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September to Christmas Terms 2020

September to Christmas Terms 2020

Small Children Friday 4pm till 6pm – Congratulations to everyone who attended the classes, once more great work was achieved.  This is only a selection of the work, hopefully everybody gets included.

The small children’s class is specifically designed to teaching art to young children.  I try to create an atmosphere of fun and creativity, teaching the children form, colour, perspective, painting techniques and drawing techniques.  I love the small childrens drawings and paintings as they have a great feel of creativity and individuality.

We always start off the term drawing, in this project the children learn how to create form using shape, how to create the shape using a scaled drawing and how to create tone using colour.  After this we went onto learning how to paint a dog, using the techniques once more looking at shapes and creating the painting using a paint brush flicking technique.  Then we drew, foxes, cows, birds, donkeys, snowman with bird, portraits with hand and flower and cats.  The students pick what they want to learn how to draw and paint., each projects lasts 2 hours.


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Children’s classes – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday 4pm till 6pm

This is my biggest group of children, spread over 4 classes.  Here the children learn once more form in drawing and painting.  How a drawing is broken down into foreground, mid ground and backgrounds, how to use different paint brushes and pallet knives to create different marks.  How to be versatile in their brush application.  The colour spectrum and how to different colours using the primary colours.  We covered, seascapes, landscapes, still life, how to draw and paint animals and birds and portraits.

The first five weeks is fairly structured with me giving the children a range of drawings and paintings, which they can choose from.  The last two weeks of the term the children choose as a class usually what medium they would like to create art in, usually it is spray painting, crayon art and modelling clay.

Congratulations to everyone who attended the classes, once more great work was achieved.

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Advanced childrens class – Saturday morning from 9am till 11am.

This class was created for children, who are improvers.  I created this class so that the students who are improving can be pushed onto the next level of painting, drawing and modelling.

We covered a variety of subject matter here, we always start off with a still life drawing, this time its an apple.  How to create a simple seascape, how to paint trees using pallet knives and fan brushes.  Portraiture is always a big area, but now the students are learning how to draw in perspective, how to draw and paint teeth, how to draw and paint hands in different perspectives

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Teenage Class Advanced – Saturday 1:30 to 3:30

This is my most advanced class, here the students start to fine tune their painting and drawing techniques.  In the seascapes the waves are turning and there is a splash against the rocks and the water can be seen flowing onto the sand.

At this stage the students understand the process of portraiture and understand perspective and skin tones.  Portraiture is one of the hardest of the areas in

Landscapes are created using pallet knives and brushes, using disappearing points to create perspective.  The students have now come to a point where they are becoming creative and start to use and understand their creativity in creating their own art.

Congratulations to everyone who attended the classes, once more great work was achieved.

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Summer Camp 2020

Summer Camp 2020

Congratulations to all the young artists that participated in Summer Camp 2020, once more incredible work was created.

Day One – Drawing

Learning to draw with shapes, tone, how to scale drawings, how to draw figures and animals, how to draw a portrait.

Day Two – Portraits

How to create a portrait, how to use the eye as a unit of measure, How to draw the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hair and how to create skin tone.

Day Three – Painting

How to create colours form the primary colours, how to recognise tone through colour, how to paint a Landscape, How to paint a Seascape, How to paint an Urban scape, How to paint figures, How to paint animals.

Day Four – Craft

How to model in Clay, How to create drawings using Crayons, How to create paintings using Spray Paint.

Day Five – Students Choice

Basically they can do anything they like on these days as a group or split into groups, painting, drawing, clay, crafts, etc.

Young Teenagers Art Camp

Portrait and hands breakdown, teenage class up

Portrait and hands breakdown, teenage class up

Hi everybody, just going to load up a load of images here on the breakdown of portraits and hands, just knock yourselves out.  Get Yourselves a Sketchbook and start working, practice makes perfect, Just Enjoy, well within your capabilities.  Work with as many mediums as possible, chalks, pencils, paint, anything you can get your hands on.  Did you know you can paint with coffee and tea, experiment, and write into your sketch book what mediums you are working with.

I will be looking for your sketch books when we get back to normal.

Remember the face is easy to draw just draw the line down vertical first then divide the page into 7 equal sections, using the eye as your unit of measure.  If you forget go into the how to draw a portrait teaching module.


old woman

Remember when drawing the hands to break them into blocks

Your sketch book is for exploring, when you have finished all the above, don’t touch the full portrait yet, break it down into eyes, nose, mouth, ears, different perspectives of the face first.


