OCAD Studio: 8 Colour Landscape Palette


I made this palette for a student interested in starting landscape painting and thought it was worth sharing with everyone. This selection of pigments will allow you to mix pretty much any colour necessary when painting landscapes. I have explained how to achieve a low chroma and high chroma version of each colour either with pigment straight from the tube or through simple mixtures of two to three colours.




  • Titanium White



  • Cadmium Yellow Medium



  • Yellow Ochre



  • Raw Umber



  • Venetian Red



  • Burnt Umber



  • Prussian Blue



  • Ivory Black



How to start mixing from this palette

  • Mix Cadmium Yellow and Prussian Blue for high chroma greens
  • Mix Yellow Ochre and Ivory Black for low chroma greens


  • Mix Titanium White and Ivory Black for low chroma blues
  • Mix Titanium White and Prussian Blue for high chroma blues


  • Mix Cadmium Yellow and Venetian Red for high chroma oranges
  • Mix Yellow Ochre and Burnt Umber for low chroma oranges


  • Mix Venetian Red and Prussian Blue for high chroma purples
  • Mix Ivory Black, Venetian Red and Titanium White for low chroma purples


  • Use straight burnt umber for warm red mid-shadows
  • Use straight burnt umber for warm yellow mid-shadows


  • Mix Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue for high chroma shadows
  • Use straight Ivory Black for low chroma shadows



There are infinite possible mixtures but this should get you started. I recommend doing small trial swatches on a blank piece of canvas to see how these mixtures work, as different pigments have very different tinting strengths (Prussian Blue is very strong for example) so you need to get used to what quantities to mix in order to reach the desired colour.

Task 9: Still life & Oil Pastel Basics

Before we leave this task and begin our next phase, I think it is good for art students to do some experimentation.

This tasks involves completing a still life, to put into practice use of colour and observation skills, which we have previously discussed. As well as this, it is nice to incorporate some more creativity so that still life work does not become repetitive.

The resource below talks through ways you can approach producing your art work so that you are experimenting with new ways of working. This includes things like thinking about your choice of papers and surfaces to use.

Take a look and branch out to create unexpected results within your art:

Creative Art Work


Oil Pastels

When you have your different surfaces and the creative ideas are flowing, do make sure you are experimenting with media also. Oil pastels are a great medium to use for many reasons and can sit on top of many surfaces; which for this phase of your development is great!

There are many techniques you can use to get different effects, but generally they are less messy than powder pastels. Still have some paper towels to hand, a smudge stick and work on top of newspaper…just to be sure.

Applying a heavy pressure with your various colours will blend the pastels without the need to do any ‘smudging’. This is great to layer up colours to create tone in your drawings…try black and white for shadowing or highlighting effects.


Applying light pressure, like the example above, but layering many colours will also work to achieve tone and texture in a drawing. Your hues will change as you add and layer additional colours, so your understanding of colour theory will be really tested 🙂

However you use them you will quickly find they are a very versatile medium. Sketch a contour drawing on watercolour paper, or an alternative surface like what is explored in the resource above, and produce your final colour still life for this task.

Here I am demonstrating the use of oil pastels live on our facebook group:


Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART


OCAD Studio: Basic Line Drawing

Straight Lines

When working from life, using straight lines will help you to be accurate when drawing your subject. Lines are used to measure the distances and angles between shapes. In a more general sense, they suggest a certain strength and rigidity. Straight lines make us think of geometry, architecture and man-made forms.




Curved Lines

In contrast to straight lines, curved lines are more flowing and natural, giving artworks a sense of movement and unreleased energy. As a result, they are a great way to make an artwork more emotional. When working from life, they help you to capture the overall gesture of your subject. Unfortunately, they also tend to be less accurate than straight lines, so make sure not to overuse them in the early stages of a representational piece.




Establishing the Primary Lines

1) When beginning a drawing, you need to decide which primary lines will best capture the overall feeling of you subject. Think to yourself, if I was only allowed to use one line to make this image, what would that line be?

a) In the case of a figurative artwork, your primary lines will be determined by the shape and mood of your subject.

b) In an abstracted artwork the overall direction of your primary lines will be up to you, depending on the feeling you hope to evoke with the piece.

c) It is also possible to have an idea for the primary lines before adding a figurative subject, in this case, you would try to fit the subject to the shape made by these lines.

2) These lines determine the basic impression that your artwork will make. They do not need to be perfect, they simply provide a framework as you add more smaller lines and shapes.

3) Don’t make all of your primary lines the same shape and direction. An interesting composition will use a variety of different lines. It often helps to use both straight and curved lines together in your artwork.

4) You can also add counter curves and angles to achieve this sense of variety and balance. A counter curve goes in the opposite direction to an existing curve and angled lines cross over the existing straight lines.

