Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Subscribe to our RSS feeds
Watch Live Online Art Classes

How to draw with a grid

September 4, 2011

Overview of the process :
(If you would like to download a full screen version of the video along with an indepth, step by step illustrated 16 page pdf lesson on how to use the grid, then visit our Bargain Bin)

The grid method allows us to redraw a picture to absolutely any size without having to worry about proportions, ratios or calculators. All we need is a grid, ruler and a pencil.

The basic idea is that you divide your reference drawing up into equal squares. You then do the same on your drawing paper, only this time, you enlarge or reduce the size of the squares to contain the same amount of blocks as your reference drawing. The blocks have then divided a complex scene up into smaller bite size chunks which makes it a lot easier to judge the positioning of the objects inside each block.

The first step is to Choose the correct size grid. Choose too big a grid and you have too much happening in each block to accurately judge where to place everything, choose a grid that’s too small and we go squint trying to find each block. Choose a grid that you feel you can accurately use to judge the placement of each item. A General rule of thumb would be to use a finer grid for fine detailed pictures and chunky grid for redrawing chunky pictures.

Then place the grid on your reference picture to cover all the objects you want to redraw  in the final drawing. You can also leave some space around the edges too.

Step number two is to count how many block we have along our measuring side, so in this case I will count how many blocks I have top to bottom.

Take you ruler and place it along the length you want to divide up into blocks.

Check if a 1 to 1 ratio will work by counting the amount of blocks off on the ruler. Remember if you have a 10mm grid, you count a block every 10mm, if you are using the 20mm grid, then count a block every 20mm.

We can see that a 1 to 1 ratio is too small, so we try a 1:2 ratio. I am using the 10mm grid, so to make the drawing 2 times bigger, I count a block every 20mm.

If you count of the blocks at this ratio and you still end inside the drawing paper, then you need to keep increasing the ratio until the last block ends off the page. I have had to double up to get my last block to end off the page.

We now “squash” our ruler by turning it sideways until the last block fits the page perfectly.

We have now divided the page into exactly the same amount of blocks as on our reference picture.

Simply mark off the blocks onto your drawing.

Our grid is almost complete. All that is left to do is number the grid exactly the same as the grid on our reference picture.

To transfer the outlines of the major objects to our drawing paper we choose any block on the reference picture and find the corresponding block on the drawing paper.

I always keep my finger pointing towards the block I am working on to ensure I don’t miss a block because you only notice you have missed a block once you have gone all the way around the outline of the object. You then see that the lines don’t match.

Looking at the block you are redrawing, find where your outline intersects with the grid. Plot those marks on your drawing paper grid.

Then see how do those two dots connect to each other. Do the form a straight line, do they curve, do they zigzag. Do the same motion to connect the dots on your drawing paper.

You can now move on to the next block and so on until the outline is complete.

Rinse and repeat for the rest of the objects in the picture.

Comments Off on How to draw with a grid

Mixing Paint with the 6-Colour Colour Wheel

July 18, 2011

By Dennis Clark

6-Colour Colour Wheel

*****************************************************************************

A Quick Revision of the Normal Colour Wheel

 

Dennis pointing out the tinting ranges

This Colour Wheel was part of Dennis’ demonstration at a Colour Mixing Workshop given at his Studio last year.

The colours used were Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow and French Ultramarine Blue.

He also emphasized that different ranges of the Colour Wheel could be made from the other various combinations of reds, blues and yellows. It is not the intention of discussing the  normal colour wheel in this lesson as it has been discussed before on this website. It has only been brought into here for you to be able to see the difference between the two.

**********************************************************************

The 6-Colour Colour Wheel

Note: This Tutorial is not a transcript of the video of the same name but rather as a supplement to it and should be read in conjunction with the 6-Color Mixing Video. So let’s start off with the colours being used. With this Colour Wheel it is possible to mix virtually any colour you will ever think of needing in a painting. So – let’s get going …….


Cadmium Red                       Warm Red

Alizarin Crimson                    Cold Red

Cadmium Yellow                   Warm Yellow

Lemon Yellow                         Cold Yellow

French Ultramarine               Warm Blue

Cerulean Blue                         Cold Blue

 

Here we see the 6 colours and next to each one is an indication which one of them is a warm or cold colour. It is very important to remember this information as it is extremely relevant to the colour mixes we will be going into later. The green mix is  from Cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine and is here only because it is part of the rainbow spectrum.

In the cube you will see there are 3 tones or shades present: the base colour (can be any colour), the hightlight and the shadow. All three elements are necessary in order to portray the 3-dimensional colour perspective so important in showing the volume of the object being painted. 

Close-up of the green blue and the yellow cubes and their shadows.

And finally the red cubes.

This shows the 2 reds with the Cadmium Red  to the left and the Alizarin Crimson (pointer) to the right. The ring of colour mixes the pointer is on are all the mixes of the chroma (primaries direct from the tube) colours.