Portfolio Post – NCAD Portfolio submission and criteria for LSAD Portfolio

Portfolio Post – NCAD Portfolio submission and criteria for LSAD Portfolio

The portfolio for NCAD is very different than the portfolio for example,

Limerick School of Art.

LCAD portfolio submission consists of 15 A1 pages displaying all of your skills, from life drawing, portraits, seascapes, landscapes, still life, animation, and sketch books.

This assessment is to determine your artistic/creative suitability and will consist of a review of your portfolio and a written assignment which helps to determine your comprehension of contemporary art and design practice.

The portfolio will be scored out of 600 with a minimum score of 240 required. Only those who are successful at this stage will be considered for places. As the number of applicants who are successful after the Portfolio Assessment is normally greater than the number of places available, the system of final selection is done on the basis of points. The portfolio score will be added to the Leaving Certificate score to rank you for entry.

A successful portfolio should adhere to the following guidelines
  • Make it Exciting: Make your Portfolio reflect how enthusiastic you are about the prospect of studying Art & Design. Choose only your best work; work that expresses your skills, your abilities, your interests, your personality.
  • Careful Presentation: You don’t have to spend lots of money on expensive presentation boards, mounts and sleeves, but all work will look better if it is carefully presented. Take time to order your portfolio into a neat, tidy and well-presented representation of your work.
  • Be selective: Don’t put everything in. We will only look at a maximum of 15 sheets. These sheets may, however, contain more than one image, drawing or photograph of 3D work. (If your portfolio contains more than 15 sheets you may be asked to withdraw work. Please avoid the embarrassment, by adhering to the 15 sheet limit.)
  • Sketchbooks: Please include a maximum of three sketchbooks. These should contain analytical studies which explore and investigate aspects of your environment.
  • Label it. Make sure your name is on the front of your closed portfolio, and neatly label all the work inside, on the reverse side, with titles, where relevant, and approximate dates.
  • Your Assignment: Be sure to include your portfolio assignment. This forms part of your portfolio assessment and must be included in your portfolio.

National College of Art & Design

NCAD is completely different there portfolio is the following.

The portfolio must be submitted to NCAD, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, by 4.30pm on Friday 07 February at the latest.  There are 9 areas that you can submit your portfolio for in NCAD, 1st Year Common Entry, Fine Art, Illustration, Product Design, Graphic Design/Moving images, Fashion Design, Interaction Design, Textiles and Surface Design.

I am going to pick 1st year Common Entry.

Common Entry brings together a mix of creative minds. You will learn as much from your peers as from your tutors and lecturers. You will broaden your frame of reference, discover new potential and be guided as to which area of art or design fits your specific skillset.

Your First Year Common Entry portfolio should be inquisitive and deeply explorative. Using primary sources for inspiration, show us your fascination with the world around you. We want to see you combine your curiosity with observational, research and problem-solving skills to re-interpret your surroundings and develop new forms of visual expression.

You are given a list of words and it is for you to expand these words and explore.

Pick one or more of the following guide words to explore. Expansion, Territory, Remnant, Departure, Encounter, Restriction, Gradient, Hurdle, Affinity

For example; what would happen if you expanded an every day object slowly over the period of a week (i.e. your cat) ? Could you place an unusual restriction on the cat, (could it survive outside, without food, love or heat) Can you think of ways to explore the cat and interact it with your own territory in an interesting and new way? The possibilities are endless here and there is nothing holding you back from your own creativity.

Your portfolio will be assessed using the following criteria:

1. Research and observation Come up with your own ideas from the guide words above. Play around with them, mix them up, put them together and take them apart. Observe everything around you. Look at minute details and the bigger picture. Think about the materials that you like to work with and research other artists who work with those materials. This is the stage where you should put the time and effort into really looking and observing and seeing what is already out there in order to change it, or improve it. Create some mind maps using different guide words and push the boundaries of what you already know.

