Category Techniques and Tips

Painting Magic with Sfumato
Techniques and Tips

Painting Magic with Sfumato

Painting is a magic show. As the painter, you have utilized the tools of your craft to express your impressions, ultimately communicating your intentions to your audience.One of those tools, which can be traced back to the Renaissance, is the principle of sfumato, a Latin/Italian word derived from fumare, meaning “to smoke.

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Techniques and Tips

Rational Color Theory

Demystifying color theory, Graydon Parrish introduces students to Albert Henry Munsell’s concepts.By Louise B. HafeshThis article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of Magazine.You don’t have to be an artist to experience frustration in trying to capture a particular color. The task is difficult enough when trying to match the color of a room’s walls.
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Techniques and Tips

Guide to Art Paper, Canvas and Panels: Find the Right Substrate for Your Artwork

We often hear that when it comes to making art, it’s important to experiment. While I wholeheartedly agree with this, I’ve found from personal experience that it’s much more satisfying and productive to experiment with guidance. I love to play around with different markers, pens, and paints, for example, but it’s so much more helpful to talk with someone who has already used a wider variety.
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Techniques and Tips

Drawings of Trees | Claudia Nice

In the September 2011 issue of Magazine, Claudia Nice shares her tips and techniques for rendering convincing conifer and hardwood trees in the landscape.Shown here are some of Nice’s illustrations of various hardwoods and conifers.If you’d like to read the article, learn more about the issue here.
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Techniques and Tips

Convincing Conifers: How to Draw Trees

Author and artist Claudia Nice ( has published numerous instructional art books. The following excerpt appeared in Magazine (September 2011), and comes from Drawing and Painting Trees in the Landscape. Scroll down to learn her tips for drawing conifers, as well as to get the scoop on her three new DVDs for artists (including Texture Drawing Basics).
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Techniques and Tips

Control Yourself! Or Your Colored Pencil, at Least

As little babes, we pick up our first crayons and pencils around the same time that our parents began teaching us how to use a spoon or soft-tipped fork with which to eat. It becomes second nature. So it seems only natural that learning how to draw with colored pencils is a wonderful way for beginning artists to dip their toes into creating art.
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Techniques and Tips

A Simple Tool For Printmaking (Hint: You Probably Already Have One)

Printmaking is a fascinating way to make marks in your art, whether it’s mixed media, abstract, or beyond. Traci Bautista, author of Printmaking Unleashed, knows it inside and out, as she fearlessly explores ways to use unexpected objects to create new designs. Scroll down to learn how to create your own stencils by using a hot glue gun in this excerpt from her book, including tips on how to use a hot glue gun, and take advantage of Traci Bautista’s Printmaking Unleashed Kit, featuring three books and a bundle of printmaking art supplies.
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Techniques and Tips

Drawing Eyes and Eye Movements

Len (reversed, detail; vine charcoal and compressed charcoal on Strathmore 400 drawing paper)When you have a conversation with someone, what do you look at? Most likely the person’s eyes. The eyes reveal personality as well as moods and feelings, such as happiness, sadness, alertness, cunning, fatigue, nervousness, fear and surprise.
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Techniques and Tips

Mineral Spirits vs. Turpentine

Q. In my years of painting I’ve tried just about every medium, and not long ago I read of a medium that combines one part stand oil and two parts mineral spirits. I’ve tried it and I like this combination a great deal, but would it make a difference if I used odorless turpentine instead of mineral spirits?
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Techniques and Tips

How to Paint Bird Feathers in Acrylic

The long, coarse hair of the American elk … the distinctive makings of the peregrine falcon … the colorful glint of trout … the burning glow in the eyes of the wolf. These are only a hint of the rich variety of textures that exist in wildlife. By capturing these tactile details in your paintings, you give your wildlife subjects that certain “spark” they need to come to life.
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Techniques and Tips

A Painters Hat Trick for PerspectivePlus One

Painting with Perspective | Techniques Used to Accentuate DepthIt’s always good to know a guru. In my life, I have a guru for music (my friend Farrah, who keeps me posted on the latest tunes), a guru for house “stuff” (the dad), and even a guru for Mexican food (gurus can be very niche). Richard McKinley and Johannes Vloothuis are definitely two gurus for us artists.
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Techniques and Tips

Painting Flowers Step by Step: White Tulips

The conventional way of painting white flowers is to paint the negative space surrounding the flower. The other technique is to treat a white flower like any other flower, only with much less paint, letting the white of the paper represent the brightest hues. The principal idea in the latter method is to paint the lines that imply the shape and let the white of the paper represent the flower.
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Techniques and Tips

Advice From Mary Whyte

3 Things You Need To Become An Accomplished ArtistMary Whyte is a historian. Her watercolor paintings (mostly portraits) tell stories of individual Americans, documenting the truth of their daily lives in artworks that could stand on their own–even without the meanings behind them.There is without question strength in the composition, color and balance, but there is also an individual–the subject, if you will.
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Techniques and Tips

QA: What Can You Use Acrylic Paint On?

You already know that there’s a plethora of techniques for using acrylic paint. The medium has to go onto something, though, and so it’s no surprise that one common question is: “What can you use acrylic paint on?”Never fear–as always, we have the answers for you. Michael Skalka addresses this in the newest issue of Acrylic Artist magazine (Spring 2016), and in the following sneak preview.
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Techniques and Tips

Learning to Paint with Watercolor for Beginners

No medium can match the delicate luminosity of transparent watercolor. It has a freshness and immediacy that can’t easily be duplicated with oil or acrylic. No wonder the medium is so popular! However, painting with watercolors can be difficult. It is a hard medium to master, largely because it can be unforgiving and unpredictable.
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Techniques and Tips

How to Photograph a Painting, Step by Step

Professional art photographers Ric Deliantoni and Al Parrish shoot paintings, craft and woodworking projects for F+W Media’s book lines and magazines. Here they guide you on how to photograph your own painting, step by step. Read more about taking professional-quality photographs of your paintings and the equipment you need in the October 2011 issue of Magazine.
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Techniques and Tips

How to Paint on Copper | Preparing Copper Plate

By Candice BohannonCopper plate, if properly prepared, is a smooth, archival oil-painting surface that’s been used by artists for hundreds of years with stunning results. I purchase my copper plates from a printmaker’s supply company online. I usually use .050-inch (16 gauge) thickness, but a thinner plate is perfectly fine for painting on copper.
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Techniques and Tips

Homemade Gesso Recipe for a True Gesso Panel

This article is a condensed excerpt from the book Egg Tempera Painting: A Comprehensive Guide by Koo Schadler. For a more in depth-discussion of true gesso panels, please refer the book, available at REQUIREDFour to six days from start to finish are required to create a true gesso panel using a homemade gesso recipe.
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Techniques and Tips

16 Mediums and Their Characteristics | How to Paint for Beginners

Editor’s Note: In this free excerpt from Nita Leland’s Exploring Color Workshop (a great resource on how to paint for beginners!), you’ll discover inspiration for working with color throughout your painting adventures. Also, click the image below for a free download on 16 mediums and their characteristics so that you can save time and money by understanding what will work best for your next painting.
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Techniques and Tips

Draw a Horses Face in 3 Steps

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of petting a horse, it’ll come as no surprise that this majestic animal is such a popular drawing subject. In the United States, they’re a common sight in city parades, racetracks, and farms. In my rural neighborhood, I can count five homesteads that have horses, and I never get tired of seeing them when I drive or walk by.
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