The pointer is indicating the shadow colour of Cadmium Red. Now, to get the shadow colour of any of the chroma colours we need to add a touch of the opposite (complimentary) colour on the colour wheel, which is green in this case. Do not add too much. The sets of colours on this ring above the chroma colours are the shadow colours for all the chroma colours.

The ring above the shadow colours contains all the greys of the chroma colours.

NOTE: This is one of the most important rings in the whole colour wheel. It is the area where a great many artists fall down on as they just do not grasp the enormity of the information.

From early in childhood we are taught that gray is made from black and white and that has stuck in the back of our minds. The logical (left) side of the brain says that is what we should use, while the creative (right) side of the brain sees all the variations of gray colours and wants to use it. However, if one is not trained, through experience and discipline, then the logical side takes over and out comes the black and  white paint to paint, say,  the shadows of the clouds.

In the center of the wheel is a black and  white gray scale. Now compare this to all the gray colours on the outer ring. These outer-ring  colours are what the eyes sees and what should be used in the painting.

Another glimpse of the Colour Wheel. We have looked at the reds and now lets take a look at the blues. Here I’m pointing to the Ultramarine Blue and below it is the Cerulean Blue. On the other side is the Cadmium Yellow and below it is the Lemon Yellow.

We are at a stage now where we can examine the real colour mixing in this picture. This is where it becomes very interesting.

For the orange mix we have used the Cadmium Red and the Cadmium Yellow and arrived at the secondary colour of Cadmium Orange. Below this is the yellow-orange and above it is the red-orange.

Similarly:

For the greens we have used Cerulean Blue with Lemon Yellow and arrived at the secondary cold blue greens

For the Violets we have used Ultramarine with Alizarin Crimson and arrived at the secondary lovely brilliant violets.

Look carefully at the wheel and you see that where in the 3-colour wheel there is only ONE orange mix, here in the 6-colour wheel we are able to obtain not one, but FOUR different orange mixes:

Cad Red with Cad  Yellow, Cad Red with Lemon Yellow, Crimson with Cad Yellow and Crimson with Lemon Yellow.

Similar with the other primary colours:

Cerulean with Lemon Yellow, Cerulean with Cad Yellow, Ultramarine with Lemon Yellow and Ultramarine with Cad Yellow.

Ultramarine with Crimson, Cerulean with Crimson, Ultramarine with Cad Red and Cerulean with Cad Red.

In total that gives us 4 times as many mixes as with the 3-colour wheel.   Awesome!

The Other 9 Sets of Colour Mixes.


Let’s take a look at the red-blue combinations first.

The left hand mix:

is Alizarin Crimson with Cerulean Blue with the 50/50 mix in the center as the secondary mix and then the 2 tertiary mixes on either side. Notice that  the bottom tertiary mix even has a greenish look! Also it hardly gives us a very nice purple range at all.

The Middle mix:

is Cadmium Red with Cerulean. This also does not give a n ice range of purples, rather the reddish browns at the red side.

The right hand mix:

is Cadmium Red with Ultramarine Blue. Now this combination is starting to give us the purple mixes, but a bit on the dull side. Also the red-browns at the red side.

The Yellow-Blue Combinations

On the Left:

Cadmium Yellow and Cerulean Blue. The give us the relative bright greens and blue-greens.

In the  Middle:

Cadmium Lemon and Ultramarine. Now we start coming into the greens that are suitable for landscapes and leaves.

On the Right:

Cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine. I think that this is the most used combination for mixing greens. As you can see there is more to mixing greens that meets the eye. Although they are not part of this colour wheel there are still other blues that can be used for mixing greens – such as Cobalt Blue, etc.

The last set of colour mixes is the oranges.

These mixes are:

Alizarin Crimsonand Cadmium Lemon, Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Yellow and then, lastly, Cadmium Red and Cadmium Lemon.

Unfortunately, as we see here, this set has not yet been completed due to time constraints. In a way it is a good thing as now you can see how Dennis went about making these charts.

He highly recommends that you make these charts for yourself a a mixing exercise and also for the charts as reference for your paintings.

In order for you to do this he shows below a close-up of the construction lines he has used to make up the chart.

Sample for construction Lines

To download a printable pdf template for making your own charts, click HERE. (Thanks to Lloyd of Draw ‘n Paint for making the template)

Lastly the Highlight Mixes

The highlights are beautifully described and illustrated in Nolan’s Video on Colour Mixing.

To watch it click HERE

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the 6-colour colour wheel and start applying it to your own art work.

2

How to Compose a Still Life

March 16, 2011

by Nolan Clark


Have you ever found yourself sitting in front of a blank canvas / page wondering what to paint or draw next? Why not try your hand at composing a still life?

What is a still life?

