I had a really interesting idea this morning.

So, if you live in Canada and you want a little special something in the (snail) mail from your pal Toren, email me at with your mailing address and watch your mailbox for something fun but…unusual.

One Reply to “Inspiration”

  1. MATERIALS aka “media”
    · dry (e.g. graphite, charcoal, pastel, Conté),
    · water-based (marker, pen and ink).

    Watercolor pencils can be used dry like ordinary pencil, then moistened with a wet brush to get various painterly effects.

    a selection of 2H, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B for Pencil shades.
    Mechanical vs traditional pencils

    high quality and relatively expensive paper sometimes sold as individual sheets. Papers can vary in texture, hue, acidity, and strength when wet. Smooth paper is good for rendering fine detail, but a more “toothy” paper will hold the drawing material better. Thus a more coarse material is useful for producing deeper contrast.

    For pen and ink work, typing paper is often used for practice drawings, but heavier paper holds up better. Bristol board makes a hard surface that is especially good for ink or fine detailed graphite drawing. Coldpressed watercolor paper is sometimes favored for ink drawing due to its texture. Tracing vellum

    pencil sharpener, vs knife

    sandpaper, kneaded eraser, blending stubs, and chamois.

    Other tools that sometimes prove useful are tracing paper, a circle compass, ruler, frisket film, fixative, and drafting tape.

    ANGLE The use of an easel or slanted table reduces the distorting effects of perspective.

    EXERCISE A – GETTING TO KNOW YOUR MATERIALS – Use a page of your sketchbook and just have a scribble! Try round loopy marks, ziz-zags, light lines, heavy dark lines. Try shading from light to dark and back again. Try all of your pencils and pens. Make some different marks and then drag your eraser across them. Which pencils erase well? Which smudge? Do they make an impression on the paper? How glossy is the graphite? It can be handy to make a note of which pencil makes which mark.


    Sketching from life? Get comfortable. Don’t move around – that will change your viewpoint mid drawing. Same thing goes for your subject.

    Typically a drawing will be filled in based on which hand the artist favors. A right-handed artist will want to draw from left to right in order to avoid smearing the image. Sometimes the artist will want to leave a section of the image blank while filling in the remainder of the picture. A frisket can be used for this purpose. The shape of the area to be preserved is cut out of the frisket, and the resulting shape is then applied to the drawing surface. This will protect the surface from receiving any stray marks before it is ready to be filled in.

    Another method to preserve a section of the image is to apply a spray-on fixative to the surface. This will hold loose material more firmly to the sheet and prevent it from smearing. However the fixative spray typically uses chemicals that can negatively affect the respiratory system, so it should be employed in a well-ventilated area such as outdoors.

    The stroke of the drawing implement can be used to control the appearance of the image. Ink drawings typically use hatching, which consists of groups of parallel lines. Cross-hatching uses hatching in two or more different directions to create a darker tone. Broken hatching, or lines with intermittent breaks, is used to form lighter tones, and by controlling the density of the breaks a graduation of tone can be achieved. Finally stippling (pointilism) , used to produce a texture or shade.

    EXERCISE B: Contour drawing – wine bottle opener. Squint when necessary. Practicing hand eye coord.

    EXERCISE C (portraits, magazine clippings): shading/texture Shading
    Now begin shading. AGAIN WITH THE PLANNING – Note where the light shines giving a highlight and where the darkest darks are. Avoid touching the lightest areas with your pencil – and shade the mid tones and the darkest shadow areas evenly. Gradually build up the tone with light, fast pencil movements. Using different pencil hardnesses to get darker darks. The tones you choose. Start light, medium, heavy. If you’re just drawing one object – a person’s face, whatever. you’ll probably want to get the full range. The difficulty comes in drawing two or more things in the same picture (a black person and a white person) – the mid tones on one will be different than the mid tones on the other. But, null is still null and black is still black. Sometimes a little ‘artists licence’ might be used to emphasise shadows and improve the form.
    – A strong light source gives a better range of tones.
    – BLENDING/SMUDGING blend (smudge) tones can only be done when drawing with a material such as graphite or charcoal. artist can employ a combination of a tortillon blending stump, chamois or soft tissue, and a specialized putty-rubber eraser. Finger smudging leaves oils. The chamois cloth in particular is useful for creating smooth textures, and for removing material to lighten the tone)

    but while you are learning to control tone, it is better to leave pencil marks. With practice your shading will get more even.
    – Don’t worry too much about ‘mistakes’. A few stray lines can add interest and life to a sketch.

    CAUTION: Problems with trying to get a pitch black with pencil: warps the paper and creates a glare.

    Shading is the technique of varying the tonal values on the paper to represent the shade of the material as well as the placement of the shadows. Careful attention to reflected light, shadows, and highlights = realism

    There are a number of methods for producing texture in the picture. In addition to choosing a suitable paper, the type of drawing material and the drawing technique will result in different textures.
    Texture can be made to appear more realistic when it is draw next to a contrasting texture. Thus a coarse texture placed next to a smoothly blended area will appear more notable. A similar effect can be achieved by drawing different tones in close proximity. A light edge next to a dark background will stand out to the eye.

