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Tips for Amateur Artists --young and senior

Hi Frie nds,

I give frie ndly tips to improve your art [drawing and painting] base d on my e xpe rie nce
as an amte ur artist for the past 40 ye ars or more ..I e njoy drawing and painting in
diffe re nt me dia....I le arnt art in a re gular ,we ll known art school in Mumbai for a ye a r
but le ft it a nd came to US A for graduate studie s at Columbia Unive rsity, Ne w York....NY
be ing the art capital of the world, I continue d my inte re st in art ---by visiting do ze ns of
muse ums in NY--e spe cailly the Me tropolitan Muse um [Me t muse um] and also those in
Wa shington,D C and vsiting th e private galle rie s---window shopping only.

Now I a m a re tire d guy---officially a se nior citize n--living in Palo Alto,e njoyin g the a rt
and cra ft a tmosphe re of this inte lle ctual community he re .
I e njoy drawing and painting with the simple st of tools---ordinary graphite pe ncils
[e ve n HB,numbe r 2 pe ncil] crayons,oil paste ls,wate r color,acrylic----no more oil pain ting
with me ssy mixe s and linse e d oils-.Late ly I use lot of colore d pe ncil--plain and wate r-
soluble --difficult me dium and slow --whe n compare d to the smooth,swift paste ls and oil
paste ls,but good for de tails and a varie ty of rich colors...Try color pe ncils--the y a re
ine xpe nsive anyway and doe s not ge t harde ne d like wate r color tube s or acrylic tube s...

I must admit that I have not sold a single painting to anyone ---so what? Vince nt van
Gogh did not se ll a single painting in his life time ,de pe nde d on his brothe r.The o, wh o
was a n art de ale r to support him, but de clare d himse lf "I am the gre ate st artist alive
today"! ---we ll,I dont de clare myse lf like that! I have give n away my paintings as gifts to
frie nds a nd re lations...many admire my paintings and have words of praise ...we ll --e n joy
your proce ss of painting as a hobby---that is more important---You can of course se ll
your pa intings through on-line store s the se days world-wide --try that ,if you ne e d
mone y....

Now for practical tips:

1 Practise drawing /ske tching e ve ry day---re ligiously--at le ast for an hour.....Draw
anything you like --kitche n ite ms --pot and pans,garde n tools,tre e s,flowe rs,house s,still
life of a ll kinds---fruits,vase s, wate r mugs,pe t animals, dolls,toys...Your skills will improve
on all aspe cts of drawing and painting only by re gualr practise of drwaing and
ske tching....Use scraps fo pape r for ske tching---I like those colore d pape rs that come in
junk ma il or ads with one page blank...colle ct the m and use the m for ske tching.

2 Use simple tools for drawing ---just graphite pe ncil---HB- No2 pe ncil will do...But
pra ctise with softe r pe ncils----2B,4B and 6B are gre at...the y he lp you to draw swiftly,with
smooth curve s,fre e -flowing-----Dont look for de tails....re pre se nt 'big masse s' first....Focus
on la rge masse s---For instance ,if you want to draw a woman,look for he r large he a d,big
bre a sts, hips, butts,thighs,he avy calf muscle s and draw the m first...go to nose ,e ye s and
mouth late r....dont start with fine r de tails...this is the way to le arn to draw....DO NT GO TO

3 Dont wa ste mone y on e xpe nsive so calle d 'artist quality' or 'profe ssional brands' to
start with ----stude nt quality or scholast grade stuff----pe ncils,paints,paste ls will do ....you
le arn a lot using the se mate rials...late r you can graduate to costly mate rials---arch ival
qua ltiy or fade -re sistant......Do not go by what the books and e xpe rts te ll you on th is ---to
buy e xpe nsive mate rial...the re is not much diffe re nce be twe e n stude nt qualtiy and
profe ssional quality in most case s.Buy through on-line store s at low rate s---dont go to a rt
&craft store s who charge twice that of online store s....

4 O ne wa rning though---go for good quality me dium--pape r.canvas e tc....brushe s...the

Most important,go for good quality paint brushe s and the y make a big diffe re nce whe n
you handle the m.
5 Now the most important tip: Always practise drwaing and painting in large size s..take
12x20 in pape r,fix to the e ase l or tape to a wall, start painting or drawing...dont ke e p
doing in small size s---start with atle ast 9inx12in pad.....Bigge r the drwaing pad, fr e e r you
will fe e l---daub in big blobs....go for large figure s...Late r you can do mini's....Le arn by
dra wing a nd painting large pie ce s....many school te ache rs dont te ach this.

6 My anothe r advice for amate urs...Dont be come an e xpe rt in one me dium such as wate r
color or a crylic .Try and e xplore diffe re nt me dia for atle ast a fe w ye ars, be fore you
automatically be come e xpe rt in one me dium..this is the day of MULTI-MEDIA ARTIS TS .

7. As an artist, you have to le arn about four things:

* Form and shape
* tone s or tonal value s
* light and shadow
* pe rspe ctive
You le a rn all the se e asily with pe ncil drawings....Do that first.
You ca n bre ak down any comple x shape into simple shape s
----cube ,sphe re ,cone ,cylinde r...With the se you can always build up a figure .For insta nce ,
a ma le 's ne ck can be drawn first as a cylinde r; a woman's le gs as tape re d cylinde r.
Look for bulk forms,dont worry about small obje cts/shape s in your e arly e fforts.

The most important part of training is to se e tonal value s...Artists squint to se e th e dark
are as first and draw the m...You can have five de gre e s of tone s---pitch dark ,to dark,to
light dark,slightly dark to pure white ....Try to se e the are as that have the se value s a nd
re cord the m.This is the most important part of any drawing/painting...Take care of da rk
va lue a re as first....

Note the dire ction of light ,the source of light ;you can have more than one source o f
light.Furthe r note the shadows.S hadows have shape s .Draw a thin outline of shadow
are as.The n look close ly.The shadow are as have tonal value s..it is not e ntire ly pitch
dark.The shadow may vary from de e p dark to just light are as...S tudy the shadows ca st by
tre e s,house s,e ve ry day obje cts and humans.
Pe rspe ctive is the te chnique to de pict thre e dime nsional world on two dime ntional pa p e r
or conva s....You will le arn a lot about pe rspe ctive if you draw a row of house s in a
stre e t...practise this...the n le arn about vanishing point [VP] and so on.This is a difficult
subje ct ;but practice make s it e asy.

8 Re ad a couple of books on 'art history'...the re are many books with the title "S tor y of
painting" or similar one s...But dont spe nd too mcuh time on the se books.Inste ad visit a rt
muse ums and galle rie s..

9 A cla ssic me thod of le arning art is to copy the picture s of maste rs---the ir maste r
pie ce s.Ta ke simple one s---not Gue rnica by Picasso...S e le ct artists who appe al to
you.S implify the ir picture ...Look for major obje cts in the ir picture s.

10. The re are ple nty of art books in the marke t...Practice more ...But again some the o rie s
,such as right brain approach' are give n by some instructors...Just practice and fe e l your
way through...art is not so much a brain activity---it is more of a he art-fe e ling
re sponse ....
In the final analysis, you must love the subje ct [not just the mode l] to fe e l and paint
we ll....Do not have spe cific goals about drawing or painting ...just ke e p going....Ha ve a
balance be twe e n approach and the various skills you have to le arn.Books he lp you with
skills...The appraoch is your own thing----Be original! Be O riginal!


You ca n contact me at nksrinivasan at hotmail dot com.

Give your comme nts/fe e dback and ask que stions....Ke e p in touch and ke e p painting...te lle
about your e xpe rie nce s.!!

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