Half Yearly Recap

We are done with half of 2021. Here is a recap of all the posts on the blog from January 2021 to June 2021 just in case you missed out reading any of them. I will be back in July with more posts on arts and crafts.

  • ‘Embossing’ Using The ‘Gilding Method’
    There are different ways to add the sparkle to your artwork. One of them is ‘Gilding’. It creates a nice embossed sparkling effect. It could be a simple outline or dots or stats or more in that shiny effect. Embossing with the gilding method is best suited for greeting cards as well as art and craft projects in school. In this post, I am going to share some tips to get this process right!
  • Impasto – Painting with a knife
    Yes! That is the term used for a painting technique – ‘IMPASTO.’ Impasto technique in simple words is painting with a knife. A painting knife is different from a regular knife. The blades come in different shapes and sizes to create different textures. You could relate better if I named a famous artwork created with this technique – ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh.
  • Henna Art or Mehendi
    There is a good chance that you might have noticed a very striking similarity between my artwork with henna designs. It is also a possibility that I do more Ink Artwork, Doodle Art, Mandala Art and Zentangle Art because of my fluency in Henna Art. I learnt this art from my mom. Sharing ‘My Henna Story – Henna Art or Mehendi’
  • Happy Holidays
    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
  • Happy Diwali
    Happy Diwali!!
  • Solving the Easel Puzzle
    Easels are a one-time investment and costly. Every artist uses whatever he or she is comfortable with. Not all artists draw, sketch or paint on an inclined surface. Different painting styles can mean using or not using the Easel. A short simple post answering questions about selecting an Easel or a Drawing Board. People usually have two opposing thoughts on this topic. Some feel “what is there to select? Every artist or painter needs an Easel” while others feel “it is the last thing to invest in”. There are a lot of myths about an Easel. No doubt it makes an excellent gift to give an artist, but do you know which one to select?
  • Tools and Techniques To Make Professional Greeting Cards
    Making a greeting card all by yourself may seem difficult for some. No one wants to be judged or mocked for their artistic skills. Besides not everyone can be a master at it. I understand. But what if I were to tell you that even with minimal artistic skills and creativity one can make beautiful professional looking greeting cards. Yes! In this post, we will be discussing a few tools and techniques for making professional looking greeting cards with ease.
  • Fifty it is!!!
    We have achieved a milestone! 50 posts! Yaaay!! Please do share your thoughts and feedback. Would love to hear from you!
  • ‘Still Life Painting’ – by Guest Blogger Dr Shaazia Hawai
    Our guest blogger Dr Shaazia Hawai is a dentist, who spills her love for colours onto the canvas. Join us as she shares more about her Impressionist Style Still Life Painting using acrylic paints. She also conducts live painting sessions on Instagram.
  • It’s Beautiful! Stained Glass Paintings
    The painting process is very simple. Two steps 1) Create the Outline and 2) Fill the colours. The skilled part is in doing it. And like they say, you have to do it to know it. The texture that you see is the original texture of the glass. We select the glass based on the type we want. The material except the glass isn’t very expensive. The colours in a set are enough to make two or three glass panels. So if you want to re-use or recycle a piece of glass from the renovation, consider ‘Stained Glass Panting’. It will give a fresh and majestic look to your decor.
  • Cute Little Clay Creations – by Guest Blogger Ms. Radha Srikanth
    Taking imagination and fantasy from the world of magic and transforming it into something beautiful in this world; is what I do every day. Does that sound interesting? Hello everyone, I am Radha, a clay artist. Doing something creative by shaping earth with your hands can be an incredibly humble, joyful and healing experience.
  • The Clay Effect – Air Dry vs. Bake
    For arts and crafts at home, we use Clay that is available at art and craft stores. Basically for hobby crafts and crafts at home there are two types of clay : one is the air drying and the other one that needs to be baked. We can use them to make many artistic objects from the comforts of our home. I have made wall murals, decorated wooden and glass panels, mirrors, jewellery and toy models with both types of clay. Yes! I know friends who have made saleable products from these. They are now successful small businesses.
  • Three creative ideas with Coffee – Art Craft
    Hmm.. the aroma of a freshly brewed coffee can be so refreshing, isn’t it? Sniffing coffee beans can almost reset your sense of smell. When we sample different perfumes and a particular strong smell gets to our head, it lingers. How to clear it? Take a few coffee beans in a cup and smell them. After sometime smell another perfume. We can creatively use coffee for many things other than just sipping a nice cup of coffee. You may have come across or tried these. In this post I am sharing three artistic creative ideas of arts and crafts with coffee. I have tried my hand at all the three and they can be wonderful creative outlets for anyone, especially coffee lovers. It is the skill and material that make this art unique.
  • Scan, Copy, Download, Print – How to get good prints for your Projects
    Did a hand drawn artwork and now want to make copies OR drew it digitally and now want to print it? Photographs, Graphics, Vector Art, Backgrounds, Designs, Drawings and Paintings – All of us might have tried to print these at some point of time or another. It could be for a School Project, a University Submission or a Personal Art Craft Project or for Commercial use. I see many people struggle to get good prints of their work. What went wrong? They don’t know. I often get to hear “I gave the print command and the printing device printed it.” “I took it to a professional printer and he said the art work is not done correctly. The printing service owner said the device (printer) has done it correctly.” It’s our loss as the money is wasted and we are not happy with the output. Today’s post is about ‘Getting a good print out’. I am going try and translate the language of a printer. In other words explain it in simple terms that everyone can understand.
  • Painting a Silhouette
    ‘Silhouette’ Try saying it as ‘Silu -et’. That’s right! I am not talking about a soft fabric but a technique of painting. Silhouette is also a popular method in photography. It is an object or profile in dark black against a very bright source of light, usually the Sun.
  • The Perfect Blend – Exams & Coffee
    What is Coffee got to do with Art? 😀 My young followers have exams coming up at schools, colleges and universities. Coffee will be their best friend keeping them up studying late nights. Just like a good coffee is all about the blend. Art is also all about blending and having the right combinations. All set? Prepared?
  • Getting to know ‘The Washi Tape’
    The title says it all ; this is a all you want to know kind of post and it is all about ‘The Washi Tape’. Ok! What is so special about it? Fine! It is just another tape, so use it as one. True! I think it is a door to creativity. Especially for storytellers who cannot draw well but have so much to say and share.

