Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Thought of coming back to the series and share with you another art tip that is going to be a major game-changer for your art: Contrast!


Contrast is the medium that our eyes use to identify the different elements of the world, without it everything will look either blinding white or pitch black.


In fact, a good artist is simply someone who has mastered contrast. Why? Because as an artist you're all the time contrasting between the values of your drawing medium (i.e. ink, pencil, charcoal, colour, etc.) and the white, empty canvas. It is that contrast the creates the subject you're attempting to depict!


This is especially important for those who are into realistic drawing, because nothing matters more than having a clear understanding of how contrast affects your work.


The following examples show two works of art: one with a high level of contrast, and one with a lesser level of contrast. I'm not saying that one is wrong and the other is right, all I'm trying to do is to show you how contrast can make your art more or less realistic and recognizable.



Notice the example above. This is a sophisticated piece of art, although it may not seem so at first sight, but you will know that it is if you tried to replicate it.


The artist here uses his deep understanding of contrast to sculpt his subject matter and make every item, to some degree, discernable. Without such mastery of contrast this could have easily gone down hill and ended up as a huge mess.


See the blue circles. The key is to know where to place the contrast, and it is often just a small line or shape with a different degree of brightness or value. This what shifts something from being completely unknown to something familiar.


Now that I think of it, it would be a great opportunity for you to practice your contrast understanding by taking this very painting and trying to make its components clearer. Unfortunately, I think this option is only available digitally.




This example, however, displays a very high level of contrast, except for some parts of the face and the attire. In here you can see every element clearly and all the details are laid down for the viewer, which created a very realistic effect.


You will need time to develop and master this skill. Just be conscious of the role of contrast in your work and constantly observe how you implement it.


One last tip, being a skilled artist does not mean that you have to only draw realistically, you simply have to master the fundamentals and implement them effectively to produce a piece of art that you are genuinely proud of.


Until next time, keep on drawing, keep on dreaming. What you seek is already yours, you just have to wake up and experience it.


Ahmed



Your choice of words will always determine the quality of your life. There is nothing more powerful than your word. With a single word you can win someone's heart, or destroy a relationship you have worked so hard to build. Even more, a word can save a life or take it, start a war or end it.


For the meantime, let's just focus on the impact of words on relationships, because the quality of your life is heavily dependent on the quality of your relationships.


If I was only to choose one tip to give you about mastering your words it would be this: think for a few seconds before you speak.


I can at least think of a dozen times where I rushed into saying something that if I had thought about it for one more second, it wouldn't have left my mouth.


There are several factors you must always keep in mind before expressing an idea. For instance, you might have the right thing to say, but it is not the right time to say it.


Let me give you a recurrent example and try to see if you can relate to it.


Adam takes the time to cook for Eve and for some reason it is not exactly to her liking, and so she says "Oh, it's salty. I'll go make myself something else, but thank you".




As you read this, I am certain you saw what's wrong. Adam went through the trouble to make Eve a meal and she could not help but to make that comment and say no to his food. There is a clear lack of appreciation for Adam's efforts and absence of empathy in Eve's behavior.


I've seen it happen enough to say that there are indeed many people who do not know that even if something is true, there is a time and a place to say it, and that the other's emotions is something that must be considered.


Things would have been much better if Eve started with showing gratitude, not attaching it at the end of her discourse, and instead of stating her opinion on the food at that moment, she could have waited for later and told Adam in a much gentler way.


I can go on and on with more examples like this, but I think you get the idea: think before you speak, for what you say has a tangible impact on others.


Timing is just one of the factors that you must account for when you're about to express an idea, or state an opinion.


Let me know if this helped you in any way, and feel free to share your own thoughts and experiences below.


Take care for now, and remember, never give up!


Ahmed



Sometimes it's just a minor adjustment that you need to do to see massive improvement in your art. If you ever tried to draw hair, eyelashes, or any sort of dynamic shape, you probably had to do it more than once and had to go over your lines again and again to get it to look right.


The problem with this is that it will stiffen your lines and deprive your work from looking lively and organic. The following example is going to be very useful in deepening your understanding of this.


Let's see it together!



Look at the first set of lines and try to notice the difference between them and their counterparts on the right. The first set on the left are all of the same length and width; they're almost identical.


Look at the next group of lines. Again! Just like the first set.

There is no variation in their direction nor in their size, which simply looks odd and wrong.


Nothing robs your work from its glamour more than lines like this, especially when you're depicting organic objects. The funny thing is that this also applies for nature and its relatively still elements.


Contemplate the following scene and try to notice the shape patterns of the different components.



Did you notice the variation in shape, volume, and direction?


Do you see how different the mountain peaks are?


Do you see how even solid objects display variety in their design?


I want you to take a closer look at the clouds and the trees and compare them with the shape pattern of the mountains. What can you see?


I'm sure that you noticed how even the mountains have different edges, shapes, directions and masses. This is even more true for organic and dynamic objects, like the clouds and the trees, for these display even a higher level of shape variety in their composition than all the other elements in this photo.


If you keep this in mind next time you draw eyelashes, hair, or a lively scenery like the one above, you'll see an instant improvement in your art.


I'll give you a very good exercise to practice this method. Pick up something you drew, and try to see how dynamic and varied your lines and shapes are. Then try to redo your work with these ideas in mind.


You are bound to see an immediate improvement!

Let me know how this works out for you.


Always remember that there's nothing you can't achieve, and everything is possible if accompanied by belief.


Until next time


Ahmed