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Latest Video Tutorials, Guides & Lessons…

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Nōtan with Ink – Representational and Abstract Sketching

In this lesson we will be using a brush and ink on paper to draw a realistic sketch and a couple of abstract studies using the Japanese Nōtan approach. Materials: InkPaperBrush Reference image link: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/photo-1605117012605-b68dedd4accc.jpg Process: You just need to use a single brush and undiluted ink for this exercise.Begin by analysing the subject and determine what will be light and what will be dark.Then start laying in the darkest shapes using the simplest brushwork possible. As you add more dark shapes, the image will begin to appear.Avoid adding too much detail or second guessing yourself - it's better to work as confidently as possible with this type of sketching. Keep going until all the dark shapes have been laid in.Pay close attention to how the intersecting light and dark shapes work together to create a strong impression of the subject. Now that the realistic sketch is complete, you can use what you learnt to experiment with some more abstract two tone studies.Play around with different sizes and types of shape and see how altering a shape impacts the overall composition ...
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Having Fun in Pen and Ink – Simple Sketching

Hi guys, this is the first in a new series of lessons that will cover pen and ink drawing. In this session I will be showing you how to create a lively little sketch from a single dried leaf using just a pen, nib and some ink. You will need: Some paperNib holderPointed drawing nibInk (any black drawing ink is fine) Process: Begin by dipping the pen in the ink and lightly tapping a few dots to roughly place your subject on the paper.I started with the top and bottom of my leaf before beginning to map out the outside of the leaf's form. Try to vary the thickness of the outline by pressing more or less firmly with the nib. You will need to dip whenever the ink runs out while drawing. Pay attention to how the tilt of the pen affects how the ink is coming out (the ink drips down with gravity, so if the pen is held too flat, no ink will come out).Once the outline is complete, you can loosely map out the shadows (darkest parts) of the drawing. Once the outlines of the shadows are lightly placed in, you can begin to use hatched ...
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Sketching Clouds in Charcoal: Refining the Drawing

In this series we will be drawing clouds in charcoal, using a loose, sketchy approach. You can use any reference of a cloud (or better yet, work from life!) or you can use the same one as me - it's available at this link: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Cloud-Reference-scaled.jpg In the third and final session, we'll be smoothing things out and adding some smaller forms to create a better sense of detail. You can use pretty much any materials that you have to hand. I'm just using paper, willow charcoal, an old paintbrush and a kneadable eraser. PROCESS You will want to focus your attention on the focal point of the drawing. In my case that's the large white cloud in the centre. I want to make sure that this cloud is the most rendered aspect so that it catches the viewer's attention. I mostly use gradients (applied with a slightly harder piece of charcoal) to make the cloud's texture feel softer.Pay attention to what's dark, what's light and how soft or hard the gradient is between them. That's it! If you're working outdoors, you won't usually get more than a few hours of consistent clouds (they may change but their essential characteristics will ...
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Sketching Clouds in Charcoal: Adjusting the Forms

In this series we will be drawing clouds in charcoal, using a loose, sketchy approach. You can use any reference of a cloud (or better yet, work from life!) or you can use the same one as me - it's available at this link: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Cloud-Reference-scaled.jpg In the second session, we'll be developing the larger, simpler cloud shapes established in the first part. You can use pretty much any materials that you have to hand. I'm just using paper, willow charcoal, an old paintbrush and a kneadable eraser. PROCESS Begin by evening out some of the messier patches of tone (where they aren't contributing to the sense of form).I paid particular attention to the sky behind the clouds as making the sky more even helps to push the clouds into the foreground. You can then begin to refine the edges of the large forms and plot the medium cloud forms within them.Pay attention to what direction the tonal gradient is shifting (where it's going from dark to light) and how gradually that is happening. You can also use some more general passes over larger areas.Particularly if you need to unify sections of dark or light ...
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Sketching Clouds in Charcoal: Getting Started

In this series we will be drawing clouds in charcoal, using a loose, sketchy approach. You can use any reference of a cloud (or better yet, work from life!) or you can use the same one as me - it's available at this link: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Cloud-Reference-scaled.jpg This first session will be focused on getting the basic shapes and tones of the cloud down on the paper. You can use pretty much any materials that you have to hand. I'm just using paper, willow charcoal, an old paintbrush and a kneadable eraser. PROCESS Begin by quickly sketching in the basic shape of the most prominent cloud.You can use light and loose lines. Don't worry if you notice something is wrong, just correct it and keep going.Once the largest cloud is in place, you can add some of the smaller forms as well (in relation to the main cloud). Once the basic shapes have been placed, start roughly toning in the darkest areas.You can do this with the charcoal on its side to make the process quicker.At this stage you can also start brushing the patchy tones to smooth them out (this will also lighten things a bit). Keep following this process, until ...
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Fun Colour Study of a Houseplant – Final Touches

