Can you draw on canvas with a pencil?

This is one of the most common questions asked by beginners. Every beginner makes a drawing on the canvas before painting. So, the answer is kinda ‘No’

Well, if you are using graphite, then let me tell you that it shows through your painting after you are done with it. Even three layers of oil paint doesn’t hide it but a thick layer of acrylic paint might hide it. So, why take a risk?

Here are a few options:

  1. Grey charcoal pencil (keep it light, do not make heavy strokes)
  2. White charcoal pencil (use after putting down a base coat of paint)
  3. Watercolor pencils (use the same tone/family of colors)
  4. Colored pencils (use light shades)
  • Do not erase on the canvas, at-least try to avoid erasing too much.

Watch video for more info and a time-lapse watercolor painting video.

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.

Copyright info for artists

Most artists start off by painting something they see in a picture or a photograph of a painting.

We basically learn by painting something that has already been made by another artist and that is great way to learn. You get to view different techniques. I once saw a painting in which the dandelions looked very real and misty. I watched the artists video and recreated that when I found out the trick was to airbrush.

You see something in the painting created by another artist and you wonder how to create that effect and you try to do the same and it is a great way to learn no doubt about that.

But what you should realize most importantly is that you can’t make the same painting and try to sell it, mainly because the idea isn’t yours. How can you try to make money on something that is somebody else’s idea? It is not right. It is stealing.

So, remember these few things:

Don’t copy paintings with the intention of selling them. Learn from them. You may draw inspiration from them, and make your own original painting. Don’t try to make money on someone else’s idea. You may end up paying heavily for it. Even if the photograph of the painting doesn’t have a copyright stamp, it doesn’t mean it is royalty free.

Photography – it is also a form of art. A photographer deserves credit for the amount of knowledge he has to capture the perfect image. He also deserves the credit for spending the amount of time to capture the perfect image , not to mention his photography equipment that he has spent a lot on. So , what I’m trying to tell you is that you cannot make a painting or an artwork from a photograph unless it is royalty free or unless you have the express permission from the photographer.

So, think twice before you violate the work of another artist and avoid getting stuck into copyright violations.

Think of it this way, say, you make an original painting from your imagination and somebody else sees it online and copies it and sells it and makes money from it. How are you going to feel?

Tired of reading? Just watch the video

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.

12 tips to find Artistic Inspiration

All artists suffer from artists block at some point in their career. It is difficult to remain inspired at all times. As an artist, I suffer form lack of inspiration more often than I care to admit. So, how do we get out of that rut? How do we stay inspired?

We all have our own ways to deal with this. I follow some simple steps to keep myself inspired. Most of these steps may help you too.

1. Get out of your comfort zone

I used to paint abstracts all the time. For almost 3-4 years since I started painting, I only painted abstracts. I’ve had friends ask me if I could paint a landscape or a portrait and I just said, “Meh, not my style”. I’ve even turned down commissions. Finally, one day where I wasn’t feeling inspired, I decided to make a portrait. It took me a lot of time. I struggled with it for a week, but at the end of a week, I had finished it. It was beautiful. And you know what, I had not wasted one week waiting for inspiration and I had learnt something new.

So, try something new. Make a portrait of your favorite personality or make a landscape OR better yet, try some acrylic pour.

Acrylic Pour

2. Follow artists on Instagram

This is one of my latest discoveries. Instagram is an amazing place for artists to showcase their work. You get to see short videos of artists making art. Your eye may catch something new; a new form, a new technique, a new kind of painting. It is a big ocean of inspiration. But I do have to say this. Find inspiration but don’t steal. Don’t just copy another artists painting.

3. Visit art galleries

This is almost the same as following artists on Instagram, the only difference is, you get to see the art -up close. You may even get to meet some artists. Which brings me to my next point…

4. Meet new people/artists

Find out what places artists visit the most. You will get to meet them at art galleries, at cafes close to art galleries, at art events, at art supply stores, etc. Interacting with other creative people will help you find inspiration.

5. Visit the art supply store

Now here, I mean, visit a big art supply store. Mainly because, big art supply stores find ways to introduce new products. Talk to the employers there and ask questions about products if you have any. Often, they will know more than artists. I visited an art supply store which displayed a few paintings at the billing counter which showed the use of products like gel mediums, crackle paint, etc. I was intrigued. This is how you get inspired to maybe try an new product and a new kind of painting.

6. Your camera is your best friend

This is one way I make sure I don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. I always carry my camera when I go out OR have my cell phone on me. Whenever i find something inspiring, I take a picture. I then save them in a folder on my laptop called ‘Reference Photos’ and keep them organised. So whenever I’m lacking inspiration, I go through one of those photos and start painting.

