Bighorn in Watercolour – Laying in Darker Colours

In this series of lessons, I will be showing you how to make a watercolour painting from a bighorn sheep reference. In this session I will be showing you how to lay in some darker tones / colours in order to separate the shadows and lights more clearly.

MATERIALS

  • Watercolour paper
  • Several small – medium soft brushes
  • Watercolour paints (anything you have to hand)
  • Water pot
  • Paper towel or rag

Reference Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/6Uh-fJizwlw

  • I would begin with the background as this will help separate the bighorn from its surroundings.
  • Use a fairly big brush for speed (and to avoid adding too much detail too quickly).
  • If there are any suggestions of shapes or colour shifts, you can go ahead and suggest them – in a fairly blurry manner ideally (using wet into wet brushwork).
  • Once the background is in place you can start washing darker tones over the subject in shadow.
  • Colours may vary; the horn shadows are much yellower and warmer than the cooler tones of the fur in shadows for example.
  • You can finish by swapping to a smaller brush and adding some more specific dark notes and define the shadow edges more definitively.

Bighorn in Watercolour – Initial Wash Painting

In this series of lessons, I will be showing you how to make a watercolour painting from a bighorn sheep reference. In this first session we will be going straight in with a watercolour wash.

MATERIALS

  • Watercolour paper
  • Several small – medium soft brushes
  • Watercolour paints (anything you have to hand)
  • Water pot
  • Paper towel or rag

Reference Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/6Uh-fJizwlw

  • Begin by using extremely diluted watercolour with your biggest brush.
  • It doesn’t matter what colours you use really, as this initial pass of paint will be so light.
  • Try to keep your lines simple as you feel out the proportions.
  • Make sure to correct anything that is wrong as soon as you notice. The fewer proportion mistakes at this stage, the easier it will be to continue with the rest of the piece.
  • Once the general shapes are blocked in, you can use the diluted paint to start massing in the darker shadowy regions of the piece.
  • Then you can use the smaller brush to start developing more specific details across the piece.
  • You can make the paint less diluted for this stage (not super dark – just slightly darker than the first pass over).
  • If you have got pretty good proportions from the first two stages, you should find it a bit easier / more relaxing to start laying in details.

Detailed Brush and Pen Drawing – Final Touches

This is a series that will show you how to make an artwork in ink using a mixture of brushwork and pen. In this session you will learn how to add final details to finish the piece off.

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
  • Use a very small brush to add very small details.
  • You don’t need to change anything drastic – just add to what is already there.
  • Use a mixture of lighter, washier tones and richer, darker tones with less diluted ink.
  • Pay particular attention to the textures that occur where the forms are turning from light to dark as this is where they will be most pronounced.
  • You can add details in the darker areas as well.
  • At this stage we are working over the entire piece as one thing.
  • That’s it! You should have completed a lovely ink piece in pen and brush 🙂

Detailed Brush and Pen Drawing – Bolder Accents

This is a series that will show you how to make an artwork in ink using a mixture of brushwork and pen. In this session we will be darkening the accents in the shadows to increase contrast.

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
  • This time we will be using less diluted ink in order to make sure that the darker tones are extra punchy.
  • Start with the parts of the shadows that are near black and then work your way towards lighter shadows.
  • This is still somewhat ‘glazing’ based as the ink will still be slightly transparent as it dries.
  • Take advantage of this by applying a few passes of ink to soften gradations.
  • You can also begin to add more refined textures where necessary.
  • We will be continuing to add more textures with a small brush next week as we move towards completion.

Detailed Brush and Pen Drawing – Adding Outlines

This is a series that will show you how to make an artwork in ink using a mixture of brushwork and pen. In this session we will be using a fine dip pen to outline the forms that we established with the brush in the first two sessions.

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
  • You will need to dilute the Indian ink with a bit of water. This will stop it from being too glossy when you lay it down.
  • Your aim is to outline the entire drawing using the dip pen.
  • This includes the outside edges as well as some emphasis on the edges of the shadows within the forms.
  • You can also look out for places where forms overlap or edges travel into shadows.
  • It’s a pretty simple stage, but it will help give us a very clear and well structured basis for adding more detail with the brush in the remaining sessions.

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.