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Thread: Visual Art Fundamentals
November 27th, 2009 #27
I made up this list for myself last week.
It's kind of personal and I loosely translated it from Dutch and rather quickly so it's probably not always very clear. Not to mention full of spell errors, but I'm kind of in a hurry now.
anyway long list ahead...
Fundamentals of visual art
Relationship to the image area
Flats (filled in shapes)
Shape-Identity (pointy, rounded, etc)
Silhouette and negative spaces
Symetry / Asymetry
Formal and informal composition
Cut-offs (part of shape falls outside image area)
Directness, readability vs ambiguity
Lowkey / Midkey / Highkey tonal setup
Tonal contrast and tonal range
Use of color
Types of line, line-identity (ragged, smooth, textured, uniform, etc)
Line/Stroke economy (using allot or using little)
Hierarchy within line (thickness, texture, etc...)
Sponanity or precision?
Mechanical / Architectural
Relationships between shapes (contrasts in identity, repetition of shape, etc... tied in to composition)
Basic shapes such as...
Polygonal shapes with more sides
Irregular shapes (noisy, organic, etc)
Horizon and eye-height
Perspective based on overlaps (eg. Egyptian art)
Field of view / Cone of vision
4-5 Points curvilinear perspective
Shadowcasting, penumbra, distortions, optical illusions, organical shape construction etc etc...
Basic shapes such as...
Cube and beam (right word?)
Relationship between shape and form
Soft vs hard surfaces
Drawing-trough / Thinking trough
Form and light
Light adds up
Planes in relationship to tone
Form-light and form-shadow
Core-shadow and highlight
Specularity and specular highlights
Basic lighting on cube, cillinder, cone, sphere...
Tonal range of picture
Tonal range and tonal hierarchy within an object
Lightest lights, lights, midtones, darks, darkest darks and their relationship to the tonal range
Composition based on relationships of light and shadow
Composition based on relationships between the local values of the objects in the scene.
Optica and physics
The human eye and how it works
Frequencies within the visible color spectrum
Additive color mixing
Substractive color mixing
Range of a lightsource
Relationship between distance between light and object and penumbra.
Value in relationship to color
Inherent value of a specific color
Relationship between form-light and form-shadow and the role color plays in this
Chroma in relationship to form
Difference between brightness and lightness
Warm vs cool color
Color circulation / Color balance
Color based on tone (as a working method)
Hierarchy in color-intensity
Transitions based on color-value (eg. dark to light as in blue to yellow)
Transitions based on hue
Transitions based on chroma / saturation (eg. highest chroma in midtone etc)
Spatial pulls trough colortemperature
Color temp within perspective and atmospheric perspective (see above)
Color variance within white light, color variance within specular highlights
CIElab vs RGB
Palette building trough addition of hue
Palette building trough substraction of hue
Color palettes and their relationship to the highkey, midkey, lowkey tonal setups
High chromakey, mid chromakey, low chromakey
4-5 edges principal
Hierarchy within edges
Depth of field trough lenzes
Blur and motion blur
Texture approached from materials used (painterly approach)
Texture approached from surface of object (photographic approach)
Texture trough tonality
Texture trough hue and color temperature
Coarse vs fine texture
Texture by papergrain vs texture by brushstrokes
Simplification and abstraction
Abstraction based on contour
Abstraction based on form
Abstraction based on movement
Abstraction based on light and shadow shapes
Abstraction based on local tones and colors
Contrast and exageration
Direct vs difuse lighting
Mixing the above to into a hybrid approach?
Emphasising the materials used
Keeping the directness/sketchyness alive
Cut outs (having something only partially within the picture frame)
Fantasy vs reality
Irony and provocation
Conceptualism and philosophy
Playing out contrasts
Climax and anticlimax
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November 28th, 2009 #28Registered User
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From what I see, the Acurasee program kind of combines a grid and sight size. By just using a grid, you are prone to chop things up into small units and not really see the relationships that exist. By using a plumb line, you start seeing how things line up and begin the journey from what you think you see to what is physically there.
The key is that without the grid on your drawing surface, can you judge the distances that exist on the grid that IS on your subject matter. The more you practice the guess and measure method, the more accurate you will eventually become at judging distances as well as noticing places where things line up and form relationships to the whole.
