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PE: Power of Perspective

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 1:23 PM


PE: Power of Perspective

Perspective is the angle and depth of a piece of art. Changing perspective allows for drastic differences. There is more than one kind of perspective, and all of them allow for more dynamic pieces of art if used correctly.

There are three common choices, and these are explained later.
Usually perspective deals with how close things appear, and correctly rendering perspective adds depth to an image and increases the impact of the composition.

 One Point Perspective

One point perspective is where there is one vanishing point in a piece. . A vanishing point is essentially the in-the-distance-until-you-can'
t-see anymore point.

You see this perspective often, images of roads, or landscape often have one point perspective.

 One Point Perspective Checkered floor by WillWorks

 One Point Perspective City tut by Swingerzetta     One Point Perspective. by skimlines  One-point Perspective by Xenogia







Examples of one point perspective:


 Two Point perspective


Two vanishing points in the horizon, usually at the sides.  It can be harder to render, however, if used correctly, can be quite dynamic.

Abstract Two-Point Perspective by TBrennan
Two Point Perspective by Rhino0 Two-Point Perspective by Haru-chan77

:: Two point perspective :: by Videogamescool



Three Point Perspective

Two vanishing points on the horizon, then a third vanishing point placed
either far forwards towards the viewer, or back away from the viewer.

This perspective is great for conveying large amounts space without looking too flat.
Examples
Metropolis in 3 point by fuzzybudgie
3 point perspective exercise by beamer   Three-Point Perspective by bloochikin Spidey in Three Point by blacksmithx

Tutorials 

Related to how perspective impacts composition.

       






perspective tutorial II by HMSpeedFreek    One Point Perspective City tut by Swingerzetta      New perspective on perspective by HOON

Library reference-perspectives by ArtistsHospital

Adding on to Boxes in Perspective by ccRask

1-Point Perspective Tutorial by dragonictoni

Perspective Tutorial: "4VP?" by GriswaldTerrastone



















`Infinite-Heart for #projecteducate

Understanding perspective can impact your artistic results strongly
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PE: The power of context

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 6:04 AM


A picture is indeed "worth a thousand words", a complex idea can be conveyed with a single still image. This quote also characterizes one of the main goals of visualizations, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly. In our perception of artworks we see every day, some get closer to our hearts than others. Imagine a painting, strong and powerful, technique showing an experienced, steady hand, needing nothing but a pair of eyes to enter one's sensitive soul. Are you satisfied with what you see? I wouldn't count on that, but I would be quite sure that after a while your head fills with numerous questions.

On the contrary, your favorite artist publishes their recent work and you, as always, immediately love it. If, however, you would allow your mind a little exercise, you could clearly see that if this work was shown to you at random, under different circumstances and you would not know the author, hardly would it catch your interest for a second.

What is important than, the picture or the context? I will let you decide for yourself, what I intend to mention in this article are a few tips for artists that can hardly understand why their wonderful artworks go around unnoticed. Meanwhile, I strongly hope these will help you on your way to become properly understood and recognized.



:bulletpurple: SIGN IT - In all your creations, you should always use one specific signature, the one that is readable by people. The importance of signing every artwork you make is clear, every time someone sees a piece of art they like, first question asked is "Who is the artist?" The answer needs to be there.

beware of  -  Signature so big and glaring that it puts the picture itself in the corner looks rather ridiculous.

 :bulletpurple:TITLE IT - This is very important, many artists does not bother with titles and their works end up either "untitled" or with numbers as if their creations were cups of coffee. Title says quite a lot about your perception of your own work - giving it a proper name establishes personal attachment, revealing part of its message, thought, idea.

beware of - Offensive and inappropriate titles, numbers, random letters.

:bulletpurple: DATE IT - Especially when the artwork you are presenting was made earlier and your style has developed ever since. By dating your works, you provide your audience a timeline in which they can follow your progress, development of your technique and subjects.

beware of - Providing a false information.

:bulletpurple: EXPLAIN IT - on DeviantArt we have an "artist description" window that gives you enough space for anything you would want to say about the artwork and I suggest you use it. Personally, nothing saddens me more than to see a wonderful artwork with blank and deaf description. Besides artwork commentary, you are welcome to mention your progress, was the work spontaneous or carefully planned, what thoughts command you to work this way, etc.

beware of - Overly long essays, inappropriate phrases but mainly indecent self-criticism - if you truly hate it so much, don't publish it.

:bulletpurple: PLACE IT IN A LARGER CONTEXT - What and who influenced you? What book were you reading, what music were you listening to? What was going on in your personal life? These questions seem to be too much, but often it is exactly a deep personal experience that leads you towards creating something unusual. If you dare to share it, you are on a good way to form a strong connection between your artworks and your audience.

beware of - Listing numerous insignificant events or publishing inside jokes nobody but you understands.

