Graphite Drawing

Made with Watersoluble graphite

It has been an interesting couple of weeks. I first decided to enter an art competition and as if that wasn’t challenge enough, I decided to do a piece in graphite; a medium that is not my strength and I don’t have much experience working with it. Anyway, to add to that challenge, I decided to use a grid system to draw the subject. Phew! I had a big task ahead of me , staring at me, saying ‘I dare You!’

Well, I went with it. I started with a large piece, bigger than A3. I then had to tape it to the wall because I didn’t have a board big enough. So, after I had decided what to paint (which trust me took a long time to decide) I got started. Half an hour through, I was barely half done with drawing the grids and then there was a power cut. Indian summer and load shedding go hand in hand. I don’t have enough light in my studio and I rely on two tube lights. I waited waited and waited and the power came back on after 6 long hours. I decided to wake early the next morning and assured myself ‘No one is going to cut off electricity at 4 am’. So, I woke up at 4 am and started drawing the subject which FYI is a Leopard. By 7:30 am I had my outlines ready. I was so happy. I took a break, made some eggs and cold coffee for myself and my husband and at 9:00 I started with the drawing again. Well, I should’ve known what was to come next. Power cut, sharp at 9:30 am. I put on a rechargeable Emergency light on my table and drew half the background. It was easy peasy, until my emergency light gave up.

I called my husband on his phone and whined for 15 mins until he hung up on me. Well, I had more things to be mad about now. Anyway, I gave up and the next day I started early in the morning again. At around 9 am, I heard the doorbell ring and saw that my husband had sent for an Inverter to be installed. I was so happy. I finally had uninterrupted power supply and then I started. I was excited.

Well, throughout my process of drawing this piece, I found out a lot of things that you need to make a graphite drawing. Here is a list of supplies I bought.

1. Derwent graphitone watersoluble pencils – These are woodless and completely graphite.
2. A Mechanical pencil – useful to get tiny lines and fine details.
3. A kneadeable eraser- very useful to lift graphite from large areas.
4. Tack-it by Faber Castell – very useful to lift graphite to create highlights.
5. Faber Castell 9000 graphite pencils set – these are excellent and almost provide a matt finish.
6. Blending stumps and q tips/ cotton buds.
Best for last…..
7. Tombow Mono Eraser – great to create highlights and is an absolute essential for graphite/ charcoal drawings. Oh what would I do without it.

My husband also bought me a drawing board which meant that I could comfortably paint without adjusting myself to ‘The Wall’. My masking tape also pulled off some paint off the wall and I had to spackle it.

Well, for the sake of the competition, I will not post the photo of the finished piece. Maybe sometime in the future…. but here is a sneak-peek of the Leopard’s paws.

If you have any questions/suggestions, leave them in the comments below. If you want to read more of my blog posts, you can subscribe by just submitting your E-mail id at the top of the sidebar on my website. If you are reading this on a mobile phone, you can scroll down and find the subscribe button there. You’ll get an update every time I publish a post. No spam. I assure you.


 

I also have a YouTube channel with art tutorials, hacks, time-lapse videos  and much more. Do check it out here. Have a nice day.

What to do when you cant afford Art Supplies

Every now and then we come across artists who upload art supply hauls on YouTube or on their blog. Guilty! I’ve done it too. It is just a way of expressing our excitement. Even we have waited a long time and saved up to buy those art supplies. But, when someone who can’t afford all that, sees videos like that, they can’t help but feel a little jealous or sad that they cannot afford it. Even I look at art supply haul videos by established artists and become a little sad that I can’t afford all that.

So, you slowly build. You slowly grow. Baby steps. I waited and saved for nearly two years to be able to afford a full set of 120 Polychromos by Faber Castell. Now having said all that, it doesn’t mean you cannot be an artist with limited means. Of course you can. How do you do that? Simple. Start with basic art supplies.

GRAPHITE

Graphite is one of the cheapest and best ways to improve your drawing skills. Just start with one 2B and an HB pencil. This will take you a long way in terms of shading and controlling values. If you can draw excellent art with just these two pencils, then imagine what you can create once you have that complete set of graphite pencils. I recommend buying some graphite powder and a set of Faber Castell 9000 once you can afford it. You even get cheaper sets by Camlin in India. You can start by drawing on some basic copier paper.

CHARCOAL

Again, this is a perfect medium if you want to do some excellent shading. Try out some basic charcoal and charcoal pencils. Derwent has a set of four Charcoal pencils (Hard, Soft, Neutral and White). Camlin also had a set of three Charcoal pencils which are really inexpensive.

