Drawing from Photos vs Drawing from life video by Drawing Art Academy

“An Artist must have his measuring tools not in his hand but in his eye” – Michelangelo

Why is drawing from photos not good for you?

1.  Copying 2 dimensional photos inhibits artists from seeing objects in volume and space.

2. It prevents an artist from judging distance and perspective.

3. The artist does not think and visualize the 3 dimensional nature of an object, but subconsciously regards all objects and shapes 2 dimensionally as seen in photos.

4. By copying flat images, an artist does not make a constructive drawing: there is no comprehensive understanding of objects masses and their spatial relationships.

5. Drawing from photos forces an artist to draw from what he or she sees rather than  what one knows.

6. It stops an artist from learning traditional, time proven, step by step drawing methods, which have been perfected by many generations of fine artists starting from the old masters.

7. Working from photos prevents an artist from learning from his or her mistakes and makes it impossible to improve drawing skills by analyzing and fixing those mistakes.

If you get too used to drawing flat images you will most likely limit your ability to learn how to draw proficiently.

– Drawing Art Academy

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery it would not seem so wonderful at all” Michaelangelo Buonauroti

I am an avid believer in drawing from life. I encourage artists that are interested in working on improving their drawing skills to attend life drawing sessions, figurative art classes with a live model or portrait sessions with a model.


Figure Drawing & Chalkboard paint

I have been going to figure drawing every friday for the past month or so.. It is always a hassle carrying in my multitude of art supplies. Not to mention hazardous with my hot tim horton’s coffee and other paraphenalia that I think I will need.  So I decided to make my life easier and only take what I absolutely needed with me today plus my newly chalkboard painted drawing board – I am tired of newsprint.

This works great for focusing on lights and darks – no wasted paper. No filling the  recycle bin with newsprint. So here is 2 quick examples of 10 second drawings – white on black and black on white -completed with some white chalk and a wet rag – no more black chalk all over my hands. This doubles on the backside as a drawing board with jumbo clips and drawing paper.

The chalkboard worked great for short poses 1min & 2min. I am definitely going to keep practicing drawing on my chalkboard. I think the experiment was extremely successful.

The only exception or drawback is you are unable to keep your work burt you could take a digital photograph if a drawing really caught your attention and you wanted to reference it later.

Chalkboard paint recipe:
1 cup paint any color

2 tbsp unsanded tile grout

Mix together and apply with a soft bristle brush in smooth strokes. I added texture to the surface thinking it would be interesting but it didn’t give me the results I was looking for. I am going to paint the other side with white chalkboard paint and use the charcoal – stay tuned for results next week.

How to make a sketchbook – VERY inspirational video

I am really inspired by this ladies work – I absolutely have to share -check it out! Her website and youtube videos – creative! inspirational and artistic! Sketchbooks are very important to an artists development and if you do not have one I highly recommend building your own as it personalizes your work and inspires you to draw!

sketchbook project campaignGet yours before April an excellent way to improve your skills as an artist.


FOr more see TrAnsIEnt ArT by Lauren Nash


Art Tile – Concept to completion

Since the beginning of the year I have had an obsession with creating tile – artistic, creative, elegant, colorful and distinctly different from anything currently available. From my research I have noticed 3 major areas are lacking in today’s tile –  { figurative, large Accent tiles& expressive}. Accent tiles used to be decorative centre pieces in bathrooms and kitchens, with relief ,texture and figures. Sculptural Artwork has been replaced with basic patterns, shapes and colors.
Pistrucci Artworks main goal is to produce a wide variety of bas relief accent tiles from contemporary to figurative offering distinctive flair with color and texture. Jeremy Hileman took the concept Pikaso Kichen and created an expressive colorful line of tile for the contemporary kitchen. Here is the results of our next tile line titled ‘ Pikaso Kichen’.

To view the catalog go here: art-tile-catalog-pikaso-kichen

First the concept drawings were designed and a rought draft completed [see below] :


Then the sculpting of the relief tiles:

 Glaze tests

Old world stain

& more glaze tests….



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High school project – Board Games

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My teenager always arrives home with homework projects that usually require a fast forward button as panic hits and realization dawns that it is the last minute and the due date looms.  This involves the entire household rearrangeing schedules and the dining room table is held hostage until the last layer of paint and glue is applied and dried.