A Trip Down Memory Lane : Sketching With Charcoal And Soft Pastels

Hey! Look! I managed Pencil Shading. I am confident that I can handle it well. May I try Charcoal now? Hehe…If that is your question “Sure! Why not!”. Charcoal sketching is very similar to pencil shading but in ways, it is also different. We use charcoal pencils or charcoal powder instead of graphite. In pictures, graphite looks a little greyish while charcoal gives a distinct black colour.

Would you like to join me down memory lane? In this post I am sharing my artworks I did years ago. Some while learning at the class and some afterwards. Soft Pastels (chalk) is also a similar medium. It has colours and is easier to handle. I couldn’t take formal training for Soft Pastels but I can decently manage with it. In fact, I really loved the medium once I started working with it. One can do much with it. Paintings with Pastels are quick and can look very realistic.

Charcoal Sketch Flowers
I started with Flowers
Charcoal Sketch Cheetah
Then tried Animals
Charcoal Horses
These are done with Stumps and Charcoal Powder
Charcoal  Sketches
Sketching Human Faces – Basic
More detailed Sketches – Portraits

Those are charcoal sticks in the picture above. They very are useful for filling darker tones in large spaces. All the pictures here above are of my artworks that I learnt and did in the class. Charcoal Sketching wasn’t exactly my strength but I enjoyed it and I think I did pretty well. Finding a good teacher is a blessing. So many can draw and paint but not all of them can teach.

Many people think pencil shading or charcoal sketching means making something exactly like that in a photograph. Please understand we are not competing against computers. Earlier when we did not have cameras people liked to have portraits and landscapes for memory. That is why artists tried to paint those pictures. That is replaced with photography. The cameras we now use are so amazing with details and precision that we need not paint the same.

Charcoal  Sketching
I think this one turned out really well

Some people edit photos and add effects to make them look like sketches or paintings. For me, if the computer can do it better, I feel it is better to let them do it. Personally, I like sketches that have a hand-drawn touch or twist to them. For my exams at the classes, we had to draw a sketch of a student sitting around: first in a pencil and then a charcoal sketch. That was my attempt at ‘live study’. I was happy I cleared the exam with pretty a good score.

Storing Charcoal Artworks can be a little tricky. The powder continues to dust off. It can spoil the other artworks stored with it. Store it in a cello envelope or sleeve. Once it is final, spray it with a fixative to fix the powder. Not only will the Artwork stay well, it won’t dust off and spoil the other papers it is kept with.

Charcoal Pencils
In the making with Charcoal Pencils
Charcoal  Sketch Girl Horse
One of my more recent works

Soft Pastels are more like chalk. They work very well for shading large surfaces. We can use the broader side as well as the pointed side. We also get Pastel Pencils for more precise finishing. More the shades in the colour box, the better for shading. Blending done with the finger works best.

Pastels on Paper
Pastels on Paper
Pastels and Charcoal Sketch
This is a mix of Pastels and Charcoal Powder

Nostalgia! I am all ready to paint with charcoals and pastels all over again. I would like to make a new artwork and see how it turns out. Would you like to give Charcoal Sketching and Soft Pastels a try? Have an Arty Weekend!