@PieterV - You have quite a list of fundamental study here. I hope this thread spawns some activites for individual/group study. I am just kind of tossing around in my head how a CHOW/COW/EOW type activity look like if the base point was to work on this list of fundamentals. I am not even sure it COULD be done, or if there would even be that much interest in it. If nothing else, its a fantastic checklist the next time I feel overwhelmed and do not know where to begin.
November 28th, 2009 #29
Difference between Accurasee and gridding
It's not some kind of magical system which is going to help you draw the perfect eye, but it will help you to find the right spot to place the eye and help you to make the eye the right size in relation to the rest of the head. The fact is, the eye we draw may be totally lame, but at least it's the right size and in the right place. Finding the correct placement for features is half the battle.
In my opinion, both the grid system and the Accurasee system have there place, but they are totally unique. For one, The Accurasee system can be used from life. Also, one does not make a grid on their paper using my measurement system. In a nutshell, the Accurasee System is used to help the artist count off unit measurements and align important features. That's all...the rest is up to the artist.
If your interested, there are two brand new videos that can be found:
You can see some of my work here:
As with any method, it's not for everyone, but this system has helped me to draw more accurately...even when I'm not using the system. It's also helped many of my students understand what it actually takes to draw accurately...measurements and alignments. The fact is you can do these things without Accurasee (using a pencil to measure and find alignments,)...it's just harder to be precise.
November 28th, 2009 #30
Last edited by thorkster; November 28th, 2009 at 02:01 AM. Reason: forgot additional info
November 28th, 2009 #31
Hey Peter...great list. It pays to put it down... solidifies ideas. This is really going to benefit me, thanks!
November 29th, 2009 #32Registered User
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thats a good list pieterV. it reads more like the contents of a good art foundations book A list like that can be quite overwhelming tho, i like to think of the visual art fundamentals in a design sense, as the elements and the principles. The elements being tone, shape, line, texture, space, colour, form and the principles of repetition, balance, contrasts, gradation, scale, dominance. The elements being the visual ingredients of an image and the principles as general rules/ideas of how to successfully organise and relate the principles in an image.. With the goal of creating unity and harmony.. Each of the principles/elements have their own sets of ideas which pieter outlined alot of in his post.. then there are representational drawing fundamentals like perspective, anatomy, gesture etc which i think is moving more toward the fundamentals of figure drawing/ character/enviro design/ creating images from the imagination.. hope that helps
Check out my sketchbook!! http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...=703571&page=4
November 29th, 2009 #33
Wow - thanks for all the great posts everyone. Great list PieterV! I like the main categories you've defined. Those are certainly all important aspects of visual art that go into each piece in varying degrees. I think if one focuses on the fundamentals though, most of those take care of themselves - they all fall out of "getting the fundamentals right". That is one of the fascinating things to me - the fundamentals are pretty basic - yet infinite in their expression.
As one of my painting teachers said in response to "How do you paint water?" (a very common question by the way). His response was something along the lines of, "Water is no different than anything else - it's pretty easy really. You only have to get four things right: the right value, the right color, the right shape in the right place. Oh, and with the right edge - so five." Then he would smile mischievously and return to painting.
Richard Schmid lays it out even more simply than that - there are only TWO THINGS you can get wrong - "You paint something in that isn't there or you leave something important out that is part of the subject's character". Granted, they're both using somewhat humorous extremes to illustrate an important point - the fundamentals are what it all comes down to.
Good teachers will always help students understand and master the fundamentals so that the student may express their own vision with confidence and power.
Pretty much all the great guitar players use six strings.
November 28th, 2014 #34
It might be a bit off topic or at least not everybody will agree with me. But what is also of higher import—especially in a world with such a fast pace at basically everything—is patience!
I have experienced many times, that because everything needs to go "stronger, faster, harder" nowadays many talented people with great potential throw away their possibilities of becoming a good artist just because of how long it takes for a skill as complex as painting to develop. So, preparing yourself to be, work and develop within a pace reasonable for the individual is also something I dare calling "fundamentals". Without patience there will be no art. Opinions on this matter are highly welcome—I always enjoy a good talk.
»Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; for the world is full of talented, unsuccessful people. Genius will not; for unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; for the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and dedication alone are omnipotent.«
― Calvin Coolidge
- Marcus Aseth,
- Paul Kokshin,
- Mister Snow Leopard,
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