Thursday, May 5, 2016

Do I need to be able to actually draw? Drawing and Watercolor Painting

Drawing and Watercolor Painting

I am often presented with this question from people interested in painting:

 Can I paint without being able to draw?  I can’t draw, but I would still like to learn how to paint. 

My answer:  Yes AND No.  Let me explain in the following blog post.

Drawing is an essential part of all art. In watercolor painting, drawing is used as a plan in order to save the precious white areas of your painting.  Typically white paint is not used in watercolor painting.  White areas remain white because no paint is applied – white areas remain unpainted.    With a good plan and just a basic sketch you can create a successful painting. 

Drawing is a plan for your painting.  You will be painting the image; therefore, you will only need an outline of the areas and shapes you will be painting.  Shadows and shading will not be needed in the drawing; those areas will be painted.    You will want to outline the shadow area to remind you where to paint the dark and light, but the drawing is basically only for your use.  You will determine how much detail you will need to include to create your painting. 
Below is an example of simple design that did not require much actual drawing skills:

Drawing takes time and practice; and like all things, you will become more proficient the more you draw.  Basic drawing skills can be learned with a little practice.  All pictures can be broken down into their component shapes:  circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, lines.  It is simply the combination of these items that will make up your drawing.  Yes, it is that simple.   IF you are able to analyze your subject you will find the shapes mentioned above.    It is simply a matter of putting these shapes together to form the whole picture.  

Paintings can be abstract without  details of a photograph.  Basically, it will depend on how much detail you, the artist, are interested in putting into your painting. 

Below is an example of a painting that was drawn first on a piece of sketch paper and transferred:

Another question I am often asked regarding a watercolor painting:

 Do I draw directly on my watercolor paper?

 Answer:  Yes AND No

Draw directly on your painting if you can draw your subject without needing to excessively erase.

If you selected a subject that has a good deal of perspective, the drawing may be difficult to achieve without multiple erasures.  If that is the case, it is better to drawn on a piece of sketch paper and then transfer your drawing onto the watercolor paper. 

The main concern is to not “rough up” or indent the paper.  When this happens,  the paint will pool into any crevices or darken in areas that have been damaged by the eraser.   Thus, your erasure marks will be evident in your final painting. 

Happy Painting!









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