Detailed Brush and Pen Drawing – Layering in the Shadows

This is the first part of a series that will show you how to make an artwork in ink using a mixture of brushwork and pen. In this session I will show you how to use gradual washes of diluted ink to develop more complex tonal relationships in the shadows.

You can use the same reference as me by downloading it here: https://i1.wp.com/drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/P1090849.jpg

Materials

  • Watercolour paper
  • Small soft round brush
  • Indian ink
  • Water pot
  • Pencil

Process

  • You will need to use very diluted washes of ink in this session – make sure you’re not dipping into pure indian ink!
  • If you use more diluted washes, you will have a lot more control over the values as you build them.
  • Begin by darkening the parts of the shadows that are definitively dark.
  • You don’t need to go completely dark just yet, instead, try to find more detail as you wash over the darker tones.
  • Work around the whole subject so as to avoid over-saturating the surface.
  • Once a section is dry, you can return to it and apply further washes.

Detailed Brush and Pen Drawing – Getting Started

This is the first part of a series that will show you how to make an artwork in ink using a mixture of brushwork and pen. This lesson will show you how to establish the drawing using light washes of diluted ink.

You can use the same reference as me by downloading it here: https://i1.wp.com/drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/P1090849.jpg

Materials

  • Watercolour paper
  • Small soft round brush
  • Indian ink
  • Water pot
  • Pencil

Process

  • Begin by lightly sketching in the approximate shapes of the lily using pencil.
  • Don’t press too hard as we will be erasing the pencil later.
  • You should also find any definite dark or shadow shapes as well – to make sure that you don’t put any ink where we will be leaving the petals white.
  • Then use the ink diluted with a lot of water to wash in the dark shapes from your pencil sketch.
  • You will probably find that you mostly need water rather than any ink as it is very strong.
  • Try to elaborate on the pencil sketch but keep the dark shapes fairly flat for now.
  • Finally use less diluted ink to crisply outline the shadow shapes.
  • This will create a very solid basis to work from next week as we begin to render in more detail with the brush.

Pumpkin Wash in Ink!

In this lesson I’ll be showing you how to make an ink wash sketch of a pumpkin (perfect for this time of year!).

Materials:

  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Watercolour paper
  • Indian ink
  • Several small watercolour brushes
  • Water pot
  • Paper towel for cleaning

Process:

  • Start with a very simple pencil sketch as a guide for your ink painting.
  • Find the overall proportions and the shadow shapes (the parts of the object that don’t receive direct light).
  • You don’t need to fill this in – as soon as the line sketch is finished you can start painting!
  • Use ink diluted with water to make the tone lighter and wash this middle tone over the shadow of the pumpkin.
  • The use less diluted ink to lay in the darker tones (background, ground shadow etc.).
  • You can also do other washes of midtones (such as the ground plane in light).
  • Then you can keep developing the form by applying gradually washes of darker tones over the halftones.
  • Try to keep some of the pumpkin completely light (these are the highlights).

Hatching an Apple in Ink

In this lesson I will be showing you how to loosely sketch an apple using form based hatching with a dip pen and ink.

You can work from life using a piece of fruit, or if you prefer, you can use the same reference as me: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/PXL_20210926_160845388-scaled.jpg

Materials

  • Dip pen and drawing nib
  • Indian ink
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser

Process

  • Begin by using your pencil to very lightly sketch the outside of the fruit, stem and a suggestion of the shadow.
  • Then you can use the pen to lightly trace over the pencil sketch.
  • It may work well to use the nib on its side during this stage as that will give you a finer line.
  • Once the pencil sketch is traced over, you can erase the pencil lines and begin developing form using hatched lines.
  • Try to get these lines to follow the form where possible. As the apple is so round, this will rely on lots of curved lines that are denser nearer the shadow edge and lighter / less dense as the form turns to the light.
  • Some lines will run down the form of the apple and some will roll out of the edges of the apple. Where they cross will appear darker and reinforce the shadow. This is the best way to use hatching to create an impression of 3D forms.
  • You don’t need to be super neat – this is a sketch after all! Just have fun 🙂
  • Finish a with few darker accents one the shadow edge (you can make darker lines with the nib by using the flat of it and pressing down more so that the metal splits at the tip).
  • Look for any details as well (like the spots that I’ve drawn in).
  • That’s it, well done!

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:

  • Ink
  • Paper
  • Brush

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.

