Studio Sneak Peak – Finishing a Skull

In this lesson I’ll be giving you a look at a part of my process working on my own paintings (the work I create to exhibit and sell).

I’ll be adding the final touches to one of my miniature skulls.

  • I begin by oiling in the dark parts of the painting (applying a thin layer of my oil and solvent mix medium)
  • I then look for any shape errors (these are usually minor by the end of the painting)
  • Finally, I add more subtle transitions within the shadows, lights and the halftones that connect the two.

Pear and Ink

Today we’ll be doing a fun little study of a pear in pen and ink. Super simple materials and a nice straightforward process. You can either use the same reference as me (link below) or find your own.

Referencehttp://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/IMG_0541-scaled.jpg

Materials

  • Quill pen
  • Indian Ink
  • Water
  • Drawing paper
  • Paper towel for clean up

Process

  • Begin by faintly sketching in the width and height of the pear.
  • Then use light, mostly short, strokes to fill out the outside of the pear and leaf before starting to use short, hatched strokes to create a tonal fill.
  • Shadows will need a greater build up of strokes.
  • Keep working this way until you have hatched in all the shadows and lightly added the halftones (don’t add too many halftones as it will get too dark).

Drawing a Detailed Urban Scene: Finishing

In this series we will be creating a detailed pencil sketch from an urban subject. In this session we will be finishing the drawing.

You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/IMG-0536-scaled.jpg

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Process

  • Begin by sketching in the outer sections of the drawing.
  • Keep these parts looser than the focal point (central elements)
  • Then lay in any foreground elements that hovers over the mid and backgorund portions of the drawing.
  • Make any organic element a bit looser than the man-made subjects.
  • Finish by erasing any smudges and re-emphasising the darkest darks and sharper edges.

Drawing a Detailed Urban Scene: Rendering Part 2

In this series we will be creating a detailed pencil sketch from an urban subject. In this session we will be finishing the drawing.

You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/IMG-0536-scaled.jpg

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Process

  • As in the previous section – you want to keep it quite focused and avoid the urge to move around the whole drawing as this can be distracting.
  • You also want to continue to look for sharp and softer edges.
  • For example – the fire escape needs to be a lot more contrasty and sharper than the soft shadow on the wall behind. This will help create the impression that the escape is sitting in front of the wall in space.

Drawing a Detailed Urban Scene: Starting the Rendering

In this series we will be creating a detailed pencil sketch from an urban subject. In this session we will begin redenering a specific section of the drawing.

You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/IMG-0536-scaled.jpg

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Process

  • Begin by selecting that part of the sketch you want to render.
  • Try to keep it quite focused and avoid the urge to move around the whole drawing as this can be distracting.
  • Look for useful architectural elements to divide the bigger shapes.
  • Pay attention to the nature of different shadows; some will be harsh whereas others will be much softer.
  • Capturing these variations will add a lot of visual interest to your drawing.
  • Once you’ve added as much detail as you want, take a step back and make final larger adjustments to ensure that everything is cohesive.

Drawing a Detailed Urban Scene: Blocking in Tones

In this series we will be creating a detailed pencil sketch from an urban subject. In this session we will be laying in general tones to start arranging the values across the drawing.

You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/IMG-0536-scaled.jpg

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Process

  • Begin with a few very general passes based on the general fall of light across the scene.
  • In this case the light is coming from the top left so the buildings get generally darker towards the bottom right portion of the scene.
  • After laying these general tones you can start to differentiate other larger tonal differences (such as the doors, windows and the fire escape).
  • Try to do it gradually as this approach will afford more control.
  • Keep going with this approach until all the major parts of the scene are roughed in.

Drawing a Detailed Urban Scene: Laying In

In this series we will be creating a detailed pencil sketch from an urban subject. This first session will be spent lightly placing all the major elements of the scene in an easy manner.

You can download the reference image here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/IMG-0536-scaled.jpg

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Process

  • Begin by selecting an element of the scene and sketching that in.
  • I chose the horizontal section of the fire escape.
  • Working from this anchor point you can then place elements in relation to it.
  • It’s best to add in parts that are closer to the anchor point before working your way out.
  • You don’t need to elaborate much – just get all the elements in place relative to one another.