2. Creative ideas – outcomes of your research and observation Use your Research and Observation to generate lots of ideas – practical, wild or futuristic. Try different things, work with new media and experiment. You can draw, paint, sculpt, photograph, try mark-making, digital imagery, videography, sewing, anything you can think of. Refine your skills and come up with visual solutions. What materials would you use, how would you construct it and why would you do it that way? Is there another way? This is that stage where you think about what could be made and create some samples and tests. Discover what works and does not work. Begin to formalize your ideas.

3. Developed creative work This is where you select, develop and present at least one idea. It could take any form and use any medium. We want to see how you have taken your ideas, which could have sprung from the simplest, most basic source and turned them in to something extraordinary. Your creative vision is unique and only you can arrive at the developed stage you have reached. This will be through careful thinking and planning and a lot of hard work. Show us your talent, creativity, progress and dedication. We know you have it in you. Creative Notebook Whatever pathway you are interested in, you should have a creative notebook to back up all of your ideas, thoughts and final work. They should be full of ideas from your Observation and Research stage, right through to your final conclusions. Your notebooks do not have to be neat or follow any particular format. We would advise that you carry a notebook with you so that you can jot things down as they come to you. Your notebook can show any extra project development like planning, thoughts and notes. We are also interested in the artists/designers that inspire you, the drawings that didn’t quite fit in the portfolio or the hobbies, art, school projects or work experience that you didn’t get chance to show.

The following are my thought processes, I will use my daughters cat as a starting block

House hold cat, start off by drawing the cat and then develop it into more environments, i.e. cat in garden, cat in house, lots of different cats, cats in graphic design etc. What are the restrictions on the household cat, food, house, dependent on a good home. Now we have used, more than three of the main words, affinity (you love your cat). Throw the cat out of your house (only in your head) not it has departed, what will it encounter outside, what restrictions has it, when it goes outside, what is its territory inside and outside.

I am now going to expand the house hold cat into a cheeta, same family members.

This thought process then developed into me, my territory and its protection

This concept then developed into my eyes, as they are the most important aspect to my understanding my place.  Does my vision sometime, give me the wrong information, am I controlled by what I see and read.

What is real and what is unreal, depicted by a full drawing and a line drawing.  Should my environment be in a bottle to protect it, from us as a human race.

Should I be put in a bottle, to protect me.  Am I walking on a knife edge, Am I the environment?

Teaching module 4 – How to draw using shape, young children – Pointillism

Teaching module 4 – How to draw using shape, young children – Pointillism

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landscape pointilism - Ennis Art School

Pointillism is a very easy art form, basically all you do is get your brush and put it in the paint and dab the paint brush on the page.  Very effective, easy and fun great for young kids.  The following are examples, for quick fun work, all kids can do.  I will show you the finished work and then the break down.

For the above painting all you do is draw the road disappearing away from you, this is one point perspective, the landscape disappearing into one point.  Hill on either side and away you go.  Its important that the river gets smaller as it goes away though, this gives the perspective.

This is tomorrow mornings drawing, my internet seems to be taking a break.

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Step 1

draw a line at a slight angle about one third down your paper, or canvas.

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Step 2

On the left of the line draw a rectangle, this will be the beginning of the glasses

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Step 3

Now draw another rectangle in about 2cm away from the first, this will be the second lens of the glasses.

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Step 4

Now draw in two ovals, at either side of the rectangles and draw in two curves in the middle to connect the lenses, like a bridge.

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Step 5

At the top of the right oval draw a curve which will run down under the bridge and up to the top of the second oval.  At he bottom of the left oval draw a curve down to the end of the left lens, draw a curve at the end of the right oval down to the lens.

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Step 6

Draw a upward curve directly under the bridge, finish this curve in the middle under the ovals.

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Step 7

Now draw another curve under this curve and craw another curve under the lens at the left .

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Step 8

Connect the curve, which you just drew under the lens on the left to the second curve of the mouth and continue this curve over to join up under the right lens.

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Step 9

Now draw a vertical line down under the second curve and draw two curves up to the cheeks.

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Step 10

This is the end of the drawing, curve out the shoulders on either side and draw in another shorter curve to form the arms, then just draw in to more curves to form the body.  Draw in a vertical diamond in the ovals to form his pupils.  Now paint it in using pointillism and enjoy.  Watch your tones, darker colours to push the frog away and lighter colours to bring him closer, look at his nose, its whites and yellows, look under his chin its black and blue.

Work created by the students of this Chameleon project. Love the work Honour and Laurie.