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 paper
  • Nib holder
  • Pointed drawing nib
  • Ink (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 lines to darken them.
  • Try to make the lines follow the form of the subject (rather than arbitrarily sketching them in).
  • Finally, spend some time laying in darker, thicker lines as accents where necessary.
  • This will help give the drawing some more variety and intensity.

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 tend to repeat) so that’s a good amount of time to spend when practicing from photos indoors.

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.

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 the cloud forms start to come together.
  • If there is a part of the subject that is very dark (like the land in my piece) then make sure to go as dark as possible with the charcoal. This will make the most of the value range, and help to create a luminous effect.
  • Try to avoid going dark in the lightest areas (where the cloud is illuminated) as this may be hard to erase later.

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, I added a little bit more detail to the pot (and neatened it up).
  • I did this by softening the edges of the shadows and laying in some bright white highlights.
  • Finally, I added the slight scalloping in the bottom of the pot as it projects over the lip of the table and I also made sure that all the rough patches had been neatened up with the small brush.
  • And that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this series!

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.

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 the paint will tend to be quite transparent as it dries.

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.

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 lesson
  • Acrylic paints: White, Bright Yellow, Bright Blue and Earth Red
  • Water cups and water
  • Palette
  • Paper towel
  • Medium 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 white to the dark base colour.
  • If this feels too warm, adjust the green with some extra blue.
  • Then you can add the brightest highlights on the leaves, this colour can be mixed by adding a lot of white to your green.
  • You want it to be a very pale, light green.
  • Finally, mix a warmer, redder tone for the plant pot (use more earth red and yellow rather than blue).
  • Then use pure white add the highlights on the pot as well.
  • That’s it for now! The next lesson will be focused on neatening up this rough block-in.

Fun Colour Study of a Houseplant – Starting With a Pencil Sketch

This series will show you how to create fun studies of plants in acrylics using a simple bold palette.

This lesson will cover the first stage – making a loose line drawing using pencil.

You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/P1090720-scaled.jpg

Materials:

  • Paper, canvas or panel suitable for acrylic paint
  • Pencil
  • Easel
  • As this is going to be a sketchy approach – you don’t need to use an eraser, but I recommend starting light with the pencil at first and only getting darker when you’re more confident about the general proportions.
  • Start with a few big, gestural shapes to approximately place the forms of the pot and leaves.
  • Then place a few leaves at the limits of the group.
  • The furthest left, furthest right, top etc.
  • Then once you’ve got these more extreme placements, it’s easy to just fill in the leaves that fill the space between.
  • Pay attention to the particular character of each individual leaf. Some are more round, some are oblong etc.
  • Finally, make the darker edge of the leaf forms darker (with a heavier line) – the darker edge will tend to be facing away from the light.
  • Once you’ve done that, you can pop a few coats of fixative over the pencil sketch.
  • When it’s dry you can start painting.

Tips For Correcting Proportions in Your Drawings and Paintings

This short lesson will show you some techniques for making better corrections in your artworks. Proportions can be really tricky, so it’s handy to have a few tricks up your sleeve when trying to figure out what’s going wrong. These principles apply to both drawing and painting – whenever you’re working realistically.

  • Start by plotting a few basic points on the paper.
  • You can use a vertical guideline (like the one above) to help get started.
  • Pay attention to where the subject crosses this line, as well as how far to the right or left of the line it is.
  • Use simple lines to approximately block in the main proportions of the form that you’re copying.
  • Don’t worry if it’s not accurate – you will just be using this as a starting point.
  • The image on the left is my first at the foot and the one on the right is my corrected version.
  • I primarily relied on ‘horizontal and vertical alignments’ to make the necessary adjustments.
  • To do this I chose a point and imagined a horizontal or vertical line travelling out from it. Then I used that line to tell whether other points matched it’s placement (were they too high or too low etc.).
  • This little trick will help you to problem solve when something is wrong with the proportions in your drawing or painting.

Realistic Charcoal Sketching – Tips for Finishing a Drawing Quickly

In this series we will be working from a sculpture in the Met Museum collection in New York. This is a great exercise for learning traditional drawing techniques in charcoal. The MET is a great free resource for artists who want to copy from high quality images and references.

In the final sessions of this three part series, I will show you how to use accents, texture and quick blending techniques to get a finished look fast.