Just recently I was surprise attacked with a ‘Game Board project’. In keeping with the spirit of art I thought that it warranted a blog as many other parents might need a few ‘shortcuts’ to aid their latent teenagers project as it gasps it’s last breath before the deadline hits.

When I was little my brother and I would make up board games for fun. With cardboard, tape, construction paper, dice and money borrowed from another board game it was simple, inexpensive  and fun. My mother could never figure out what happened to the dice from her yahtzee game. ummmm I still think its a mystery to this day.

Nowadays with duct tape you can make anything. In one of the three board games above my teenager constructed the board from  a piece of canvas painted with several layers of gesso and once dried applied black duct tape for roads and yellow duct tape for the yellow lines (this can also be a great back drop for a city or town for toy cars). I helped make little suitcases out of duct tape and she sculpted little tourists out of sculpy for the tokens. The money was found on a website and the template downloaded onto a file that you can edit and alter to add the ‘faces’ in the center oval. You can google ‘play money’ or for a list of sites go here:

or this site was free and worked for our purposes:

adding faces to play money tutorial video:

and another site with realistic money was here:


Here is some tips for Board game projects:

Use 2 pieces of flat cardboard the same size and tape together with duct tape so that it will fold close.
I prefer to use canvas as it rolls up easily and takes up less space. You can use velcro tape to put on the game board to attach the parts –such as a spinner. You can sculpt the tokens with sculpey and oven bake clay and paint with acrylic paint. I made a trophy for the ‘winner’. (see photo above).

For the board game you can use a pizza box or a drawstring bag or shoebox that running shoes are packaged in.
Game Mechanics /specific goals, win conditions, and a set of rules.

Think of the concept :one project was similiar to a book review so the cards were titled chapter cards and you needed to collect the chapters in order from 1 to 14 and the tokens were the characters of the book.  Any idea will work -I often get inspiration from books, history or TV shows for example be a venture capitalist and generally base it on the tv show ‘dragon’s den’. 
keep rules simple and make them good. The board needs to be colorful and interesting. Delete unneccesary accesories such as dice or cards.
Always have a starting point and a place to collect things needed to finish the game such as a pay space if money is included in your game. Decide on the design of the spaces and the trail that your players will take as they play your game. Add events such as collecting, paying, buying, selling, going backwards or forwards, building or adding, for instance in monopoly you collect properties and ‘go to jail’ . You can purchase game parts such as spinners and dice (6-32 sides) at hobby stores.  In one of the school projects my teenager called it ‘Homework’  and the object of the game was to collect necessary things before graduation such as a drivers licence, a job, a car, amount of money, a report card ,1A, 2 b’s and 3 c’s .
We created the card graphics by using family photos and that read : when coming to a 4 way stop who has the right of way? If you get this question correct move ahead 2 spaces if not lose your license (a coveted item that was more easily lost than gained).
or, Ask any opponent any question that would be on a driver’s exam If they are incorrect select any of their items – If they are correct they get $1 and keep all their items.
Your facebook page says you are in a relationship – uh you forgot to let your mom know – go to nearest ‘grounded’ space.
Bad hair day you enlist your friend to fix it – pay every player 1$
You tell your teacher that your dog ate your homework. Lose a turn for lack of creativity.
Wardrobe malfunction (feel free to insert tsk tsk and high pitch tone in voice) everyone laughs at you but the teacher loves it! You hit rock bottom on the popularity scale go back 3 spaces.
You hacked the school computer ‘suspended’ again miss 2 turns
You buy a rap song on itunes with such poor symbolism your english teacher cringes – lose a letter grade or pay $2 x roll of die.
Make the cards funny and interesting.
 (see above photo ‘busted’ and ‘aces’ cards ) 

You can also use things made of paper such as a fortune teller instead of a spinner or dice. Household items such as minute timers, key chains or lego blocks are useful for items used in the game.
Dice dueling where the players can roll to see who wins a competition for $, items to collect, cards, mystery cards, property spaces etc.

Use a creative name for your game project that is catchy and short.

