Jan 18, 2018

6 Stories your EDGES Tell! - Painting & Drawing Tips

PERCHED BUT READY - $225 Matted to 11 x14

Whether you paint or Draw you worry about your EDGES
Should this one be Soft or Hard?
Do I make it Lost or Found?
Maybe it should be Darker . . . Lighter . . .?

My work is about realistic wildlife so you think, no problem.  Animals are soft so soft edges.  But what about the sun and the shadows, the leaves and branches in the foreground, background, mid-ground. The outside edge and the inside edges.  Decisions are everywhere.

Yes, sometimes the photo references is clear and can tell you some of the story but other times you have to make the call.  This is where the challenge is.

Working on my Stellar Jay, PERCHED AND READY with washable graphite pencils on illustration board, many little edge secrets began to percolate. (See last post for more on Washable Graphite) What happened is the illustration board really grabbed the graphite when I did my wash.  Hard edges happen fast. My poor little Jay looked hard and spiky. I was constantly having to go back and soften things.  It made me realize how important edge were.

First of all what is an edge?
The edge is where two shapes meet.  This can be separate objects but in practice it is often the gradation of colour or the changes in shading within an object.
My little Jay is just full of EDGES!!

Some of the secrets that emerged:

1.  Shapes often had one side hard and one side soft - I find this happens a lot in animals: where sharp feathers and downy feather areas meet; folds in the fur; hooves and claws bordering fur and feathers. Take for example the dark collar on the neck of my Stellar Jay.  It is hard where it means the shoulder but soft as it moves up his neck. The sweep up the neck is soften by the gradual change in tonal value.

2.  Crisp, hard edges hold the focal point  - this is what grabs your attention.  The sharp, crisp lines of the beak and eye, the head contrasted with the background.  They are designed to grab and hold your attention.  This type of edge definitely needs to be done in modification.

3.  The lost edge slips and disappears in its surroundings - The shadows on the leaves and the branch on the left side have those soft, lost edges in them.  I wanted them to give habitat information and interest.  But not steal the show. Your eye should slip over them and move on.
These edges are just full of texture information

4.  Edges speak about the texture of the shape -  The crisp edge of the legs tells me they are smooth, the fluffy edge of the belly feathers says soft and the crisp lines of the wing feathers tell a different story.  Hard to believe so much information captured in such a small area.  And of course, don't those different textures make for interesting eye candy!

5.  Edges talk about the lighting - My Stellar Jay is definitely not in the bright sunlight. No sharp shadows, no dramatic light changes.  His shadow edges are soft, speaking more to our gray skies.  (No surprises there for this time of year.)

6. The edges lead the eye  - The Stellar's eyes grab your attention, as all eyes do but then the shadow below the beak draws the eye down and over the belly.  The dark line of the branch moves your eye down to the folded leaf.  Just when you are in danger of leaving the picture, the dark line of the tail grabs your eye and leads you back up the bird.  The crisp edge of the wing creates another line that points you back to the head. Even if you move your eye sideways instead of down, you will find it follows this path in reverse.

What secrets have you noted with edges?  They have so many stories to tell.  I find another interesting part of Edges is where they meet.  I am working on another Stellar Jay to tell that story.

Great Art needs Good Marketing to Move it out the Door

1 -Day Marketing Workshop for Artist - Let's Get Your Art Out There! with Wendy Mould, AFCA 

Sunday, Feb. 25, & Sunday, March 4, 2018 10-3pm $84(Tax Incd)

During the day you will learn what the main focus of your marketing materials should be, see  effective ways to promote your work and find a path that is right for you.  It is a full day and the synergy generated from the experience will keep you on track for 2018. Turn your Art Making into a Business. Maximum 8 people so register early. 
I look forward to working with you.  
 REGISTER  Contact Wendy               Gift Certificates Available

Good Follow-Up Session to the Marketing Workshop: 
April 9 - Building Your Online Presence 6-8pm. Federation Gallery, Vancouver, BC. $20 nonmembers $15 members.

Looking for more Drawing Tips, check out my previous posts in this latest Drawing Series.  
How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing - here
4 Ways to Grow the Sketchbook Habit - here
Time to Meet Your Drawing Friends - here
Ready to Start Drawing - Get Your Materials Together - here
Get Those Values Working for you - here
Blenders the Secret to the Soft Touch of Graphite - here 
Values and Colours in Action - here

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 Have a great artful day,

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