Having trouble deciding what to draw today? Be your own art director: give yourself an assignment! This exercise might seem contrived, but it's a fantastic way to break the paralyzing grip of a blank canvas.  As the video shows, sometimes all you need to do is to give yourself a few limitations - and then the creativity naturally starts flowing.  After all, artists are natural problem solvers --- they just need a problem to solve!

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
Tagsideas
17 CommentsPost a comment

When you start a painting, how often are you using a white canvas? This video offers an alternative. There are a number of reasons for using a toned canvas, though the easiest explanation is time savings. If you're looking to create a rendered image featuring a full value scale, you might as well start in the middle. In the video I use a warm tan color, though it's worth noting that gray works just as well.

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
22 CommentsPost a comment

We'd all like more of it, but how should we spend our free time? It's a deceptively simple question, but I find myself asking it nearly every day. Should I spend an hour doing X or would it be better to do Y instead? What if all I want to do is Z? Though this video doesn't offer concrete answers, it will get you thinking about the bigger picture and how to stay vigilant about your goals. Blogs like www.lifehacker.com often talk about planning the hours of your workday, but I rarely see anyone discussing a longer (1,2,5 year) plans. These sort of 'big questions' are not easy to think about, but ignoring them completely can be a dangerous strategy. What is your strategy? Since I clearly don't offer a perfect solution, we'll all benefit from the discussion.

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
66 CommentsPost a comment

What's your relationship with still life drawing? Love it? Cherish it? Most likely, you avoid it. In this video I provide my reasons for practicing still life painting, including how it makes me a better artist overall. Many artists, especially beginners, avoid them because of their association with homework. When I was in Drawing 1 class in art school I daydreamed of painting dragons and space marines. Now that I'm out of college, I often look back with regret: those still life drawings were forming a foundation and all I wanted to do was skip past them. As you teach yourself to paint, it's easy to skip past assignments that seem boring but I encourage you to give still life drawing a chance.

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
17 CommentsPost a comment

Want to be better at painting but don't know where to start? You're not alone in this feeling. The truth is that art is inseparable from confidence, and you will not be able to create until you believe that you can. It's a tough catch-22. Hopefully this video will help!

And make sure to check out Andrew Jones' artwork, as well as Noah Bradly's Blog post for great inspiration!

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
42 CommentsPost a comment

Like anatomy? That's a start, but character comes from a deeper place than mathematical precision. The real story comes from expression. Whether it's body language or facial expressions, people are constantly communicating. If you neglect this aspect of personality when learning to draw people and characters, you might end up with 'lifeless' or 'plastic' results. This video introduces some good examples for study including my favorite: Glen Keane. Glen does not seem to have a personal website I can promote, though a quick google search will lead you to fan-collected images.

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
56 CommentsPost a comment

The importance of gesture drawing goes deeper than simply 'studying anatomy' or 'warming up'. In truth, it taps into a very important type of repetitive practice that improves artists of every skill level. In previous videos I've talked about the technique of gesture drawing, and in this video I'll discuss why it's worth doing in the first place.

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
37 CommentsPost a comment

In a previous video we talked about the simple stick figure for gesture drawing.  If you want to capture a little more information about the pose, my next step is usually to include a simplified head, torso, and pelvis.   When abstracting the body into simple shapes, there are many methods.  This one stands out, to me, because it emphasizes the twisting motion that captures heart of every pose.  In the past I said that the "S-curve" of the spine is essential, and the 3 major masses are simply an extension of that idea.

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
16 CommentsPost a comment

Capturing human anatomy is a lifelong pursuit.  A great first step in that journey, as well as a fun daily warm-up, is gesture sketching. There are many different approaches to quick-pose sketching, and this video explains a 'constructive anatomy' technique. Based largely on the methods of Andrew Loomis, this technique combines observational sketching with memorized anatomy to capture poses in less than one minute.

To give this exercise a try, grab your sketchbook and open up www.posemaniacs.com.  Though the default time interval is 30 seconds, I'd recommend selecting 60 seconds.  Remember: the goal is learning, not creating beautiful drawings.  Good luck!

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
45 CommentsPost a comment

So you're off on the art-learning journey, but do you have a destination in mind? If you haven't thought that far yet, you might want to. I say this because drawing and painting can be learned in different ways, and each way supports a different end goal. This video explores the idea of intentionally learning: making sure to stay on target and immerse yourself in the appropriate resources.

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
52 CommentsPost a comment

We're trained as children to think in terms of 'shape'. This is one of the things you have to overcome when learning to be an artist. Seeing shape is fine for some things, but observed drawing is best done in terms of form instead of shape. Shape is a 2D abstraction, form is seeing in 3d - with depth and volume. To finish out perspective week this video provides an exercise to help you envision form. All you need to do is go find some cool pictures of bugs!

And if you like this video, please remember to click the "Like" button at the bottom of the post!  The only advertising for Ctrl+Paint is word of mouth, so I'm counting on you guys to spread the word.  Thanks!

Assignment: Overlay form lines onto photos of interesting bugs.

Things to consider: Draw through the object, envision the structure.

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
53 CommentsPost a comment

Are you good at drawing straight lines? How about freehand straight lines? This video explores the art of drawing straight lines in Photoshop. There are a few different ways to approach it within the software - each having pros and cons. Ultimately, the best method will always be 'freehand', which takes a lot of practice. In a way, this assignment is just like a musician practicing scales or an athlete running drills. There's no trick to drawing a straight line freehand - it's simply a mechanical motion that you hone with practice. If you can't do it right away, that's normal. Good luck drawing straight lines! And if you like this video, please remember to click the "Like" button at the bottom of the post!  The only advertising for Ctrl+Paint is word of mouth, so I'm counting on you guys to spread the word.  Thanks!

Assignment: Draw Straight Lines. Lots of them.

Things to consider: Draw from the elbow and shoulder, keep your wrist rigid, have patience (this takes a lot of practice)

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
42 CommentsPost a comment

this video is a taste of what's to come in the near future.  Targeted learning.  As I mention in the video, here are the recommended videos to watch before attempting the assignment:

Simplifying Form

Proportion

Whether you post your results in the DA group or not is up to you - but have fun with the assignment!

[update:] Make sure to draw each vidwpoint from observation -- not imagination.  Don't be afraid to get up close to your jug!

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
20 CommentsPost a comment

Exaggeration is not only for cartoonists and caricature artists.   This video explores some of the practical benefits of exaggeration in your sketching and research drawings.  Also, it's fun!

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDesign, Drawing
Tagsstyle
31 CommentsPost a comment

The Ctrl+Paint unplugged series is here to help you improve your basic drawing skills, and this video will show you what to expect in upcoming entries. Basic drawing doesn't seem as exciting as digital painting, so it's often skipped by beginners. Don't make this mistake!

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
145 CommentsPost a comment

In order to draw complicated shapes from your imagination, you'll first need to simplify. Constructive form is a mindset that allows artists to make big challenges much smaller by thinking first of basic primitives: cube, cone, sphere, and so on. Any object can be envisioned as a collection of these basic primitives. This video shows the process by which I can draw a character from World of Warcraft utilizing constructive form. Make sure to catch the other parts of the constructive form miniseries!

Posted
AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesDrawing
23 CommentsPost a comment