How to paint

How to paint.
How did I do that?? Why is the sky blue?? Can fish sing??
Its hard to say just how one artist does a thing, and when you
come to paint I am sure you will do it differently to me, no
matter how carefully you follow instructions. So dont worry.
It just IS okay? The main thing is...

Doing something is the best way to understand it and get better at it.
Step Two:
Dont get hung up on creating a masterpiece. Just do it, learn and enjoy.
If you try too hard chances are you will stifle the creative spirit, make the
whole process bloody hard work and be disappointed in the results.
Step three:
Practice really does make the difference. Afterall Mozart didnt write
concertos the first time he sat at a piano. He probably put in a few hours
practising his scales. So too does an artist need to practise drawing,
LOOKING and practice mixing and applying paint. And so
long as you dont burden yourself with expectations then all that practise
will be fun and no hardship at all. Keep some of your earliest pieces
and dig them out after a year for a giggle.

But because I have been having fun at art for a good time now I have
picked up a few techniques that work for me and I am happy to share
them if it shortcuts your level of frustration.

My main word of advice would be get drawing. Drawing is the best
way ever of learning to look, and art which is representative of some
thing in the real world rather than abstract, is all about seeing the thing
as it really is. That means look...
at the lines, the angle of the lines, the tones, the shapes of different areas
of tone or colour, the shapes of the gaps or negative spaces around
and within objects. There are great books on drawing. I especially
recommend Dr Betty Edwards':
"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". Or see her website at
It takes all the mystique away and helps you simply see what is in front
of you without worrying whether it is a chair, a bus stop, a building,
a face or an elephant.
The great thing about drawing is you can do it most anywhere anytime
with just a pencil and scrap of paper.You can draw absolutely anything
and need never be bored again.
If you dont have a pencil with you, then pretend to draw anyway.
That will get you looking at angles, lines,shapes and tones.
Its the nearest thing to meditating without actually going OMMMMM
very absorbing, very focused, very good.

please continue...

A chair is quite a tricky thing to draw.
So dont get stuck on its complexities.
Just look at the negative spaces. (The white shapes in the
next picture) then the angles and perspective will all take care of itself.

Dont freeze on more "difficult" subjects. They too are just lines and shapes. Remember, most drawings have three main tones.
1. Dark tones where the shadows are
2. Highlights or light areas where light falls on the subject
3. Mid tones which is all the rest of it.
You can speed things up by loosely scribbling mid tones all over the page before you start. Try rubbing your pencil or charcoal over bricks or concrete anything that will put in a bit of texture to your tone.That is one third of your drawing done already! Then you just need to use a rubber to take out the highlights and a darker pencil or charcoal to build up the areas of dark shadow.

This is a scribble drawing done by holding the pen loosely at its very top away from the paper. Then basically, just scribbling. The beaut of the scribble technique is you cannot make a mistake, just keep on scribbling and the right line will eventually appear. Dont bother with a rubber. Just work more scribble into the shadows to give them strength. Keep your hand loose. Its fun.

Whether its an egg, a chair, a building, a pot plant or a complex carving, drawing it is just a matter of looking at the shapes of both the positive and negative bits, the angles of the lines, the size of one bit relative to another and then working on tone. Put mid tones down on the paper first, then you just have to worry about lifting out highlights and building up the darkness of the shadows.

Home | Paintings | Sculpture | The Artist | How to Paint | Contact Us

Copyright Trisha Fisk - Braveart. All rights reserved.