Three Basic Ways To Disguise “Lazy” Art

The night before I wrote this article, I felt like making some relaxingly “lazy” art. Here’s a preview of the digitally-edited painting that I made:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 12th July.

Although it might not look like it at first glance, this is a “lazy” painting. It uses simple one-point perspective, there aren’t any people in it and most of the location design just consists of angular 3D shapes. So, how did I disguise the sheer laziness that went into this painting?

1) Put effort into other areas: Although I find drawing people to be a bit of an effort (and I couldn’t even be bothered to include indistinct silhouettes in this picture either) and although the painting features some fairly simple perspective and location choices, one of the ways that I was able to disguise these “lazy” parts of the painting was to pay a lot more attention to the lighting and colours in the painting.

Since I’ve been practicing realistic lighting for quite a while and since I know how complementary colours work, adding vaguely realistic lighting and a vaguely decent colour scheme to the painting wasn’t too much of an effort for me. So, by adding these “impressive-looking” elements of the picture, I was able to disguise the sheer laziness of the rest of the picture without too much effort.

The same is true for any artistic skill that you’ve practiced a lot and/or find easy to use. If you’re really good at, say, hatching and shading – then include lots of this in your lazy artwork. If you’re an expert at using digital effects, then add lots of them to your lazy artwork. If still life painting is your forte, then make a realistic – but “easy” – still life etc

As long as it doesn’t stand out too much, then adding lots of extra “effort” to one element of the picture can be an easy way to draw the audience’s attention away from the lack of effort in other elements of your “lazy” piece of art.

2) Practice: As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the more effort you put into practicing regularly, the better your lazy artwork will look. This is because the improvements and skills that you’ve gained from making more effort-intensive works of art will come in handy when you’re having a lazy day.

In other words, the more you practice, the better (and less “obvious”) your lazy artwork will look. Having some experience and regular practice will mean that a “lazy” piece of art you make today will still look better than a non-lazy piece of art that you made a few years ago. All of the skills you’ve learnt from the times when you’ve felt more motivated, inspired or enthusiastic will pay off when you’re having a lazy day.

Even the small amount of practice that you get from making a “lazy” work of art will help you to see what does and doesn’t “work” when it comes to making good-looking, low-effort artwork. So, even making lazy artwork is still a type of practice.

So, as counter-intuitive as it might sound, keep up your art practice – even on lazy days.

3) Atmosphere and mood: Simply put, audiences are willing to overlook a lot of technical flaws and simplistic elements if a piece of art is distinctive, atmospheric, amusing or intriguing in some way or another.

This is why, for example, regular webcomics and some political cartoons can use fairly simplistic artwork and still have a lot of readers. Since the audience’s attention is drawn to the comedic elements of the cartoon, they are more willing to overlook the hastily-made and undetailed artwork.

In the example at the beginning of the article, I took the opposite approach to this. By making my painting gloomy, mysterious and atmospheric (eg: through my choice of lighting, weather, location etc..), I was able to draw the audience’s attention away from the fact that it’s a simplistic one-point perspective painting that consists of several 3D shapes and a relatively small number of colours.

So, yes, if there’s something interesting, funny etc.. about your art, then your audience is going to focus on that element of it.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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Three Tips For Making Rushed And/Or Uninspired Art Look Better

Since I seem to be going through a bit of an uninspired phase at the time of writing, I thought that I’d give you a few tips about how to make rushed and/or uninspired art look better.

Whilst this won’t result in ultra-high quality or ultra-detailed art, it will at least make rushed and/or uninspired art slightly less noticeable to the untrained eye.

Although I’ve probably mentioned some of this stuff before, I’ll try to avoid some of the really obvious ways to make uninspired/rushed art look good (eg: remaking your old paintings, making studies of historical paintings, making still life paintings etc..).

1) Focus on the easy parts: If you’re feeling uninspired and/or you don’t have a huge amount of time to make a piece of art, then one of the best ways to make it look better is to focus on the “easy” parts of the picture and to either leave out the more complex parts or find some way to hide them.

For example, people are often relatively difficult to draw well. So, in an uninspired digitally-edited painting that I’ll be posting here in early July, I made sure that the person in the foreground was facing away from the audience (and, thanks to the positioning of the painting’s light sources, was also little more than a silhouette). Here’s a preview:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 1st July.