You can download the original image I’m working from here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collect…

These are the minimum materials you will need:

  • Drawing paper
  • Compressed charcoal pencil
  • Hard willow charcoal
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Sharpen all your charcoal to start with (and try to keep it sharp throughout the final session).
  • Then use the compressed charcoal to add some punch to the darker accents across the drawing.
  • Adding selective detail and contrast this way is an efficient method to make the drawing look more finished without too much effort.
  • You can also pass over larger areas of tone with your hard willow charcoal to smooth things out a bit (I recommend watching the video to see what I mean).
  • Finally, see if you can find any little notches of texture that stand out and pop them in.
  • A good example of this is the light chip on the cheek in shadow – I added this in by simple erasing a light shape and then putting a darker note above that.

Realistic Charcoal Sketching – Developing the Forms

In this series we will be working from a sculpture in the Met Museum collection in New York. This is a great exercise for learning traditional drawing techniques in charcoal. The MET is a great free resource for artists who want to copy from high quality images and references.

In this session I will show you how to develop the forms in the shadows and halftones by loosely shading in tone.

You can download the original image I’m working from here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collect…

These are the minimum materials you will need:

  • Drawing paper
  • Soft willow charcoal
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Use the same soft charcoal as stage 1, but this time you will need to sharpen it a bit as that will give you more control as you add smaller details.
  • Start by darkening the shadows if needed. Then you can add the darkest parts of the shadows – this will start to give the impression of rounded forms within the darker areas of the drawing.
  • Once the shadows are a bit more developed, turn your attention to the halftones.
  • Working in large blocks of loosely shaded tone, start to add the darker halftones next to the shadow edge.
  • Keep adding tone (or removing it where necessary) in the same fashion across the drawing.
  • This will gradually result in a better sense of 3D form.
  • That’s it for now! In the next (and final) session I will show you how to finish off the study.

Realistic Charcoal Sketching – Getting Started

In this series we will be working from a sculpture in the Met Museum collection in New York. This is a great exercise for learning traditional drawing techniques in charcoal. The MET is a great free resource for artists who want to copy from high quality images and references.

In this first session I will show you how to get started with a light and loose block-in of the main shapes and shadows.

You can download the original image I’m working from here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collect…

These are the minimum materials you will need:

  • Drawing paper
  • Soft willow charcoal
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Begin by (very lightly) sketching in the basic outside proportions of your subject.
  • Try to hold the charcoal as far back as possible – because this will help you to keep your lines super light.
  • Once the outside proportions are in place, you can start to make some light notes for the placement of major features and forms (eyes, nose, mouth, chin, ears etc.).
  • This is a good time to make corrections – because there isn’t too much to change yet.
  • Keep re-working these lines and shapes until they lock into place well. This will save you a lot of hassle later in the drawing.
  • Once those shapes are in place you can begin to lightly shade in the ‘shadow’ shapes.
  • Shadows are any part of the subject that doesn’t receive direct light from the light source.
  • In this drawing – most of the right side of the sculpture is in shadow because the light is streaming from the left.
  • Finally, spend some time correcting the shapes of these shadows until they seem to capture the right likeness and expression of your subject.

Learning from the Masters – John William Waterhouse Copy in Oils – Part 9

In this series we will be working on a master copy in oils. I am using a 19th Century painting of the mythological figure ‘Lamia’ by John William Waterhouse as my reference.

You can use the same reference by clicking the link below, or you can find your own masterpiece to work from.

http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Lamia-Waterhouse-1-scaled.jpg

In this session – I will be rendering the hair, using a mixture of glazing and direct painting techniques.

  • I begin by laying a glaze of burnt umber and black over the darkest parts of the hair.
  • Glazing deepens the tone and also increases the warmth.
  • If things get too warm when glazing you may need to make you colour cooler (you can do this by adding white, which greys things down.
  • I then patch in some more subdued colours over the lighter parts of the hair as my original colours were a bit too reddish.
  • Try to brush in the direction of the hair when painting – as this helps enhance the impression that the hair is flowing in a particular direction.
  • Finally, you can add any props or smaller embellishments throughout the hair (the pearl clasps in the case of this painting.
Materials:
  • OIL PAINTS
  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cadmium Yellow – Cadmium Red
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • ODOURLESS MINERAL SPIRITS (OMS)
  • LINSEED OIL
  • RANGE OF LARGE AND SMALL OIL BRUSHES
  • PALETTE
  • PALETTE
  • CUPS
  • CANVAS