:bulletpurple: LIST THE INGREDIENTS - Techniques you've used shouldn't under no circumstances remain a mystery, make it transparent, list your tools consistently. Not only you will help starting artists and students by pointing them to the right direction towards a specific technique, but you will most likely avoid suspicions regarding origin of your artwork.

beware of - There is no need to list 20 graphite pencils you've used in your sketch one by one, your eraser or a tissue. As with everything, stick to the point.

:bulletpurple: BE - THERE - Publish your works continuously, give it time, be open for discussion and opinions. Write personal journals from time to time, if you like. People will start perceiving your work in a context of yourself, your thoughts and circumstances in which you create. Remember that a "familiar thing" is always seen differently than an unknown picture out of context.

beware of - Overdoing it.




What is your perception of thoughts mentioned in this article? How do you go around giving your artworks a title? Do you have a habit of publishing continuously or keep your art to yourself?


Write your thoughts in the comments below :heart:

:frail:



Articles:



Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Community Week.
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5 EXCUSES why you just can't do better!



You really want to, you've worked hard to develop the skills you have and you enjoy every minute of doing what you love. And besides, people say that your artworks are...nice. Cute. Doesn't that count for something? Sure it does, there is no reason to panic and pointlessly push yourself forward. Enjoy your coffee break!

Besides, even if you didn't like the current level as much, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it at the moment. So many unfortunate happenings stand right between you and your dream. Recognizing any of the following?



:bulletred: 1 - You don't have the time

You're right! After all, you are a human being, not a machine, waking up early every morning, heading to school/work, afterwards taking care of the household/kids/your homework, studying, you barely even finish all the tasks during the 24 hours that's been given to everyone.

On the other hand, is there absolutely no way to squeeze in one hour to practice? What about that two hour lunch you have with your friend just to talk through all the pointless news? How about cutting a few minutes out of your gaming/tv time? Think harder, you'll realize that our time is distributed amongst things we WANT to do.


:bulletred: 2 - You don't have enough money to buy proper supplies


Sure this is a valid point, I mean look at those artists and their work, they use such fancy paints and equipment that makes them achieve the best results without probably no work at all. Where would you get such material? Without such advantage, there is no point in trying.

On the other hand, have you seen those exceptionally awesome artists who work with nothing but pencil and paper? No the pencil is not magical, I'm sure you have one of those by your side right now. Pick it up, because this excuse has just expired.

:bulletred: 3 - You're not talented enough


Of course, famous artists were born with different hands and eyes like yours, you have absolutely no artistic talent swimming inside your veins. You tried your best but your subjects are stiff, coloring just wrong, better to give up now before you make a fool out of yourself.

On the other hand, you still can't be sure whether you have the talent. You won't know that when your mom gives you pencils at 3, you won't know when you're trying to paint at 20 for the first time in years. You might find out perhaps after months / years of continuous training and practice. Only that and nothing but that can release and show your talent. The questions is, do you WANT to find out?

:bulletred: 4 - Nobody supports nor likes your work


It gets rough when you're alone with what you do. You want to share your results but nobody seems to care, or - in a worse scenario - you meet the cruel reality of your family telling you that this is simply not your cup of tea. Have you ever had a sibling yell at you that you're just no good and should give it up right now? (I did :P) How can one proceed with no support?

On the other hand, good luck basing your decisions on other people's opinions and preferences. Even your family, even if you love them, they have their own hobbies and taste in arts. When you make your peace with this, you are a big step ahead with your work, and you will be doing it only for yourself - this is the best motivation and it lasts whole life.

:bulletred: 5 - There is too much competition


So you took the time to practice, obtained material that you can afford, risen above the talent rumors, made your peace with not having your family blessing and keep on making your artworks. However, it doesn't sell, there is no opportunity for exhibition right now, and online world is full of such brilliant artworks beyond compare. Too many great people around you, what's the point in trying?

On the other hand, THIS is exactly the point in trying harder. Competition hurts sometimes but it has one great side effect - motivation to beat it. If you never saw that brilliant illustration and so many people being excited about it, perhaps you would be on your coffee break again, thinking how you've mastered the craft already. And now you are working on yourself instead and that makes the tomorrow's YOU better.




"The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it."

Jordan Belfort




Which excuse keeps you away from your practice?  


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:


:frail:




Previous articles:


PE: I don't know what to paint...

PE: The power of context

PE: The Impact of Color

PE: 5 reasons to believe in yourself







Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Community Week :frail:
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PE: I don't know what to paint...

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 6:00 AM


We all experience the loss of our muse from time to time. It can get quite challenging to even pick a subject for our next painting. What to paint, what to paint...However, staring at a blank canvas / paper won't make it better - in this article you might, hopefully, find a few ideas to explore.



:frail: 1. PAINT YOUR CURRENT LIFE

Look around and get inspired by the present. Your siblings, parents, kids, pets, your best friend...Even yourself!