By devoting less effort to the person in the foreground, I was able to spend more time on the “easy” parts of the painting – such as the background and the lighting. This allowed me to make these parts of the painting look reasonably ok (or at least better than they would have done if I’d focused my time and effort on drawing a more detailed character instead).

So, find the elements that you find “easiest” to paint or draw and focus on these.

2) Detail control: One of the best ways to make uninspired and/or rushed art look better is to add lots of detail to one element of the picture whilst reducing the detail levels in other parts.

This can be as simple as drawing or painting a detailed foreground and adding a rather quick or impressionistic background (or even leaving the background out altogether). But, it can also be done in much more subtle ways too. For example, here’s a preview of a somewhat rushed digitally-edited drawing that I’ll be posting here in early July:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 2nd July.

Although this picture looks reasonably detailed at first glance (due to the detail on the plants), the picture’s colour scheme is considerably less detailed. For the most part, it is just a simple orange/black colour scheme (with some grey and white too). By devoting much less time and effort to the colours and choosing an “easy” – but striking – colour scheme, I was able to save a bit of time whilst making it.

So look for areas where you can add detail and, more importantly, look for areas where you can reduce the detail level (without affecting the quality of the picture as a whole).

3) Have a unique style: Although it can take quite a while to develop a unique art style, it can be incredibly useful when you’re feeling uninspired and/or are in a rush.

This is because even a less-detailed or lower-quality piece of art in your own style will still look more unique and visually-interesting than a piece of art that uses either a more realistic style or a more commonly-used style. For example, here’s a preview of a slightly uninspired painting that will appear here in a few days:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 17th June.

Although I wasn’t feeling that inspired or enthusiastic when I made this painting, it probably still looks reasonably ok since it includes most of the key features of my art style – such as high-contrast lighting (where at least 30% of the total surface area of the painting is covered in black paint), my usual colour palette, my usual drawing style, some elements from the cyberpunk genre etc…

The thing to remember here is that even though an uninspired painting in your own style might just seem “mediocre” to you, it will probably still look interesting to people who either like your art style or haven’t seen it before. So, having a more unique art style can make even your uninspired or rushed art look a little bit more distinctive and interesting.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Three Random Techniques That Will Make Your Art Look Cooler

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Whilst there is no substitute for regular art practice, there are a number of simple artistic techniques that I wish that I’d learnt a lot earlier than I did. I’ve probably mentioned this stuff before, but it’s probably worth repeating nontheless.

So, here are some techniques that will make your art look cooler.

1) Cylindrical surfaces and neon lights: Interestingly, the same technique that can allow you to make cylindrical objects look 3D can also be used to create realistic-looking neon lights and/or strip lights.

The technique is, of couse, simply to make the areas around the edges of a long, thin area darker than the middle. If you want to make something look cylindrical, then make the middle part a lighter shade of the same colours you’ve used for the edges. If you want to make something look luminescent, then either leave the middle part blank or make it significantly lighter than the edges.

Here’s a quick MS Paint diagram to show you what I mean:

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE

Here is an example of the technique in action (albeit with some extra lighting added to the surrounding areas too):

As you can see, the middle part of both flourescent light tubes are either left blank or are a significantly lighter shade of the colour around the edges of the tube.

As you can see, the middle part of both flourescent light tubes are either left blank or are a significantly lighter shade of the colour around the edges of the tube.

2) High-contrast art: I’ve mentioned this before, but one way to make your art look significantly more vivid and dramatic is to ensure that at least 30-50% of the total area of the painting or drawing is covered with black paint or black ink. This makes all of the colours in your artwork look bolder and more vivid by comparison, as well as giving your artwork a gloomy 1980s/90s style “look” too.

Whilst this effect can be improved through digital editing techniques (such as altering the brightness/contrast levels in an image), one sneaky way to use this effect without being too obvious about it is to add black “letterboxing” bars to the top and bottom of your painting. This also has the effect of making it look like a frame from a film too.

Here’s an example of the technique in action. In addition to my usual digital editing, I’ve also added a sepia filter to the original painting to make the contrast between the light and dark areas of the painting stand out more:

This is a sepia-tinted version of one of my paintings. As you can see, the painting is about 50-70% sepia and 30-50% black.

This is a sepia-tinted version of one of my paintings. As you can see, the painting is about 50-70% sepia and 30-50% black.