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Bird on the tree

Another nice easy one, but very effective painting for you to do.  For the bigger children, watch your tones.  Look at the branch it black, brown, yellow and white.

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Step 1

Draw two circles, bigger one on the bottom smaller one on top and craw a curve to connect the two circles, this will be the back of his neck.

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Step 2

Draw a line out from the middle of the top circle out to about 1cm outside the circle, this will be the middle of his beak.

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Step 3

Draw a small circle just off centre in the small circle on the line you just drew for his beak.  Draw two inward curved lines to form his beak and draw another curve to connect his head with his body, under his beak.

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Step 4

Draw in his tail feathers, just a long oval really, sticking out of his bum.

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Step 5

Draw in the rest of his tail, this one will be under the first section of his tail, a bit of perspective.  Now draw in his legs and feet, look at the direction of his legs, they are at a slight slant and look at his feet, slanting as well.

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Step 6

Now put in the branch, basically a large Y shape on its side.  Thats the drawing side finished.

Now have some fun and fill it in looking at the colours for tone.

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Girl with the Umbrella

Nice perspective in this, see how the road disappears into a point and how the trees are getting smaller as they go away, see you tomorrow to break this one down.

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Step 1

Now for a change I am going to draw this one with markers, not a good move as its impossible to get rid of the circles in the figure and any mistakes.  But her goes

 Draw a straight line half way across the page, keeping it parallel with the top of the page

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Step 2

Now lets draw the road, do you notice how the road get narrower as it goes away from you, this is called perspective, it gives the illusion that the road is going away.

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Step 3

Now lets draw the trees Draw a series of three parallel lines on both sides of the road, as the trees go away they too get smaller.  A good way of doing this is draw a line from the end of the first tree and continue it down to the end of the road, now draw another line from the top of the first tree and continue this line down to the end of the road too, as the line goes away it gets smaller, perspective again.

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Step 4

Now draw in the limbs of the trees.

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Step 5

Now draw in the outline of the leaves, once more the trees are getting smaller as they go away.  Also draw two lines on the path to position where you want the figure to be.

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Step 6

Now draw a vertical line to connect these two lines together.

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Step 7

Now half this line and divide the line into 6 equal parts and add on the extra part to make the head, now you have 7 equal parts.

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Step 8

Draw in your ovals, representing, the head, shoulders, waist, hips and legs.

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Step 9

Draw in your triangles, the top triangle represents the shoulders down to the belly button, the second triangle the hips,

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Step 10

Draw in where your elbows will be and knees and fill the back of the jacket in red, have you noticed that this takes the shape of a rectangle.

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Step 11

Draw in the shoulders and continue down to the elbows, thats all you see of the arms as they are holding the umbrella.

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Step 12

Now draw in his leg, this takes the shape of a rectangle as well

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Step 13

Now draw in the other leg, but put it slightly forward as the figure is walking away from you.  Give the jacket a hoodie and a bit of tone.

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Step 14

Now draw in the umbrella, which is an oval over the head.

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Step 15

now we are going to colour in the umbrella, first we are going to put in a triangle in the middle of the umbrella but going towards the top of the oval, this will give the umbrella perspective.

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Step 16

Now we are going to draw in the lines for the colour sections, have you noticed the sections are narrower at the top, this creates perspective too.  Fill in the sections with colour.

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Step 17

Thats the drawing section finished all you have to do now is fill it with colour using pointillism, if you are doing it with markers it will be harder and slower, you can see a bit that I did on the side of the path, make sure you use a lot of different tonal colours.   Enjoy

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Step 18

With paint much faster.

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A dog with pipe

Found this piece the other day while buying house hold paints, thought you might like it.  See how I have broken the drawing down into one unit of measure, taking this unit from they eye, this is how we are going to draw it today.

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Step 1

One draw a horizontal line about 3 inches down from the top of the page

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Step 2

Now draw another line parallel to this line about 2 inches down the page

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Step 3

Now draw a circle about 3 inches in from the side of the page on the bottom line.

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Step 4

This circle is my unit of measure, you all know that a circle is as tall as its wide, the eye is a circle so its a good unit of measure to use.

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Step 5

Now measure across using this unit of measure which you have made with a scrap of paper, one unit across is the side of his face, do you see the blue line, I just drew.

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Step 6

Now using this unit measure across the other side of his eye to the edge of the page.