The Basic Principles of Form

In this exercise, you will be creating a sphere, but the same principles apply whenever you’re drawing or painting any form in a representational artwork. 

Use the diagram below or watch the accompanying video lesson as a guide when you create your own sphere.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencil or charcoal
  • Eraser

Process

Determining the Light Source

1. Draw a circle on the page or canvas, this will be the basis for your sphere. Then draw an ellipse on the ground plane, this will be the shadow cast from the sphere and determine the direction of light.

2. Draw the ‘bedbug line’ (the line that divides light from shadow) onto the form.

Establishing the Shadow

1. Fill in the the shadow shape with an average shadow value (about a 7 on the value scale). 

2. Next, fill in the cast shadow on the ground with a similar value.

Adding Variations to the Shadow

1. The shadow isn’t usually evenly dark, because in most cases, light will be reflected into the shadow after bouncing off other elements in the scene. This will cause the centre of the shadow to lighten, becoming darker towards the bedbug line (the ‘core shadow’).

2. The shadow will also become darker where two forms meet one another (like where the sphere meets the ground). This is called the ‘occlusion shadow’, it is dark because neither direct light or reflected light reaches it.

Adding Halftones and Refining the Form

1. Begin adding halftones from the bedbug line, these are the ‘dark halftones’. As the halftones move further away from the bedbug line they will receive more light, and begin to lighten as a consequence. 

  1.  If you are painting on a toned panel, at a certain point you will reach a value that matches the canvas. When this happens you should stop adding dark halftones and start working out from the lightest values. You will find these values at the part of the sphere that faces the light source. Once you’ve added all the lightest halftones, they will meet the darkest halftones.
  1. If you are drawing your sphere you can just keep adding halftones gradually. The further that halftones are from the bedbug line, the lighter they will be. At some point you will just leave the white of the paper.
  • In stronger, direct light, the transition from the bedbug line will be more harsh.
  • In weaker, diffuse light, the transition from the bedbug line will be more gradual and softer.

2. Now that all the halftones have been added you should have a roughly correct sphere. At this point you should spend time correcting value relationships and neatening up your painting or drawing. 

Painting an Alla Prima Miniature

In this one off lesson, I will be showing my approach for painting a miniature (part of my own practice). It will be an alla prima piece – which means that I will paint the entire piece from scratch all at once.

Reference Image: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/IMG-1279-scaled.jpg

Materials

  • Smooth panel or card to paint on
  • Very small paint brushes
  • Mineral spirits
  • Palette cups
  • Palette
  • Oil paints; titanium white, ivory black, burnt umber, cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson, prussian blue

Process

  • Begin by using thinly diluted burnt umber to sketch in the basic shapes of the petals and stem.
  • You can erase and correct using a clean brush dipped in mineral spirits.
  • Then paint in the flower, starting with white and the by using as simple mixtures as possible.
  • Finally, paint in the background and shadow.
  • Once the shadow and background are laid in, you can blend them together to soften the shadow edge.

Cat Sketching in Pencil – Finishing off the Drawing

In this series we will be creating a soft pencil sketch from a cat reference. You can use your own reference or work from the same one as me using the link below.

Reference: https://unsplash.com/photos/13ky5Ycf0ts

Materials

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Process

  • Begin by making any adjustments to values that you feel may be necessary.
  • This might include darkening/evening the background or punching out the darkest shadows a bit further.
  • You can also add more fur divisions to enhance the sense of texture.
  • Finally, try to ensure that you have captured the underlying structure of the cat’s head by looking for halftones around the eyes and snout.

Cat Sketching in Pencil – Adding Markings and Fur

In this series we will be creating a soft pencil sketch from a cat reference. You can use your own reference or work from the same one as me using the link below. In this session we will be adding in the cat’s markings and beginning to develop the fur textures.

Reference: https://unsplash.com/photos/13ky5Ycf0ts

Materials

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Process

  • Begin by working from the darker areas, starting to divide the fur into separate tufts.
  • Focus on the biggest pieces of fur first and then divide in between them.
  • You can also start to shade in areas of the cat where there are locally darker tones (this will be mostly patterns).
  • Carry on laying in more markings and fur textures.
  • You can also add a bit more detail to the features (eyes and mouth) at this stage.

