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Loadsa arty stuff, the June McEwan way: Outline instructions for starting to paint and draw.

Updated on April 7, 2011

The Turret

Turret Dam. A watercolour sketch across two pages of my sketch book.(See map below)
Turret Dam. A watercolour sketch across two pages of my sketch book.(See map below) | Source

outline instructions for the painting beginner


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SOME ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS IN PAINTING


  1. Practise drawing /sketching every day. Draw whatever you like – pots and pans, garden tools, trees, flowers, houses, fruit and vegetables, pets, dolls – your skills will improve in all aspects of drawing and get yourself a sketchbook.

  2. Use simple tools for drawing – a soft pencil, 4B is ideal. Don't look for detail, represent big masses first – the hills and fields, then trees and houses, paths and so on.

  3. Initially, buy cheaper quality materials so that you develop a loose attitude to equipment which will lead to less worry about the finish of a sketch and freer expression.

  4. To contradict myself, I would however, buy decent brushes. 3 good brushes are better than 10 poor ones. Buy a large flat, a medium round and a thin rigger type to cover all angles!

  5. Along with small quick sketches in your sketchbook, try to practise on large sheets too. Perhaps wrapping paper or cardboard. Lining paper can be ideal because you can work your way along it, cutting the roll after the drawing is done, rather than fitting a sketch into a space.

  6. Try out lots of different mediums, acrylic, watercolour, charcoal, pen & ink.... This is the day of the Multi–Media artist.

  7. As an artist, you have to learn about 4 things;

    * Form and shape

    *Tones and tonal values

    *Light and shadow

    *Perspective

You learn all these through pencil drawing, so try that first.

You can break down any complex shape into simple shapes – cube, cone, cylinder – Look for bulk forms, don't worry about small objects or shapes in your early efforts.

The most important part of training is to see tonal values. You should squint your eyes to see the dark areas first and draw them. Tones go from pitch dark, to dark, to light dark, slghtly dark to light. Try to see the areas that have these values and record them first through shading. Dark values first.


Note the direction(s) of the light, note the source(s), look for the shadows, they have shapes, then look closer, note their tonal value, it may not be a simple pitch dark it may go from very dark to just dark.


Perspective is the technique to depict 3 dimensional form on 2 dimensional surfaces. Practise drawing street scenes and you'll learn a lot!


  1. Visit Art Galleries and Museums. Discover your favourite artist and you'll begin to develop your own style.

  2. A classic method of learning is to copy pictures. Select pictures and artists that appeal to you. Simplify their picture, look for the major objects in their pictures.

  3. There are plenty art books. Work your way through a simple 'how to' one. You may want to and enjoy studying theories, but keep the theory in the back of your mind when drawing. Don't spoil a heartfelt response to a subject. You are working your way towards your own original style. Practise and feel your way there. Good luck!


    Try looking at the how - to books by Alwyn Crawshaw. I think he makes things lovely and clear. 

    Sketching (30 minute ART) by Alwyn Crawshaw


Below; Pencil sketch of cafe people from the sketchbooks of J.D. Fergusson



J.D Fergusson, Scottish colourist sketchbook image

Cafe society sketch in pencil
Cafe society sketch in pencil | Source

Turret Dam near Crieff - where I live

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    • June McEwan profile image
      Author

      June McEwan 6 years ago from The Works 8 Mitchell Street Crieff Scotland PH7 3AG

      Really helps with seeing tones- darks n lights. I highly recommend this idea. Thanks for reminding me of it.

    • Painter Penfield profile image

      Painter Penfield 6 years ago from Tampa Bay area Florida

      Great beginners advice here. People might want to try creating grayscale print-outs from photos on their drive and try sketching from the photograph if the live models are not an option ;)

    • jenesmith01 profile image

      jenesmith01 6 years ago from North Texas

      thanks for this hub..ive been wanting to get back into drawing and painting but haven't had the time. this is a great hub for beginners nad those looking to get back into it.