    OUTLINING In most drawing mediums, but especially in ink, realistic renditions of an object or structure avoid outlining the form and features. Otherwise the image may resemble a paint-by-numbers figure from a coloring book. Instead the shape of the structure is portrayed almost entirely through tones and shading, including contrast with the background.

    LAYOUT – Measuring the dimensions of a subject while blocking in the drawing is an important step in producing a realistic rendition of the actual subject. A straight drawing implement held horizontally or vertically can be used to measure the angles of different sides. These angles can be reproduced on the drawing surface and then rechecked to make sure they are accurate. Another form of measurement is to compare the relative sizes of different parts of the subject with each other. A finger placed at a point along the drawing implement can be used to compare that dimension with other parts of the image.
    A proportional divider can be used to scale a photograph up or down. A grid can be used to produce a more accurate portrayal of a photograph.

    DRAWING WHAT YOU SEE – You must unlearn what you have learned.

    EXERCISE D: Turn the photo upside down and draw it!

    EXERCISE E: Draw the Negative Spaces That is, look at the ’empty’ shapes adjacent to the shape you are trying to draw. The shape between the nose and lip, or the space between the limbs of the tree. Practice doing some Negative Space drawing exercises so that you become used to observing Negative Space and can use it when working on a more important piece.

    The correct approach to negative space drawing involves observing the shapes formed between different parts of the object, or between one edge of the object and a boundary. By drawing the background spaces or shapes between the edge of the object and the opposing edge or boundary, the positive form of the object is left ‘undrawn’, resulting in a correct negative space drawing.

    Negative space drawing is something you’ll use continually if you want to avoid outlining and use true value drawing. It is particularly useful when you have a texture like light-colored hair or grass, when you need to focus on the dark shadows behind and underneath the strands. A sound understanding of negative space drawing is critical for watercolor painting, as a watercolor is built through a progressive overlaying of negative-space areas, working from light to dark.
    TIP – measuring the model with your pencil.

    5) Flip the B***! To double-check your accuracy, try using a mirror to view your drawing. Having everything flipped around makes it look unfamiliar, and errors in observation will be more obvious.


    LIGHT TABLE/window!

    When attempting to draw a complicated shape such as a human figure, it is helpful at first to represent the form with a set of primitive shapes. Almost any form can be represented by some combination of the cube, sphere, cylinder, and cone. Once these basic shapes have been assembled into a likeness, then the drawing can be refined into a more accurate and polished form.

    When attempting to draw a complicated shape such as a human figure, it is helpful at first to represent the form with a set of primitive shapes. Almost any form can be represented by some combination of the cube, sphere, cylinder, and cone. Once these basic shapes have been assembled into a likeness, then the drawing can be refined into a more accurate and polished form.

    Linear perspective is a method of portraying objects on a flat surface so that the dimensions shrink with distance. The parallel, straight edges of any object, whether a building or a table, will follow lines that eventually converge at infinity. Typically this point of convergence will be along the horizon, as buildings are built level with the flat surface. When multiple structures are aligned with each other, such as buildings along a street, the horizontal tops and bottoms of the structures will all typically converge at a vanishing point.
    When both the fronts and sides of a building are drawn, then the parallel lines forming a side converge at a second point along the horizon (which may be off the drawing paper.) This is a “two-point perspective”. Converging the vertical lines to a point in the sky then produces a “three-point perspective”.
    Depth can also be portrayed by several techniques in addition to the perspective approach above. Objects of similar size should appear ever smaller the further they are from the viewer. Thus the back wheel of a cart will appear slightly smaller than the front wheel. Depth can be portrayed through the use of texture. As the texture of an object gets further away it becomes more compressed and busy, taking on an entirely different character than if it was close. Depth can also be portrayed by reducing the amount of contrast of more distant objects, and also by making the colors more pale. This will reproduce the effect of atmospheric haze, and cause the eye to focus primarily on objects drawn in the foreground.
    The composition of the image is an important element in producing an interesting work of artistic merit. The artist plans the placement of elements in the art in order to communicate ideas and feelings with the viewer. The composition can determine the focus of the art, and result in a harmonious whole that is aesthetically appealing and stimulating.
    The illumination of the subject is also a key element in creating an artistic piece, and the interplay of light and shadow is a valuable method in the artist’s toolbox. The placement of the light sources can make a considerable difference in the type of message that is being presented. Multiple light sources can wash out any wrinkles in a person’s face, for instance, and give a more youthful appearance. In contrast, a single light source, such as harsh daylight, can serve to highlight any texture or interesting features.
    When drawing an object or figure, the skilled artist pays attention to both the area within the silhouette and what lies outside. The exterior is termed the negative space, and can be as important in the representation as the figure. Objects placed in the background of the figure should appear properly placed wherever they can be viewed.
    A study is a draft drawing that is made in preparation for a planned final image. Studies can be used to determine the appearance of specific parts of the completed image, or for experimenting with the best approach for accomplishing the end goal. However a well-crafted study can be a piece of art onto itself, and many hours of careful work can go into completing a study.


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