Interesting art by design.

Okay, I've returned from two weeks in Spain, much refreshed and completely recovered from three days of jet lag.

So, before I get into the meat of this week's blog post, let me recap what I was saying a few weeks ago.

One of the great ways you can grow as an artist is to learn from the work of other, better artists. By trying to emulate the things you like about another artist's work, your own work can improve.

I used this painting by Anne London as one example.

The first step in your growth process is to figure out what attracts you to this person's work.

Two things I really like about Anne's work are:
1. The way she keeps her images very simple (this is hard to do) and
2. The way she focuses most of the detail in one area (the star of the picture).

Now those two ideas aren't totally dependent on me drawing with charcoal over background washes like she does.

Nor are those two ideas only applicable to painting or drawing animals. 

The Point is…

…to emulate the things you like about that artist's work that you can gradually learn to use…

…in your own way and…

…with any subject you choose.

(I'll get more into this in just a moment).

The first step in beginning to learn from another artist is to pick those one or two ideas and plan how you can use them in your own work.

Planning is where sketching comes in.

It is very simple to do these little drawings and imagine ways you can use either your drawing or painting medium and the ideas you want to copy.

I showed you this design sketch previously.

In it I’m trying to imagine how I could use Anne's loose washes, her simple imagery and create an interesting design.

I don't want to use charcoal, but by sketching and using my imagination, I can find ways to create her looseness and imaginative use of tone and line.

When I start feeling excited by my design sketch, that's the time to try my idea in paint.

And I want to point out something important here. Getting out my paints and brushes doesn't mean I have to work large.

You know; do a "real painting."

This little watercolor is only about 5 inches by 6 inches. Yet I can incorporate and practice all the things I want to learn to do.

And I can do that more quickly and easily than if I tried them in a much larger work.

I can just play and have fun without the fear that can accompany a "real painting."

That really is the bear truth

Best Wishes,

Gary Gumble
Founder of
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernard Shaw)

P.S. But what if you aren't interested in drawing or painting animals?

Well then, you can't possibly learn anything from Anne London, right?

The answer to that question is no you can't…if you focus only on the subject she paints.

That is true for the work of every other good artist.

You only begin to learn something valuable when you focus on the how and the why an artist does what he or she does.

I'm going to show you next time that the two ideas I borrowed from Anne London to paint my bear apply just as much to an entirely different subject.

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