Telling a story through painting and drawing

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coloured pencils

This week Angus showed us a technique to create a narrative painting, with a bit of a coloured pencil lesson thrown in.

Narrative painting tells a story. Angus illustrated this with some famous – but complex examples.

One is Pieter Bruegel, a Dutch artist whose works include Netherlandish Proverbs, a sprawling work that features images representing 116 proverbs.

A second example is Hieronymous Bosch. Among his works is The Garden of Earthly Delights , a triptych that is rich with symbolism.

Angus also talked about the work of Martin Handford, who created the Where’s Wally books – a more modern version of a narrative artwork.

After a few minutes trying to find Wally, Angus showed us an easy technique to start creating our own detailed masterpiece.

First we made a number of different drawings around a theme. Then we traced them all onto a larger piece of paper, arranging and overlapping them to create a frieze-style picture.

Finally we were able to add colour using coloured pencil. An effective technique was using white pencil to mask off areas that we wished to remain white. This was useful for creating dots and patterns. (We also used this technique when learning about watercolour pencils)

Angus’s example centred around ‘The art room is a strange place…’.




Feb 3 – Art group is back!

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coaster, mothNow that we’re all rested after Christmas, it’s time to get our minds back into arty stuff.

Art group restarts on Wednesday February 3, when Angus will be telling us about the school’s new laser cutter. As a wee introductory exercise, he will be showing us how it can be used to make simple coasters for mugs etc.

Simple black and white line drawings with minimal shading work best, as you can see by Angus’s example.

On a different note, as you know, Gordon Crisell was a driving force in the Spey Art Group and was secretary for more than 25 years. He died last August, aged 89.

Gordon’s family has donated his art materials to the group and for some to be sold, with profits to go to club’s funds.

Liz Downie is custodian of the materials and will be bringing them to the first session on Wednesday.

Therefore, on Wednesday there will be a sale of the following items:
Acrylics – £1 a tube
Colored pencils – 50p per pencil
Pastel pencils – 50p per pencil
 See you all on Wednesday!


Water, water everywhere

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This week’s lesson was on how to use watercolour pencils – a versatile but often overlooked medium. Is there anyone who doesn’t have a box in their collection but isn’t sure what to do with them?

We all had a go at using them, with varying results… at least using the skooshers was good fun.

Angus talked about a number of different ways to use watercolour pencils:

  • adding the colour to areas of a drawing and then washing over with water to achieve a pale effect;
  • using a normal white pencil to ‘mask’ parts of the painting: when you paint over the top with watercolour, the coloured pencil should stay fixed; and
  • adding details to watercolour painting.

He also talked about the different effects that can be achieved by using the watercolour pencils in different ways:

  • dry pencil on dry paper
  • dry pencil on damp paper – allows good coverage
  • dry pencil on wet paper – creates strong lines of colour, making the watercolour pencil a ‘weapon of colour’.



All wrapped up?

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Last night was a tutoring night – punctuated by school bells controlling parents’ evening. But Angus just had time to show us a crafty way of creating our own wrapping paper, which someone shared with him on Facebook.

So for those who missed it or others who want a wee reminder. . .


Step 1
Step 1

Step 1 – On a piece of paper slightly smaller than A4, draw a number of related objects in pen, overlapping them with each other but staying away from the edges and corners.


Step 2 – Using a guillotine, cut your drawing in half lengthways. Yes, honestly – cut it up.







Step 2
Step 3


Step 3 – Tape the two sections together, but the wrong way round.

Like this. . .

As you can see, if you had another sheet identical to this, you could continue the pattern to either side.


Step 4 – Cut the drawing in half horizontally. Aye, again.







Step 3
Step 5

Step 5 – Tape it together, again the wrong way round.


Step 6 – You should now have piece of paper with your original drawing distributed in the corners and a bit of a gap in the middle.










Step 4
Step 7

Step 7 – Fill the gaps in the middle with another drawing or two.











Halloween paperYour master sheet can now be photocopied and tessellated in any direction to make a striking repeating pattern. Like this. . .


And you could colour it in, making lovely wrapping paper for birthdays or Christmas!


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New portraiture lesson available to download from the “lessons” page.


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We’ll be learning to do this on Wednesday! I’ve put a film showing how it’s done on angusgrantart.com as I can’t upload video to this site.