WATERCOLORS

This is another medium that has a lot of possibilities if you are looking to do more of painting and less of drawing. Try to find the least expensive artist quality watercolors. The best artist quality watercolors available in India in a low price range are by Camlin(artists watercolor cakes) and FaberCastell(artists watercolor tubes).

You will also need a basic set of watercolor brushes. If you do not want to buy a whole set then I recommend going for a large flat brush, a medium filbert brush and a small round brush.

ZENTANGLE

This is again one of the most affordable forms of art to make as a beginner. All you need is one Micron pen or a 0.5 pen by Faber Castell. Choose the size you prefer and get started. There is a lot of inspiration on the internet when it comes to this medium/form of art. Pinterest also offers a lot of inspiration. You can also combine zentangle with watercolors to create an interesting effect.

So, get started. These are great options to start with. Having a ton of art supplies doesn’t necessarily make you an excellent artist. What you create, makes your identity as an artist.

If you have any questions/suggestions, leave them in the comments below. If you want to read more of my blog posts, you can subscribe by just submitting your E-mail id at the top of the sidebar on my website. If you are reading this on a mobile phone, you can scroll down and find the subscribe button there. You’ll get an update every time I publish a post. No spam. I assure you.


 

 

I also have a YouTube channel with art tutorials, hacks, time-lapse videos  and much more. Do check it out here. Have a nice day.

Comparing and Reviewing Acrylic Paints to use in Fluid Paintings

I just had to post a video today. I had no idea how to put this one in writing and hence I am posting the link to my YouTube video right here.

Fluid painting- This is one of my favorite ways to use acrylic paints. This is just to see which acrylic paints dry and still retain color despite being diluted with water to create a fluid-like consistency. Golden fluid acrylics may be the best but I haven’t tried them because it is quite expensive in India and not easily available.

Do let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or suggestions. Have a great day.

 

Setting up an Art Studio

Writing this blog, reminds me of an earlier time when I dreamed of having my own studio space. I still have that dream, of creating a really big art studio with a sloping roof, ample amount of space for storage, lots of chests of drawers and a very organised space allowing in a lot of air and light. But until I can afford that, I’ll make do with what I have right now.

When you explore various fields and try out various new things in art, you end up with a lot of art supplies and soon enough you will start worrying about where to store all of it. Well, when I moved into a new 3 bedroom home yet again two years ago, my husband asked me “Which room do you want for a studio?”

I noticed there was only one room which had a wall unit/shelf near a large window and I knew, that was the one. Hardly any termites in that room; a bonus. I moved my two trunks into that room and set up this lovely space as my art studio. It doesn’t take long really. I didn’t even have any storage boxes. I used the boxes that my phone cases came in. I also used the cardboard boxes(cartons) that my online shopping came in. Over a period of two years I have bought a variety of nesting storage boxes and baskets to store my art efficiently in a small space. And mind you, I bought these on discount. Do watch my video to see my little piece of heaven.

Year of New Beginnings

I’ve been quiet this year. No blog posts. But I haven’t been idle. This is a year of new beginnings for me. I’ve been working on a collection titled ‘Aliferous’, which is probably what I’l be doing at-least until September. Meanwhile I’m also trying out new stuff(in painting of course). I always encouraged my readers and fellow artists to keep trying something new, so why not do it myself? Well, here’s what I’ve tried so far.

My first landscape- which means I’ve tried how to do trees, clouds, moon, grass. I have tried these things before but only once and given up when I’d failed. Well, here is the result.

Aside from painting new things I’ve also tried new products.

  • Faber-Castell Polychromos color pencils

These are absolutely amazing. They’re light-fast and great quality.

  • Caran D’Ache Luminance color pencil.

I only bought the white color because it is better than the Polychromos and very opaque.

Here’s the result of my first try with color pencils. I never knew color pencils could yield such great results.

Well, that’s not the end. I’ve also tried different acrylic mediums.

  • Masking Fluid by Daler-Rowney.
  • Pouring Medium by Liquitex.

I will be writing separate blog posts about these products in detail.

I’ve also been learning photo-manipulation using Photoshop from YouTube of course.

Meanwhile, you may watch my speed-painting videos on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/sylviadsilvaart

Until next time…. x o x o.

 

 

All you need to know about PAINTBRUSHES

Paintbrushes are very important to an artist just as much as paint or canvas. You can’t paint without one. When I first started painting, I just had 2 brushes. Size 4 and size 8 flat brush. It was so difficult to get work done with just two. I then bought a set of round and a set of flat brushes. Things improved. I could get a lot more done with so many brushes.

Paint brushes to me are like little magic wands. I’ve bought so many, that now I’ve lost count of how many I have. With every new kind of brush you use, it is like you’ve learnt a new spell. As you paint you’ll become familiar with the way each brush handles paint and what it can create if you guide it.

