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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

Get Edgy!


One of the first mistakes beginners often make with their artwork is creating a solid outline of their picture and letting that big bold outline define the picture. The problem is, doing this, mutes the realism of the picture. There are other ways an artist can define the edges of their subject without making this common mistake. Get Loosy Goosey with your hands. Tread lightly with your pencil. The page isn’t going anywhere. When starting your initial image start it on basic copier paper and you can outline to your heart’s content, Erase and redraw and define your drawing until your are as satisfied. Then, transfer your image with either the graphing method, tracing paper or by sight to your chosen medium. Transfer this image lightly.


Throw some shade:

Try shading in the background around your portrait where the lighter shading or absence of shading is required in the subject. You can also reverse this process, by shading in the darker areas to the edge of the subject where required. Essentially you are defining the subject without physically drawing a line. This helps keep the edges soft and illuminate/deepen the background which gives the whole picture more life. I remember i did a portrait of my grandfather. The while background was black and I made his suit black, so all the highlights and mid-tone values really shone. You could see it was a man in a suit, and there were predominantly no lines defining the subject. Soften it up: Softening edges is a great way to give textured surfaces a 3-dimensional feel. Examples of this are when drawing fur, textured materials, and elements in nature such as bark on a tree. A tree trunk is not a flat surface, bark sits on the surface and is edgy. Fur on an animal has soft fluffy pieces that stick out on the subject. Drawing a thick line to define the shape, flattens the subject and it will lose its appeal. This also applies to drawing hair, which we cover in another post. Volumizer: When drawing flowers they can sometimes look like they are just floating or they might look stingy when drawn in a clump together. Try shading in and around the crevasses of the flowers to create bulk and volume in the picture as a whole. This will also help the delicate little petals of the flowers stand out and breathe some life into them. I hope you give these a crack, and let me know how you go!


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