Eye Candy for Artists: Acrylic Inks

Acrylic Ink Droppers

Specially for you-know-who-you-are doing the you-know-where art project using you-know-what, here are some photos of the acrylic inks I’ve been using the last wee while.

Acrylic Ink Droppers
From left to right: Pebeo, Liquitex, Amsterdam, FW, Schmincke acrylic ink. I feel there’s little to distinguish various brands of acrylic ink in terms of quality, but there is in terms of dropper shape. My favourite is the pointy version of FW, which is great for drawing with directly. One thing that does puzzle me is why the Pebeo gold ink is scented.

Acrylic Ink Brands

Acrylic inks

Are You Creating Worried Lines?

Lines Shore Black and Orange Ink Drawing

A worried line is a line that’s created by drawing lots of short back-and-forth sections to make a line because you’re too hesitant and worried to draw the line along its entire length in one go. A hedge-your-bets line. An “if I get this little bit right then I might get the next little bit right too and maybe then it’ll all be right” line. You worry the whole way through its creation, worrying it into existence.

It feels reassuring, but it’s counter-productive. Hesitation isn’t your drawing friend; willingness to risk not getting it right but doing it anyway is.

It’s a form of assessing and editing what we’ve done before we’ve even finished it. It’s a step in relearning as an adult the unquestioning confidence we had in our lines as a child. The sooner you can get through this step the better, but at the same time don’t beat yourself up about it.

Talking to another artist about this yesterday, she mentioned how one of her college art tutors had said something about the quality of lines that had stuck with her but only truly made sense later on. How a line must reflect what it contains. How a line drawn in a circle to represent an orange needs to hold all of the inside of the orange. How an outline for an apple will be different.

So the idiom about apples and oranges applies to lines too.

Worry (think) about the differences, but before and after, not while you’re putting pencil on paper to create the line. Worry a line only after it exists.

Lines Shore Black and Orange Ink Drawing

Art Myths: If You Can’t Draw, You Can’t Paint

Art Myths: If You Can?t Draw, You Can?t Paint

 Art Myths: If You Can?t Draw, You Can?t PaintNever let the belief that you can’t draw stop you from learning to paint. A painting is not a drawing waiting to be coloured in and, conversely, a drawing isn’t an artwork waiting for paint to be added to it.

While traditionally an artist studied drawing for several years before starting with paint, if you want to get straight into paint, then do. You can always acquire drawing skills at a later stage; in the meantime you won’t have wasted time sitting around wishing you were painting (see: Never Moving Beyond Liking the Idea of Being Creative).

I strongly believe that if you don’t like or are afraid of drawing, for whatever reason, then forget about drawing and jump straight into painting. Ultimately, it’s that you’re doing it that’s important, not the road you take to get there.

Painting involves its own set of skills, which complement but are different to those for drawing. Learning to use tone, perspective,the illusion of depth, etc. can be done while learning to paint. The advantage of doing so while learning to draw is that you don’t have the distraction of colour and pencil is easier to ‘undo’ to fix errors. But if you don’t like graphite or charcoal, don’t let this stop you. Get stuck straight into the wet, colourful stuff! Even if you were an expert at drawing, you’d need to learn how to manipulate paint.

Drawing is a different way of creating art. Having drawing skills will definitely help with your painting, but if you hate pencils and charcoal, this doesn’t mean you can’t learn to paint. Drawing is not merely an initial step in making a painting. You don’t need to do a detailed drawing before you start to paint; while many artists do, many others don’t. I typically do a minimalist drawing of my intended composition before starting to paint (take a look at this step-by-step video demo to see an example).

There is no rule that says you must draw before you paint if you don’t want to and no approval committee checking your process. Never let a belief that you can’t draw a stick figure or even a straight line stop you from discovering the enjoyment that painting can bring. Besides, straight lines are easy…use a ruler!

Painting embraces all the 10 functions of the eye; that is to say, darkness, light, body and color, shape and location, distance and closeness, motion and rest.
— Leonardo da Vinci

Photos from My Art Workshop #1 (Drawing Techniques)

Focusing on drawing techniques: pencil control, different ways to hold a pencil, working from light to dark and dark to light, quality of line, continuous line drawing, spatial awareness through blind continuous line, working from memory and observation…

Art Workshop Isle of Skye

Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Blind continuous line drawing
Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Drawing with two pencils simultaneously
Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Drawing with two pencils simultaneously
Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Working with charcoal, starting with midtone then adding dark (charcoal) and light (eraser)

Art Workshop Isle of Skye

Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Line drawing with pencil, from observation
Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Drawing with two pencils simultaneously
Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Line drawing with pencil, from observation
Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Line drawing with pencil, from observation
Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Line drawing with pencil, from observation

Art Workshop Isle of Skye

Art Workshop Isle of Skye
Blind continuous line drawing