Artists’ Techniques – No Matter the Medium

19 Mar

So the BBC’s Big Painting Challenge takes off where where Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year left us. Now I should point out that I cannot draw or paint to save my life. I have good hand/eye coordination (throw something at me and watch my quick reactions), and I think I can take a not bad photo, but I just cannot get it together when it comes to drawing. What I do love though is looking at art, and watching artists at work.

I’m really fascinated at the different approaches the artists take, and wonder if you can extrapolate the techniques to writing. Some of the painters begin by getting rid of that big blank page by giving a nice colour wash. Maybe we could do the same by using coloured paper – Page Layout lets you do this – choosing a different colour for different moods might help you hit the right tone (I haven’t tried this yet, but I think I might). Then there’s the decision whether to start with broad brush strokes, throwing down the frame of the story (this is definitely me), or using neat line drawings to map out each step of the way. Do you concentrate on one part of the picture until it is absolutely perfect, or work in one colour, then another, or move about the image fixing and re-touching the picture as a whole.

When the amateur artists were looking at perspectives and landscapes, they were told about vanishing points, and blurring or sharpening lines depending on how far away the object or part of the object should appear. Then there’s shading – what has to appear in the sun, and what has only to be hinted at.

If you give any of the above a try let me know how you get on. In the meantime, here’s a landscape of Arran with Millport in the foreground. Please feel free to be inspired.

Arran taken from Millport, Scotland

Arran taken from Millport, Scotland


One Response to “Artists’ Techniques – No Matter the Medium”

  1. sanstorm March 21, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    I’ve been watching it too and having similar thoughts to your own. I love how all of their styles are so different and how the factor that gets them ‘evicted’ from the show is when they stop learning. I should apply that to writing as well. I may know many tricks and techniques, but there will always be more ways to generate a reader-experience by putting words on paper.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Remixt: a magazine of multiple perspectives

Scottish Writers' Centre

Company No: SC349247 - Charity No: SC040823


Stumbling about gob-smacked by the world

Sarah Tinsley

The Power of Words

Sally Jenkins

A Writer on Writing, Reading and Life

MorgEn Bailey - Editor, Comp Columnist/Judge, Tutor & Writing Guru

A wealth of writing-related goodies from Morgen With An E (writer, editor, tutor, speaker and oh yes, blogger)

The Bath Novel Award

two international competitions for unpublished & independently published novelists


Helping authors get their books published

Zoë Strachan

News from

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

The Reading Room (Seòmar Leughaidh)

Promoting all things writerly on the Isle of Skye

Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging


She turns coffee into books so she can afford to buy more coffee. And more books.

Blog About Writing

Just another site


I make nice frocks and write average poetry. And there's a bit of embroidery and the occasional rant.

Help! I Need a Publisher!

Writing and the Creative Process

Nail Your Novel

Nail Your Novel - Writing, publishing and self-publishing advice from a bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor

%d bloggers like this: