What is a ‘Warm Up Exercise’ in Art?

It is very common in many art classes, particularly drawing classes to start with a ‘warm up’ exercise and we are not talking keep fit!  What is it and why is it important?

Just like a music lesson where you might start with a vocal warm up, a drawing warm up does the same.  It is a way of getting ready to work on more developed studies and getting us ready to draw and paint.  A drawing warm up is not about producing polished studies, it is a quick activity of usually ten to twenty minutes that usually concentrates on one particular skill.

Continue reading “What is a ‘Warm Up Exercise’ in Art?”

Should I Draw from Life or Photographs?

I believe and I am sure most art teachers will tell you that drawing from life is always better than drawing and painting from photographs.  I think particularly if you are learning to draw then drawing from life is essential.

Of course there is nothing wrong with drawing and painting from photographs and while working on illustration commissions I have in the past used many references from photographs an images.  Sometimes it isn’t possible to observe the subject in life.

The main disadvantage of drawing and painting from photographs is that they are two-dimensional.  This prevents the observation of volume and space. Observational drawing from life is also advantageous because you are observing light first hand so you can make those connections like where the light is coming from and seeing how it hits an object.

Continue reading “Should I Draw from Life or Photographs?”