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Step 7

With the same unit measure down from the end of his eye to the end of the page and up to the top of the page.  Now you have created a grid, we will use this grid to position the dog accurately into the page.

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Step 8

Draw a horizontal line one and a half units up from the eye and connect this line to the unit one over from his eye on the outside in a curve.

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Step 9

Continue this line down two units and draw in the nose, which takes the shape of an oval.

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Step 10

Draw a horizontal line across from the top of the nose running horizontal to the eye, now measure down one and a half units and draw another horizontal line, this is the end of the dogs chin.  Now draw a curve connecting the end of the chin to the nose.

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Step 11

Measure a half a unit out from the inside of the dogs eye and draw a vertical line, now measure two units across from this and draw another vertical line, see you have 2  half  units and one full unit making two units.

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Step 12

Measure a half unit up in the middle of these two vertical line and draw a horizontal line and one unit down and draw another horizontal line, now connect them all together and you have a large oval, this is his head phone.

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Step 13

Now draw a curve from the unit behind the headphone and connect this line with the horizontal line at the top of his head.

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Step 14

Now measure 5 and a half units down from the bottom of the headphone and draw a horizontal line, connect the back of his head with a sweeping curve down to this horizontal line.  At the front of the headphone draw a sweeping curve line down to meet up at the other side.  This is his ear finished.  Now draw in the other ear, in red one and a half units down from under his chin.

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Step 15

Lets draw in his pipe, draw an oval, the blue oval is the top of his pipe, at the end of his ear.

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Step 16

Now draw in a basket shape under the oval, connecting both sides of the oval.

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Step 17

Now draw in the stem of the pipe, coming out of the back of the basket shape, notice how the angled lines become narrower as they enter the dogs mouth.  This is perspective, it gets narrower as it goes away.

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Step 18

Now draw another oval inside the middle of the red oval and draw in the top of the band that connects the head phones together, make the band as it goes over the dogs head narrower to create perspective.

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Step 19

Now fill in the eye, fill the pupil in black, notice its a circle, put a bit of white in the middle and fill in the Irish, the coloured section of the eye, make sure you have at least 4 different tones for the eye.

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Step 20

Now fill in around the eye in orange and sweep down to the nose. Again watch your tones.

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Step 21

I put black around the eye and around the outside of the dogs face, remember the dark tones will push the drawing away and I want his face to fade back into the drawing.

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Step 22

Tone the orange and black together with your finger.

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Step 23

Now fill in the middle section with white, remembering that the lighter tones will bring your drawing closer.

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Step 24

Tone all of these colours together with your finger.

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Step 25

Now for the head phones fill the central oval in a light shade of blue

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Step 26

Now run around the outside of this central oval in black and draw a curve of black to the right of this oval in the middle.

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Step 27

Now add white to the centre of this oval, remembering that the light tones will bring the drawing closer and we want the head phones to curve out.

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Step 28

Now tone them all together with your finger.

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Step 29

Now fill the outside oval with light blue.

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Step 30

Now run around the outside of this oval with black and add a small piece of white on the outside rim closer to the eye and run around this with black.  This will give me the side  of the headphone.

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Step 31

We are now going to do the top of the head phones, see how I have put black where the handle enters the head phone, this gives me shadow and pushes the handle back.  Put black on the outside rim of the handle and put some white up the middle of the handle.  This will give the the illusion of a curve, as the light section will bring the handle closer while the black will push it away.

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Step 32

Now will in the ear with orange and fill the back of the head with black.

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Step 33

Add in your coloured rectangles and tone outside in the orange with your finger.

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Step 34

I am adding some red into the ear for tone, on the outside rim of the ear.

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Step 35

Now draw a blue line down the back of the dog to the end of the page.

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Step 36

Tone the colours together.

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Step 37

Fill in his other ear in orange, red and rim with black.

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Step 38

Fill the centre of the oval of the top of the  pipe in black

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Step 39

Put black on the back of the pipe to push it back and rim the outside of the pipe in white, to bring this forward.

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Step 40

Now fill the centre of the pipe in light blue and fill the stem of the pipe in light blue and rim the sides of the pipe in black.

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Step 41

Now for the finishing touches, the nose, I ran around the outside of the oval in white and put more white on the top of the nose to bring it closer I also put a bit of blue on the top of the nose.  I then drew in the mouth in black and put red around the sides of the black to bring out the sides of the dogs mouth.