7. Participate in art competitions

Whenever you visit an art supply store or an art gallery, look at the notice boards. You will always find something regarding an art challenge or a competition. Just take part in it. Whether you win the competition or no, it is an opportunity to make a new painting. Competitions come with inspiring themes. You may learn something along the way. You may even win. You never know.

8. Don’t keep your art supplies safely stashed away. Make sure they are easily accessible. That way you will paint when you are inspired and wont waste time with prep.

9. Keep a pocket note book.

Ideas come and go in a flash. You may want to note them down when it is fresh in your head. I always keep a little book and pen in my night drawer because I often find that inspiration strikes when I’m laying in bed trying to go to sleep.

Alternatively you can use an app on your phone to take notes but I dont recommend sleeping with your phone next to you.

The following points are the few things that inspire me. It may or may not apply to you.

10. Watch TV channels that may inspire you

I enjoy painting wildlife. I watch wildlife channels and come across so much inspiration. You will see that in my paintings. Find something that inspires you and think how you can incorporate that into your painting.

11. Watch mythological movies/fantasy fiction

I have always been fascinated by fantasy art. I watch mythological movies that inspire me. I find something new and just paint/ draw something I see. It is fascinating. It is all about imagination. After all, the majority of things you see on screen in such movies are ‘Artist Inspirations’

12. Read an inspiring book

This is to keep you motivated. Often we hit a low and feel like ‘Ugh, it is so hard being an artist’. Read something that inspires you to keep you going. Read entrepreneurial books. Cut out inspirational quotes and put them up on your mood board or around your work space.

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.

12 Art hacks/tricks/tips every artist should know

When it comes to art, we have to follow a few tricks to help make life easier for us. It may save you time OR it may save you some money. So here are 12 tips for artists I hope will be helpful.

1. Saving the tops/caps of your oil paint tubes

This is one thing I follow religiously. I started off my painting journey with Camel Oil Paints. But I had a big problem. The caps of these paint tubes kept getting spoiled and by that I mean, I often found oil leaking out of the sides of the caps, resulting in the caps getting cut at the edges. So every time one of my small paint tubes got over, I saved the caps and threw away the tubes. So next time I came across a damaged cap, I just replaced it with an old one.

* I think the damage was due to the weather.

2. Always buy small tubes of oil paint

The big tubes are a little too much. Also buy high quality oil paints like Winsor & Newton for example.

3. Use two containers of solvent/water to wash your paintbrushes

Using two separate containers to wash your paintbrushes helps reduce the number of times you change the water/solvent. You can wash your brush in one and after all the paint from the brush gets washed, you can dip it in the next container to get rid of any residual paint.

4. Buy a good spray bottle especially if you work with acrylic mediums

A spray bottle may be the best investment when you are working with acrylic paint. I started with oil paint and later tried acrylics and the paint dried so quickly that I almost gave up. A spray bottle helped me a lot. Make sure you buy a bottle that sprays very light mist and doesn’t cause too much splatter.

5. Paper towels make your life so much easier

Using rags to wipe off paint from your brushes gets very messy. Paper towels are such any easy thing to use. Wiping your paintbrushes on paper towels before dipping them in solvent/water, helps frequent change of solvent/water and prevents wastage too.

6.  If you are painting fluid paintings it helps to have a carpenter app

Fluid painting involves dealing with flow of paints and if your table/surface which your canvas is placed on, isn’t even/balanced, your paint will flow in a different direction and you wont be able to control the flow of paints which is difficult enough anyway. You get various apps to check the floor leveling. Do check that before you start painting.

7. Wear masks and glasses

This one is self explanatory. Protect your eyes, protect your sinus especially if you are working with toxic materials and airbrushing.

8. Use foil/plastic wrap

This tip will help you save a lot of time. If you do not have the time to keep washing your paint palette, just use foil or plastic wrap over it and you will see how productive it is.

9. Use tack-it as kneadable eraser to lift paint off especially when you are working with pastels, color pencils, graphite and charcoal.

10. Use cotton buds for blending

I remember I used to blend graphite with my finger for shading. And it is very messy. We generally use paper stumps for blending while working with pencils. If you don’t own blending stumps, use cotton buds for smooth blending.

11. Pencil tracing

If you want to reduce the amount of erasing you do on your expensive paper, do your drawing/sketch on any lightweight paper. You can do all the erasing you want there. Once you are done with your sketch, fill the back of the paper with graphite and then place it onto the final piece and trace.

You will end up with graphite lines which can easily be erased.

12. Use a color picker

When you look at a reference photo, your eye perceives a different color, depending on what other colors are around in the image. For example, look at the video below.

The woman has a wheatish complexion, that doesn’t mean you use beige everywhere. Check out the shadows under her nose and in her ear, it is a very dark brown. When you actually use a color picker, you will notice that you need to use a lot of dark browns in her face.

