I’m thinking about starting to draw and paint. I have almost no experience doing this except for doodling, making posters and backdrops in a non-professional capacity. The main reason I’m doing this is to get my children interested in art. I would prefer that they make art, rather than watch videos or play video games, among other reasons. I also have a desire to paint in the style of Kenneth Patchen, whose art I really like. To start off, I’m thinking of getting some large sheets of paper, sketching and then painting. I have no idea about materials or a good approach, so if you have any advice, I’d love to hear from you. (Btw, I’m not really planning to teach my kids. My plan was just to start painting, figuring that my children would eventually become interested and want to try it out for themselves. But if anyone has tips on getting my kids started, I’d love to hear that, too.)
I suggest you find a place where adults are taught drawing to start. From there you can go to painting. Make sure you can see the work of the teacher who is teaching the class first, and talk to people about their teaching style before committing to any money for a class.
I don’t know if there is an equivalent where you are, but in New York there is The Art Students League and places like the 92nd Street Y which offer art classes that are not credit based and therefore less expensive than if you took an Adult Education class at a certified college/art school.
P.S. — enroll your kids in art classes. Museums often have them as part of a program for children. Kids naturally gravitate toward art in some form or another. You just have to find what they like to do best, even if it’s not traditional — such as making masks, puppets, costumes, etc. etc.
I suggest you find a place where adults are taught drawing to start.
You’re saying I should take a class? Ugh. It’ s not that I don’t think this would be helpful, but I just don’t know if I have the time or energy for this. If my painting depends on this, I might never start.
Btw, I’m not really thinking about “painting” per se. Maybe “making pictures” might be a better way to describe it.
At some point, I want to do this. For now, I hope to expose and entice them by doing it myself.
1. Educate yourself.
2. Practice daily.
3. Escape wage slavery.
Not necessarily in that order.
You’re saying I should take a class? Ugh.
Lol my sentiments exactly. I’ve tried a couple times to paint some pictures, and it’s fun to do, but my finished products are always pretty crappy.
I would like to get better, but I think doing something structured like a class would kill my desire to do it in the first place – make it more of a chore than a hobby. I took a year of piano lessons when I was a kid and then just played on my own after that, and I got fairly good, but then when I was in college I took another year of lessons to see if I could get actually good, and that made me lose my interest in piano for a really long time. Only recently have I gotten back into it, so I’m at least happy my interest in it didn’t die forever!!
So I wouldn’t want to do something like that with painting. Also, I have very unsteady hands, so I would feel hesitant to go to a class in the first place since I don’t think I’ll every be able to paint anything realistically or precisely.
So my advice is to just go for it, but my only results from that have been a handful of crappy paintings, so maybe a class would be good…
Do you have any advice for materials (paints, inks, paper, etc.)—especially with cost and ease of use in mind?
Drawing is the basis for a lot. That’s why I suggest it. No pressure, but if you find the right teacher, it could be a good way to start — i.e. with a class.
Also, what you are learning about is light and color and composition, etc. You don’t have to be Leonardo Da Vinci. Even abstract art benefits from these basic things.
Take a class, and draw, and paint, a LOT on your own.
Like any skill, art is not something you can do well (or at all really) without hard work.
Jazz — this is why I say start with drawing. All you need for most classes is a large pad, charcoal, and something to push the charcoal with to shade.
It doesn’t seem like black and white translate into color, but they do. There is a relationship.
OK, you’re making a compelling case for taking a class.
In the meantime, what do you think of my plan to draw/paint in the style of Patchen? I’m thinking of using a regular pencil to sketch something out and then paint it with either some cheap type of paint or even crayon or color markers.
Take it. It will not be like being in school. You will very likely enjoy it for that reason, and be more interested in continuing.
Well, I’d have to find a good teacher, which might be a challenge in and of itself. Then, there’s the problem of distance. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find a good class close to home. We’ll see.
Look into museums, community centers, and other less formal art institutions. Hell you could even look up the teachers’ names on the internet to see their work, in advance of visiting the school.
I looked at Patchen’s work when I read the opening para of your thread. It looks like folk art. If you like that look, then you have to experiment till you find your style. You can do this in conjunction with taking a class. Even something like collage, where you are not doing a lot of drawing or any, is a good way to explore where you want to go with your work.
Experiment experiment experiment. Try anything that grabs your fancy, at least once. A lot is the medium you like to work in. Some mediums are horrible for some people, but perfect for others. It’s very much a physical process as much as anything else. This is very different artwork done on a computer or camera, where your hand is at least once removed from your work (unless in the case of the latter, you also do your own developing, or in the case of the former, you’re rigging up your computer to do wild stuff).
Folk art is always highly individualistic, by the by. And personal.
My plan was just to start painting, figuring that my children would eventually become interested and want to try it out for themselves.
Bless you. This is my favourite of sentences you’ve typed.
Go to a craft store. Speak to the sales assistant. (Do you remember your first time in a craft store? What was it like?)
Or to nature, a la Séraphine.
If you like that look, then you have to experiment till you find your style.
That might be jumping ahead a bit. I’m content on doing something completely derivative—just so long as its fun and enjoyable. Maybe if I improve or like it a lot more, I’ll get more serious about it.