The photo below shows you the different kinds of brushes that you can choose to work with.

brush-blog-photo

You can see I’ve labeled each kind of brush in the image above. They have different purposes. I have to also mention that a particular kind of brush may do a kind of paint stroke, like the fan brush is very useful in landscapes when you’re painting trees or waterfalls. A wash brush can help you spread a lot of paint on the canvas. These are very helpful especially when I’m working with acrylic because acrylic dries fast and the brush helps in spreading paint faster. But as you continue working with these different brushes, you’ll find your own way of using them.

The brushes I commonly use are ‘The Filbert’ for almost everything, ‘The Wash brush’ for backgrounds mostly and ‘The liner brush’ which I use for most of my fur paintings and tiny detailing.

You don’t need a whole lot of brushes to be a good artist. You can manage fine with just a few. Although when you are working towards a deadline you may want to have a few extra to save you cleaning time while you’re painting. For example, say you’re painting a tiger and working with liner brushes for fur. Now if you’re painting white fur and suddenly have to switch to say yellow ochre, you have to keep a spare liner brush because getting the white paint off the one you’re holding is time consuming. So if you have say, two or three liner brushes, you can just switch back and forth and it’ll be a whole lot easier.

I just want to mention a few more things that you need to know about paintbrushes. The image below is labeled for better understanding of the parts of a brush.

paintbrush

Bristles:

The kinds available are Synthetic hair (taklon, nylon, etc) and Natural hair (Hog, Sable, etc). I prefer using the Taklon brushes as I feel they hold more paint and are less prone to damage as compared to the natural hair (plus they’re cheaper).

Ferrule:

There is just one thing you need to know about the ferrule; when you’ve washed your brushes and they’re still wet, don’t place them straight up in a stand which will cause water to collect in the ferrule resulting in shedding of the hair/bristles, instead place them flat on a surface until they’re dry.

Also when you don’t wash your brushes properly, the paint may get collected in the ferrule causing your bristles to fan out and lose its shape.

Handle:

The handle is usually made of wood or fiber. All you need to know is ‘the lighter the handle, the better’.

Few more things to remember:

  • Never let paint dry out on the brush.
  • Don’t pull the bristles.
  • Don’t get paint on the ferrule.
  • Don’t rest your paint brushes bristles-down.

Tip: Don’t hesitate to buy extra paintbrushes when they’re available cheap especially if you’re seriously considering being a professional artist. The prices of paintbrushes only keep increasing.

I think that is loads of information to begin with. I hope it helps.

P. S: Brushes are available cheap on eBay.

More knowledge and tips to share in the next blog post. Don’t forget to subscribe. Desktop users will find the subscribe button on the sidebar and cell phone users will find it if you scroll down a little further.

My crazy collection of paintbrushes…

img_2472

Buying art supplies in India

We enthusiastic artists find joy in using any art/craft materials in our work, since mixed media became widely recognized and accepted.  But being an army wife, it definitely wasn’t easy buying art supplies from the remote locations I lived in. I had to figure out a way besides the only option I’d tried so far of getting someone to buy them for me and bring along when they were visiting.  I discovered online shopping and it wasn’t easy but over the years I have a list of places I buy art supplies from and I’m sharing it with you.

The places I’ve bought art supplies from are

G. C. Laha, Kolkata

Reliance stores, Commercial street Bangalore.

Bhaskar and Bhaskar, Avenue road Bangalore.

Bhaskar and sons, Avenue Road and Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath Campus Bangalore.

Sapna book house, Elements Mall Bangalore.

Itsy Bitsy, Bangalore.

Himalaya Fine Art, Mumbai.

Now that reminds me of the online shopping sites.

himalayafineart.com

itsybitsy.in

creativehands.in

craftadda.com

I bought my airbrush supplies from papupainter.com

Despite this being a ‘Shopping in India’ options, I still feel I have to mention dickblick.com which is an excellent website. If you know anyone living in the U. S who can ship the stuff to you then this is a great website for you.

I also buy a lot of paint supplies, especially paintbrushes from ebay.in and even ebay.com. Also try geb.ebay.in

I have also found some new sellers from ChitraSanthe that I participated in Jan 2016. You should definitely go there on the first Sunday of the year at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath every year where you will find great deals on canvas, easels, paints and other paint supplies on that day, almost 25-30% off. You will also find new sellers advertising there so you can get their contacts and later visit their stores.

There are a lot more places you can shop from but the above mentioned are the ones I’m familiar with and I do not want to recommend those that I don’t know of.

Well then, Happy Shopping.

Beware: You may burn a hole in your pockets.