   
One life to live by XRlS  pep pill by ObviouslyCloe Untitled by NLAnipy Sleeping In by beckymillerartist
Four Fingers by sylvainArtist O drawing a bird by karrholm LOVE dad it is easy by LucyHudecova puppy by TanyaShatseva
         


:frail: 2. PAINT WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT

What is your passion? Perhaps you feel strongly about ecology, feminism, politics...or something else? Paint your favorite artist!

91 by yag65 Break Dancer by neo-innov  Shadows of Silence by Dew-Sama 2011-02-01 Balllerina by AdamAntaloczy
 Watercolor by memougler  Miss Brightside (muro) by alicexz Race Car by bobtheraccoon



:frail: 3. PAINT WHAT IS AROUND YOU

There is poetry in everyday objects. Even when they might seem too ordinary to paint, any subject can be rendered in an interesting way.
Personally, I find this exercise most helpful and I recommend doing it regularly.

First Blossom by ShastinaHell-N silver creamer by turningshadow Stokrotki by chatte-bleu K Frame by kphillips Still life with pomegranate by LORETANA
Four Eggs by Caitlin-Carnes apple by AdamJuraszekTulip by ttvlwinter sun by kochetkov



:frail: 4. PAINT SOMETHING ABSTRACT

In this exercise, try focusing on moods, feelings, lines, shapes, textures, color balance, etc. Be playful and experiment, release all your emotions into the artwork.
This is also a great way how to cope with stress. How about keeping an abstract painter's diary?

Limerence by FarDareisMai you, me and chi chi by artbytiamarie The Power is Born ( What do you see?) by Ana-LesacFloating Behemoth by zilekondic
concert by comteskyee 9 aout 2012 by Malahicha Enigme by FDugourdCaput Morea by FDugourdCaput




Do you find yourself struggling with the subject of your artworks, sometimes? Where did your previous ideas come from? 


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:

:frail:


Articles:









Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Surprise Community Week :heart:
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Usually, when you read something involving 'Commenting', you think of deviations and the commenting platform that allows other members of the community to voice their thoughts and opinions on the art shown. However, what is pretty evident, and something that most of us may forget, is that deviantART runs on the ability to give and get comments, be it on pieces of artwork, our profile pages, forums, and everywhere else in between.

In a sense, without the ability to give and get comments, deviantART wouldn't be much of a website, much less #1 of online art communities around. Comments are not solely the cause of what makes deviantART what it is, but it has a huge impact on a lot of things. By giving and getting comments, not only do we interact with other members to really make this a community, we also have the ability to get our voices heard.

It's quite an odd concept with us all facing screens, typing out our thoughts and opinions, but one thing we shouldn't forget is that comments are our clearest form of communication on this website, something we shouldn't take lightly. We get out what we put in, and this is something that applies to deviantART. Whenever we put in the time to give a comment to someone, whether that is on a deviation, as a reply, or something else entirely, we often get something from that. Perhaps we get more knowledge, a conversation, or even friendship that may lead to something more.

By commenting, we make a difference.

I don't want to limit the use of commenting to deviations only, though they certainly deserve some recognition. Often, there is the case of the 'fave-and-run' where people just :+fav: your art without commenting (for all sorts of reasons). Other times, people leave short comments of 'Cool!' or 'Nice stuff!', which, as I'm sure you'll all agree, is nice and all, but isn't that useful. So deviations themselves deserve to receive more constructive comments. It doesn't matter how polished the artwork is, or how unfinished it is, we all deserve and need comments to help us progress, as many more minds are better than one.

Comments shouldn't be limited to just deviations. We should also make the effort to reach out using different platforms, different settings, on deviantART. This can be our Journals, Polls, forum, and countless more. By constantly putting ourselves out through our comments, we begin to get the most out of what deviantART has to offer us. We utilise the many features deviantART has, and we build upon it to make it our own.

To illustrate this with an example, if you uploaded deviations and didn't reach out to others through comments, didn't comment on other pieces of artwork, or comment anywhere else, it's likely that you'll be sitting in your corner for a very long time before someone passes by and sees you're alive. Maybe you'll get lucky with the other features available on dA, like Groups, but, at the end of the day, without communicating with others, you wouldn't receive much attention. It's likely you wouldn't make friends here, and you probably wouldn't even stay long on this site.

Friendships are built on top of the foundation of first comments. Other advantages can also include improvement on one's art, getting your opinions heard and generally being seen by the community, getting attention and exposure as a person and an artist. However, for all of that to happen, we have to make the first step first to lay down the platform for others to join us.

Some helpful articles:
...and a challenge! :la:

For all those that complete it, you'll get your art featured in a news article at the end of this week. :D

Give one constructive comment on a deviation by someone you do not know!

The challenge is simple enough! Really spend time and effort on it, using the tips from the articles above if needs be. After you have done so, give us the link here in a reply to this blog.


Thank you all for reading!

