An Artist's Review of an Artist's best tools.

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Spray Painting is not just Graffiti + Review

Anyone who lives in an urban city raise your hand! *Waves hand furiously!*

I have seen a LOT of really awful Graffiti and Spray Painting and some rare gems of GREAT stuff!

graffiti

 

 

Yeah, that is REALLY COOL. I got to thinking, can I do this? I went to my local art supply store (Is it sad they know me by name?) and searched for spray paint. I found some good stuff, but not the selection I was looking for. This is where my tips get good!

Release your INNER MAN and go to a Hardware store. Preferably a big box store like Lowes or Home Depot. This is KEY. An Art store will have maybe 20 different colors of spray paint. If you are lucky a can or two of metallic. Nothing SPECIAL. How can I make art without the right supplies? I can’t!

At the big box stores, you will find an entire AISLE of Spray Paint. At a big box store, this will be larger than some art supply stores. This is the cool part. They have high gloss, matte, and any different type of Spray Paint imaginable. Paint for metal, concrete and wood. Anything and everything you can think of. My inner child – artist (That is a word, right?) went crazy. I soon found myself with a cart full of paint – but not enough. (By the way, if you have a Credit Card to a big box store, leave it at home. You can easily rack up several hundred dollars on this stuff.)

I got home, and started playing in my basement on my wall. I soon discovered tip two. Buy shades of colors. I was not exactly using my inner Bob Ross when I picked out paint. A lot of “THAT IS A PRETTY PINK” went on. Yeah, it was bad.

I quickly learned tip two, buy shades and different colors. The picture above will give you some idea. Cheek bones? Shadow? Definition? You need several shades of every color you plan to use. Blending is insanely difficult with spray paint. Make you sure stock up on those options so you do not stop mid way and need to make a run to the hardware store.

Tip three, the MOST IMPORTANT. Practice on something like a board or canvas first. I had to re – paint my wall more times than I am willing to share. Until you get the shading down and dimensions (Proportions are AWFUL with Spray Paint) you need to practice, practice and practice on something temporary.

After all the work you did you may want an edge or advantage. I found a pretty useful online resource to give my painting a kick in the pants. Check it out here.

The product, like many others, PROMISED a lot. “Become an EXPERT” ; “MASTER the SECRET” …. Yada Yada. I am sick of hearing it all too. Some differences in why I picked this over learning ever from other street Artists I know are simple:

– It includes Video.

Video’s are essential to learning how to paint. It is not art unless you see how the actions come together to create something. I hate nothing more than checking out a how – to – guide or going to a University class to get a thick book or watch a professor or painter from 5 feet away do something quickly. I never learn this way, neither will you.

– It is not expensive.

All the money I spent on Spray Paint? Yeah…. This product is a drop in the bucket compared to that. Even the most expensive course would be less than I spent on supplies. I could take a $300 course and learn less. Or, I could go with this program and learn a lot.

– It includes coaching with every program.

This is a BIG PLUS. The reason I got the program of learning from a person was most people who are working will not take the time to show you intricacies. Especially if they are doing something complex. I learned a lot from the ‘Painting Water’ course. I did need some coaching on this, but it was my own fault. I had the support and it was incredible. When I try to learn from someone ‘good’ or even who teaches well, they either do the step I am struggling with too quickly, or do not do it well enough.

– The Mexican Secret Sauce.

Like every program on the internet, it touts a ‘Secret Sauce’ which makes it special. Was it special? In this case, yes it was. Using objects instead of free hand, the actual differences in technique, and the detailed instruction on the ‘Secret Sauce’ made it actually something special.

I have spent a lot more to learn a lot less. I am sure you have too. Canvas is expensive. Spray Paint is expensive. Your time is valuable. It would be great to be a college kid without a job in the summer dedicating every hour to mastering the art of Spray Paint, but this is not a reality. Paying the little money to learn from someone who knows what they are doing was an incredible opportunity which got me up to speed quick. I know you can too.

How I learned to Draw Well + Review

It started a few years ago. I bought all of the pencils, paper, chalk, charcoalĀ  and supplies I could buy. I knew how to paint, and I wanted to dabble my way through drawing. I mean, I could paint well, how hard could drawing be?

I was in for a rude awakening, as I am sure you have experienced. Drawing was not the most difficult thing to grasp. What was hard was drawing in a realistic way. Realistic is subjective, but when I got to hands….hands were difficult. In general, people were difficult. But really, why are the lines on hands so hard to learn? I was lucky enough to find an easier way to learn this all.

Anyways, I scoured the internet for an easier way to learn besides some night classes, a bottle of wine, and hours alone at home and found something which worked for me. A lot of programs I found were not exactly comprehensive. They were, rather, horrible. Some basic lines structured in a way for children to grasp Although I may draw like one, I am not a child! I do not think most people learning how to draw are children either.

The rest were either horrible Bob Ross style knock offs (I LOVE BOB ROSS!) or new age ‘gurus’ who would preach ‘Be Calm. Feel the Art Flowing’ as if that will help anyone learn to draw!

I admittedly was almost ready to quit. I am no quitter, neither are you, so I keep digging. I found a cool online ‘Drawing’ school. It was fairly easy to follow. It included the basics, to more advanced topics. It has a LOT of video. Which is something I always look for. Just because you can draw, does not mean you can teach someone how to draw. Video at least shows you how an expert draws and you can pause, rewind, and watch it over and over again to learn. That was a big perk.

