Three Art Tips in One Post

I have three art tips in this post today, the first is knowing your materials, then the “Right Angle Study” and lastly is have your materials ready at hand.

I’m really trying hard to impart some wisdom with each post and video I do. If you gain anything from these posts please let me know!

Knowing Your Materials

I have some specific plans for the background of my drawing of Severus Snape and it will require a specific texture. The best way to figure this out is to test a combination of my materials and usage of them on the same type of paper as the drawing.

I tested the following materials by filling some tone in spots on a page then seeing how it reacts with my finger, a paper towel and an eraser.

The top was a Conte a Paris 1710 B pencil. It didn’t smudge at all with my finger and barely moved with a paper towel. The result was a very rough texture that I don’t want so I’m not going to use that.

(Note: any details about these materials that I do not deem appropriate for this drawing will be cataloged because they will most certainly work well for other drawings)

The second from the top is Alphacolor black pastels. This one didn’t move very well at all with my finger but I was able to get a very nice smoky texture with a paper towel. Also I was able to work into the texture with an eraser with some effort to get lighter tones.

The last three were vine charcoal. One by Winsor & Newton and the others by Nitram. These created perfectly smoky textures with my finger along but and was easily effected by an eraser to get some super subtle tones. But any slight touch of the charcoal and it would move or come off the paper. These were just too fragile.

In the end I decided that the drawing will use the Alphacolor pastel, Steve Hustons also uses this, because I was able to work it into a smoky and smooth texture with some effort with a paper towel and it didn’t fall off or get smudged easily.

The tip here. Know your materials and test how they react to all kinds of applications! Not only is it fun but you learn all kinds of ways to communicate ideas. Remember, your materials and how they work are like letters in the alphabet and it’s up to you to organize them into meaningful patterns to communicate powerful ideas. Know your ABC’s!

Fandom Fitness Drawing

My second day of work on Severus Snape and I’ve already changed the composition. I just had to make him bigger so that I could get all the tiny details of his face. His expression is paramount here.

Serverus Snape Drawing

Previous Severus Snape Drawing Posts


The normal 15 minute warm-up in graphite.


Right Angle Study

“During the first half of the pose, draw, not what you see, but what you think you would see if you were sitting at the left side of the model instead of in front of him.”


I live this exercise from the The Natural Way to Draw book. Basically you don’t draw the model how you see him or her in front of you. You draw them as if you were sitting to the right of them.

This is a wonderful test of all your skills from anatomy to spacial reasoning. While drawing this way you really begin to think about how the head, shoulders, torso, etc… would look like from another angle. You begin to pull on your previous knowledge of the body and what you’ve experienced before.

The power of this exercise it that it gives you a crystal clear indication of what you DON’T know. Through this you have perfect indications of what you can work on next.

The last part of the exercise is what I love most.

“Devote the remainder of the pose to a ‘check-up’ when you will actually go to the position from which you imagined the figure and note the difference between the actual pose and the drawing you made.”


Here is where you really learn! You can test your work by just walking to the place where you imagined you were drawing it from previously and check your work by making another drawing with all the corrections.

In my case I’m using images of models that were taken of the same pose but from all the cardinal directions. So I just flip to the next image (which I haven’t peaked at yet) and check my work.

The lighter drawing on the right was my first drawing and the darker drawing on the left was the second. As you can see I still use the same height of the head for the second drawing because this gives me a perfect reference for comparison. That’s because I used the head as the base measurement for the whole drawing.

If you’re feeling it I highly recommend trying the exercise!

Right Angle Study

Ready at Hand

The last tip is a very practical one. Basically, always have your materials ready at a moments notice.

At the end of every art session, sharpen your pencils, clean your palette and do whatever you need to do to have them ready for the next session. This way when inspiration and creativity strikes you’re not bogged down by preparation, you can just get to work creating and letting that inspiration flow forth.

What went well, what was awesome! Celebrate It!

I feel so much gratitude for having the knowledge to share three art tips in one post and I hope to always have some wisdom for every post.

What needs work? What did you learn?

Less wordy next time, haha!

How am I going to Optimize moving forward?

Focus on some shorter posts when I have other projects that need more of my time.

Session Details