HOW TO DRAW: February 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

FBI's Top Ten Art Crimes

The FBI's Art Crime Team has announced a list of Top Ten Art Crimes, criminal cases that represent thefts of an estimate $600 million in stolen art which is considered priceless in terms of cultural value.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pencil Drawing Lesson

The first question you should be asking yourself is, "What is it that you are going to draw". Choosing and deciding on the subject can make or break your pencil drawing.

I suggest choosing something that you're comfortable drawing (that means taking your skill level into consideration) and the subject should be something that you're interested in drawing. Also take into consideration the amount of time that you're going to spend on your drawing.

If you don't have the time, try not to choose a subject that's too ambitious. Two things may happen here. You'll either get bored with the drawing due to lack of interest, or you run out of time and so the drawing is left unfinished.

Try to avoid these mistakes.

Once you have decided on your subject, it's time to start your drawing. Prepare the following tools: (1) a range of pencils from 2B - 8B, (2) ordinary drawing paper, and (3) kneaded eraser.

You need a range of pencils because that will help you in achieving the many different tones of shades that's so crucial to your drawing. In a monochrome drawing, that's the only thing that'll help you describe shapes, contours, dimension and depth.

And if you're wondering if the paper matters in a pencil drawing, the answer is yes. If you're more particular about the surface that you're going to draw on, note that there's two types of drawing paper that you'll commonly come across.

The first type is cold pressed drawing paper (also commonly known as NOT paper). This type of paper has a textured surface and is commonly used with watercolors. However, you can use it for any drawing or painting if you feel it's appropriate.

The second type of paper is hot pressed drawing paper. This is the opposite of NOT paper. Its surface is smooth, making it the ideal drawing surface for pencil drawings. That's because it's easier to blend on a smooth surface. Experiment with both types of paper to see which type you prefer. I would recommend smooth surface drawing paper.

The kneaded eraser is a soft eraser that you can pinch and mold into any shape. It's dust free and commonly used to aid in creating highlights in a drawing by using it to pick up lead on the paper.

And there's one more tool that will help you but it's optional. It's called a paper stump or a tortillion. A tortillion is used for blending and spreading lead around on the paper. It creates a more consistently blend than fingers.

Yes, you can use your fingers if you want but I like to keep mine clean. Besides, tortillions are very affordable.

Once you have these tools ready, you're set to go.

Darren Chow is the founder and developer of an online website that offers free drawing lessons, home study courses, and other drawing related resources. For more free resources like the one you've just read, please visit for free online drawing lessons

Friday, February 15, 2008

Yes We Can - Barack Obama Music Video

Stephen Wiltshire draws Tokyo from memory

Stephen Wiltshire - Guy Can Draw Detailed City Just By Looking At It Once

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Is Contemporary Art Auction

The world of modern art is changing. Just visit a contemporary art auction for a clue. Unknown artists find the value of their works quadrupling within years. Chinese and Indian artists are finding greater audiences, and wealthy patrons of the arts aren't just paying thousands - they're paying millions.

Traditionally, an artist's older works garnered higher bids and more frenzied requests. However, painters like Brice Marden are changing the status quo with a whole collection of recent, sought-after work.

The top 10 contemporary artists, whose works sold for over $5 million at auction, are as follows: Lucian Freud, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Brice Marden, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, and Cy Twombly. Other artists (in the $1 - $4 million range) to look out for include: Chuck Close, David Hockney, Ellsworth Kelly, Anselm Kiefer, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Ryman, and Wayne Thiebaud.

Jasper Johns, one of the highest paid modern artists, can't seem to keep up with the demand. He paints two projects each month (which will sell for no less than $1 million), but the waiting list is still long. Entertainment giant David Geffen paid $40 million for "Gray Numbers" a few years back and New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art allegedly paid over $20 million for "White Flag."

John's colorful paintings touch upon Americana themes -- with lots of flags, maps and targets - with subtle messages that affect every onlooker differently. If a collector is fortunate enough to find a Jasper Johns in an art auction house, then there's no telling how much it'll sell for.

One can't help but wonder about what accounts for the noticeable trend towards modern art? Most of the buyers (42%) at the Sotheby's contemporary art auction continue to be Europeans, with the US trailing at 19%, and Asia / Middle Eastern sales at 12%.