3wyl, posting on behalf of the "Getting the most out of dA" PE Team; 3wyl | Astralseed | namenotrequired

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PE: 9 tips to be more creative

Sat Apr 6, 2013, 10:26 AM


Creativity isn't just an artist's concern. Creativity is about using your imagination in every endeavor. Believe it or not, you are a creative person already. However, these tips might inspire you to get the best of what you already have.

1. GET OUTSIDE
 
This comes as a very first tip for a reason. Whether it's outside your house or outside your mind, changing your perspective will help the ideas flow.

2. DRINK ENOUGH WATER

Your brain functions much better when well-hydrated. Symptoms of mild dehydration include tiredness, headache, muscle weakness, and dizziness - these are certainly not going to help you to think straight.

3. EXERCISE

Exercise produces endorphins that might as well be responsible for your next brilliant idea.

4. DAYDREAM

Dreaming is very important, inside a dream nothing is impossible. Use that to your advantage.

5. STOP WATCHING TELEVISION

Or better yet, get rid of the damn thing. TV is a mind-killer. Turn it off. Even if this idea scares you, turn it off.

6. WRITE WITH PEN & PAPER

Keep a journal. Typing on a keypad into a computer doesn’t always open up that tactile sense-loving part of us that loves to create.

7. WALK IN THE RAIN

This one is particularly helpful to me. Hard to explain, get out there and feel it.

8. GET UP EARLY AND WATCH THE SUNRISE

Do it. Quietly.

9. VISIT A GALLERY

See another artist’s creation. Live, not through your screen.




Do you have your own specific ways to keep you more creative?


Please share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:

:frail:


Articles:






Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Community Week :frail:
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PE: Presentation matters

Wed Aug 7, 2013, 11:23 AM



It's not just the artwork that tells you something about it's creator - on the internet, the way you present it is at least equally as important. Your painting can be a masterpiece, hanged in a local gallery, but as long as you post a blurry, badly cropped picture named "1564873" along with "..." in an artist's description, nobody will ever bother visiting your gallery. Creating a nice, representative profile page and setting a certain visual quality standard takes extra time and effort, but if you really care for your work (even if it's just a hobby), you should treat it with some respect.

I've already written a related article called The power of context that tried to explain how to place your work in a context in order to better connect with your audience, this one is focused on the visual aspect of your presentation (particularly on DeviantArt) and brings a few tips regarding Your Deviation, ✿ Your Gallery, ✿ Your Profile Page and finally bringing to your attention a few Other Websites you should consider using.



Presentation by LokiMuje




✿    1. Your Deviation



✿ always publish the best quality photographs/scans of your work possible, properly cropped and executed. While it's understandable that not everyone owns a proper equipment or knowledge of how to do this the right way, in most cases solution can be found if it's searched for - try asking a friend or a colleague for help with pictures or see if they would borrow you a camera, search advices of how to photograph artworks online or within DA experienced photographers. Here is two helpful tutorials you can check out: Art Tutorial: How to photograph artwork by Xadrea, How to Photograph Art by Jon-Snow. Those of you that don't have a scanner but have a smartphone, there's usually a good app that will turn your snapshot into a proper scan, for example Genius Scan.

✿ your logo or signature shouldn't be missing on any of your published artworks. It should be recognizable, comprehensible, visually attractive and at appropriate size. Regarding watermarking, it's certainly a solution to potential art theft, but you should carefully consider how you use them, watermarks often obstruct the image inadequately, it can discourage groups from accepting the artwork or viewers from faving it. Instead of DA watermarks, try creating your own, tasteful yet useful. Related tutorials > Protection from Art Theft by Xadrea

✿ give your deviation a fitting and appropriate name. After all, it's a piece of your work and it deserves it.

✿ even if it's not a prerequisite to proceed with the submission process, add keywords to optimize your deviation, this will help people to find it in a search. Type accurate and your deviation-related keywords into the "keywords" tab. Keywords Tutorial by UnicornReality, How to get the most out of your keywords by Thunderstatement

Keywords Stamp by LumiResources

✿ use the artist's description window - besides describing your work process or thoughts regarding the subject, don't forget to list techniques (many groups will accept your submission faster if you list your techniques in a comprehensive way) and references / credits. Less text is better than 10 paragraphs but no text whatsoever is very discouraging. How about motivating viewers to go see the rest of your gallery? Simply add thumbnails of your other works into this window (up to 6 thumbnails allowed).






✿   2.Your Gallery


stamp - i :heart: my gallery by Daeg-Niht


Featured folder in your gallery is probably the most important of all - it's the first one anyone would see when clicking on your "Gallery" icon and the first impression will most likely to decide whether the viewer goes further to explore the rest of your folders / pages of your gallery, adds you to their watch or leaves. Every once in a while, make sure to check the look of your Featured folder, always display your best works in there and overall, try to make it as much representative as you can.

Gallery folders also hold an important role, some use them to split their work into categories (which I personally see as a good idea), some keep all of their deviation in the Featured. If you decide to create gallery folders, establish a comprehensive order amongst them and it's better not to create too many.