The course was affordable too. I did not need to spend hundreds on it, just a few dollars. This was great because I was not sure I would like it, plus I could always return the program if I absolutely hated it.

Some advice, never buy ANYTHING you can’t return!

The program itself had some perks:

1. It is very organized.

If you are more advanced, you do NOT want to watch a 30 minute video on how to draw a straight line, or how to shadow. But you may want to dive into HOW TO DRAW HANDS. (I am not mad… I swear).

2. Lots and Lots of Video.

I like video. You like video. We all like video. We love Youtube, don’t we? Like the next person, I learn through Video. The worst way to learn art is out of a book. Books are an artists greatest enemy. You can’t learn to be expressive with pages of text. Most books have a handful of diagrams thrown in. THat does me no good. I want something with Video to show me how to do something.

3. Super Easy.

I was overwhelmed when first learning the nuances of drawing. From what pencils to buy, to how to shade, to hands, to features, and even correcting mistakes. A lot of programs are either far too simple as if made for children under the age of 10 or far too advanced, as if they assume you are an expert and the course is a social hour. This program dabbles in the ‘under 10′ with basics, spends the bulk of the time in the middle or the ‘learning how to draw very darn well’ phase and goes over some ‘snobbish art expert’ material at the end of the course. Which I LOVE. I do want to be so good I can be an Art snob, and the techniques and simple instructions allow me to be. The bulk of the program is in the ‘You can get good’ middle ground which is what I and most people need, which was great.

If you are interested in learning how to draw better, check it out. It will without a doubt teach you how to draw, even those ever so frustrating hands! I guarantee you will get better.

Take Pictures Like the Pro’s! + Review.

I have been dabbling in photography for quite some time. After spending a LOT of time and money trying to get the pictures right and make them look – let’s face it, not horrible, I came to some conclusions.

  • Camera Cost does not matter THAT much.

 

By this I mean, sure, you cant buy a disposable Kodak and expect to take a stunning photograph, but you can get away with a mid tier camera which should range you in the lower $100’s rather than a super expensive $1,000 + Camera. I don’t know about you, but art is FUN and is a hobby. Taking pictures is fun, and is a hobby. Photography is a hobby. Like you, I have many hobbies. I like to paint, drawn, sing, dance horribly – you catch my drift. Us artistic folks juggle $20 set’s of color pencils and $10 for a tube of oil based paint. It ADDS UP! A simple yet decent Camera can do an amazing job if you know how to use it.

  • Software is an easy, and time consuming way out.

 

I LOVE Photoshop. I like to graphic design. It is a unique art form but for me, is not as artistically liberating as other avenues. For you, it may be your cup of tea. Taking a picture, unless you are an expert at Photoshop, is hard to ‘fix’ with a computer. Trust me, I tried. Many hours wasted trying to change filers and angles to no avail. If is a LOT easier to learn, with your moderately priced camera, how to get the ball rolling by playing with angles, good ol’ fashioned camera lenses and to master lighting and shadows. I for one know that to paint well, you need a lot of natural lighting to make it work well. Taking a picture is often the same way. Learning to manipulate the natural elements has been far more important than learning the latest Photoshop trick.

  • Learn from someone better than you.

 

Is this hypocritical? I love as much as the next guy or gal to get my hands dirty and learn on my own. But I had to learn a brush stroke from someone, right? Well, after a while I got good at taking pictures, but I never made them ‘POP’ on my own. I had friends doing amazing work using Photoshop, but I wanted to take things to the next level and I found a nifty product.

This is an online book which is inexpensive and taught me the in’s and out’s of ‘trick’ photography. I really enjoyed a couple things about the course.

First, it has a LOT of video. I learn by seeing, not reading. Seeing some of the concepts in action made a WORLD of difference.

I went to my local bookstore and checked out a lot of Photography books. Some had basic information such as, ‘Take the Camera Cap off’ (Yes, some people evidently wonder why their photo’s are black) to the more useful ‘Take pictures in a well lit room’. Simply amazing most ‘books’ were horrible for a quick learner. These very same books were touted on Amazon as ‘Great’ books for learning how to do Photography. I do not think these reviewers were reading the same books as I was. (By the way, who else checks Amazon at the library and book store before buying a book? I thought everyone did, but I was getting some weird looks.)

The few books which did have good information, and very FEW I want to emphasize, has some faults. Primarily, they were just books. The books had pictures of amazing photo’s, but no good diagrams. If I could discern from the pictures how to do the act I would not need a book. Video is an essential medium if you do NOT includes hundreds of very detailed diagrams.

The book does not stop their, it is a nearly 300 page ebook teaching you how to take your Photography to the next level and make some really cool pictures but along with the videos, took my mediocre photos to something I was proud of. Most of the time I prefer ALL video and some coaching, but the book went hand in hand with the video course and offered me something special. If the video did not answer my question, even with pausing and reviewing, the book did. It was a lethal 1 – 2 punch!

Click Here to learn more about this product.

I got a lot of advise from people, but even from ‘Photographers’ the advice was never as in depth, nor was it as complete. I was sick of going to a community college ‘Photography Class’ to be taught how to process the photos I take or even worse, how to operate a camera. YUCK! If you want a leg up, give it a try.

Over all, I give the product a solid 4 stars out of five. Could be better, not the best as it only covered a specific area of Photography, but what it did cover, it did amazingly. If you like taking pictures or being artistic at all, you will learn a couple cool tricks to impress your friends or to sell at your next art fair.