It seems that the high price of the pound is hurting many Americans more than the credit crunch, but London's weekend auctions saw many advances from interested Indian and Chinese buyers looking for a piece of cultural heritage. For instance, two bidders fought over Yue Minjun's "Execution" for six minutes, which finally sold for a record breaking $2.93 million. Likewise, one of Putu Sutawijaya's paintings ("Silent Road") sold for $350,000 (11 times its estimated price) at the Borobudur Auction!

The art world is changing from the traditional swanky event, complete with fine wine, cheese and fashionable attire - to one of sitting behind the computer screen, credit card in hand. While it may seem impersonal to some, it's advantageous to others, who have the ability to hop between sites, checking the fair prices for the particular work they've got their eye on. After browsing online catalogues, art lovers can get a good idea of what's available in the up-to-date marketplace, and then make the best purchase later at a contemporary art auction.

Enrich your knowledge further about contemporary art auction from Mike Selvon portal. We appreciate your feedback at our fine art auctions blog where a free gift awaits you.

Nail Art

Nail art is the most versatile and latest fashion statement today. As many other art forms, nail art also requires wild imaginations and creativity. This wild imagination and creativity gives way to plethora of unique and enduring designs and patterns.

Since mankind, women have been decorating themselves with various different ornaments, dresses or painting their nails with henna or juices of barks of trees. With the passage of time and changing scenario of fashion more and more forms of nail decorations came into limelight and since then women are enjoying experimenting their nails. It's truly been said that beautiful and well-groomed nails reflect one's inner personality and mood. People have now become possessive and concern about their nail appearance.

Nail decoration has an age old history, traced back to 3000 B.C. This period witnesses the first nail polish that was originated in China. Various other ingredients like gum Arabic, gelatin and bees wax were used to create varnishes and lacquers for nail paints. Further with the advances in science and technology, many other forms of nail art with added quality, finish and beautiful colors came into existence.

The modern age has given way to various nail products to make nails rocking, beautiful and colorful. An array of nail paints with sleek, flashy and trendy shades and a variety of textures and embellishments are flooding the Indian markets today. The Indian fashion market with various artistic, creative and innovative nail accessories has carved a niche n the platform of cosmetology. The available nail accessories range from simple dots, geometric patterns, funky stickers, tattoos, abstracts, to stencil art, French manicure, portraits, swarovskis and endless other options.

Using multitude of designs and patterns, one can jazz up their outfit and add spice to their look. There are many recognized nail technicians who produce the most attractive and glamorous nail designs ranging from nail polish and acrylic nail art to French manicure and toe nail art. Many people also use assorted nail decorations to add glamour and extra appeal to the nails. These include colored acrylic, glitter nails, gels, airbrushed, 3d nails, water marbling, nail stickers, nail jewelry, crushed shells, stencils and rhinestones.

There are multitudes of nail accessories. The most popular among them are as follows:

• Nail Stripes: To apply these strips gently peel off and lay the stripe across the nail.

• Stars and Dots: These attractive and beautiful accessories are available in the form of nail stickers or nail polish.

• Nail Stickers: To apply one just needs to remove the sticker and place it securely on the nails.

• Water Marbling: This is one of the most demanding arts among today's women. Fill a cup with water and add desired colors of paint to the water, creating a marble design with a toothpick or pin. Then dip nails into the water and after a few minutes remove nails from water and clean off excess polish.

Today, with the blend of various nail accessories, nail decoration have become the most integral part of the fashion industry, attaining a new dimension in the industry.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Mona Lisa By Leonardo Da Vinci

The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci is not only one of the most important paintings ever created, it was one of the most important to Leonardo himself, a work he spent more than four years on and carried with him everywhere he went for the remainder of his life. The Importance of the Mona Lisa to Leonardo has caused great deals of speculation as to why he might have painted it and what the painting might be depicting.

When was the Mona Lisa Painted and Why?

