David Neace Artist

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The tips and thoughts that I express here are more for the beginner and mid-level artists. Being a self-taught artist, I have had to learn a lot of this through trial and error, which is costly to a person living on a small budget. So I am talking about ways to help you get the image to paper with clear detail and possibly less fustration.


Learning to draw "what you see" is one of the most challenging things that a lot of artists encounter.  Photos are one of the tools that help me "see" better. With the higher resolution on most computer monitors, I can enlarge the photo almost to the individual pixel, but that alone is not "seeing", unless you are into pointilism. 


University of Ky Digital Photo Archives, Used with Permission

Understaniding the subject you are drawing is most important, especially if you want to do realism or hyper-realistic drawings. I usually take the photo I am going to use for reference and then "flaten" the image, reducing the midtone range and converting the photo to b/w or with a primary color tint. Surprisingly, this will bring out some detail that you might have missed just using the photo without enhancment..

University of Ky Digital Photo Archives, Used with Permission


You can see from the two photos, the pinkish one is easier to identify details of the building and even the store front windows.


I am a cartographer by trade. This means I had on-the-job training to acquire the skills needed to work in the printing field. Many overlook the relevence of a career in graphics production. This is where I honed my eye hand co-ordination and developed a feather like touch with the Rapidograph pens, crow quill pens and hand-held engravers that cut .002 lines without digging into the base of scribe coated Mylar. I learned about everything from how to "Kern" type and fonts/sizes to esthestics of type placement. I gained knowledge in the entire printing process, from conception to packaging.


I bring this up because I see so many beginning artist not using the tools available to them. Rulers, bendable curves, templates with circles, elipeses, squares, T-squares and triangles. These are aids that can make a difference if you work is "squared" with your paper or canvas and for creating more accurate perspectives.


As artists, we all feel the need to be able to draw freehand and at the same time be extremley accurate. These tools will help you achieve that goal. Think of the use of them as "training wheels" for you to create. Read about your subject, if drawing a house, learn about roof pitch and angles. There is a lot of free info available to everyone. When I started drawing in the late 50's, all I had was, a couple of pencils and a few crow quill pens plus a gum and keaded erasure.


If this information helps just one person, I have done well


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