Art Materials & Techniques and Concepts for Beginners

Today, I covered a few different techniques with S. - some simple and some more complex. The first dealt with ways to transfer a drawing or sketch to good paper, using charcoal dust or charcoal sticks and an ordinary hard pencil (HB or 2B). The next technique was an easy color method using ordinary crayons and india ink. I noticed that the crayons made today are of lesser quality than many years ago, so I told S. that we would re-visit the technique in a future lesson using oil pastels instead of wax crayons. (The crayons did not "resist" the india ink sufficiently. It seems the wax binder is of inferior quality though made by the same company I used in the past.)

I had sent S. an email with a link to an interesting website about perspective in art. As we accessed various links to different aspects of the information, I drew some sketches to explain more clearly what is meant by "horizon line", "vanishing point", etc. We then found various works of art with these lines superimposed over the image, that helped to illustrate the concepts. S.'s homework is to finish the small copy of a high-contrast drawing, then to choose a portrait head (sculpture or painting) to interpret using this method: draw a sketch of contour lines on newsprint (cheap paper) then, when satisfied with the composition, transfer it to good paper as demonstrated. Spray this "map" or "underdrawing" with fixative, then work into it with charcoal and erasers to find the full range of lights and darks. The idea is to be accurate, but interpretive - not to imitate a camera. This is a very good excercise to learn and practice drawing processes.

We had a quick look at the qualities of "laid paper" which has a woven texture. I showed Sylva how this kind of paper "takes" the charcoal better and can offer a wider range to expression than smooth paper. It is also stronger and stands up to erasing and drawing much better than cheap paper.

We talked a little about how pigments and binders are used in various materials: oil paint, water color, pastels and commercial artists' pens.

I suggested that S. get shelves in her room, as her table is always full of materials that she is not using at a given time. I told her it would be much better to have a clear workspace, and that she can alternate between the easel and the table, and use her maulstick, a very handy tool. Also, I am worried about charcoal dust getting into her computer - not a good idea!!!


Deborah S.

Studio Arts, Literature & Writing

50+ hours
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