When we first picked up a pen or pencil and started making marks on paper, we began with line. Whether self-taught, through trial and error, or guided by others, we learned how line defines form, creates structure, divides a frame, traces contour, creates tonal variation (cross-hatching, for example) and leads the eye from one part of a work to another. Initially a mechanism for getting outlines onto paper – identifying edges – we begin to applaud lines for their own merit: celebrate their presence…whether a quiet flick of charcoal on paper or a streak of graphite.
This article contains exercises for Art students who wish to produce contour line drawings, cross contour drawings, blind drawings and other types of line drawings. It is a teaching aid for high school Art students and includes classroom activities, a free downloadable PDF worksheet and inspirational artist drawings.
Blind Contour Drawing
Definition: A blind contour drawing contains lines that are drawn without ever looking at the piece of paper. This forces you to study a scene closely, observing every shape and edge
An A2 Art sketchbook page by Ruth Beeley:
This A Level Art sketchbook page is exactly as a high school Art sketchbook should be: an exciting investigation of media and ideas. Using ‘modrock’ (a plaster of paris bandage) and glue to create raised areas, with other mixed mediums such as wire, ink and Biro pen, Ruth adds careful and detailed drawings over a chaotic ground. The piece is not a finished, resolved image: rather, it is a beautiful and competently executed exploration of ideas.
An A2 Art sketchbook page by Lucy Luu:
At its essence, a sketchbook page should provide insight into a student’s ideas and intentions, as well as revealing the influence of other artists. This A Level Art sketchbook page is beautiful in its simplicity: devoid of all superfluous decoration, it shows a dedicated and committed student learning a technique from an artist and then carefully applying this to original artwork.
Sketchbook pages completed as part of a VCE Studio Arts folio by Australian high school student Heesu Kim:
Heesu writes about the project: “I want to create a
1. Use a ground
There are many benefits to working on a ground. One of these is increased painting or drawing speed. A ground covers a painting or drawing surface from the outset. It can act as mid-tone, with only black and white used to apply dark and light areas (as in the examples below) or be left partially visible in the final work. This results in an artwork that is much faster to complete (see our article about painting on grounds for more information).
The beautiful A Level portrait on the left has been completed upon a pale brown ground (this provides a mid-tone skin colour and is also left visible in the background). On the right, a wash of ochre, blue and brown provides a background to the drawing black and white pencil drawing.
2. Incorporate mixed media /patterned surfaces / textural elements
As with using a ground, patterned, decorative or textural items can cover areas of an artwork quickly. Although this strategy should be used with care, selecting only materials which support or enhance your project
“Transparent bowl with fruit and vases” – mural painting in Pompeii, Italy, 1 st century a.c. – It is extremely difficult to determine when the genre of the still-life was born. We know that even the ancient Egyptians decorated the tombs with paintings of fruits, vegetables and other foods, aimed to feed the deceased souls in the afterlife. This example, discovered in the ancient city of Pompeii, is extraordinary for its naturalism and the gentleness with which each piece of fruit is represented, using a different pigment for each piece of the bunch of grapes that constitutes the center of the painting. It is also notable the contrast between the solid transparent bowl -glass was a very appreciated material in ancient Rome- and the sensation of instability caused by the inclined jar.
Sanchez Cotán: “Still Life with Game Fowl, Vegetables and Fruits”, 1602 (Madrid, Prado Museum) and “Still Life with thistle and carrots” (Museum of Fine Arts, Granada) – Spanish Painting from the 17th century has a high number of still-life painters, including names like Luis Meléndez, Juan van der Hamen or even the great Francisco de Zurbarán. Nevertheless, none of them were as original as Carthusian
Why Knowing How to Draw Perspective Is Important
I will be the first to admit that learning and practicing linear perspective is a little bit like eating your veggies when you are a kid. You aren’t sure about them even though you know they are good for you but, in the end, you learn to love them. But what is really worth remembering about perspective drawing is that if you know the basics, you’ve got all the capabilities of a 3D drawing in your hands. That’s why understanding linear perspective is so important for artists, beginners included.
Linear perspective revolutionized the way artists perceived and incorporated spatial depth in their work. Established in solid, mathematical terms in the 15th century, linear perspective creates the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.