Well, there are a lot more tips and tricks I got for artists. Don’t want to overload you with too much information.

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.

Why is ART Expensive?

Today’s post is not just for Artists, but also for those interested in art. Often enough we come across people who want to know why we charge as much as we do for paintings or commissioned portraits.

Well, we don’t start off with very high prices. First of all, we artists change or update our prices with time. There is a reason for it too. Let me start with an example. Suppose I quoted Rs. 1000 for a graphite sketch 7 years ago. I would quote Rs. 3000 now.
Several things justify this price.

  • The amount of time I have spent improving my art. My graphite sketches from 7 years ago don’t look nearly as good as they do now. There is more detailing in my work now. You can see for yourself.
  • I made graphite sketches on A4 size copier print paper before. A few years later, I used papers from a sketch pad which were of a superior quality. Now, I use the best paper there is that is available in India, so obviously, it costs more. As long as we are talking about paper, I would also like to mention that graphite pencils also come in various quality. Most of you (and I’m addressing my fellow Indians here) must have heard of HB, 2B and H pencils that we used in school. We artists use a variety of pencils to do a graphite sketch like 10H, 9H,..,..,..,..,H,..,2B,..,..,8B and so on.
  • Prices of art supplies keep going up.

You may ask why street artists at art fairs charge as less as Rs. 300? Well, for the same reasons I have mentioned above. Paper alone costs me that much or more.

Comparing a few of my works from before, to my current works

My First Textured Painting(6 yrs ago)
2 years after my first textured painting
My painting Made in 2013
My painting Made in 2017
My First Landscape Made in 2016
Landscape Made in 2017

It is not wrong to ask an artist why their art costs that much. Its your money you’ll be spending/investing. So it is your right to ask that artist. And it is their duty to answer you. But, don’t undervalue the artist. And know these things I have mentioned above, before you judge them.

Think about it. You may spend Rs. 3000 on an evening out with your partner, but you think it is too much when you have to pay an artist who probably spent hours or days making a portrait for you. Does it seem fair?

Well, that is just about graphite, the cost is less there compared to Acrylic paints or Oil paints. When you are paying for an artwork, you are not just paying for the cost of raw materials(Canvas/Paper, Paints, Other art supplies).

You are paying for the following

  • The skill of the artist, the amount of time he/she has spent perfecting the skill.
  • The amount of time the artist has spent making the particular artwork.
  •  The idea/imagination behind the painting, that came out of the artist’s head.
  • The amount the artist has spent on reference photos(if they have used any).
    Just to elaborate on that, My collection of bird paintings had to come from a variety of reference photos which were bought from the photographer. I had to pay the photographer because he spent hours trying to capture the perfect image and also spent on his equipment. So, I cant just paint something that he captured, and make money out of it and not give him any credits. That would be stealing.
  •  The amount the artist has spent on art classes.
  • The amount of paint/art supplies the artist has used, to learn that art.
  • Finally, the raw materials the artist has used in making that particular painting that you are buying.

So the next time, you tell someone “Hey I make that much because I spent so much on my Engineering degree” or something like that, remember, the same applies for artists too.

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. Have a great weekend.

12 Essential Tips to know before you participate in your first Art Fair

As artists, at some point we all participate in art fairs, and we don’t know what to expect. I was totally blind-sighted by a lot of things at my first art fair participation. So here are a few tips to help you with your first art fair.

1. Apply in advance
If there are limited stalls, then you want to make sure that the odds work out in your favor. So, keep checking for their announcements and then, when the participation application is announced, make sure you get there as soon as possible and fill out that form and submit it immediately.

2. Prepare financially
Be aware of how much the entire shindig is going to cost you. To mention a few things – transportation costs, packing material.

3. Check out the display space
Go there the day before the art fair. measure out the space and plan out your layout of paintings. Decide what goes where. Find out if you are allowed to bring your own tables/ easels and then have a plan ready, so when you get there the next day, you’ll know what to do without any trial and errors.

4. Select your paintings
Dont take your entire collection there, especially if the art fair is arranged in an outdoor location. You have to remember these few things
– dust, heat/sunlight, possible rains.
– people attempting to touch your paintings
– kids running around
So here is a tip I follow to protect my paintings:
– Cover your paintings with plastic wrap OR transparent plastic covers/sleeves.

5. Prepare a Catalogue/Portfolio
Prepare a catalogue with photos of all your paintings and the prices next to them, so people are not intimidated to ask how much your painting costs. When they enquire about a realistic piece and you quote something like $400, they may not even ask for the price of your abstract piece which you may have priced at $100 and they might’ve been willing to buy.

