I'd like to think any student, no matter how inexperienced, can use the following material as a jumping off point into the less-charted waters of expressive picture making. But we all have to start somewhere and having been there, I've tried to design the material as no-frills, easy-to-understand exercises in getting anyone willing to kick in, a basic launch into becoming an artist.
Before diving into the various lessons, check out my Materials Page if you require any information on art supplies and places to get them. "The Basics" are also available in book form. Click here for more information and how to how to order a copy.
#1 - Contour and Gesture #2 - Overlapping Getting started. Two basic approaches to line drawing and how they are the primary means of learning how to draw anything. The dynamics of "up close" and "far back" lines to achieve a feeling of dimension #3 - Sight Size Drawing #4 - Drawing a Complex Object Drawing objects the size you see them can greatly reduce the margin for error in the proportioning of a subject. Tackling more difficult forms can mean trouble unless you have a good understanding of the underlying structure. #5 - Drawing With Shadows #6 - Tonal Drawing Anchoring your drawing together with an interesting pattern of shadows can spell the difference between cohesion and chaos. Tonal drawing can yield effects ranging from fool-the-eye photographic to Vincent Van Gogh expressive, and everything in between.
#7 - Painting A Value Scale #8 - Painting Blocks in Tone How to use black, white and a range of grays to learn the notes of a 5 and 9 toned scale This just may be the most important lesson in the entire program. It's definitely the most important in the TONE section. Check it out! #9 - Line to Tone #10 - Square to Round A sometime difficult transition, line to tone is a natural process of development every artist experiences. Expanding on your vocabulary of form. Learning to maintain the solidity of various kinds of objects #11 - Painting a Solid Form #12 - Patterning a Composition with Tone Using "planes" to understand and paint a convincingly dimensional object Few picture making principles deliver stronger results than the concept of patterning a painting. #13 - Popping Your Lights #14 - Basic Lighting Conditions Like a candle on a cake, the lights in your paintings should smack with assertion. And the key to achieving this is restraint. Light illuminates the world around us. And whether it's sunlight, moonlight, lamplight or a flashlight, certain basic conditions need to be understood. #15 - Dissipating Light #16 - Different Kinds of Light It's one thing to catch light. It's something else to make it come alive. Dissipating your light passages can help you accomplish this. Capturing light is a never ending pursuit. Catching different kinds of light can make the chase a constantly varying and ever fulfilling experience. #17 - Crest Light #18 - Hollows, Accents and Highlights There's CORNERS and there's CRESTS. And it's a wise artist that knows the difference. Like the icing on a cake, your skill at painting hollows, accents and highlights can impart your work with a sense of completeness it may otherwise lack.
#19 - Color Values #20 - Painting Blocks in Color Learning how to differentiate between light, medium and dark toned colors An introduction to color and light as revealed by a direct source of illumination on solid forms #21 - Reflective Color #22 - Color Temperature Reflected light can give great luminosity to a form. The trick is in keeping the values subordinate to those in direct light. Understanding the temperature of a color is no different than identifying the color of a light bulb. Once comprehended, the resulting vibrational dynamics can't help but give added zest to your paintings. #23 - Color Intensity #24 - Underpainting Understanding the intensity range of the objects in your picture can give your imagery a more powerful sense of focus. Underpainting can be one of the most effective devices a painter can use in dramatizing both mood and color. #25 - Averaging Lights and Shadows #26 - Keying Your Color Learning to average a single tone of light and dark to represent the oftentimes myriad clutter of material before your eyes is a skill well worth the effort of acquiring. The surprising results one can achieve by taking an existing picture and re-keying the colors can be a good remedial exercise if you seem bogged down with a too literal response to what you see. #27 - Edges #28 - Reflections When two pieces of paint come together, choices need to be made as to how to handle the edge. Do you have the skills needed to make the right decision? Your ability to see and paint reflections of all kinds can both sharpen your skills and add a new dimension of effervescence to your work. #29 - Color and Atmosphere #30 - Painting Fleshtones Your ability to handle the nuances of atmospheric perspective go a long way in imbuing your paintings with a quality of existence. Mixing fleshtones should be a unique experience dependent on both the complexions of the sitter and the compositional needs of the artist. #31 - Painting a Vista #32 - Overcoming Regularity Your ability to capture dimension in a painting can be a yardstick as to the success of the composition. How many times have you seen an interesting subject, painted it, then threw your hands up in frustration at not being able to "catch" the uniqueness of the place? #33 - Pushing Value Contrasts #34 - Patterning a Composition All you need is black, white and a couple of grays and you're ready to explore the fascinating world of contrast pushing. Ever wonder if there's a common thread that runs through pictures that work as opposed to those that don't? There is and the name of it is pattern. #35 - Painting from Photographs #36 - The 4-A-Day Plan It's only through ruthless editing that a painting done from a photograph can take on the appearence of a picture that could have been painted from life. There's no cure-all to painting good pictures, but I do have an elixir that has never failed to produce results. Trust me!