Thanks for this^. It’s important for me to keep this in mind, in the event that my original approach fails. Maybe the medium is the problem; there might be one I’m better suited to. (This is good to keep in mind for my kids, too.)
Go to a craft store. Speak to the sales assistant. (Do you remember your first time in a craft store? What was it like?) Or to nature, a la Séraphine.
I remember going to a craft store—mostly for car models or those tiny electric cars. I can’t remember any of my interactions with the sales people, though. But this is a good idea, too.
Something that was very helpful for me was drawing flowers. Part of it was I really enjoyed the incentive to study the flowers closely. Might not work if you don’t care so much for flowers. I got a pad of cheap newsprint, pencils, and colored chalk. And I filled the whole pad with flowers ranging from ones as precise and detailed as I could draw to ones that were abstract and impressionistic.
I tried to do this with trees, but I was so unhappy with the drawings that I gave up. Flowers might work better. I’ll think about this, thanks.
Haha finally, a thread where I can contribute something useful since I do this for a living.
Everyone has a different approach to things, but if you haven’t done painting or drawing for a while, start from a blank slate, get a feel for it and don’t spend too much on materials. Craft stores are best for initial materials- dry media like pencils, charcoal, also watercolor, ink and brushes. Newsprint sheets are good for sketching with charcoal or crayons, and cheap. Don’t worry much about drawing actual subjects. I think beginners often concentrate too early on detailed drawings, which make the process feels more like a homework, less enjoyable and frustrating. Grab a sheet and draw- loosen up your arms, wrist and fingers first- lines, circles, up, down, cross-hatch, or simply just doodle! Try and experiment around with ink or watercolor and watch your strokes get absorved on the paper. Just play and see how you feel after a few tries. You can do all these with your kids, but make sure they enjoy it as well.
Also, it’s good to keep a small pocket-sized sketchbook where you can fill it with simple drawings and random ideas.
I know it all sounds elementary, but they will teach you the same thing in the first days of any basic drawing class. Even professionals ocassionally go through the same warm-ups once every often. Drawing is a perishable skill and it’s easy to get rusty.
BTW attending an art class is not a bad way to start, if time permits.
I think beginners often concentrate too early on detailed drawings, which make the process feels more like a homework, less enjoyable and frustrating.
This is so true. And you can feel the frustration in their work.
It’s a physical thing, as Nightshift says, and yes, if you don’t do it a lot, just like all physical things like running, for example, you will get rusty.
^That’s the part I find frustrating. At one time I worked my way to a decent competence, but when I try drawing something now, I’m mostly discouraged that I cannot do it as well as I once could.
Ah but unlike something like dance or athletics, Downbylaw, you can do drawing till your hands literally are incapable of moving, and even then, people find ways…
I mean, suppose you gained weight — do you just feel bad looking at pictures of yourself when you were thin, or do you start dieting and exercising so you can lose it and feel more like yourself again? I think the answer is that what was true before, can be true again.
Ok, I’ll grant you that regaining my peak drawing performance will be much easier than regaining my peak rock climbing performance. Of course, at my best I was a pretty good at climbing, but not so great at drawing.
The real effect is that I cannot decide on a lark that I’d like to do one picture. Instead, I’d have to decide that I’ll set aside time and draw regularly for the next two or three months. It would probably take less effort than I suspect particularly if I took Nightshift’s advice and carried a small sketchbook around. There’s just that inertia hurdle to getting started. But Jazz is being a great inspiration here.
Instead, I’d have to decide that I’ll set aside time and draw regularly for the next two or three months. It would probably take less effort than I suspect particularly if I took Nightshift’s advice and carried a small sketchbook around. There’s just that inertia hurdle to getting started. But Jazz is being a great inspiration here.
Just do it. :)
Some really good advice and encouragement from all! Mahalo! (Hopefully, I can make progress on this soon.)
I always drew, and sought out photo-realistic perfection with a pencil when I was a kid. Eventually I got there—I can draw anything and make it look like a photograph, but this is a tight-ass way to look at drawing as art. Pencil is great for learning things like perspective, light and shading, composition and so on. But standing in front of an easel with a chunk of charcoal unfettered by the need for photo-realism completely freed me and opened up a whole new world.
So wherever you start, start with still-lifes. Set up some vases or fruit and draw them. Once you’ve gotten past the basics, if it’s something you still enjoy, you might find your own style breaking out. Also, I wouldn’t start with the human form unless you’re okay with avoiding the face and hands, since these are really hard to get right. Again, charcoal over pencil can help you here since things don’t need to be so tight.
Painting is something I’ve only recently picked up, and the tricks I learned about lighting and composition definitely carry over, but there is no end to learning about layering color, not to mention choosing a brush.
Fun stuff, and I really hope you share some of your work here.
drawing and painting come naturally to me, my mother is an artist although her style is quite different to mine, there is some similarity in the way we approach art, to be honest i’m not sure how one would teach art, so i am quite wary of classes on the subject, they can teach you how to use materials and i suppose they can help with motivation but beyond that, i don’t see what you could learn. though, saying that, if you’re interested in painting figures a good thing to consider are life drawing classes, they allow you to experiment and i’ve taken many of these classes just for the opportunity to have a life model. but of course you could do this at home with objects etc, whatever you are interested in.
getting children interested in art is easy! make it messy and fun and they will love it. i make lots of art with my little sister, collages, finger painting etc.