How to Tell the Difference Between One-Point Perspective and Two-Point Perspective
To create effective linear perspective, artists establish a horizon line, a vanishing point on that line, and multiple orthogonal, or vanishing, lines. The horizon line is a horizontal line that runs across the paper or canvas to represent the viewer’s eye level and delineates the sky meeting
Lesson One: Understanding the Medium
Of the many acrylic lessons you will certainly learn, many would argue that the first lesson should be understanding the medium itself.
Simply put, what is acrylic paint? The answer is a water-soluble medium made from a synthetic resin binder mixed with pigments. The water soluble aspect of acrylic paints means that a painting dries quickly and you do not have to use solvents to dilute the paint or for cleaning brushes or a palette.
All Dry! After an acrylic painting on canvas dries the surface becomes water resistant, and a canvas can be rolled up and stored with no fear of cracking or damaging. This is all in contrast to oil paints, which need to be thinned with solvents, take much longer to dry and harden as they do so, making them quite fragile and not so easily transported. This medium can be an exciting prospect because acrylics have so much versatility.
You’ll notice when painting with acrylic paint that they dry to a flat finish. But mediums abound that can be added to the paints to:
-Increase luminosity and surface shine
– Get a matte or semi-matte
1. Research is underrated
Delve into a lot of watercolor instruction resources. As often as you can, hear directly from practicing artists–what they think of their chosen medium and what they have to share in terms of tips that might help you. Consider a subscription to Watercolor Artist Magazine. It is a great place to start as you will receive an entire year’s worth of step-by-step watercolor articles and demos to explore during your studio time, growing in your creativity and skill with each issue you receive. Splash: Best of Watercolor—Digital Collection is the resource I keep close at hand to learn the methods of contemporary watercolor artists. With more than 350 paintings showcasing contemporary watermedia, this collection truly celebrates all the unique innovations and explorations of watercolor painting.
2. Don’t buy a premade palette
Create your own watercolor palette rather than going the easy route with a premade one. Painting this way allows you to better understand what each color is capable of doing and how you can work with it. A good starter palette might include:
1. Understand Your Materials
There are dozens of oil painting lessons out there. But the first, and most crucial, step of painting instruction is coming to know your materials. All oil painting lessons start there because knowing how your paints respond allows you to fully understand how to exploit them to their fullest potential, and how to avoid any big mistakes.
Traditional oil paints consist of ground pigments combined with a drying oil, such as linseed, walnut, or poppyseed oil. A “drying oil” is one that absorbs oxygen from the air, which causes it to dry and harden over time, forming a flexible and resistant surface. Each pigment requires a different amount of oil to reach the consistency needed for painting. The amount of oil absorbed by a pigment directly affects its drying time, which can be useful for an artist to know as he or she works in the studio to learn painting.
When applying layers of oil paint most artists follow one of the most popular oil painting lessons known as the “fat-over-lean” rule. ‘Fat’ oil paint contains more oil than pigment, which increases the length of time it takes to dry. ‘Lean’
1. Color Theory: For Oil and Watercolor
Best for: An all-round resource for painters specializing in oil and watercolor media, but want theory they can apply to other media too.
Color Theory: For Oil and Watercolor is the one-of-a-kind resource for conquering color. It’s instantly accessible and I can take it wherever I go—in the studio or out when I am doing color sketching, so I am able to master color theory on my own timeline. What lured me to this eBook is how it teaches me how to select the perfect hue every time—no matter where I am, what the lighting conditions are, or what I am painting. That means when I mix colors, I do it with confidence and the results aren’t muddy or off! And that means finding the joy in color and discovering the ability to make your colors “sing,” according to artist-instructor David Gallup, who compares color theory to musical composition. What could be more appealing than that? And because it is just a click away, I didn’t hesitate to make it mine– the payoff is so huge and important to the development of my art.
1. Drawing Hands
Keep in mind the bone and muscle structure beneath the surface. In some places the surface is influenced by the angular bones, in others by the soft muscles. Don’t round off all the forms or the subject will look rubbery.
2. Drawing People and More
A classic way to draw something with correct proportion is to create a grid and place it over your reference photo, then draw a grid on your paper. Erasing these lines can be a pain, so a lightbox (or window on a sunny day) can be used instead. Place the grid on the lightbox, tape it down, then place your paper over the grid. You can see the grid through the paper and there’s no erasing later.
3. Drawing People
A useful device is a shaft or midline, which is a line drawn through the middle of a human form to see how it is supported. A midline acts like the armature underneath movement and direction. It also simplifies the process of seeing and indicating the angles of specific forms.