3) Wall tiles: One of the easiest ways to give a painting or a drawing a cool retro-futuristic look is to use tiled walls. Yes, these can be a little bit time consuming to draw, but there are a couple of simple tile designs that will give your picture more of an atmospheric look.

Here’s a simple diagram that I made in MS Paint that will show you how to draw two of my favourite wall tile designs:

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE.

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE.

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Sorry for the short article, but I hope it was useful 🙂

Two Basic Ways To Get More Out Of The Art Supplies You Already Have

And, in the spirit of things, I've *ahem* repurposed the title image from my recent image editing article.

And, in the spirit of things, I’ve *ahem* repurposed the title image from my recent image editing article.

A couple of days ago, I posted an article about how to get more out of your image editing software. So, today, I thought that I’d look at several ways that you can get more out of the physical art supplies that you already have.

This is mostly because, if you’re new to making art, it can be easy to think that you just need the right brand of art supplies in order to be a good artist. This isn’t true.

Whilst certain types (but not brands) of art supplies will allow you to give your art a particular look (eg: watercolour paint looks different to pencil shading etc..), the true test of an artist is what they can do with the materials they already have.

So, how can you get more out of the art supplies that you already have? Here are a couple of basic tips:

1) Learn how to make art in black and white: Even if you don’t plan on making black & white art regularly, then learning how to make proper monochrome art (or how to improve it) can be a surprisingly useful skill to have if you want to get the most out of your art supplies.

Plus, it’s the kind of art that can be made with nothing more than a simple ballpoint pen too – although you can obviously get more impressive results if you use things like traditional ink, black paint and/or digital tools too:

This B&W picture was created with a waterproof ink rollerball pen, black watercolour paint/pencil and two image editing programs. The only grey areas in the picture are leftover pencil lines from the original sketch and/or unintentional artefacts of the editing process. ["City Rain (II)" By C. A. Brown]

This B&W picture was created with a waterproof ink rollerball pen, black watercolour paint [from a watercolour pencil] a 4H pencil [for the preliminary sketch] and two image editing programs. The only grey areas in the picture are leftover pencil lines from the original sketch and/or unintentional artefacts of the editing process. [“City Rain (II)” By C. A. Brown]

So, why is learning how to make this one type of art so important? And what does it have to do with getting more out of your current art supplies?

First of all, it teaches you a lot about lighting, contrasts and shading. Because you literally just have two colours (black and white) to work with, you’ll have to learn how to create a wide range of different effects using as little as just one pen. This will, of course, force you to think more creatively about using the things you already have.

Likewise, if you make a drawing or a painting that works well as a B&W picture, then (as long as you use complementary colours), you can also turn it into an interesting piece of colour artwork using as little as two additional colours (and the principles you have learnt).

For example, here’s one of my old horror-themed limited palette paintings that has been digitally converted into a B&W image:

This is a digital reconstruction of what this painting would look like if it was in black and white. Unfortunately, some leftover shading from the paint has remained in the image, and some fine details from the original line art have been obscured by the conversion process.

This is a digital reconstruction of what this painting would look like if it was in black and white. Unfortunately, some leftover shading from the paint has remained in the image, and some fine details from the original line art have been obscured by the conversion process.

And here is a scan of the actual painting (after digital adjustments to the brightness/contrast levels). If I remember rightly, the only other watercolour pencils I used were a blue pencil and a brown pencil. However, I also used mixing, varying amounts of pressure and/or varying amounts of water in order to create a greater number of colours in the actual painting:

"Zombie Facility" By C. A. Brown [2016]

“Zombie Facility” By C. A. Brown [2016]

2) Experimentation and emulation: This sounds obvious, but you can usually find out lots of other cool stuff you can do with the art supplies you already have if you’re willing to experiment with them. Likewise, if you’re willing to do things in a slightly different way, you can often emulate other types of art materials with the ones you already have.

For example, if you don’t have waterproof ink pens, but you want to add some ink drawings to your watercolour art – then just make the basic sketch in pencil (using little to no pressure, or a lighter type of pencil like a 4H pencil). Once you’ve done this, then add colour to the sketch using watercolour paint or watercolour pencil. Then wait until it has dried completely and go over any visible pencil lines with a normal black pen.