The original Mona Lisa was painted in 1503 by Leonardo Da Vinci in his home in Italy. Vasari, the famous Italian biographer, wrote that it was a commission for Francesco del Giacondo and his wife Lisa Ghirardi, the model. Ghirardi would have been a 24 year old recent bride about to give birth to her second child at the time. Other scholars have made connections between Leonardo's father and Francesco as friends and that Leonardo's father might have commissioned the painting himself as a gift.

However, none of these facts are sufficient to explaining why the painting held so much value to Leonardo during his life. There are numerous theories recently postulated (in the last 100 years or so) that hope to tackle this question and make sense of the life and work of the world's most important artist.

Other Models in the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

With the outstanding theory being that the Mona Lisa is a painting of Lisa Ghirardi and other theories pointing to the possibility that it could be either Constanza d'Avalos or Isabella of Aragon, Duchess of Milan, the question of its importance is still not answered. While the revolutionary style and expression in the portrait have enthralled the art world since it was painted, it doesn't explain DaVinci's attachment.

A Self Portrait or His Mother?

There are further theories that the painting might have been a self-portrait, supported by the similarity of the painting to other self-portraits of DaVinci he painted and with other paintings that carry similar facial features. Another theory still postulates that he may have instilled some of the features of his mother in all of these paintings, making the Mona Lisa a portrait not of Lisa Ghirardi in detail, but of his mother Caterina.

The Importance of his Life's Work

Throughout his life, Leonardo was intrigued by almost everything under the sun. He had a habit of infusing his interests into numerous works, adding touches of his obsession with weather and topography into the Mona Lisa in the background to show humanity's culmination with nature. For that reason, his artwork was incredibly important to him, not only as art but as an expression of his life's work. With such a small painting, and four years of work put into it, it could just be that he kept it with him as a representative of that.

With so much time and energy put into his masterpiece, Leonardo may have simply been wary to part way s with it, unable to find a suitable buyer, or lost the commission after the painting was completed. Whatever reason he so loved it though, Mona Lisa by da Vinci is full of the kinds of mystery and importance that has endured for more than 500 years.

Colin Andrews is the Director of Aspect Art Ltd, an on-line exporter of the highest quality reproduction oil paintings, To view all of Leonardo's paintings on-line please visit

What Makes A Good Pencil Sketch Drawing Tutorial

Are you having problems locating a good pencil sketch drawing tutorial? If you have, I hope this article will give you some insight as to why good pencil sketch tutorials are so hard to come by.

You see, all good pencil sketch tutorials should contain two very important criteria. The first criteria that a good drawing tutorial should fulfill is that it has to be written by an artist. If it's a pencil sketch tutorial, it's best that a pencil artist writes the tutorial.

That's because only the artists themselves have a true understanding of the problems and challenges of pencil sketching. And those are exactly the same problems that you're facing, and now you're hoping that someone has found the solutions to those problems and can help you with them.

The second criteria of a good drawing tutorial is that the tutorial should be written by someone who knows how to communicate and train effectively. Training effectively means having the ability to identify key problem areas and putting the solution across to the reader in an easy to understand manner.

Of course, that's over simplifying the job of the trainer. An excellent trainer knows how to clarify the problems, open up the reader, and inject humor when necessary so that by the end of the tutorial, the reader not just understand the tutorial, but knows how to go about solving his or her own problems.

Now that's easy to say in words. In reality, not many art trainers are highly competent. That's why we so often hear art students complaining about how they're not receiving enough instructions from their art teachers. I'm sure their art teachers are more than qualified to teach their students. After all, they all have strong port folios to show that they have the skills and ability to draw and paint exceedingly well. That's why they're given the job. So what went wrong?

First, we have to understand that not all excellent artists are excellent trainers. They may have the best drawing skills in the world but when it comes to training, many artists lack the appropriate exposure. So they ramble on and on, thinking that they're teaching, but in fact, they're just rambling.

Once you understand this, you'll be able to tell the better teachers apart from the good ones (there are no bad teachers by the way). You can use the very same information to help you filter out the better pencil sketch tutorials from the good ones. Consciously choose to read or listen to someone with both the art skills, and the ability to train. That's where you'll find all the best pencil sketch drawing tutorials.

Darren WK Chow is the founder and developer of, an online website that offers free drawing lessons, home study courses, and other drawing related resources. For more free resources like the one you've just read, please visit for free online drawing lessons.

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