Cat Sketching in Pencil – Getting Started

In this series we will be creating a soft pencil sketch from a cat reference. You can use your own reference or work from the same one as me using the link below. In this session we will be lightly establishing the main shapes and features in the drawing.

Reference: https://unsplash.com/photos/13ky5Ycf0ts

Materials

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Process

  • Begin by using soft simple lines to form the outline of the head.
  • You can also plot in a suggestion for the placement of the features with the face.
  • Then gradually elaborate the lines and tones around the outside of the head.
  • You can break longer lines down into smaller ones and also lay in tone to roll the forms.
  • Finally, render the eyes, nose and mouth a bit more to give the drawing a focal point.

Cute Pet Portrait in Oils – Final Touches

In this series we will be making a pet portrait in oils. In this session we will be adding some final glazes and details.

Reference Image: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/P1060173.jpg

Materials

  • Canvas
  • Brushes (one medium and two small)
  • Solvent (mineral spirits etc.)
  • Linseed Oil
  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette Cup

Oil Paint

  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow

Process

  • Begin this final session by thickly oiling in the entire piece.
  • This will ensure that all the colours are deep and fully saturated as well as providing a smooth surface to lay details and glazes into.
  • Look for minor details like whiskers, smaller patches of textures and the smallest forms.
  • You will likely find that pure black glazed into the shadows will be a helpful way to add detail effectively.
  • That’s it – I hope you all enjoyed this series!

Cute Pet Portrait in Oils – Finishing the Forms

In this series we will be making a pet portrait in oils. In this session we will be continuing to develop the halftones.

Reference Image: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/P1060173.jpg

Materials

  • Canvas
  • Brushes (one medium and two small)
  • Solvent (mineral spirits etc.)
  • Linseed Oil
  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette Cup

Oil Paint

  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow

Process

  • Using the same approach as part 3 – continue to develop smaller forms by adding more complex halftones and lights.
  • You can use a smaller brush to add more gradual shifts in darker and lighter tones.
  • The smaller brush will also help you to catch more specific textures (such as the strokes of the fur).
  • Once all the medium and smaller forms are added, you can leave the piece to dry.

Cute Pet Portrait in Oils – Developing Forms

In this series we will be making a pet portrait in oils. In this session we will be using halftones to develop smaller forms, while adjusting and enhancing the colours.

Reference Image: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/P1060173.jpg

Materials

  • Canvas
  • Brushes (one medium and two small)
  • Solvent (mineral spirits etc.)
  • Linseed Oil
  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette Cup

Oil Paint

  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow

Process

  • Begin by seeing if there are any colours that are a bit (too dull perhaps).
  • If there are, mix up new colours and test them, once you’re happy you can use these colours as you develop the smaller forms (killing two birds with one stone).
  • Develop the forms using a smaller brush and mixing up halftones (more values between the shadows and lights)
  • Work your way around the chosen area (in my case I focused on the head).
  • Look for all the medium and smaller forms, once they’re in place you can leave the piece to dry.

Cute Pet Portrait in Oils – Patching in the Colours

In this series we will be making a pet portrait in oils. In this session we will be figuring out the basic colours in the piece and patching them on in a loose manner.

Reference Image: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/P1060173.jpg

Materials

  • Canvas
  • Brushes (one medium and one small)
  • Solvent (mineral spirits etc.)
  • Linseed Oil
  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette Cup

Oil Paint

  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Umber
  • Cadmium Red
  • Cadmium Yellow

Process

  • Begin by working over the shadow tones established during the wash drawing stage.
  • Start by putting pure black in the darkest parts, then use burnt umber mixed with gradually more of the cadmiums to make up lighter shadow colours.
  • Next you can start to mix up the darker halftones, working your way towards the lightest parts.
  • You can use a bit of the medium to dilute the halftones.
  • Try to keep the brushwork as simple and loose as possible.
  • Finally you can mix up the lightest tones.
  • Patch them on more thickly than the halftones and shadows.
  • If necessary you can use the smaller brush to have a bit more control over the details.