Related Posts that you may want to read :-

A Beginners Guide To Pencil Shading

Pencil shading is creating artworks using pencil strokes. I did my first artwork in pencil shading during my school days, probably in the 5th or 6th grade while preparing for my art exams. Later, after the 10th grade I took up a course in Charcoal Sketching. It was a vacation batch and as a preliminary step to Charcoal Painting my teacher took a few classes in Pencil Shading first. I learnt a lot both about Pencils and Charcoals in that class.

A pencil is the most easily available drawing tool. Learning pencil shading can teach a lot about shade and light in a drawing. Pencil Shading as a subject will be a part of every curriculum – at every Art School or University or College or a Masters level study. Traditionally ‘live study’ meaning the subject to be drawn or sketched is actually in front of you and you have to draw it was the way to sketching in Art.

It would be a good idea to invest and buy a few books on Pencil Shading and Sketching. It will be helpful to observe works by different artists and study their styles. We can practice and draw from the drawings in books. One can draw from photographs or online drawings at a later stage. Beginning from a book or with a tutor guides us stepwise and covers all the subtopics. Artists who wish to take up Pencils as their main medium of Art require training of an advanced level.

Begin with simple ‘Landscapes’ to more complex ones, followed by ‘Object Drawing’ and ‘Nature Drawing’ and finally to ‘Human sketches’ and ‘Portraits’. That is how I did them. Drawing and sketching always helps and is important even if you take up any other medium. I really think everyone can draw and everyone’s drawing will look different.

Here’s how I learnt it or what I learnt about Pencil Shading:-

  • To start with, select a simple single subject like a flower or leaf or a pot or a pan. (Picture 5)
  • For the first one, try to shade using only the 2B pencil. Observe the strokes, texture and blending (Pictures 1 and 2)
  • Add darker tones with 4B and 6B pencils (Picture 3)
  • Can blend using the finger, stumps or cotton buds (Picture 4)
  • Use a kneaded eraser. It helps erase a clean line when pointed and used. If you just tap it on the shaded area it will absorb the graphite like a magnet making the shaded area lighter but keeping the strokes. That is why I call it a magic eraser. (See pictures 6 to 8)
Learning Pencil Shading
Pencil Shading Explained

A beginner can start by looking at artworks and reference images in drawing books. I wouldn’t advise looking at images on the Internet because sometimes they are a bit too much for a novice. One can barely differentiate between a hand-drawn and digital artwork. Some of these are genuinely handmade artworks by professional artists, while some are computer edits. Don’t be disheartened looking at them or set the benchmark too high. That is why I suggest books or taking up formal training.

Learning  pencil shading  2
The strokes will improve with time. See bottom images and top images.

Pencil shading is the foundation to a lot of methods in drawing and painting. Once this is aced, the other methods become easier to learn. With time and practice the shading will improve. Like in this picture the leaves in the bottom images are my previous works and then with time it improved as the top two images. All the four are from my early days of learning pencil shading. Then as we feel more confident, we can take up advance levels.

I felt sharing my experience might help beginners taking up Pencil Shading. One can use Coloured Pencils for colouring as well. I have seen artists doing realistic colouring using coloured pencils. One small but important point that I would like to make here is ; with the advent of such amazing digital tools for drawing, even the best artists can get fooled as to whether the art is hand-drawn painted or digital. So please be honest with yourself and learn it without using the digital tools.

Pencil Shading Trees
Trees done in Pencil Shading

There are some additional things one needs to know about Pencil Shading. Knowing these can sort out some problems that may pop up while learning :-

1) Create strokes or lines to shade in the direction of the object surface. Rounded for the pot. The direction shows the rounded ness of the object. (Picture 9 and10) Some people create bold strokes in pencil shading like this but they should be in the flowing direction of the object. That is how they show movement also.

2) The Paper matters. The thickness, grains and texture of the paper influences the finish. I suggest Cartridge Paper of 160-200GSM if you don’t know which one to go with. After a few trials, you will surely be able to select the paper that works best for your style. (Picture 10)

3) The graphite powder can stick to the hand ruining your work. Keep a plain paper under your hand while shading to avoid this. (Picture 11)

4) All artworks in Black and White look best with contrast. There must be a distinctly dark tone, mid-tone and a light tone in the artwork. The whole artwork could be done using only one pencil. However, there should be areas you can distinctly call dark, mid and light.

Pencil shading tree
The light, mid and dark tones must be clear.

5) For a white, we either erase a portion or leave it as it is. Shade the area around that with a mid or dark tone to give a contrast. (Picture 12 and 13) The white looks whiter when there is a dark colour around.

Pencil shading techniques
Some additional points to note

So let us start! Make smaller objects first and then an entire picture. Think of Pencil Shading as learning the ABC to Art. We don’t need to be professionals at it but we definitely need to know it – Pencil Shading. Have an Arty Weekend!

Related Posts you may also want to take a look at :-

  1. Selecting Pencils for your Art
  2. Five ways to fine tune your Art
  3. Drawing without using a scale or ruler