This is a lot more complicated and convoluted than just drawing the line art with waterproof ink before adding paint. But, if you don’t have these types of pens, then this process can be a good substitute for them and/or a good way to experiment with adding ink to your watercolour paintings before you buy any waterproof ink pens.

Likewise, if you only have a limited number of coloured pencils, you can sometimes create more colours by mixing them (although different brands of pencils are better or worse when it comes to doing this). This works in a vaguely similar way to mixing paints – just shade an area lightly with one colour and then go over it again lightly with another colour. From a slight distance, the two colours will appear to blend together.

Plus, if you don’t have expensive marker pens or gouache paint, then sightly similar effects can be created with watercolour pencils (although you’ll obviously need watercolour paper too).

Start by applying a fair amount of pressure and/or going over an area several times when using the pencils. Once you’ve done this, go over these areas very lightly with a slightly moist paintbrush instead of drowning them in water (not drowning your painting is probably the most important part of the process!).

Here’s an unprocessed scan of one of my old paintings to show you what this looks like. Although it looks slightly bolder in real life than it does in the scan, it still looks a bit like watercolour – but it doesn’t have the “soft” or “faint” look that more traditional watercolour painting styles have:

I've used this example before, but this is an unprocessed (except for cropping) scan of the picture. It's closer to the original painting, but slightly more faded due to the limitations of the scanner.

I’ve used this example before, but this is an unprocessed (except for cropping) scan of the picture. It’s closer to the original painting, but slightly more faded due to the limitations of the scanner.

This was something I learnt completely by accident after switching from coloured pencils to watercolour pencils. Since I instinctively used watercolour pencils in the same “heavy” way that I used coloured pencils, I found that my art tended to include bolder colours.

More importantly, since the watercolour paper I use for my daily paintings is a fairly thin and cheap type of paper, it can often be damaged if I start using water too copiously. So, because of both of these things, I learnt how to create very un-“watercolour” levels of boldness in my art.

Of course, the best way to re-create the boldness of marker pens or gouache using watercolour pencils is just to digitally edit a scan or a digital photograph of your art. You can even do this with a free open-source program called “GIMP” that can be found here. Just find the “brightness/contrast” option (most image editing programs include this basic feature) and then lower the brightness level slightly and increase the contrast level heavily. Then your art will look more like this:

"La Chanteuse" By C. A. Brown [2016]

“La Chanteuse” By C. A. Brown [2016]

These are just a few small examples but, if you’re willing to think and experiment, then you’d be surprised what you can create with only one or two types of art materials.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Three Basic Ways To Get More Out Of Your Image Editing Program

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If you’re new to digital image editing, it can be easy to think that whatever editing program you’re using can only do a limited number of things. However, most image editing programs can actually do a lot more than you might initially think.

Since there are many different image editing programs out there, I’ll try to write the “advice” parts of this article in a fairly non-specific way that will apply to most programs.

However, I’ll be using examples from the 2-3 image editing programs that I actually use on a regular or semi-regular basis (eg: MS Paint 5.1, Jasc Paint Shop Pro 6 [it’s old, but still very functional!] and, very occasionally, a free open-source program called “GIMP).

1) Combine several effects and/or tools: Although the menus of your image editing program may only contain, say, fifty different effects and/or tools – there’s no rule against using many of these tools/ effects in combination with each other in order to create a huge number of effects that you can’t create with just a single option. In fact, you can use different tools/effects from multiple programs in conjunction with each other if you really want to.

The trick, of course, is working out which effects, tools etc… go well together. But, with a bit of thought and/or random experimentation (be sure to either keep unaltered backups of your images if you’re experimenting), you should be able to create quite a few effects that you wouldn’t be able to do with any one option available to you in your editing program.

For example, by combining the “noise” and “colourise”/”RGB” options that can be found in many image editing programs – you can create a corkboard-like texture fairly easily.

Likewise, you can also use several basic features found in many programs to convert photos into something that resembles videogame-style pixel art (although the tutorial is MS Paint 5.1 -specific, most editing programs allow you to do things like altering the colour depth of an image).

Or, to use a recent example, I’d just finished my usual MS Paint 5.1/ Jasc Paint Shop Pro 6 editing on a scanned painting that I plan to post here in July. However, it still didn’t quite look right.

