You can learn to draw and paint
Yes, you really can! Many people think that learning to draw and
paint is difficult if not impossible. In fact, it need not be. If
would-be artists treated the subject as fun and went about it in the
right way, it could be possible for nearly every one, like learning to
drive a vehicle. At first it may seem hard, but it isn’t if the basic
instruction is correct. Once you have discovered now to draw landscapes,
animals, people illustrations and all other things you should have no
problem at all managing with any subject.
When tackling any new skill it is common sense to expect and accept
that lots of mistakes will be made. It’s part of the learning process.
It is not unusual for students with no previous experience of
draughtsmanship suddenly to discover that they can put down accurately
what they see. It requires just three things for this to happen.
Two fishermen pulling the net in full force
1. The ability to look properly.
2. Self confidence.
3. The capacity to remember and carry out basic instructions.
I believe the term ‘gifted’ is too lightly used in respect of
artists. Only one in every million or so can be truly said to be gifted.
The rest of us are craftsmen with different degrees of skill. If you can
write your name properly then you have enough touch to learn to draw.
Start with landscapes and seascapes
It is always easier for a beginner to start with simple subjects such
as landscape, still-life and pen and ink line drawings. We’ll start with
a reminder about how useful a pencil could be to start drawing. The
pencil by the way, can be used to give a good idea of the slope and
angle of the subject be drawn. Just hold your pencil at arm’s length by
one end and shut the eye which is to your master one. Hold vertically or
horizontally as appropriate. Squint along the straight line provided by
your pencil against the subject. Then you can see if the like which you
want to draw is vertical horizontal or slope. This will be your aid to a
Drawing pencils graded 2B and 4B are ideal for sketches. A soft
eraser is necessary as a hard one will damage the drawing paper. A size
A4 cartridge drawing pad or good quality kent, or whatman paper which is
cheaper to buy in sheets - should enable to get going. To start with. I
suggest to draw black and white line drawings.
Black and white drawings
Black and white drawings have a special charm and power indeed.
You practice on drawing, landscapes is as simple drawing seascape.
The techniques for your pen are equally same. Most artistes enjoy
sketching and paintings rolling waves, sunny sands, boats, or majestic
rocks. A seashore scene may at first glance, seems to contain very
little. When you are painting beach scenes, avoid being boring. Most
student paintings fail because of people of poor composition. Always try
and pose your scenes with a simple foreground which makes it easy for
the viewer to enter your picture and be led to the centre of interest.
Don’t clutter your beaches with too much fiddly details. Keep it very
simple and put on the paint with authority and leave it fresh and
For instance, observe the paintings I have done in this article. To
express my view of a seaside scene, the boats at the distance, the calm
sea waves, the sky with cool blues of the clouds and gradually to
I have used subtle modulation of colour texture and tone to create a
lively impression of the seashore. These subtle details are pleasing to
the eye, but they don’t detract from the focal point of the picture
which is the two fishermen pulling the net and I have titled the picture
as “Life struggle”. To make the picture more lively, I have introduced a
boat and one at the far distance and a fisherman’s hut by the side and a
shady tree in dark tones.
I felt the best way to describe the seashore is the expression of
value contrast in colours. It is the quality of using pure clear
transparent pigments, thus increasing the impression of light
luminously. Remember colour is an equal and essential partner when
portraying light. It is not enough to squint your eyes and see only
values. You must look into the shadows and identify the colours that are
there. Look for the warm colours in the shade and cools in sunlight. It
takes some practice to allow your eyes to see shapes, values and colours.
Life to a picture
The eye is always drawn to human figures in a landscape, and their
inclusion can turn an ordinary subject into a striking picture. Figures
can make or mar a landscape; so many people know this and are afraid to
take the risk - far better to assume that the street scene is painted at
five o’clock in the morning before anyone is up. It’s always a big
decision as to whether to put figures in a landscape or not.
That great watercolourist William Turner nearly always used them. If
you go through a collection of his prints and cover up the figures
you’ll see how much his landscapes depended on them.
Be sure that whatever figure you do put in is an integral part of the
picture and not just a small afterthought. They can be used in different
ways to give life movement and scale to a scene. You will observe the
two fishermen in action with full force pulling the net holding the
ropes and the body to a rhythm.
The most important thing is the action and the gesture. You don’t
need to know anything about anatomy just that the parts should relate
together correctly and are in the right-proportion.