4. Opposites Attract
An essential principle
1. Find the Best Drawing Tools for You
The first step of learning to draw is figuring out what drawing tools you want to work with and gaining an awareness of what your chosen drawing medium is capable of. Working with a graphite pencil is quite a different experience and utilizes a completely different process than working with a stick of charcoal, oil pastel, pen and ink or colored pencil. Drawing Secrets Revealed by Sarah Parks and the video download Top 10 Art Techniques can really help you reach your fullest potential by giving you an understanding of the different drawing techniques used with different drawing media. For example, if you want to really work on your mark-making with an emphasis on hatching or cross-hatching, you’ll probably want to work with graphite. For more expressive marks, reach for charcoal.
2. Use Mistakes as a Lesson
When you start to draw the first thing you will want to do is loosen up—literally. You want to draw fluidly and spontaneously, so the first thing I was always taught to do is warm up with exercises like drawing circles or cubes. This gets your hand and eye working in
Although this list stems from a deep study of the painters, their contribution to Western painting, and their influence on later artists; we are aware that objectivity does not exist in Art, so we understand that most readers will not agree 100% with this list. In any case, theartwolf.com assures that this list is only intended as a tribute to painting and the painters who have made it an unforgettable Art
1. PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973) – Picasso is to Art History a giant earthquake with eternal aftermaths. With the possible exception of Michelangelo (who focused his greatest efforts in sculpture and architecture), no other artist had such ambitions at the time of placing his oeuvre in the history of art. Picasso created the avant-garde. Picasso destroyed the avant-garde. He looked back at the masters and surpassed them all. He faced the whole history of art and single-handedly redefined the tortuous relationship between work and spectator
2. GIOTTO DI BONDONE (c.1267-1337) – It has been said that Giotto was the first real painter, like Adam was the first man. We agree with the first part. Giotto continued the Byzantine style of Cimabue and other predecessors, but he
Which are the best museums of the Western World? While such list is entirely subjective, we have tried to be as objective as I can be, taking in consideration its collections and history. So here is a guide to the premier Museums of the Western World and a link to its websites.
1- The Louvre in Paris is arguably the world’s most famous Museum. Take an online tour through its wonderful collection of antiquities and painting, including -of course- Leonardo’s Gioconda
2- The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is arguably America’s greatest museum. Its spectacular collection is especially strong in American painting and Egyptian Antiquities.
3- The British Museum is England’s greatest museum -and one of the best in the world- of Ancient Arts and antiquities, with an excellent collection of Art from Ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages.
4- The Vatican Museums houses the inmense and outstanding Art collection of the Catholic Church, including the Sistine Chapel or Raphael’s The School of Athens
5- The Hermitage Museum (or Ermitage) is the
What follows is a list of tips that have been written specifically for high school art students who are looking to improve the realism of their observational drawings. It is for those who have already selected something appropriate to draw (see this guide for selecting subject matter if you need help with this) and who understand how to compose a drawing well (this will be covered in a subsequent article).
Tip 1: Look at what you are drawing
Failing to look at what you are drawing is one of the most fundamental errors an Art student can make
This sounds obvious, but it is the most common error made by art students. Many students attempt to draw things the way that they thinkthey should look, rather than the way they actually do look.
The only way to record shape, proportion and detail accurately is to look at the source of information. Human memory does not suffice. Forms, shadows and details are hard enough to replicate when they are right there in front of you; if you have to make them up, they appear even less convincing. In order to produce an outstanding observational drawing, you
‘Development’ means systematically working towards better artwork: trialing, refining and exploring compositional devices and technique, demonstrating to the examiners that you have gone through a learning process and arrived at a successful final piece.
As an example, the following process was undertaken by my A Level Painting students (this process could be easily modified for Graphic Design, Photography or Sculpture) during the course of the year:
1. Complete 4-10 drawings of your chosen topic in your A Level Art Sketchbook.
using a range of black and white and coloured mediums such as graphite pencil, Indian ink, acrylic, coloured pencil, watercolours, oil. The level of realism achieved in these drawings will be dependent on your own drawing style and preferences. Mix and layer mediums as appropriate. Include photographs if desired. The drawings may be semi-incomplete and can merge into each other. At this point, do not worry so much about what you are achieving in terms of composition. You are merely conducting visual research and exploring your topic.
