One easy way to draw from a photograph and get the proportions correct, is to use a grid. This is a technique used for many centuries by the old masters, like Leonardo Da Vinci.
In the tutorial section you will find a tutorial that will show you how to use a grid to make an accurate drawing from a photography.
Aerial perspective is needed in landscape paintings to show a sense of depth and realism. One way to assure correct perspective is to determine a vanishing point on the horizon and to accurately draw the objects in relation to the vanishing point. You can read more about it, here: Landscape Perspective
Aerial perspective is also achieved by using warm and cool colors. Take a look at the painting below: The basic shapes and color temperature creates an illusion showing depth. Cooler colors recede and warmer colors advance towards the viewer.
Move your mouse over the image to see the landscape painting.
Today I’m going to show you another cool pencil drawing technique that I use in some of my pencil portraits.
Occasionally the artist needs to cover a larger area with graphite. It could be very time consuming to use a pencil to do this. One way to quickly cover large areas is to use a soft paintbrush with graphite powder. Apply the graphite with the brush.
You will have to practice this technique since the graphite powder tends to go on darker than you intended. It is easy to go dark but rather tricky to have very smooth and light values.
Here is what I do to create a soft lighter value: Dip only the tip of the brush in a little graphite powder. Now dab most of the graphite off on a piece of paper. Rub with your brush on the paper until you see the desired value. Now your brush is ready to fill in the lighter areas.
Carefully apply pressure with the brush. I apply the graphite powder in a circular motion. The above drawing is in its early stages. The softer values on the skin was achieve by using graphite powder. You can see the finished result if you move your mouse over the image.
Some time ago I finished this drawing of actor Brad Pitt. I especially loved the light setup in the original photo that resulted in dark and deep shadows. This is the ideal image to draw since there are many levels of value allowing the artist to create a realistic pencil portrait.
The entire drawing was done using a 0.7mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead. Mechanical pencils allow for great details. The drawing was done on 2-ply Bristol Paper. Bristol is a tough paper that allows for many layers of graphite enabling the artist to create nice dark tones.
See my free drawing tutorials that will teach you how to draw in pencil.
Value is one of the most important things to consider when creating a painting. Many artists will say that value IS the most important aspect to focus on when observing a scene.
Value is, simply put, how dark or how light the tone of a specific object or section of an object is. Every scene has it’s darkest part and lightest part. In between you will find a variation of tones. All of these are different values.
The illustration below shows a value scale of the color yellow ochre.
The value scale starts with pure white and ends with black. The same color was shown as a grey value scale. Every scene should be viewed as if it was a black and white photo. This way you will immediately point towards the darkest and lightest sections of the scene.
When painting or drawing you need to accurately place these values. Once you have succeeded in this, your choice of color needs to be determined. But focusing on the value is the first important thing to do.
Above you will see a painting done in a monochromatic manner. That means a limited palette was used for the painting. In this case a variation of the color yellow ochre. The painting shows how different values were placed by the artist. If you move your mouse over the image you will see where each part of the value scale can be found.
A way to practice seeing value correctly would be to create a few paintings by using a monochromatic palette. Choose any color. Use black paint to darken the color and white paint to lighten it. Your pure color will fall in the middle of the value scale.
Many oil painters still uses the old masters technique where the artist would first paint the dead layer. The artist would paint the entire painting with black and white paint. Gray paint would be used to show the mid tone values. This is called the dead layer. Then color would be glazed over this layer.
I illustrate this technique in a tutorial you can find here: How to paint like the old masters.