Suddenly, I thought “What if I use the ‘dilate’ effect in Jasc Paint Shop Pro 6 and then lower the highlight/midtone/shadow levels“. Although the picture also required some extra adjustments to the hue/saturation/lightness levels after I’d done this, I ended up creating a really distinctive effect:

Here's a close-up detail from the painting to show you what the effect looks like. It made the painting look like a combination between an impressionist painting and a pixel art picture.

Here’s a close-up detail from the painting to show you what the effect looks like. It made the painting look like a combination between an impressionist painting and a pixel art picture.

2) Look online for undocumented features: Whilst this isn’t true for all image editing programs, some image editing programs contain extra features that aren’t listed in the program’s documentation. The easiest way to find out about these is, obviously, to do an online search for “hidden features in [Your editing program]“. You might be surprised by what you find.

For example, a couple of weeks before I originally wrote this article, I ended up looking up something to do with MS Paint. To my surprise, I also found several articles that list undocumented features in many versions of MS Paint.

To give you one example, you can freely alter the brush/pencil/airbrush size to literally any size by just holding down the left “ctrl” key and pressing the “+” or ” -” keys.

Likewise, if you select an area and then hold down left “crtl” – you can drag the mouse away from that area to create a quick copy of the selected area. If you hold down “shift” instead after selecting an area, then it will leave a trail when you move it. This can be used for creating bizarre abstract art, like this:

This was an abstract picture that I mostly created using the undocumented "trail" feature in MS Paint 5.1

This was an abstract picture that I mostly created using the undocumented “trail” feature in MS Paint 5.1

Of course, MS Paint is just one program. But, it might be worth looking online to see if there are any hidden undocumented features in the program that you use.

3) Shortcuts are your friend: Many image editing programs will contain keyboard shortcuts for their most essential features.

Although this may just seem like a boring, and easily ignored, feature – learning the keyboard shortcuts for features that you use often can save you a lot of time. Likewise, you can also use them in all sorts of clever ways too.

For example, in Jasc Paint Shop Pro 6, I leave the “RGB” settings at + 11% red, -4% green and -18% blue. This means that if I want to add a light skin tone to a selected area of a drawing/painting that I’m editing, I can just quickly hit the “Ctrl + U” shortcut for this feature and then hit “Enter”. If I want to add a slightly darker skin tone to a selected area, I can just repeat the process 1-2 times.

Or, to give you another example, I keep the “highlight/ midtone/shadow” levels at -31% highlight, -31% midtone and -36% shadow. By using the “Ctrl + M” shortcut, I can quickly make an image (or part of an image) look slightly more shadowy.

If you learn the keyboard shortcuts for the more well-used parts of your editing program, then you’ll be able to do things like this and much more.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Four Clever And/Or Evil Tricks You Can Use In Interactive Fiction Stories

2016 artwork four evil interactive fiction tricks article sketch

Yes, it’s yet another article about writing interactive fiction. As I’ve mentioned at least four times before, at the time of writing this article, I’m working on a gamebook-style online interactive fiction story that might have been posted online sometime around Halloween 2015.

Anyway, since I’m still busy writing at the moment, I thought that I’d quickly share a few clever tricks that I’ve either seen in interactive fiction stories and/or have used in my own story.

I should warn you that most of these tricks are fairly evil though – so, don’t be surprised if they annoy some of your readers. A good way to lessen this problem is to include some humour whenever you do anything evil, so that your readers will feel amused rather than annoyed.

1) Hidden clues: One clever trick that you can use is to present the player with a decision where both paths lead to the same outcome, but only one of the two paths gives the reader a clue which will help them with a puzzle or a decision later in the story.

There are lots of different ways to do this. For example, in my gamebook-style story, there’s a part where you can choose to take two paths. If you take one path, then you’ll meet a character who will tell you what his favourite band is. This information is crucial if you go down a particular path slightly later in the story.

2) Hidden pages: Another clever trick that you can use is to add a “page” to your story that can’t actually be reached if you play through the story “properly”. These hidden pages work best if you, say, add them to somewhere in the middle of your interactive story, rather than at the very beginning or at the very end.

Your readers will only find these pages if they flick through your gamebook at random or, if you’ve posted it online, these pages will only be visible if the readers decide to manually change the website address (presuming, of course, the website address contains the page numbers).

If you’re feeling benevolent, then you can add fun “easter eggs” for your readers in these hidden pages. If you’re feeling evil, then you can use these pages to sternly admonish your readers for cheating, before mercilessly killing their characters as punishment.