Customizing the look of your entire gallery - you can change the gallery background as well as set your custom icons to each gallery folder. Tutorials that might come in handy > Custom Gallery Folder Icon Tutorial by Gasara, Custom Box Tutorial by TaNa-Jo (Premium Membership required to install custom boxes). Keep in mind that a loud, visually severe and/or blinking background is probably going to scare visitors off or freeze their browser than work in your favor. Related Tutorials > How to pimp your gallery by Salix-Sericea, A Guide to Gallery CSS by SimplySilent


Vivacious Gallery CSS by SimplySilent







✿   3. Your User Profile



✿ Choice of your deviant ID should be representative as well - many visitors will be curious about your ID and it's connection to the type or artwork you do. Your avatar is probably even more important, visual memory often works better than remembering your username - try not to change it too often.

Customizing your user profile - premium members have access to much better customization and widgets than non-premium members, but that doesn't mean you cannot have an orderly and nice profile page. As with everything, less is often more and crowded page rather confuses than helps. There is no need to expose your entire gallery there, offer one or two representative works and let viewers come for the rest. Need more tips on how to handle this? Check out CustomizeYourProfile group!

:iconcustomizeyourprofile:

✿ Don't forget about your journal - premium members can install many wonderful journal skins or create their own (Tutorial: Making Journal Skins from scratch by X-P-T-Z, Do-It-Yourself Journal Skin by miontre).

✿ Related Tutorials > Decorating Your Profile by SimplySilent, Pretty Up Your Profile and Pretty Up Your Profile 2.0 (Beginner) by Gasara





✿   4. Other websites



✿ If you're a Facebook user, you might want to create a page to share your artworks. It is a good way to connect your real life friends and family with your hobby/work but also reach different people. Sharing snapshots and WIP's on FB is faster and more casual than on DA and if you have an online store (ETSY, Bigcartel, etc.), you will be able to install an app straight to your page that will allow visiting FB users to enter your shop straight from the page.



 
Society6 is a platform that sells prints of your artworks. You provide a digital file, they ship products to customers - very similar to DA prints. Creating a profile & taking care of it (updating new artworks & products) takes very little of your time.

Free shipping on society6! by TheQueenSerena


Twitter also takes little of your time and is perfect for sharing short & quick messages or snapshots from your studio or anything you wish to share. I love twitter widget that premium members can install to their user profile to have their tweets visible and easily accessible to their DA visitors.

Twitter by Light-Schizophrenia

✿ Could I forget to mention Instagram, that is rather a phone app but also an excellent way to instantly share your artwork and visual news.

Instagram by xloveneverfails






Do you pay attention to the way you present yourself on the internet? How much time on average does it take you to submit a deviation?

Do you read artist's description when looking at a deviation that interests you?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:


:frail:

Credits > Thanks to im-not-sana for the article edit and great suggestions :heart:






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Article about visual presentation of your artworks on DeviantArt written for Community Week of #projecteducate :dalove:
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✿   Watercolor Equipment



Watercolor is a painting technique in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble binder. Usually, the result is transparent and appear luminous because the pigments are laid down in a relatively pure form with a few fillers obscuring the pigment color. This medium was never taken as seriously as "high art" techniques such as oil painting and was rather seen as pale and miniaturist, but it's gradually reclaiming it's place as a vehicle for the most beautiful and unexpected artistic expression. Watercolor can be vibrant and large, very vital, spontaneous and leaning a little on luck. All these aspects make watercolor painting a medium with great potential for new discoveries. 



✿     This article will introduce the most basic and essential tools for watercolor painting: Paper, Brushes and Paints.


Texture 5 crop by jane-beata 12 Crop by jane-beata TEXTURE X crop by jane-beata


In general, a few recommendations apply to all material categories:



✿     Watercolor painting technique is hard to learn, but insanely difficult without proper tools. Use high quality equipment from the beginning to be achieve best results and progress.
✿     Even though high quality means more expensive, carefully plan what to buy. In many cases, high price does not equal high quality.
✿     Please, before you put your shoes on and run to a big store, study about art supplies online. Search for an accurate information, even if it's hard to keep the distance from commercial hype.
✿     Finally, test your own supplies and find out what best suits your needs. Keep in mind that products can change in time, companies sometimes modify their manufacturing methods due to business decisions.


✐   1. Paper


DSC 1425 900 pix by jane-beata  DSC 0540 crop by jane-beata

 

Paper embodies the painting, gives it character. It defines how long the painting will survive and how favorably it will impress the viewer. There are tons of reasons to pay a lot of attention to your choice of watercolor paper, especially if you no longer throw your doodles away but exhibit and sell them.

