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Drawing / Sketching

Drawing - Top 10 Mistakes Beginners Make

Tuesday February 25, 2014
Looking critically at your work can be very difficult for a beginner. Part of learning to draw is learning to see, and you can't identify a problem if you can't see it in the first place. So it can be hard to spot where you need to improve. You've also got every right to feel proud of each step along the way - we can be too hard on ourselves, especially if well-intended criticism dents our sense of achievement when we've worked hard on a piece. Remember that just because a drawing isn't perfect, doesn't mean that it isn't good - its possible to pick 'flaws' in even some very great artworks. Learning to assess your work with a realistic eye can help you make major strides forward. This article on the
Top Ten Mistakes Beginners Make in drawing points out the major problem areas and suggests how to fix them.

Now What? Developing your art beyond technique.

Tuesday February 25, 2014
Twenty years after art school, it's still possible to come across tips that are really quite 'basic' but that you haven't encountered before. We've always got room to improve, technically. But being an artist isn't just about technique, of course. We all know that, but sometimes in our quest for excellence, it's easy to forget. So what is basic technical mastery?

Knowing your technical ability is pretty straightforward. You know if you have a solid understanding of perspective. You can sketch something from life or imagination in a pretty good approximation of one or two point perspective. When drawing the figure, you aren't daunted by foreshortened limbs, and you are able to fit the whole figure on the page, with accurate proportions.

Your drawings use a good range of tonal value. Your darks are really dark, and you aren't afraid to use black. You use highlights appropriately and can get a good range of middle values out of your pencil or charcoal. If you choose to use a high key or a limited range of tone, it's through choice, not accident.You can draw most things from life, make a portrait look like the sitter, and draw any sort of texture with confidence.

Ok, so you've mastered basic technique, what else is there? Read More...

Inspiration Boards

Tuesday February 25, 2014
Have you ever made an inspiration board, vision board or mood board? The basic idea is to assemble inspiring images, texts and even objects - though each type of board has a slightly different intention. Chances are you already have a pinboard or wall where you're collecting your favorite images - most artists do! The deliberately constructed board just brings a level of intention to the creation of the pinboard or collage. Why not try assembling your own focused inspiration board to focus your creative ideas, motivate you, or share your vision. Make a Mood or Vision Board.

Image: detail from (cc) by Suzy Spence

While looking for good examples of vision boards, I discovered The Shopping Sherpa Flickr page from Kerry (whom I was delighted to discover hails from Canberra - a fellow Aussie!). I was gobsmacked by her fantastic miniatures, and the very interesting inch by inch project. But what I really loved was the insight into her creative process in her creative space tagged posts. Her workspace is just such a riot of creativity that it makes me want to dive in and make something! What am I doing at a computer! I should be creating!

While on the same quest for inspiration boards, I discovered the work of Marion Joy , whose blog is now a little neglected, but has many examples of 'drawing' with stitched line, and might be of interest to mixed media artists. Now I'm thinking of interesting possibilities for that unused canvas in my store closet!

A Fresh Canvas

Tuesday February 18, 2014
"There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction." - Franz Kafka

After 12 years writing and drawing the About.com Drawing/Sketching site, it's time for me to turn over a new leaf. To start a whole new book, in fact. So thank you, dear readers, for your company and kind words. It's been an honor to share your creative journeys.

I'd especially like to thank Forum moderator and website contributor Susan Tschantz, who has been an enduring rock, part of Drawing/Sketching from before I started writing the site. Do visit her Starrpoint Blog where she shares her creative thoughts and tutorials. I also enjoyed working with many wonderful guest artists, including regular contributing Artist, Shawn Encarnacion, syndicated cartoonist Ed Hall, cartoonist and teacher Steve Barr, and equine artist Janet Griffin Scott. My thanks also to my fellow Guides - now Experts - at About.com. You couldn't find a more supportive group of people, and I'll miss working with them. Behind the scenes we have an amazing team of editorial and support staff, to whom I am also indebted.

Please drop by and say hi anytime. Find me at my Facebook Page, Art and Psychology Twitter feeds, and Website.

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