Designing board games involves creativity, organization, critical thinking, puzzle sovling, and illustrative abilities with simple old fashioned duct tape, cardboard and stolen property from mom’s yahtzee game. Add some oven bake sculpy and your good to go.
Oh what my brother and I could of done if only we had had oven bake sculpy!

Photolithography on Clay

Here is a project that I thought might interest you as it intrigued me. I sketched a drawing of my sister for a book cover – she loves books and I decided to make her a journal.  I have always wanted to put my drawings onto clay and this method allows for an (almost) seemless image. Sketching on clay is difficult but if you sketch onto paper – then transfer the image onto clay and kiln fire the piece you have essentially a permanent record of your drawings.

Here is the method that I have been experimenting with over the last several weeks:

Step One : Make the Ink, photocopy image, Roll out clay slab
In a small container add 3 parts linseed oil to 2 parts mason stain – stir for about 10-15mins.
Let mixture stand overnight for best results

The mason stain is toxic so PLEASE wear rubber gloves and a dust mask for SAFETY.
Photocopy image on a black and white xerox copier – ink jet will not work as it is the toner that is the ingredient that allows the image to transfer. I recomment copying in reverse (negative) so the image will be right side or positive when place down on the clay.
Roll out slab and let sit until leather hard – overnight.
Take a break and start again in the morning….


Step two: list of items required
On a table place 2 pieces of glass – one for your image and one for the ink
2 sponges
In 2 bowls fill with water one large and a smaller container
In the large container of water put a small drop of gum arabic
Have on hand premixed ink, brayer, papertowels, spoon to mix ink, photocopied images and leatherhard clay slab.

As you can see in this photograph the sketch is photocopied reversed so that it will be correct when finished.

Next place about a tablespoon of GUM ARABIC onto the glass set out for the image AND onto the other piece of glass put a line of INK ( STIR first).Smooth out the Gum Arabic over the glass until you have covered the glass in the same approximate area of your image.

Now place the image FACEUP on the glass over the gum arabic. With your fingertips (remember your rubber gloves) gently smooth the gum arabic over top of the image until an even layer all over is applied.

With a papertowel remove the excess gum arabic from around the image and the glass.

Place the brayer over the ink and roll in one direction until the brayer has an even coat of Ink. Now carefully roll onto the image until an even coat is ontop of the image.

Take the wet sponge from the container with the gum arabic and squeeze the water over the image – do not touch the image with the sponge – this is the wash out stage. Now with the other smaller container of just water wet the sponge and ring out until damp. Lightly sponge up the excess water from the image and pat dry over top of the image in the white areas – leaving the darkened areas as much as possible.

DO NOT rub the image as the wet paper will tear – GENTLY pat dry.


Step three: Repeat Inking, gumarabic water sponge washing out, patting dry with clean sponge. cleanup arean with papertowel around the image.You should ink and wash out and pat dry – three times.

Step Four: Place image face down onto clay slab.
This is the most difficult part as you must be careful not to rip the wet paper image.

With your fingers or a tool pull up the corner of the image. You only have one chance at this so be careful when placing the image onto the clay. center it carefully. I use a larger slab and just place it in the middle and then cut my clay to size. It is also important that your clay slab is smooth for best results as a clay slab with pit marks or dents will affect your image transfer. Once the image has been placed onto the clay pat down with a clean damp sponge – being careful that the paper does not move on the clay and smudge the ink image. Gently pat removing air bubbles and making sure it is adhered to the clay.

Let dry for about 10 – 20 minutes. With the back of a spoon burnish over the entire area of the image. Once the burnishing is complete you can pull up a corner to see how well your image is transferred – if it needs more burnishing place the corner back down and burnish over the area again. Remove the paper in an upward movement – The paper image must be removed prior to firing in the kiln.I have also noticed the longer it is left to dry on the clay it adheres making it difficult to remove leaving behind paper bits. If this occurs try to remove as much as possible but only leave to dry approximately 20 minutes for best results before burnishing.

I have made a book cover as my sister loves books and I want to make her a journal. I cut the clay to the size and leave to dry before placing in the kiln.

Or watch the video by ceramicsartdaily.org

Be patient it took me several trys before I got results that I was happy with and still need some more practice with other mason colors and other projects – plates? inspirational messages on cubes ? sculpture?
– Have FUN!! It is endless what you can do with clay!