If you would like to add any other art supplies shopping stores/sites to this list, then you may leave it in the comments below.

Watch out for the next blog post about Paintbrushes.

All About CANVAS

There are so many kinds of surfaces you can paint on; Hardboard, stretched canvas, canvas board and so on. I commonly use stretched canvas.

I lived in a place where none of these were readily available. The market in that village was literally only 200 meters long and forget about even buying paints. So I had to buy canvas when I was on holiday. One of the best things in the army is that you usually know someone who is in a place where he/she can buy canvas and there is usually someone passing by your town. So that’s how I managed to get my shipment. Of course now there is online shopping but you will be charged for shipping especially if you are ordering large size canvas.

As I was just a beginner I didn’t want to spend much on canvas. So I bought stretched canvas which was locally made by a store. They made their own frames in bulk and the canvas that came in bulk was hand stretched and nailed (not stapled) by some locally employed people who of course didn’t know much about how it was to be done.

I got these canvases very cheap and then after I removed them from the packaging one by one I noticed that these were flawed. The grain of the canvas was not parallel to the frame.

A canvas has grains like any cloth. This has to be parallel to the frame.

Linen Canvas Coarse Vignette Crumpled Grunge Texture Sample

Instead I saw a few which were mounted diagonally.

butterflies

It is unsightly and I don’t recommend painting on it

I also feel stapling is more effective than nailing a canvas to the frame to stretch it.

 A canvas is primed with Gesso which was traditionally used to prepare or prime a surface so Oil paint would adhere to it. Gesso is the same as a primer. It is made from a combination of paint pigment, chalk and binder.

The priming done on these cheap canvas that I bought was very uneven and has air gaps which looked bad and eventually opened up. The corners were not neatly folded either.

So remember there are lot of things you need to check while buying canvas

You also get fine grain, medium grain and coarse grain canvas. Buy fine grain for realistic art or airbrushing especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of detailing.

typesofcanvases

Medium grain is versatile. I usually buy these so I don’t have to decide what to paint in advance

The coarse grain takes up lot of paint. It is great for heavy textured paintings and knife painting.

The stretcher bars on which the canvas is stretched also comes in different types. I buy the standard 1 inch thick ones. The thicker ones are better if you can afford it and great if you don’t plan on framing your painting

You also get side stapled and back stapled. There is a bit of a cost difference. I buy the back stapled because I prefer not framing my paintings.

Well well, that is definitely a lot of information on canvas. I bet there is a lot more but this is all that I’ve encountered so far. Happy shopping.

Watch out for some awesome art shopping options also including online art shopping destinations in the next blog post. Don’t forget to subscribe. you can find social media links below and also checkout my videos on YouTube.

Mixing Paints and Color Theory

One painting at a time, I got better with every new painting I made. I was so excited with my work. I decided to splurge. I went ahead and bought a whole bunch of oil paints. I was like a kid in a candy store. I went crazy and bought the 120 ml tubes of oil paints because I thought they were economical. Hmm, not such a good idea.

Well, given the way oil paints work, even a peanut size bit is enough to finish a small painting but in my excitement I bought a whole lot which I haven’t used. So, I’m going to help aspiring young artists with this problem. You can create different shades with just a few basic colors.

I had the idea of making a whole collection of underwater themed paintings so I bought a large tube of turquoise colored paint. Turns out I didn’t really need that much. Now I have a big tube of paint which I don’t use much and just so you now, you can mix Viridian Hue, Cobalt Blue and White to get Turquoise.

Here is what will make the learning process easier, Color Theory. Of course you can experiment and learn by mixing colors, but learning color theory makes the task easier and speeds up your learning process. I found some videos online which really helped me. You can also download a color wheel and print it and hang it on your wall where you paint which will help you with mixing colors.

Here is a picture of the color wheel.

color-wheel-300

The primary colors are Red, Yellow and Blue. There are three secondary colors, Green, Orange and Purple. You can create six tertiary colors by mixing primary and secondary colors.

You can divide the circle into warm and cool colors.

warm-cool

The painting below shows cool colors. You see that cool tones are soothing.

SD_Coralia

The painting below shows warm colors. You see that warm tones are vivid and energetic.

SD_ThunderheadWM

More things you should know are Tints, Shades and Tones.

Tints are created by adding white to a pure hue.

Tints

Shades are created by adding black to a pure hue.

Shades

Tones are created by adding gray to a pure hue.

Tones

Below you can see a painting that is only in gray scale, made using only black and white.

1q

I think that’s enough information to help you get started. Don’t go too much into the theory. This is just to help you mix colors. Use your judgment on what color goes well with what and you’ll create beautiful art.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll answer them as best as I can. Don’t forget to subscribe. Have fun painting.