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How to Create Art: TIps Answered

There don't seem to be any good instructables on how to draw (or create art), so I decided to make one. Here are some tips I've learned in art class.

You may be disappointed with the lack of pictures, but remember; this is about YOUR art, not mine. So, happy art-ing!

*This was supposed to be an Instructable, but the evil robot jerk thingy deleted it. So here it is, forum-format.*

1. Stay LOOSE. Use your whole arm. A good way to warm up is to do gesture drawings; they're fun and they look cool. (Gesture drawings are drawings done with one line. The idea is to capture the movement of the object, and the inside, not just the edges; it's hard to explain.)

2. Draw lots. Doodle. Write with funky letters. Honestly, practicing will improve your art tenfold.

3. For still lives (drawing things that you can see), draw the object you see, not the object you think you see. For example, if you're drawing a teapot, don't draw what a teapot looks like (or what you think a teapot looks like), draw the teapot in front of you. Draw the bumps and the shadows, the drips down the spout, the angle, etc.

4. DON'T SMUDGE. Don't. You can get the same affect with shading, and it looks WAY better. Trust me.

5. Draw real things. Don't just draw things from your imagination, draw the things in front of you.

Lots of people make the mistake of thinking that if their drawing is (to them) craptastic, then their art is. It's no true. You don't have to draw to make art; go grab a camera and take some photos. You'll be amazed at the number of cool designs you can find in your house -- the way the blanket on your bed ripples, the pattern your computer cables make, etc. Take photos of everything: the sky, your room, your walls, your face, your friends, your plants, your cat, everything. And finally, take lots and lots of photos. This is where a digital camera comes in handy. I guarantee that if you take 150 photos (it's not hard -- 150 should take you an hour) at least 25 will be decent. 10 will be good. And at least one or two will be spectacular.

So get out there and take some photos!

- Use a good, sharp HB or 4B pencil. Analogue, not mechanical.
- Get a good eraser; the best are the rectangular white ones
- For pencil crayons, I suggest a well-known brand; Crayola or Laurentien are my two main choices
- Get good, thick paper. The worst thing you can do is draw something spectacular on a piece of lined paper, so I suggest you carry some blank pages with you, in a binder or sketchbook.
- I suggest Crayola Sketch pens (the ones with the thick tips), or Sharpies
- NO PUCK-PAINTS. Don't use anything that comes dry. If it isn't in a tube, tub, or bottle, don't use it. Liquids have better colour -- they don't look as faint.
- Shell out for the good ones. Get ones with wooden handles, and tips that look like real hair. No plastic, synthetic-tipped garbage.
- Take care of them: wash all the paint off of them when you're finished, and dry them off. Place them brush-ends up, so that the bristles don't get squashed and look like Calvin's head.

And finally, mess around with crayons a bit (go Crayola) most people think they're for toddlers, but they're fun, and you can do some really cool stuff with them.


There still isn't an instructable on how to draw, lol. I rarely ever draw something that is real or infront of me.

Great work on giving instructions, but it needs pictures, regardless of whose art it is. We need to see what you are discussing..

Hmm, this gives me an idea.....thanks. ;-) Do we have any pyrographers out there? or any Potential pyrographers? It is an old form of art, but doesn't get much attention (although I really enjoy it).

I'd also like to try this (great pictures, btw), but I don't have the right burning tool, which leaves me to ask: could I use a soldering pencil, or should I go out and by a proper tool? If so, what should I get? Thanks!

Well, depending on wattage, and how many soldering tips you wish to "ruin" (they wear down at a fairly decent rate). I have several soldering pencils and 2 pyrographer's pencils at home; saves me time having two on since I don't have to change tips as often. The biggest problem with a soldering gun, besides the wattage problem, is you probably will not be able to get "different" tips (to fit the iron) to create different types of lines etc.

When I finally get around to doing pyrography I plan to have 3 or 4 woodburning tools on at same time by plugging them into a strip expansion plug like we use with computers for the same reason you mention. Each "pen" will have its own distinctive tip so if I should want to do some shading instead of tracing a line I can shift between the tips without having to go through a cool down cycle so one can change tips.

a hint then, once you get really good at it, you will probably use just the one "general" tip most often, a fine point just for detail and a spade tip for large areas. I rarely use my other specialized tips anymore.

Thank you for the tip. I was also thinking about a couple of custom tips. I think it would be possible to make them from copper or brass tubing. I think the brass tube could be made to slip over one of the other tips, perhaps one that has worn down. I was thinking if one cut half of the tube off half way down one would have something that would produce something like a capital C which could be used in a repeating pattern. I think it would look like scales. I think it would be great looking filler although perhaps a bit tedious to actually use. I think I'd also use a tube left whole and produce O's which also should look interesting as a repeating pattern. Seems like either would make an interesting addition to a wood frame.

You certainly can try the "brass tube over a tip" idea, but I wouldn't spend a lot of money on the idea. Since the tube will expand / contract at different levels (speed/amount) from the tip, on the first "soldering job" I would "expect" it to start to come loose.  (in my constant day in and day out use of just one normal tip, because it expands/contracts at different rates, the tip would loosen in the iron many times even)

Using the entire tube for a tip would probably work better.  One end would need to somehow create a threaded end to go into the iron though

I had planned on having the tubes silver soldered to the tips. I hadn't thought about the different expansion rates and it might cause the soldered joint to eventually fail.