Papers are mouldmade (majority) or handmade. They come in three surface finishes - rough (R), cold-pressed (NOT or NP) and hot-pressed (HOT or HP). Regarding weight, papers available are made within the range of 200 gms (90 lb) to 620 gms (300 lb) - a paper's surface finish varies by weight, heavier sheets by the same manufacturer typically have a coarser texture in the same normal finish. Lastly, consider the paper color, the range of whites varies greatly but variety of cool and warm tints is available. Also, in most papers the rough finish has a slightly darker tone than NP and hot-pressed slightly lighter. This is an important factor to consider, given that paper is the source of light for your watercolor painting.





✿    How papers are made

Paper manufacturers use the fibrous plant material cellulose, which plants use to build the cell walls in stems and leaves.  For European and American papers, cellulose is extracted from cotton, flax (linen) or wood pulp, for traditional Asian papers from jute, kozo, salago or mitsumata. A sheet of paper is basically a thin mat of tangled cellulose fibers. The grade or quality of cellulose is determined by how much of the plant material dissolves in different chemical solutions. Based on this characteristic we know alpha (portion of plant material that does not dissolve in a moderate solution of sodium hydroxide at room temperature) and beta (the dissolved portion that precipitate when an acid is added to the solution) cellulose. Alpha cellulose is the most stable and permanent part of extracted plant material.

Cotton cellulose fibers are called cotton rag, these fibers are flexible and strong, and because they are naturally long, they produce papers that resist tearing. They are almost 100% alpha cellulose, naturally white and already separated, which means little or no bleaching or chemical treatments are necessary. Linen cellulose fibers (from flax) are longer and stronger than cotton, which makes linen papers harder and more translucent. By far the most common source of cellulose in machine-made papers is wood pulp. Cellulose is extracted from wood pulp using either mechanical or chemical methods, resulting in a coarse, brownish paper commonly used in wrapping papers, packaging, newsprint and paperboard. Mechanical methods can leave a considerable residue of lignin, a kind of glue that binds together the cellulose fibers of a living plant. Lignin repels water, causes clumping in the paper pulp during manufacture and becomes acidic and turns a yellow or brown color with age, so it is necessary to remove it completely in quality paper production (look for acid-free papers).

CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION: Cotton cellulose is up to 10 times stronger than wood cellulose and naturally lignin free and acid free. Some residual lignin and chemicals remain in chemically extracted wood cellulose, which cause embrittlement and acidification over time. For this reason, wood pulp papers should generally be avoided for archival or museum quality artwork. Papers made from 100% cotton, 100% linen or pure cotton/linen rag are all suitable for artistic use.





Many painters are not aware that quality papers are more durable than fabric or wood supports. Recent improvements in lightfastness of watercolor pigments mean that today's watercolor paintings can last unchanged for centuries - the standard is archival quality paper with an acid-free or pH neutral furnish. 


✿    Brands & Resources


ARCHESCANSONFABRIANOHAHNEMUHLESENNELIERWINSOR & NEWTONLANGTON

Watercolor paper guideWatercolor papers reviewPaper Stretching








✐   2. Brushes


Brushes 1 900 pix by jane-beata DSC 0320 crop by jane-beata



Brushes you use have an extensive effect on the painting you are able to produce. Beginners might be convinced they lack the ability whilst the reason is brush. On the other hand - no matter how high quality - it's still a brush, not a magic wand. Do practice!

Your choice of brush always depends on your painting technique and working practices. The brand of brush you use is not as important as using a brush you enjoy and trust. Buy sparingly and with reason - few brushes can satisfy all your painting needs. Some of the most important criteria to consider is durability (responsiveness over time) which becomes apparent only after a long use, brush quality - therefore the quality of the tuft material, how they are shaped and secured to the handle which defines how much water it can hold and how long it stands up to use. Beware of some marketing designations that are often misleading such as the word "kolinsky" (I will explain further).



✿ Brush Labeling

In a brushmaker's world, the label "kolinsky" refers to the guard hairs from the tail of the winter pelt  of a male animal. These hair are a distinctive orangish brown with a dark tip. The animal (Mustela sibirica or Siberian weasel) must live in very cold climates for the hair to achieve the desired thickness and length. As kolinskies do not breed in captivity, the reclusive animals must be caught in the wild by vodka fortified trappers. Some "kolinsky"  brushes are made of very different Mustela species, often cultivated in warmer (commercially more convenient) climates, which affects the hair quality. Less desirable grades of hair also called "kolinsky" come from other parts of the pelt, from the pelts of female animals or from summer coats - this hair is sometimes very different from the male winter pelt. As you can see, the word "kolinsky" does not consistently refer to any species of harvested animal, type of hair or hair attributes.




Watercolor brushes come in confusingly wide range of sizes, types and materials. Two most commonly used types (shapes) are round brushes and flat brushes. A high quality round renders a wide range of shapes and effects, holds a good charge of water, wicks up excess paint and rinses out quickly. The extraordinary flexibility of this brush means it is the instrument of choice for "gestural" painters who want a lot of expressiveness in the brush marks. Flat, on the other hand, are chisel shaped brushes with a straight edge. Flats are ideal for laying down large areas of even color or pure water, for shaping precise color edges, building graded washes.