2. Fill gaps around the drawings with notes discussing your theme / issue / message…
why this is personally relevant to you;
1. The internet has created an explosion of opportunity for digital designers and multimedia artists
The world is filled with computers, smartphones, tablets and other portable electronic devices. Almost all businesses have an online presence, with online advertising increasing by the day. We are connected to the internet for long periods, seeking information, socialising, playing, shopping, watching videos and engaging in other forms of online entertainment. The demand for web designers, app designers, software designers, graphic designers, digital illustrators, multimedia artists, video producers, online publishers, animation artists, game designers and many other digital careers is undergoing unprecedented growth.
An Australian study analysing national census data, found that the number of people working in art-related roles that are embedded within other professions (i.e. visual designers working in other industries) has almost doubled in size between 1996 and 2006.
While Art continues to be a desirable option for students wishing to pursue ‘traditional’ creative careers, such as Architecture, Interior Design or Painting / Fine Art related professions, the internet has seen an explosion of exciting, new roles emerge.
2. Fine artists can reach a worldwide market at the click of a button
For the first time
Thinking Art will be an entertaining, ‘filler’ subject
Many students select Art thinking that it will be a fun subject where you hurl a bit of paint around and scribble with brightly coloured crayons. Students who enter under this misconception suffer a very quick wake-up call. Art can indeed be fun, but it is also an unimaginable amount of work. It requires constant and ongoing effort. Many students spend more time on their Art homework than they do on all of their other subjects put together. Art should be taken for one reason only: because playing with line and tone and shape and form and texture and colour fills you with joy. If you don’t love making art, your subject selection will torment you. Art will become your demon: the subject you resent with a passion, instead of enjoy.
Taking too long to begin
Some students are struck with a fear that they don’t have an original starting point or that they haven’t interpreted their exam topic in quite the right way. They spend weeks fretting over their topic selection and worrying whether it is good enough. Here’s the truth: it’s not the idea that
How to get your Art homework done: a no-nonsense guide
1. Get a wall planner
Not a calendar, diary, smartphone app, or a dog-eared handout tucked at the back of your sketchbook. A clear wall planner that is the first thing you see when you wake and the last thing you see before you fall asleep at night. In bold marker pen – highlight your project due dates and cross off the days that have gone.
2. Tidy your bedroom
To make great art you need an inspiring, well lit place to work, where you can spread out art supplies, tools and mess. If your bedroom is unsuitable, use a spare room, or stay late at school and work in the school art room instead. (Your teachers won’t mind. They will be deliriously happy).
3. Rid your workspace of all distraction
Turn off the internet; turn off the TV; put your phone on silent and put it out of sight. Forget about reading articles about how to avoid procrastination (like this one) and turn the music on instead. Crank it right up and let it fill your soul.
4. Pin blank
This is a concise article, aimed at helping students generate ‘cool’ art project ideas. What follows is a list of art project ideas that might be suitable starting points for those studying high school qualifications such as GCSE, IGCSE or A Level Art.
These ideas have been collated from students, teachers, artists, examination papers and from those kind enough to comment on the Student Art Guide. This list is largely aimed at helping the brainstorming process, prompting original thought and spurring a student into thinking creatively. The suggestions are primarily subject-matter orientated (i.e. based upon a physical object or scene) and do not begin to address the theme or message – something that is as important as the subject itself. For those students who need more in-depth direction and guidance in this area, I recommend reading the accompanying guide for selecting good A Level Art project ideas. Students may also like to read this list of possible Art exam topic interpretations.
Creative Art Project Ideas
- Chickens in cages
- Pigs in pens
- Discarded / rubbish
- Binge eating
- Sugar and the malnourished
What should be in an art school application portfolio? How do you present a portfolio? What gives you the best chance of being accepted by the art school of your dreams? This article explains how to make an art portfolio for college or university and is packed with tips from leading art and design school admissions staff from around the world. It is written for those who are in the process of creating an application portfolio for a foundation course, certificate, associate or undergraduate degree and contains advice for specific art-related areas, such as Architecture, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Animation, Game Design, Film and other creative, visual art-based courses. It is presented along with art and design portfolio examples from students who have recently gained acceptance to a range of art schools from around the world, creating a 9,000 word document that helps guide you through the application process.
What is an art school application portfolio?
In addition to meeting academic requirements, Art and Design Schools, Universities and Colleges typically require a practical art portfolio as part of the application process (this is often accompanied by a personal statement and/or an art school interview –