The tip heating to the point of melting or softening the solder, might occur too (I was thinking you were speaking of press fitting them).

It would probably be best to make a whole tip out of one metal to be honest.

I agree. If one could find a brass screw with same threads it would be possible to make custom tips with it but I think to make a tube or half tube would be a major chore.

Yes that would be, brass not being as soft as copper to work with. If I still had my anvil, pounding out a piece from a small brass end cap wouldn't be too hard, but then I'd have to form the end to be threaded to just a wee bit bigger then then needed to go into the iron, so the die would have something to put threads on. Harbor Freight and other such stores carry inexpensive tap and die sets suitable for this kind of work (I'd never use mine on a precision nut or bolt though).

Tis a lot of work to avoid paying $2-$18 for tips....but if you want the experience of making one, nothing beats actually DOING it :-)   At least once.

Well, now that I looked around a little, this fellow here used a soldering iron, of course, he did no "fine lines" which would be difficult at best with the equipment he has.

Thats some sweet pyrographics, Goodhart. I will have to get together some of mine and post them here. nothing as sweet as yours I think, but some of it gets me excited, so i know its good too. Woud you know how I can make a homemade heat Regulator for my common cheap pens? I can't afford to buy one (or at least not according to Momma). Thaks a lot!

Well, off hand it is not as simple a task as some would believe. Adding a simple potentiometer to a device that is inductance driven (be it motor or heating element) can be a fire hazard; it will limit the amperage, but not the voltage. Thus your resistor will start to create some of that heat rather then it being at the iron.

Even though there is a bit of "swing" up and down, a Thermostat may be a better choice.

This is also an option, if you don't mind a bit of construction:


Oops, that left me in the dust... I was hoping for more of a "...take your battery charger & hook a 20-guage wire to the rigobombmeter gadget-control, then..." but I will study this at length and see what I can understand. I'm all for learning. (& I won't make a move on it unless I do understand what I'm doing). Thanks for your feedback, and you're welcome for the compliment . Your art is my pleasure.

I believe the average aquarium heater uses a simple thermostat perhaps one might utilize that? I believe I have seen some of the heaters in thrift stores.

tHANK YOU, i DID NOTE THE DISCREPANCY. Thanks for the correction. While you were up to that, I was googling more information on what a thermostat is, etc. and came upon this download at www.gutenberg.org For your entertainment, I'd like to share it with you. (don't know if you're familiar with Gutenberg's free download of uncopyrighted materials, but its a very good site). (Download the zipped PDF version, not the html. It has pics) of this 1913 Popular Mechanics book "100 things a boy can make" some pretty neat electrical projects. Enjoy!

I have a book like that (or maybe it is the 2nd in the series). Some cool stuff in that book. Thanks. (I payed a LOT for it too, from some place that republishes that kind of stuff)....I forget the name of the place though.

Wow, that is cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you. 
They were done back when my eyes were much better...the Santa one I am especially proud of because many of the names on his list, despite being VERY small, are actually legible.

Your welcome
Did you do them using woodburning?

Yes,  just a few tips are really all that are needed.  Some of the fancier tips are actually difficult to learn to use (sometimes).   The fine tipped one is great for detail, but you need a lot of them....they wear down SO fast :-) 

That is so cool!!!!!! About a year ago I got a woodburning kit and I love it, but I had no idea you could make stuff like that with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I like the fine tipped one the best too, it's pretty much the only one I use.

I want to try my hand at this but so far have no items capable of being used to draw with...

Mechanical pencils pawn! Here is some of my work, made with MECHANICAL PENCIL


Nice! As I've said in a previous post, mechanical pencils are great for some things and not for others -- this was clearly a case in which they were a good choice. But I do have a question -- how did you do the colour? Did you use coloured mechanical leads, or normal pencil crayons? I've used coloured leads a couple of times, and I find that they break WAY to easily. Thank you for the pictures!

Colored pencils, Ticonderoga is my favorite brand, but Colorific is ok if you don't feel like spending money.

OK, thanks. I'm ultra cheep, so I go with Crayola. I tend to think that the tools that are used don't matter nearly as much as the skill of the person who is using them, anyway.a\

Ehm I'd go for Colorific, Crayola isn't smooth enough in my opinion, and they break more.

Hey! don't you knock mechanical pencils, if you actually get three cheap ones then buy different leads they give extremely good detail and super smooth shading if you can be bothered to shade with them... I did an instructable on how to draw a part one thing that was just there to get the people to draw when i get the next one up and ready it aims to give people more ideas, techniques and let them do the rest, also i did the worst ball ever in it. fact.

Yep, and having a 0.3 mm pencil and one 0.02 mm pencil makes fine work even easier.

That it does, they work amazingly for precise technical drawings like my last project on mechanical stuff, for detailed natural stuff it is sometimes better to go with some analog technical pencile for extra feeling...

A fair point... I do use mechanical pencils a lot, as do my brother and my mom (my bro is an architect/artist, and my mom is a garden designer). Mechanical pencils are great for details and fine-lines; what I meant was that for a still life, or something meant to be smooth and flowing, they're not the greatest choice. And I will definitely try to get some different leads -- I didn't even know it was possible untill I found some on my mom's desk two days ago.

Way to go, Nick. I actually think this has been pretty helpful.

Wow! It's you! Hey, I'll add photos asap... I just have to have something to photograph first. No, Sondra, I haven't forgotten you.