Natural hair is in many respects the superior material to use in a brush. Besides already mentioned kolinsky sables, commonly used hair for brush making include red sable (Martes species, thinner and stiffer than kolinsky), squirrel hair (exceptionally soft, absorbent hair), ox hair (brown or reddish hair taken from the ears of cattle, it's inexpensive and strong, which makes them great for rougher brush techniques), boar bristle (pale or white bristle, very stiff, more suitable for oil or acrylic but watercolorists sometimes use them to add textures to their work), mongoose hair (very distinctive coloring, stiff, holds a lot of liquid - again very suitable for texturing or creating effects), goat hair and camel.

Besides sable brushes, the variety of synthetic fibers on the market is available. The best synthetics are as resilient as sable, as thirsty as squirrel, but they soften and wear quickly in use. Synthetic fibers are made of nylon, polyester or other filaments. Color is not a factor in judging their quality. Synthetics don't usually point well when used alone in a brush, so they are often mixed with natural hair. Many lines of brushes today mix bristle types - these are often bargain and produce perfectly satisfactory results.


✿    Brands & Resources





   3. Paints


DSC 0142 crop by jane-beata


In the past, artists used to make their own materials. Nowadays, painters rely on commercial brand reputation, recommendations from other artists/art books or simply stick to what they know. Good advice does not always last, don't be surprised if you realize one day that the product you always used is somehow different (manufacturers can change their products or simply stop making a specific pigment).


Commercial watercolor paints can be purchased in two most common forms - pans (dry cake in small plastic cans) and tubes (a thick liquid or paste packaged in metal cubes). There's much more to the forms of packaging than difference in price. Dry pan colors are quick to set up and paint with, also very easy to clean up. If well protected, they will store indefinitely. There is no wasted color, they are compact and easy to transport, but also harder to make mixes with and relatively expensive for the amount of pigment they contain. Tubes, on the other hand, are efficient for mixing up large quantities of paint. They are ready for mixing straight from the tube and dissolve quickly in water. However, it's hard to judge just how much paint you need for your next painting, and whatever amount you don't use ends up wasted (re-wetting a dry tube paint on your palette is not recommended). Also, once a tube paint gets contaminated with other colors, it's hard to retrieve. Finally, metal tubes are not ideal packaging solution due to numerous reasons (pigment and its vehicle separate when paint isn't used for some time, the cap sticks if it's gummed up with paint, paint can dry out). Some artists claim that using tube watercolor paints leads to more vibrant results but the difference may simply be due to the fact that it's easier to achieve a high concentration of paint and water (some use paint straight from the tube) - the pigments are identical in either form. Another ugly myth is that pans are for children and students while tubes for "real" artists, in history many exceptional painters preferred pans even in a studio.

With all that being said, I still suggest - if you are an occasional painter - to get pans over tubes, due to practical reasons. 

The newest packaging idea are liquid watercolors - pigment and vehicle prediluted in distilled water. This is a category with significant differences among products. The most popular brand is Dr. Ph. Martin's. These radiant watercolors are not true watercolors (pigment suspensions) but moderately diluted, synchromatic transparent aniline dyes. Many of these colors are exceptionally brilliant but equally fugitive - they stain the paper immediately and cannot be revised. These colors are efficient enough to use in graphical art applications intended for photographic reproduction or printing, but otherwise they are not suitable to be used in an artwork you expect to last for more than a few months.





✿  Other attributes of watercolor paints


Watercolor pigments > are either natural (found in earth, mineral, clay etc.) or synthetic. Here is a great resource to learn everything about the material attributes of paint. When choosing pigments for your palette, use GUIDE TO WATERCOLOR PIGMENTS.

Lightfastness > this factor indicates whether the color you see in a painting today will last. Once you've chosen and purchased paints, it is recommended to do your own lightfastness test.

Transparency > transparent watercolor allows the light to shine through the watercolor paper and in turn lets the white of the paper reflect back. The colors look clean, crisp and appear to glow. Opaque colors, on the other hand, block the light from coming through to the watercolor paper. Instead, the light bounces off the pigment. This can make the colors appear to look dull, even though some of the opaque's are quite vibrant in color. Information about whether the color you've chosen in transparent, semi-opaque or opaque is usually provided in a catalogue.

Staining > Non-staining watercolor pigments will settle on the paper surface once the water has evaporated. These colors allow you to lift the pigment off the surface and reveal the white of the paper underneath. Staining color, in contrast, immediately absorb into the first few layers of watercolor paper and will leave a stained tint of the color. Again, use the recommended GUIDE TO WATERCOLOR PIGMENTS to see which pigments stain strongly and which don't (pigments stain simply due to a very small particle size). Beginners will be better off using non-staining pigments.

