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Spontaneous Landscapes with Steve Mitchell

Spontaneous Landscapes with Steve Mitchell

Steve Mitchell, known for his YouTube series The Mind of Watercolor, is a gifted teacher who brings a healthy attitude of relaxed spontaneity to the painting world. His favourite approach to watercolour landscapes is to let the paint do the work for him, only coaxing detail out of the work in the very end. I learned some valuable lessons from his live demonstration, which I’m happy to share with you here. When I painted along, I used the Hot Press Etchr Sketchbook. I realized partway through that Mitchell had a cold press one, so next time if I want a more...

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How To Transfer Linework for Watercolor Paintings

How To Transfer Linework for Watercolor Paintings

As a children’s book illustrator, most of my work is finished digitally. Working digitally provides flexibility and can save time when changes need to be made. But when I want to enjoy a relaxing day of making art, I don’t want to sit in front of a screen. I want to hold a real paintbrush in my hand.  I want to swirl colours around on a palette and watch them spread, and mingle, and dry on real paper. If given complete freedom to choose, I will always reach for traditional mediums.  I knew I loved line and wash illustrations long...

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When You Just Can’t Do Your Subject Justice

When You Just Can’t Do Your Subject Justice

Do you have that one scene in your head, that one half-remembered place where all was true and lovely? Perhaps it was a visit to the mountains or seaside, and you can’t easily get back there. Maybe there’s a certain type of house during a certain kind of daylight that brings you back to your childhood, but you don’t remember it well. Or maybe your favourite place is where you are right now, but for some reason when you paint it just doesn’t have the same feeling. A big motive behind a lot of art-making is the desire to capture...

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Tips on Painting from Photographs

Tips on Painting from Photographs

It’s a bit of a common misconception that “good artists” don’t use reference pictures, but that’s not true at all! In fact, I would recommend drawing and painting with references because it makes up an essential part of any art study and practice. If you’ve never painted from a photograph before or would like to learn how to make the most of your art studies, then keep on reading – I’m sure there’s something for everyone, even if it’s just a refresher! Composition Breakdown One thing a good photo can show you is how to build a good composition. Composition...

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How to Paint Deciduous Trees

How to Paint Deciduous Trees

To paint realistic landscape scenes, you will have to learn to paint trees sooner or later. Many beginners become frustrated painting trees because it’s difficult to translate the image in the mind’s eye onto the paper. The reason for this is that we see many trees every day, but don’t take the time to consciously process what they look like up close. Our brains use general, symbolic representations of objects to remember what they look like, and the way they represent a deciduous tree is generally as a brown post with a fuzzy green circle on the top. Other times,...

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Fineliner Art for Beginners

Fineliner Art for Beginners

Fineliners are among the most popular artist pens, available from many retailers and quite affordable too. They come in a variety of colours if you know where to look, and there are even high-end refillable ones for those who are committed. Many professional comic artists use fineliners. They’re also ideal for beginners because the hard felt nib means that the line width doesn’t change. This allows the beginner to focus on line placement without worrying about how their grip on the pen changes the line quality. Line placement and line quality are often good to learn separately. A good thing...

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