If you’re feeling really really evil, you could make one of these pages look like a fun “easter egg” at first glance, but have it quickly turn into a death scene that also contains stern warnings about cheating. Not that I’d ever include such a fiendishly cruel hidden page in my story. I wouldn’t even dream of it…..

3) Endless loops: This one is fairly self-explanatory really, but it basically just involves sending your readers round and round in circles if they make the wrong decision at one point in the story.

If you’re feeling nice, then you can make the loop fairly short, so that your readers can spot it easily. You could possibly even give them a way to get out of the loop too.

If you’re feeling evil, then you can make the endless loop confusingly long and take your readers on an elaborate wild goose chase. Just because you can.

4) Evil wording: The best practice when presenting decisions to your readers in an interactive fiction story is to make your descriptions of each option as “neutral” as possible in order to avoid influencing your readers one way or another.

Of course, if you’re feeling a little bit diabolical, then you can try to subtly influence your readers by wording your descriptions of each option in either a positive or negative way. You can make it so that your readers can’t quite trust the narrator, by occasionally describing bad options in a good way and vice versa.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Four Sneaky Minimalist Art Tricks

2015 Artwork Minimalist art tricks article sketch

If you don’t have a lot of time to make art, then it can be useful to learn how to make slightly minimalist art. This is, as you may have guessed, art with less detail than you’d normally include in your drawings or paintings.

For me, a “normal” painting can take me anything from 30-90 minutes to make. When I’m in a rush, a minimalist painting can take me just 15-60 minutes to make.

A good minimalist painting can almost look like it isn’t a minimalist painting. Here’s an example of one of my paintings that illustrates what I’m talking about:

"But, Who Lit The Fire?" By C. A. Brown

“But, Who Lit The Fire?” By C. A. Brown

But, how do you make a minimalist painting? Here are a few sneaky tricks that might help:

1) A good concept: If you’re making a minimalist painting, one way to make it seem as good as a more detailed “ordinary” painting is to come up with a really cool concept for it.

If you don’t have one of these ideas, then just try making something that is associated with things that many people think are cool (eg: vikings, pirates, zombies, vampires, ninjas, dinosaurs, dragons etc…) albeit with an amusing or strange twist.

If you do this, your audience will be more focused on the concept of the painting and less on the level of detail in it. Likewise, if you have more time later, you can always produce an “improved” version of your minimalist painting – so, you basically get two paintings for the price of one.

2) Outlines: If you’re well-practiced enough, then a quick way to make a minimalist painting appear more detailed than it actually does is to only draw or paint the outlines of several parts of the picture, or possibly all of the picture.

If you’re just drawing the outlines of things in the background, then make sure that you do it for all of the background – otherwise it’ll look weird. This also has the effect of emphasising any detailed areas, objects or people in the foreground too.

A sneakier way of only including outlines in the background is to paint silhouettes of the large parts of the distant background (but only when it works in the context of your painting).

For example, in the painting I showed you earlier, the silhouetted manor house in the background is actually nothing more than the basic outline of a building that would have probably taken me at least 10-20 minutes to draw in detail.

3) Simplified details: You’d be surprised at how often small background details can be replaced by fairly quick and basic scribbles. You have to be a little bit careful about how you do this but as long as the scribbles in the background look vaguely similar to what they’re supposed to, then your audience’s imaginations will “fill in the gaps”.

For example, in the painting I showed you earlier – the pebbles on the ground are literally just a series of swirly lines and the leaves on the edges of the trees are nothing more than random scribbles. Because they’re small background details that look vaguely like what they’re supposed to, the fact that they consist of nothing but swirly lines and scribbles isn’t immediately noticeable.

4) Darkness: This is something that I tend to use fairly often (and you’ll need some practice at drawing or painting realistic lighting to be able to do this) since one way to make a painting with a minimal amount of detail is just to shroud it in darkness. For example, take a look at another painting of mine:

"Club District" By C. A. Brown

“Club District” By C. A. Brown

When I made this painting, all I had to draw was a few squares, a person and a couple of handrails. That was it. Apart from painting a few small details, I just had to cover the rest of the painting with black paint.

Not only does this technique emphasise the lighter (and more detailed) areas of your painting, but it also means that you don’t have to worry about making a proper background for your painting either.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