This series will show you how to create fun studies of plants in acrylics using a simple bold palette. In this lesson we will be loosely finishing the background and secondary elements as well as making some final adjustments. You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/P1090720-scaled.jpg Materials: - Acrylic paints: White, Bright Yellow, Bright Blue and Earth Red Water cups and water Palette - Paper towel Medium sized flat acrylic brush Small pointed brush This final session was dedicated to cleaning any rough edges up without adding too much detail.I wanted to make sure that the background and secondary elements are less developed than the central leaves, as this will help focus the viewers attention, and enhance the sense that the leaves are projecting out from the pot. I mixed up the darkest tone possible with red and blue and added enough water to make the paint flow quite easily.This moderately thinned dark colour was used for neatening the edges of the leaves and to add washes over the darkest sections.You can see that as this is added the overall sense of finishing increases greatly. I used a bigger brush to keep things simple. Once the background was complete, ...
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Fun Colour Study of a Houseplant – Continuing the Leaves

This series will show you how to create fun studies of plants in acrylics using a simple bold palette. In this lesson we will be following on from the previous session by continuing to add detail to individual leaves. You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/P1090720-scaled.jpg Materials: - Acrylic paints: White, Bright Yellow, Bright Blue and Earth Red Water cups and water Palette - Paper towel Medium sized flat acrylic brush Small pointed brush Keep following the same process as the previous lesson.Refine the edges where necessary by sharpening them up or softening them.Neaten the general tones within the leaves if they're patchy. Then create blendings between the darker tones and highlights.This can be achieved by working quickly so that the paint is still blendable.Or you can use gradual washes of shifting tones. Keep going until all the leaves that fill the focal point of the image are complete ...
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Fun Colour Study of a Houseplant – Adding Detail Leaf by Leaf

This series will show you how to create fun studies of plants in acrylics using a simple bold palette. In this lesson we will be adding much more detail to individual leaves in the central focal point of the painting. I will be working slowly to show how you can gradually build up complex transitions when working in acrylics. You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/P1090720-scaled.jpg Materials: - Acrylic paints: White, Bright Yellow, Bright Blue and Earth Red Water cups and water Palette - Paper towel Medium sized flat acrylic brush Small pointed brush Using a small, round brush - begin by neatening the edges of the first leaf.It may be easier to do this with more diluted paint, as that will fill the tooth or texture of the surface better. Then start laying in gradual washes of light colours that get gradually darker. You will need to mix a lot of the transitional tones as the paint will dry quickly as you work (this differs greatly from working in oils). Look for specific details like the illuminated edges of leaves and light glowing through the surfaces. It may take some time to build up very bright highlights as ...
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Fun Colour Study of a Houseplant – Neatening Edges and Shapes

This series will show you how to create fun studies of plants in acrylics using a simple bold palette. In this lesson I will show you how to neaten up your initial lay-in of colour, ready for more detailed passes. You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/P1090720-scaled.jpg Materials: - Acrylic paints: White, Bright Yellow, Bright Blue and Earth Red Water cups and water Palette - Paper towel Medium sized flat acrylic brush Small pointed brush Begin by mixing up your darkest colour (likely a blend of your earth red and blue).Mix this with a bit of water to create a slightly runny consistency - then gradually work your way around the piece, filling in any ragged white edges.You can also use this as an opportunity to alter any mistakes in the shapes of the leaves etc. Once you've completed the darkest tones, you can mix lighter greens to do the same thing within the leaves.You can also neaten up and slightly embellish the plant pot. Finally, add some highlights back into the leaves using pure white.Acrylics tend to be quite transparent so we will keep doing more of these highlight passes of the next few sessions ...
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Fun Colour Study of a Houseplant – Laying in Simple and Bold Colours

This series will show you how to create fun studies of plants in acrylics using a simple bold palette. This lesson will cover the second stage - laying in the major colours in the painting as flat shapes. You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/P1090720-scaled.jpg Materials: Your drawing from the first lessonAcrylic paints: White, Bright Yellow, Bright Blue and Earth RedWater cups and waterPalettePaper towelMedium sized flat acrylic brush Begin by mixing up a dark, neutral tone. The easiest way to do this is by adding your blue to the earth red, and keep mixing until it looks like a colour in between blue and red. This is as close to neutral as you will get. It will also be the darkest colour you can mix with this limited palette and serve as your black.Lay this dark tone into all the darkest parts of the image (referring to the reference)You may need to add a little bit of water to help the paint flow, but try to avoid making it too washy. Once you've laid in the darkest tonal masses, you can start adding patches of green for the leaves. To mix a cool green, add some yellow and ...
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