A still life is a scene consisting of inanimate objects. It is traditionally a posed scene, but it can also be an inanimate scene you have discovered like a row of pots in the garden.
Today we are going to look at how to compose or stage our own still life. To do this all we need to do is follow a simple 5 step process :

Step 1 : Choose your composition style

The first step in the process is to choose what composition style you are going to use. There are 17 different styles you can use, eg., U-shape, L-shape and Symmetrical. Knowing which composition style you are going to use in advance makes it easier to choose the objects you are going to use in the still life. If you would like to know more about the different composition styles we get, then you can take a look the excellent DVD that Dennis has made called “Composition Made Easy“. The DVD covers all 17 different styles.

For today’s lesson I have chosen the L-shape composition. You can see how this looks below :

L Shape Composition
L Shape Composition

Step 2 : Choose the objects for your still life composition

Next we can choose the objects we want to use in the still life. I prefer to use objects that compliment or are related to each other, eg., groups of kitchen utensils, or groups of toys, or a variety of gardening tools, even your lunch can make a great still life composition.

Choosing the objects for a still life

Even your lunch can make a great still life

There is however no rule that says you have to group similar or complimentary objects together to form your still life. If the objects look good together to you, then that is all that matters.

My favourite place to find objects for a still life is the kitchen as all the objects already compliment each other. For this tutorial a flour tin caught my eye and I discovered a tub of blueberries in the fridge, so the subject for my still life became “Making blueberry muffins”. (You can see I did this tutorial just before lunch 😉 ) After I had found a subject or theme for my still life, it was easy for me to choose the rest of the objects for the still life.

Still Life Objects

The objects I chose for my still life

Step 3 : Arranging the objects in your still life

When arranging the objects you have chosen for your still life, it is important to always keep your chosen composition style in mind. Doing this is key to creating a still life that is pleasing to the eye. Add and remove items to the still life to form the composition style you have chosen.

Don’t be scared to scratch around for extra items, or leave items out that you originally selected in order to create your composition style.

Also choose a background that will show your objects to best effect. I like to use old cutains or pieces of material. When drawing or painting the scene I may change the background completely. The idea here is to find get the contrasts in the scene right. In other words do I need to use a light or dark background, plain or mottled background, etc. for my objects to stand out best against the background.

Wrong Still Life Background

Wrong Still Life Background

Good Still Life Background

Good Still Life Background

Here is what my initial arrangement looked like :

Initial Still Life Arrangement

My Initial Still Life Arrangement

Step 4 : Grouping the objects in your still life composition

Now that we have our still  life mapped out to the composition style, we can improve the grouping of the objects.

There are 3 types of groupings we can use : Overlapping, touching and separated. :

Overlapping Still Life Objects

Overlapping Still Life Objects

Touching Still Life Objects

Touching Still Life Objects

Separated Still Life Objects

Separated Still Life Objects

You would want to use at least two of the three types of groupings in your still life to keep it interesting.

This is what my grouped arrangement looked like :

Grouped Still Life

Grouped Still Life

Step 5 : Maximise the lighting in your still life

In a still life you want a strong light coming from one direction. Head on or blanket lighting will mean you either can’t see the shadows in the scene or there will be little to no shadows in the scene. This doesn’t make a good still life artwork.

Without shadows and contrasts your still life will be lifeless and flat.

Incorrect Still Life Lighting

Incorrect Still Life Lighting

Good Still Life Lighting

Good Still Life Lighting

You can ensure good shadows and contrasts in your scene by ensuring the light is shining from the side. You can even further increase the contrasts by composing your still life inside a box and / or lighting it with a spotlight.

Also try turning the items in the scene to see which direction will give you the best effect.

Now you can transfer the still life to your drawing paper or canvas. The easiest way to do that is to take a photo of the still life, print it out and then use one of the transfer methods (like the grid method) to redraw it.

You could of course draw it freehand too. Doing this is great fun, great practice and when you are done, you feel a great sense of accomplishment.

If you do decide to redraw the scene freehand, don’t stress if the proportions and dimensions aren’t 100% accurate in the beginning. As the drawing progresses and you start to fill in details, you will be able to see which dimensions, etc., are wrong. You can then tweak as you go. By the time you are finished, your drawing will be pretty accurate.

The more you draw freehand, the more accurately you will be able to redraw a scene – and besides most people will only see your final artwork and not the actual still life, so unless your angles and proportions are way out, nobody will ever know the objects didn’t look exactly like you have drawn them.

Have fun composing and drawing / painting your still life. Please post them on the forum so I can see the results. Here is what my still life drawing looks like :

Making Blueberry Muffins Still Life

Making Blueberry Muffins Still Life

PS – If you enjoyed this still life composition tutorial, please Like, Share, Tweet it etc below. Clicking any of the Like type buttons on the page will not send you away from this page.

PPS – You can find more tutorials like this on our Online Art Classes page as well as on the forum.
For more indepth lessons, please take a look at our online art courses.

Cya next time
Nolan Clark

Recommended for You 

Composition Made Easy DVD

Composition Made Easy DVD

3

site tracking with Asynchronous Google Analytics plugin for Multisite by WordPress Expert at Web Design Jakarta.