Cute Pet Portrait in Oils – Getting Started

In this series we will be making a pet portrait in oils. We will begin this first session with a wash drawing – using burnt umber and solvent over a toned canvas.

Reference Image: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/P1060173.jpg

Materials

  • Canvas
  • Brushes
  • Burnt Umber Oil Paint
  • Solvent (mineral spirits etc.)
  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette Cups

Process

  • Begin by using a medium sized brush to apply the basic outline in slightly diluted burnt umber.
  • You can use a second brush dipped in solvent to correct any mistakes (it will wash the paint off the surface).
  • Then keep using the same brush to block in the dark tones.
  • Again, you can use the second brush to correct any mistake (it may need to be cleaned from time to time).
  • Don’t worry if you lose some of the edge to the background (like the lower snout in my piece) as these will be recovered later.
  • Finally, you can take a smaller brush to refine the shapes a bit.
  • You can also start to soften some of the shadow edges in preparation for building form in the next session.

Sketching a Shell in Graphite and Carbon – Finishing it off

In this series, we will be creating a rendered drawing of a broken shell using a mix of graphite and carbon pencils. In this final session we will be refining the texture of the shell and make some final adjustments to the tonal relationships.

You can download the same reference I’m using here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/P1090886-scaled.jpg

Here is a rough materials guide:

  • Paper
  • Old bristle brush for blending
  • Graphite pencils (mix of hardnesses)
  • Carbon Pencil (mix of hardnesses)
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Begin by shading in the background behind the shell.
  • This will ensure that the highlights on the shell are the brightest parts of the drawings.
  • (Leaving the background white would make the highlights stand out less).
  • Then use a mixture of the graphite pencil and carbon pencil to add more specific textures to the shell.
  • This may involve softening transitions or it could mean adding contrast in some areas.
  • Finish by punching out the darkest parts with carbon pencil and erasing the highlights.
  • This will make the most of tonal range available.
  • That’s it!

Sketching a Shell in Graphite and Carbon – Deepening the Tones

In this series, we will be creating a rendered drawing of a broken shell using a mix of graphite and carbon pencils. This session will be spent darkening the shadows and the darker halftones using gradual passes of tone.

You can download the same reference I’m using here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/P1090886-scaled.jpg

Here is a rough materials guide:

  • Paper
  • Old bristle brush for blending
  • Graphite pencils (mix of hardnesses)
  • Carbon Pencil (mix of hardnesses)
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Begin by adding in the darkest shadows using the carbon pencil.
  • This will give you an idea of how dark the darkest parts of the drawing can be (thereby show the range available between the darkest sections and the lightest).
  • You can then use the old bristle brush to smooth out the charcoal and soften the edges of the shadows.
  • Once you’ve laid in the darkest parts using carbon, switch back to graphite pencil and start laying in gradual passes of darker halftones.
  • Start with the darkest parts first.
  • It’s always a good idea to work from dark to light and preserve the white of the paper for brighter highlights.
  • Keep adding more and more passes of tone until you’ve roughly matched the reference.
  • Don’t worry about any details yet though!

Sketching a Shell in Graphite and Carbon

In this series, we will be creating a rendered drawing of a broken shell using a mix of graphite and carbon pencils. This session will be focused on getting the basic shapes and shadows of the shell loosely sketched in.

You can download the same reference I’m using here: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/P1090886-scaled.jpg

Here is a rough materials guide:

  • Paper
  • Graphite pencils (mix of hardnesses)
  • Carbon Pencil (mix of hardnesses)
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Begin by lightly sketching in the curves of the shell.
  • You are looking to get the overall proportions roughly correct at this stage.
  • Don’t worry about adding lots of detail.
  • If you notice any mistakes at any point, don’t hesitate to erase and correct them.
  • Next, you can lay in the main shadow shapes and shade them in lightly too.
  • Once again, avoid adding lots of detail yet. Just focus on the major shapes and forms.
  • Finally, you can lay in more precise outlines now that everything is roughly correct.
  • You can also start shading in the halftones a bit to begin to turn the lighter forms.