"Artist" versus "Student" paints > Some manufacturers offer two lines of watercolor products - artist (finest) quality and a student line that is typically less expensive and comes in a smaller color selection and tube sizes. The cost difference is usually achieved by using less or a lower grade of pigment and the addition of brighteners and fillers. Since price is a poor judge of quality of a product, "professional" paints made by some manufacturers can be of lower quality than student line of the most reputable brands. It is highly recommended to buy the highest quality product and focus on value for your money (tinting strength, lightfastness, packaging quality and color appearance).





✿    Brands & Resources








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Article written for Artist's Toolbox of #projecteducate :dalove: Current week schedule can be viewed HERE
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PE: 5 reasons to believe in yourself

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 7:56 AM


Success is not a measure of how much money you earn or how popular you are, rather, it is being able to find your passion - one that makes you happy and ultimately, one that you would be happy to leave as your legacy. To make a step forward to reach your dream takes smarts and guts but why couldn't you? Here is five reasons why you can.


:bulletpurple: 1. Everyone was born equal

More-less, this is true, some people are born more challenged than others but we all possess skills and ability to learn. It is possible to build something out of nothing if we really want to. It all comes down to our preferences and decisions.



"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Eleanor Roosevelt



:bulletpurple: 2. Overcoming your fears

By constantly challenging yourself, you can get rid of fears that used to follow you. You will no longer be worried, you'll know you can count on yourself.



"If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you're right."

Mary Kay Ash



:bulletpurple: 3. Happiness

When you believe in you, it brings you strength and happiness. Happy people do everything more efficiently and are healthier.



"If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint", than by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."

Vincent Van Gogh



:bulletpurple: 4. It's contagious

Once you start believing in yourself, you will provide a good example for others as well.



"Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you."


Cynthia Kersey

 



:bulletpurple: 5. You are all you have

The truth is, even at times when nobody's got your back, you can stand still and focused. After all, you have nothing less than yourself in this world.


 
"I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not."


Kurt Cobain




Do you believe in yourself?


Share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:

:frail:



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Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Surprise Community Week :frail:
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9 ways to overcome (artistic) Frustration



Everyone has heard of it, everyone fears the very sight of it, but if you are an artist, there is a good chance it creeps at you regularly, more often than a flu, in various forms and intensity; in psychology, Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition / obstacle, is related to anger and disappointment and its strength depends on the size of the established challenge. When Frustration calls you more often than your mother does, it's time to take an action!

1. - TAKE A WALK

Try to get your feelings straight by walking it out of your system. Is it raining or snowing? Even better, get soaked and dry out.

2. - SHIFT YOUR FOCUS

Sleep on it. Make yourself busy with small repetitive tasks, watch a good movie or comedy, play a game, visit your family or a friend, cook a new recipe, get a haircut, tidy up your room or house, watch a documentary, have a chocolate, take a horse riding lesson, play with a child, but try not to take this stage too long.

3. - ACCEPT THE REALITY

When you once have facts about the cause of your condition straight, make your peace with it. No matter how soothing it is to deny the reality, being honest with yourself is the only way to get you back on your feet.

4. - GET PHYSICAL WITH IT, EXERCISE

Emotional and mental condition is tightly bound with your body, workout will not only encourage your metabolism but get endorphins (hormones of happiness) into your brain.

5. - OFFER HELP TO SOMEONE

Besides doing a good thing, the feeling of being useful will give you a new strength.

6. - LOOK AT THE SITUATION FROM THE VIEW OF FUTURE

This is a great exercise, it will make you see things globally. From the bird's eyeview, even a really huge dark hole looks like a tiny dot.

7. - WRITE A JOURNAL

Even a public one, here on DA. Get it out there, sometimes it is a response from other people who are going through the same trouble that will help you to overcome it.

8. - LOVE THE CAUSE - REVIVE MOTIVATION

What can motivate better than love? Try to open your heart, make a list of things you love about your work/project/whatever the object of your efforts is, recollect happy moments you experienced in the past - you'll see this must be worth fighting for!

9. - WRITE YOUR OWN LIST OF WAYS TO OVERCOME FRUSTRATION

..and share it with your friends, on your blog, in your journal. Next time it strikes, you will be prepared!


The most important thing is to realize that Frustration is a part of the Struggle and Struggle is a gate to a new level - THAT level we seek to reach. Is dealing with being frustrated from time to time a good thing - than? I think so.




What is your experience with Frustration? Do you have regular ways to overcome it or does it surprise you unprepared? How long does it take you to get "stabilized" again?


Share your thoughts in the comments below :heart:





Turn frustration... by HugickaSuppressed frustration II by KvikkenFrustration by jvg246

You're my frustration by fluorescent2892

same old frustration by MerdollFrustration by 12of8Frustration - Co-Production by ttancredi

My mind's frustration by aTTe-1 FRUSTRATION. by Eyadoos


Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Surprise Community Week :heart:
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