Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Feeling Stuck? 20 Ways to Overcome Artist's Block

1. Draw a caricature of your favorite actor or actress.
2. Design your own deck of cards.
3. Create the cover of an imagined children's book.
4. Create a dish pattern based on an era of design, like art deco.
5. Photograph ordinary objects in abstract.
6. Draw 12 black and white landscapes for a monthly calendar.
7. Design a business card for a well-known cartoon character.
8. Paint a visual representation of your favorite song.
9. Draw a still life, then draw the same scene as a comic book illustration.
10. Design a page (or two!) of a coloring book.
11. Design an animal that combines bird, fish, and mammal.
12. Create a replica of a classic sculpture with food.
13. Re-envision a one sheet for your favorite film.
14. Design your own alphabet letters, and create an illustration for each letter.
15. Make a flip book about your favorite memory.
16. Draw an illustrated tutorial on how to wash a dog.
17. Draw your favorite picture of yourself, but upside down.
18. Draw an image of something in nature in all four seasons.
19. Illustrate an abstract idea, like success, love, freedom, or evil.
20. Paint a portrait with only three colors.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Perfecting Pastels: Tips for Pastel Arts

Choosing Pastels
Pastels come in several types, so let's look at what is available and their pros and cons.

Soft and Hard Pastels: The most common pastels come in these two types: soft and hard. The colors range from extremely bright and saturated, to very pale. The biggest con of pastels is that they cannot be remedied like paints can. Instead, you have to employ various blending techniques. Regular pastels have a chaulky like consistency. Hard pastels are used for their fine lines and details. Soft pastels are easy to blend and easy to apply, but their edges are less defined

Oil Pastels: oil pastels are very similar to regular pastels, but they have a smoother, creamier consistency and feel because they are bound with non-drying oils and waxes. Oil pastels tend to be less likely to smudge, and thus, they are less prone to accidents.

Tools for Pastels
Working with pastels necessitates more than just the pastels themselves. Here's a brief look at the secondary tools and materials used for pastels.

Brushes: Brushes are used to clear a pastel work of flakes and debris, or for blending large areas. Soft bristle brushes are ideal for clearing dust and other things from your work, and stiffer bristle brushes can be used to blend.

Blending Tools: Blending tools are ideal for working with pastels, but they do more than their name. Blending tools and tortillons blend pastels very nicely, but they also lift color. Pointed blending tools work well for more detailed work, which is a nice fit for working with pastels.

Pastel works, if you want them to last more than five minutes after being finished, must be coated with a binder or fixative. A light coat of fixative will create a boundary of protection, as well as keeping pastel dust from sticking to the glass of a frame. Fixative also helps keep the colors of the work true, as sunlight and time can fade them. Basically, you should always finish a pastel work with two light coats of fixative.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

6 Drawing Exercises for Artists

Drawing exercises help keep you in practice, whether you paint, sculpt, draw, or animate. These exercises also help you visualize your subject in unique ways, as well as break you away from regular practices that might become more of a habit rather than an intention. The following drawing exercises are also great for beginners, but come back to these basics whenever you need the practice, if you are searching for inspiration, or if you just want to tighten your technical skills.

Blind Drawing
Blind drawing means looking only at your subject, and not at your paper. Not even a peek. Try to allow your hand, as you draw, to approximate the spacing, distance, and proportions of your subject without having to look at what you are doing.

Negative Space Drawing
This exercise is all about looking around your subject and not at it. Concentrate on the negative space, the space that defines your subject and draw. Don't even draw the subject: only look at the space defining it. In fact, leave your paper completely white where the subject should be

20 Second Drawing
Get a timer. Study your subject carefully, then set your timer for 20 seconds. Quickly sketch out as much of your subject as you can. After your 20 seconds are up, study your subject versus your sketch. Now, do it again. Start over and draw your subject again, but only in 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise until your 20 second sketch gets as close to your subject as possible.

Continuous Contour Drawing
In this exercise, the point is to keep your pencil or pen on the paper the entire time you draw. Don't lift it to stop and start lines. The drawing should ideally be one continuous line. Focus equally on your drawing and your subject, but try to keep your pen or pencil moving the entire time.

Continuous Blind Contour Drawing
Combine what you've done with the blind drawing exercise and the continuous line exercise into this: one continuous line drawing, but a drawing at you don't look at until you are finished. The initial drawings look pretty abstract; that might be a nice look, depending on your goal.

Non Dominant Hand Drawing
This exercise is a drawing exercise, and a brain exercise. Train your brain while allowing yourself to relinquish control. Letting go is the point of this drawing exercise, so let your non-drawing hand do the work, and enjoy some stress-free training.