5) Feel free to play around with the placement, shape and relationship of the primary lines until you feel that you have got the overall effect and sense of balance that you are after.

6) Don’t get too detailed too quickly. Make the drawing more complicated slowly, as though you are sculptor chiselling away at a block of stone. By making sure that you are happy with the primary lines before adding detail, you will be able to make sure that all the parts of your composition work well together at each stage of the drawing.


Here are several technical pointers that should help you to produce confident drawings using primary lines:

1) Hold your your drawing instrument (pen or pencil etc.) at the base rather than at the tip when beginning a drawing. You only need to hold it at the tip for details.

2) Try to pivot from your elbow instead of your wrist when you draw lines (if you are working at a larger scale you can even pivot from your shoulder). This helps to keep your lines straight and stop you from adding detail too quickly.

3) Keep the primary lines light and sketchy, as they only show the overall gesture and feel of the piece. When your drawing is nearly done you will be able to erase any lines that are not needed.







OCAD Studio: Value Study in Oils – Measurement and Wash Drawing

Value studies are a great way to begin a new painting as they will provide you with a guide for how to arrange values and shapes, in order to find the best possible composition. You can either make these studies in paint or as a drawing. This lesson will cover how to produce a value study in oil.


  • Small canvas or a panel prepared for painting
  • 2-3 different sized brushes
  • Raw Umber oil paint
  • Palette
  • Easel
  • Thinner (I recommend odourless mineral spirits (OMS) for oil paint)
  • Painting rag or kitchen paper towel for wiping back and cleaning
  • Ideally, I’d like you to use the value scale as a reference



  1. Sketch in the main shapes lightly with charcoal or a permanent pen, you can either work from life or a reference. Use sight-size or comparative measurement to get your proportions and shapes right. It doesn’t need to be too detailed as you can embellish things in paint.
  1. Once the drawing is loosely sketched in, you can begin adding the darkest shapes with pure raw umber. Try to use a larger brush than you think is necessary.
  1. Once the darkest shapes are in place, add lighter shapes using Raw Umber thinned with odourless mineral spirits (OMS). The more thin the paint is, the more transparent and light your brushstrokes will be.
  1. If necessary, wipe the paint off with OMS to lighten anything that has become too dark. You can wipe lines using a thin clean brush dipped in spirits or wipe off larger areas using a rag dipped in OMS.
  1. Add as much detail as you like, but only use raw umber to darken and wipe back to lighten.
  • I recommend using a value scale as a reference for the value relationships.


A Value Study in Practice

An example of a finished portrait by John Singer Sargent next to his value study for the painting.

OCAD Studio: Simple Bargue Drawing – Measurement and Line Drawing

Bargue Drawing Course is a series of classical plates that were commissioned a famous art teacher in the late 19th Century. They are named after the artist who produced them – Charles Bargue. These days they form the foundation of most classical drawing courses in the world, as they are a great way to introduce the basic principles of drawing to beginner students.

You will learn how to work from them over the course of three projects. This first project will teach you how to work from one of the easier Bargue plates.

In this first lesson, you will learn how to measure from the original, and produce an accurate line drawing that we will be adding tone to in the second lesson.


  • B pencil
  • Pencil sharpener or a knife and sandpaper block
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Hard Eraser
  • Drawing board (at least A3 size)
  • High quality drawing paper (ideally Canson or Fabriano), at least A4 size.
  • Knitting needle or thin paintbrush for measuring
  • Masking tape
  • You will also need to have a copy of this reference image printed out at A4 size.


  1. Print out the reference image and tape it next to your blank sheet of paper on the drawing board.
  1. Draw an anchor line on the blank paper to use as a starting point for your drawing.


  1. Begin plotting your drawing by taking a measurement with your knitting needle  from the anchor line and placing a point.


  1. Place the next point along by taking a measurement from the anchor line and the previous point. Then connect the point with a straight line.


  1. Continue placing subsequent points and connecting them with lines. Keep your points and lines light and fuzzy, so that you can easily erase and correct them without damaging the paper too much.


  1. Occasionally check a point against three reference points (the anchor line and two previous points) to make sure you don’t make any compound errors. It’s better to work slowly and carefully than to rush and risk making a lot mistakes that will cause you trouble later in the drawing.


  1. Once you’ve copied the whole drawing, make sure the shapes match by flicking your eyes between the original and the copy, any mistakes should be obvious. You can also check the shapes by turning the picture upside down or looking at it in a mirror.


This will give you an accurate basis to carry on the drawing in part two of the project. It is a lot easier to get the big proportions correct with a simple construct like this. If you need to correct any shapes or lines you can do it really quickly, whereas if you start with a complicated line drawing it will take a lot longer to make any necessary changes.