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.

Sometimes using photographs is necessary

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Why You Shouldn’t Forget the Background!

One of the most common mistakes beginner learners make when they start drawing and painting is forgetting about the background.  I see a lot of ‘floating’ jars of flowers, pots, vases and figures in the beginner classes.  The background should not be forgotten.  I will explain why:

Part of the Story

The background puts the subject in context and can ‘tell the story’ of what is happening.  For example if a figure is sitting on a sofa we know why their posture is a certain way, it would be different if they were sat on an upright chair for example.

There is useful tonal  information in the background which can help bring depth and tonal value to the subject.  Shadows are important for telling the observer that the subject is three dimensional and will tell us more about the lighting conditions.

Simple backgrounds are better than none.

Continue reading “Why You Shouldn’t Forget the Background!”