Anyone can learn to Draw and Paint

Anyone can learn to draw and paint.

In a recent post I talked about the three most important elements in a painting.

Those three elements are

  • Shape
  • Value
  • Edge

Look at the following picture. It is a value rendition of a scene by the American Tonalist painter Birge Harrison.

If you look closely, you will see how shape, value, and edge come together to form the beginning of a painting.

This simple drawing was done on 4 in. x 6 in. Strathmore Medium surface Drawing paper.

I outlined a sheet to 3 in. x 4 3/4 in. and made a simple drawing of the scene. It includes the sky, a distant hill, the foreground and a row of trees.

As you can see the four big shapes are the shapes of the main value planes.

The drawing has four Big shapes. These shapes reside in the four main Value Planes.

These planes are:

  • Sky
  • Hill (slanted)
  • Trees (vertical)
  • Foregound (horizontal)

After drawing the shapes of the planes, I toned each plane using graphite pencil.

The sky is just the lighest tone of the paper. The hill is the next darker tone. The foreground is a little darker and the tree line is the darkest tone.

As you can see the shapes are not only separted into the four value planes, but each plane is distinct from the others. The change in value of the planes gives the illusion of depth. The hill, which is lighter than the trees and foreground looks like it recedes into the background. The foreground appears to come forward.

Any landscape drawing can be started this way. In fact, a thumbnail sketch is a very useful tool to get you going in the right direction.

No need to get bogged down in all the detail, until you can begin to see where you want to go.

Just make sure you break up your simple drawing into the four main value shapes.

Size doesn’t matter. You could make this simple drawing 24 in. x 30 in. if you like and it would have the same basic composition.

You could draw it more vertical, if you choose.

Try doing a drawing of this same scene, or any scene you like. In this one I used Derwent medium graphite pencils. I used HB for the hills, 3B for the foreground and 6B for the trees. Blick’s has a great selection of drawing and painting equipment. See the banner at the bottom of this post.

Give it a shot and make a drawing that you enjoy.

In the next post we’ll discuss John Carlson’s “Theory of Values” and see why a drawing/painting has a sense of depth.

Enjoy and have some fun with it

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