pencil set and some newsprint paper. When you become more experienced, you can then venture out and spend money on better supplies.

Graphite pencils - Graphite pencils range in hardness and are labeled from 9H to 9B. The H pencils are the hardest. The higher the number in front of the H the lighter the mark. The B pencils are softest. The higher the number in front of the B the darker the mark. The H pencils are generally used for detailed lines where the B pencils will produce rich dark lines great for bold expressive drawings.

Charcoal Pencils - Charcoal pencils also come in a range of hardness and are labeled either from H to B like graphite, or simply as "soft", "medium" or "hard". They have a noticeably different feel to them and produce a rich dark line. Charcoal pencils tend to wear pretty fast because of their softness.

Blending Tortillions - Tightly wound stumps of paper with a point used to blend in your drawings.

Erasers - You may want to have a few different types of erasers on hand to fit every occasion.

Kneaded Eraser - A soft pliable eraser that can be kneaded into any shape to pick up and remove pencil and charcoal. May not be the best for erasing smaller details. The SANFORD Kneaded Rubber Erasers are very popular.

Eraser Pencil - These are wonderful for getting into small areas of your drawings. They can also be sharpened like ordinary pencils.

Fixatives - Fixatives protect your drawings from being smudged or ruined. There are two types of fixatives: permanent and workable. Permanent fixatives are used on a finished drawing to protect, where a workable fixative is used during the drawing process as you are working. Use great care while working with fixatives by only using in a well ventilated area. When spraying the fixative, make sure you do not spray any one section for too long and only spray a light mist standing about 3 feet away from the drawing. You should probably experiment on a few practice drawings first to determine if a fixative is right for you. There appears to be a difference of opinion amongst artists when it comes to fixatives. Some artists love to work with them and swear by them, while others feel they may actually alter the quality of a drawing. Again, you have to experiment yourself to see if fixatives are a good choice for you.

Paper - In the beginning, for the purpose of practice, you may want to consider purchasing some inexpensive newsprint paper. You should be able to get this at any local art store or online. When you are ready to purchase a more expensive grade paper, choose something that will work best with the medium you use. Paper comes in a variety of different textures from smooth to rough, often referred to as its "tooth". A really smooth paper may not work well for some mediums as the surface lacks texture, and will not grab certain drawing mediums very well. If the paper is too rough, the medium may simply slide across the surface. You have to experiment with different papers to find the one you are most comfortable with. Strathmore Brand makes excellent paper that is very popular amongst artists.

Horse Hair Drafting Brush - You should be able to purchase a horse hair drafting brush at any local art supply store or online store. This is a really helpful tool for brushing away unwanted eraser scraps from your drawing.

Basic Drawing Techniques:

There are two basic ways to approach a drawing: linear and tonal. The linear approach to a drawing focuses on line and outlines of shapes. In tonal drawing, you make use of gradations to indicate the various planes of your subject.

You should try to avoid smudging and blending in the beginning so that you force yourself to use your pencil more to achieve value in your drawings.

Avoid looking at your drawing too often. Make sure you are constantly focusing on the subject and only glancing at your drawing. By doing so, you won't constantly judge your drawing, or think something is wrong or out of place. Focus on the subject and draw what you see.

Never throw out any of your drawings. Keep a neat portfolio of everything you draw. This is an excellent way to see your progress over time.

Holding the pencil - Hold your pencil in a way that is most comfortable for you. Some hold the pencil just as you would hold a pen or pencil if you were writing. Others hold a pencil with the pencil between the thumb and index finger, with the rest of the pencil resting under the palm of your hand. Whichever method you use for holding your pencil, make certain that you do not hold the pencil too tightly.

Contour Drawing - This very basic technique is simply drawing the outline of your subject without any shading to indicate form.

Blind Contour Drawing - Similar to contour drawing, only you do not look at the paper. The point of this exercise is to force you to better observe what it is you are drawing. You should have no concern over the outcome of your drawing so it is important not to peek.

Hatching - This drawing technique uses a series of parallel lines drawn close together, in the same direction, which gives the appearance of value.

Crosshatching - Similar to hatching only you draw multiple layers of hatch lines at different angles that overlap one another.

Tonal or Value Drawing - In this approach to drawing we are indicating the various changes of light and shade in our picture without the use of strong edges and lines.

Upside Down Drawing - Drawing upside down is a wonderful exercise to awaken the right side of your brain. When you turn an image upside down, you are making it somewhat abstract and unrecognizable. This forces you to draw what you see as opposed to relying on your memory to draw something.

Negative Drawing Technique - This technique teaches you how to properly see the "white" or "negative" space in your picture. This is the area that surrounds your subject or "positive" space. Instead of drawing out the positive part of the drawing with line, you draw in the shapes that surround the positive part of your drawing.

Dry Wash Technique - This technique works quite well if you want to cover large areas of your drawing. It creates a nice soft tone. You begin by adding marks with a pencil or apply some graphite powder to the desired area on your paper. Then using a tissue or soft cloth pick up some of the graphite and gently rub it across the paper, almost as if you were painting.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Advantages of Oil Paints and Painting

Painting artists have been using oil paints for hundreds of years. Actually, they have been seen from as early as 13th century in England, where they used oil paints for simple decoration. In the early years, however, many artists preferred to use paints called tempera instead on using oil paints as they were able to dry faster than oil paint. In the 15th century, Flemish artists came up with the idea of mixing oil paint and tempera. Nevertheless, it was not until the 17th century that pure oil paints became a more usual art medium.

Oil painting dries slowly than any other forms of paint because they are made of small particles of pigments that are balanced in a drying oil. While some of the artists might find this slow drying quality troublesome, most artists believe oil paints to be a required type of art media that must be taught to every art student. This is partly because of the many oil painting reproduction, which have been developed using oil paints.

There are several advantages of using oil paints, aside from its robust quality. Oil paints could as well be left open for a long duration. In fact, oil paints could regularly be left opened to air for up to several weeks without drying. This characteristic makes it possible for an artist to work on a painting over different sessions with no fear of the painting drying up too early. Of course, this attribute could be seemed at as a disadvantage by some artists, because it takes few weeks for the project to be completed and the slow drying process could make it difficult to move on to the next stage of the project.

Oil paints are as well outstanding for blending with surrounding paint. When blended on canvas, oil paints are able of creating artistic brush strokes and other blends, which are not possible with other forms of paint. For some artists, though, this advantage to oil paints could be viewed as a disadvantage, as it is possible to by chance blend colors while painting that were not meant to be blended.

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