Instagram is full of beautiful photos. And for those of us who love drawing animals it is especially amazing. We are spoilt for choice! But did you know that you can’t just draw any photo that you happen to like?
I really wanted to talk about this, because photography is an art. It requires tremendous skill and dedication to take great photos. And when a photographer takes a photograph it belongs to them, even when they have shared it on Instagram. It is still their picture and they own the right to it.
So if you see a gorgeous photo that you would love to draw, you must ask the photographer for permission to use it. And this needs to be the original photographer, not just someone who has shared it.
It isn’t always easy to find the original photographer, especially as there are a lot of accounts that share other people’s photos without giving any credit.
Are you wondering why l am reminding people of this? Well, just recently l asked one photographer for permission to use their photo and they immediately blocked me! Rather an over reaction l think, a simple ,’no’ would have been just fine!
The point is there are some people who don’t want their photos drawn and just imagine how nasty this person might have been had l drawn one of their photos without permission.
Having said the above l have only ever had that one bad experience. The photographers on Instagram are incredibly generous, which brings me to the other thing l feel really strongly about.
lf someone is generous enough to allow us to use their photos, l think the least we can do is credit them prominently, say thank you. I always think a little ‘photo by ...’ tacked on at the very end of a post seems quite mean. These wonderful people could be uploading their photos to stock photo sites where we would have to pay (and sometimes a lot!) to use them. Be generous to them in return.
l hope these wonderful photographers will allow me to keep using their photos. I really want them to know just how much l appreciate them and their talent and generosity and kindness. So thank you to all the amazing photographers on Instagram l am so grateful to you all.
Today l wanted to talk about something l haven’t really discussed in a blog before. I often get asked by others what they can do to improve their work. Well, firstly l think of myself still as a beginner and secondly l am totally self taught so l can only really pass on what l have learned for myself. So my advice is always simple!
The first advice l give everyone is to take more time. Learn patience. I have written about it often enough and it is the biggest guaranteed way to improve.
But the second thing that would improve the work of nearly everyone who has asked me, is contrast. It is another thing l am still working on!
l wanted to share this close up photo of a tiny part of the Nicobar Pigeon l recently worked. The photo you are looking at (even if you are on a tiny mobile screen) is bigger than the actual size in real life.
Very often when people show me their work it is really good, there is nothing really wrong with it. The drawing is good. The colors are good. It is worked neatly. But the thing that stops the piece jumping off the page is that the colors are all mid tones. They are all too similar.
I chose this section to show you because you can see how the very lightest parts are near white and the darkest parts are black. And although l do use pure black (over other colors) it is always used very sparingly.
Without the very light and the very dark to contrast against the mid tones everything blends together. There are no points to grab your eyes.
Imagine looking at a blank piece of paper. Just plain white paper. There is nothing to focus on. It is not very interesting.
Now imagine a black spot in the corner of the paper. Now when you look at that paper all you can see is the black spot! It jumps out in contrast to the white paper.
When we use all midtones we are effectively creating a blank piece of paper. Our eyes find it uninteresting. When we start to add contrast our eyes are naturally pulled to those areas. We make our work interesting,
The problem with adding contrast as a beginner, is that it is scary! We think we will ruin our pretty colors by adding dark ones. So we are timid and add just a little. But it is not enough to create contrast.
One thing that l have learned is that it is almost impossible to add too much contrast. The darker your darks and the lighter your lights the more your work jumps off the page.
So if you have been looking at your art and wondering what you can do to improve, give it a go! You will be amazed what a little courage and a few dark colors can do!
If you want to see pictures showing the difference as you build up contrast click the link below on making your work look realistic. You can see step by step as l work darker and darker on some tail feathers.
l love to share when l find a great new product, so here is one l want to share with you. And before l say anything, l do want to say that l am not being paid to review this product. I only write reviews of products l use and recommend.
Erasing colored pencil is not easy. I have written a whole article on it (and will put the link at the bottom of this blog for anyone who wants to check it out). So l am always excited to try a new product.
My first attempt with this Artnfly battery eraser was a disaster! I am clumsy and all l did was smear color around the paper and make a mess! I nearly put it back in the box and behind the cupboard of no return without a second try.
But that just didn’t feel fair to me. Give a product a fair try before dismissing it.
The first thing l realized was that l just wasn’t used to the speed this thing spins at! You need to use a light grip and barely touch the paper!
It sprays bits of eraser everywhere, so a little messy. But once l got the hang of controlling it, this actually did the best job of erasing of all my erasers. You need to be patient and let it work through the layers. (Don’t let the eraser wear down to the metal holder or it will scratch the paper leaving marks you can’t cover). I found that this will take a heavy layered color down to very pale and will completely remove a light layer.
It also erases the lines from my transfer paper exceptionally well. Better than anything else l have tried. And it is awesome at cleaning up colored pencil dust.
l wish there was a finer eraser option for those tiny little spaces and obviously you need a supply of batteries.
It comes with a number of replacement erasers, but l would buy extras as well. You can use about half of each one before they are too short to work with.
l actually find this is my ‘go to’ eraser now - and l nearly didn’t give it a second try! I love this product.
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