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Step 42

Finally put the stem of the pipe into the dogs mouth.  Drawing finished.   Put in whatever background you like,   Run around the outside of his jacket in black and give him a collar to his jacket in black as well, tone together.    All done, Congratulations.

Teaching Module 3 – Tone and form

Teaching Module 3 – Tone and form

tone 1 - Ennis Art School

Anybody who has ever been in my class knows that my favourite word is TONE, OR SHOULD I SAY LACK OF TONE.  What is tone?   In art, the term “tone” describes the quality of colour. It has to do with whether a colour is perceived as warm or cold, bright or dull, light or dark.  Basically there are 3 tones, dark, medium and light, and without these tones there would be no life in the drawing, it would be flat. 

The rule of thumb is that the dark tones push the drawing away and the light tones bring it closer, but we also need the mid tones, so that they blend together, without the mid tones the drawing would look like a flag.  We are going to do the following drawing of an apple and a pear sitting on a table.  All we will be using is a black and white chalk, but I also introduced a peach for the background wall.  We can tone with our fingers or a smudger.

1 apple - Ennis Art School

Step 1

First of all we are going to look at the shape of the apple its basically has an over top.

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Step 2

In the middle of this oval, where the stem is positioned I will draw an oval for the dark section where the stem comes out off.

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Step 3

Now we will do the sides, so draw two lines, at a slant.

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Step 4

Join up these lines at the bottom in a type of wave.

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Step 5

Now I will start my toning, Where the stem is coming out, in the top oval, this is the deepest area of my apple, so I am going to fill it in black, as I want this to go away from the rest of the apple.

Step 6

I want the sides of the apple to role into this dark oval so I will start making marks in a curve, curving into this dark oval. You will see your white is picking up the black turning your stroke grey.

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Step 7

The end of my apple, which is also going away will need to be filled in black.

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Step 8

Now my mid tones come into play, as I cannot just leave the black at the end as the apple is not flowing downwards.  So I now take my white and tone the black with the grey, using a down ward stroke,

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Step 9

I continue all the way along the apple until all the black is toned in.  I can tone in either using my finger or a blender.

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Step 10

When all of this is done, I will put a table under the apple, to ground it.  This table is filled in black and the chalk has to be applied right to left, or it will not give the illusion that it is a flat surfact.  I have also put in the stalk, you have to use tone here again, each side of the stalk is black and the middle is white.

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Step 11

Now I am putting in my wall at the back,  this has to be applied vertically, or else the wall will not rise up behind the apple.

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Step 12

I am now going to draw in the pear, which is basically one large circle with a smaller circle on top, looks like a snow man.  Put a  Curve down each of the sides of the circles to connect one to the other and put a stem coming out of the top.

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Step 13

Apply black to one side of the pear, running your stroke down in a curve down towards the end.  It is very important that you apply your stroke in the direction that you want the drawing to appear.

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Step 14

Now I will put white on the opposite side, so I have white on one side, black on the other with nothing in between.

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Step 15

Now I am going to tone the white and the black together, I will do this toning with my finger.

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Step 16

The white and black are now together but they are not toning enough for me as it is now very grey in the middle.

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Step 17

I am going to put some which into the middle of the pear, as this will then give me the bulge forward that is in the pear.  White will bring the drawing closer.  Please experiment here with your tones, to get the pear to become more pear like, remembering that the black is push the drawing away and that the white will bring the pear skin closer.

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Step 18

Finally finish off your background wall, I have introduced a light source here, (this is where the light comes in a window, etc) so the left of my drawing will be darker then the right.  I have also darkened the left of the apple and the pear, which will make the light source stronger in the drawing.  Finally I have finished my table putting the shadow into the table once again to the right of the apple and the pear and I have dropped down the front of the table, to give another effect,  if I want the front of the table to drop down, I have to bring my stroke down wards.

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Step 19

Finally I have included all the directions in this drawing so you will know what direction to apply your chalk and where are your tones.

This tonal drawing would be called a Still Life, and it is also a very important section in Art.  I am going to include some life drawings created by some of the pupils at Ennis Art School.  This is a beginners drawing and is usually something that I cover on the first day of children’s art camps.  Well I will include one as I cannot find any more examples.