6. Get your business cards ready
A lot of people don’t come to an art fair with a lot of cash. They may really like one of your paintings and may want to contact you once they reach home. So give them that business card so they can call you back and maybe purchase one of your paintings. Make sure to carry more than necessary. Don’t hesitate from handing out your business cards to anyone and everyone.

7. Promote
Mention about your art show on your website, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites that you are active on. Create an event and share it with friends.

The Ad I created for my first Art fair

8. Carry Essentials
Wear lots of sunscreen, carry mosquito repellent, sunglasses, an umbrella, a jacket, drinking water and a few munchies/sandwiches with you. And don’t forget your buddy(a friend/ family member) because you will need company.

9. Dress Comfortably
You should be approachable and friendly.

10. Carry adequate packing material
Remember, if you sell a painting, you cant just hand over the painting as is. It needs to be securely/optimally packaged. I would suggest corrugated sheets, bubble wrap plus a brown paper cover. Think about how you would want the painting packed if you were the buyer.

11. Socialize
Interact with other artists when you find time. You may find some excellent opportunities to collaborate. Example: Find artists to team with for future group art shows.

12. Do not go there with huge expectations. Don’t think ‘Yes, today is the day I’m going to sell 10 paintings’. You may not sell any, you may sell all ten. You never know. And remember, people do bargain at art fairs. So be prepared for that. Don’t be discouraged. Go there for experience, and if you’re friendly and have a knack for marketing, you may sell a few paintings.

Bonus Tip: Don’t accept cheques.

Do come back and read my blog next week. I upload one blog post every week. You can find the subscribe button on the top right sidebar of my website/blog. No spam, I promise. You will only get an update when I publish my next blog post.

If you have any questions/suggestions, mention it in the comments below.

Have a good day.

Progress in your Art by Learning from your mistakes

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a video on YouTube about ‘Safety Issues while Painting’. It involved tips like

1. Don’t eat while you paint.

2. Keep your room well ventilated.

3. Wear gloves while you want to finger paint.

4.  Dispose off paint rags immediately…… and so on.

 

 

Well, like it is the case with most beginner YouTubers, my parents are my devoted viewers. They watch every video of mine without fail. They are also my worst critiques. So, as soon as I uploaded this particular video of mine, I sent a link to my parents. My mom called me to say that I looked really pretty, the lighting was bad and the video was very informative. The classic sandwich, Compliment-Criticize-Compliment. I took it in good stride and have tried to improve the lighting in my video.

But my mom didn’t stop at that. “When have you ever worn gloves in your art studio? And you are talking about ventilation? Your room is a dark dungeon with absolutely no ventilation”

Well, in my defense, my Mom hadn’t visited me in a while and I used to do absolutely everything like she said. I used to make those very same mistakes that I tell in the video that you’re not supposed to do. I slowly learned all those things. I learned from my mistakes.

It is easy to ignore certain things and panic when you make mistakes but what you shouldn’t do is get discouraged by those mistakes. Or worse even would be to repeat those mistakes.

Albert Einstein once said “Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new”

This quote applies so very accurately to artists. To me Art is about trying something new everyday. Without it I wouldn’t have learnt anything new, or wouldn’t have created anything unique.

So, a message to all you wannabe artists out there, Get off your couch and throw some paints on your canvas. Get started. Don’t be worried about what may go wrong. It’s not under your control. So stop trying to control everything and let go.

 

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.

Charcoal Sketch

I can’t paint.
I can’t draw.
I cannot do anything other than abstracts.
Realism? No way!!! Its too difficult.
Well, well, well. If I start listing out the excuses, this blog post will never end. The key is to practice. We’re not born with a paintbrush in our hand. We have to learn. Learning, and a desire to learn is the first step towards being an artist. There are numerous sources online that you can learn from. Just look for them. YouTube videos – my biggest learning source.

I had a busy day, I cannot paint. That’s another excuse we’ve all heard before. Well if you really want to, you can learn. Start with something very small. Sketch a cherry with a graphite pencil. Learn how to shade it. Even something so small is a step forward. The next day, sketch the same cherry on another piece of paper with charcoal or a charcoal pencil.

I have mentioned before that I want to paint/ draw/ sketch new things this year. Here’s what I did last night. My very first sketch with charcoal pencil. I thought I’ll learn how to do the Iris. I was so excited when I saw how it turned out, I sketched the entire eye. and then I was so interested, I did the eyebrow too. And then I stopped myself because I had to sleep.

Not bad for a first one, don’t you think?

Well, I’m looking forward to trying something new in painting. Are you?

Materials Used:

A sketchbook I bought from Reliance Art store on Commercial Street, Bangalore.

Camlin Charcoal Pencils (Hard, Soft and Neutral)