Second GIANT step in creating...

…good art is planning what it will look like.

In my experience simply trying to imagine it all in your mind doesn't really work. In your mind everything works fine and looks great.

Then you start putting paint to paper and... 

You suddenly find that picture in your mind doesn't really tell you how you are going to make it all work.

To recap for just a moment, I began this planning process in last week's blog post by saying you can learn a lot from studying the work of artists you admire.

You can start trying their ideas in your own work, and I used this example of Anne London's work.

If Anne's work appealed to you, you could begin by asking yourself: what do I like about her work that I want to see in my own?

Two big things I like are:
1. How she really simplifies her subject and…
2. The way she uses strongly designed color shapes.

You can see more of what I mean here: Anne London

So the next GIANT step in your creative planning is figuring out how you are going to introduce those two qualities in your next piece of art.

You would plan how you are going to do that by doing sketches and using your imagination.

For instance, in my first sketch I am trying to create a strong, interesting color shape. I try to imagine how I could do that with an initial wash of watercolor or smeared pastel or thinned oil paint.

I keep trying to focus only on what I want to be the most important details.

I take what I like about this sketch and strengthen it in my next sketch.

I like the diagonal color shape, but it needs to be more interesting. I imagine how I can give the color shape a looser feel.

What if I used diagonal color strokes like she does? I try that, and I like it better.

I begin to imagine how I could put in some loosely painted shadow areas on the bears face.

I want to put more definition in his face, but still maintain the strong diagonal design.

I imagine how I might subtly apply white paint over my color shape to create just enough simple highlights on its head.

I try a couple simple lines to define parts of its body. I want to keep this simple and only partially define them.

In my last sketch I keep the diagonal, but here I try a little more definition in the face. I want to still keep the color shapes loose and free.

I try using stronger lines to define parts of its body. I try to imagine how that will look over the first wash of color.

I'm excited by this last idea.

This is how you work out a good plan for a good piece of art.

Best Wishes,

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

P.S. All these sketches were done about 4 inches high.

They were done fairly quickly using tracing paper, a 4B pencil and a kneaded eraser.

I've mentioned before the virtues of sketching on tracing paper. Do you remember?

I am going to complete in color the design that excited me most.

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