If you (or anyone you know) is starting to develop a creative streak, then arts and crafts are a great way to channel it. Paper is a popular and excellent medium – because it’s inexpensive, and capable of being applied in a multitude of different ways. It can be used to create three-dimensional paper craft models, or as a canvas for your drawings. Combined with the right implement, it’s possible to craft an infinity of outcomes.
In order to get yourself started, however, you’ll need to figure out exactly how you’re going to be creating your drawings. There might be a big gulf between your vision and what you’re producing – and sometimes the right tools can make all the difference in ensuring the latter resembles the former!
Let’s take a look at some of those key tools – and consider how they might be used and why.
Traditional artwork relies heavily on paintbrushes. Unless you’re going to do your work with the aid of a pencil, pen, spray can or computer, then you’ll want to give paint a try. If you’ve not yet made a decision about how you’re going to be creating your art, then a set of quality brushes will give you the opportunity to try the medium out for yourself.
Brushes come in sets containing a multitude of different brushes, each of a distinct fineness. You’ll want to use the broad brush for the early stages, and then gradually work your way down until you’re dealing with fine detail. Brushes won’t last forever – they have a finite shelf-life even if they’re employed extremely judiciously. In order to preserve your brush’s ability to paint those fine details, you’ll want to replace them every so often.
Of course, there’s no point in having quality brushes if you lack the paints to go with them. Be sure to get high-quality paints that match the style of art you’re looking to create. The oldest variety is the oil paint – which creates pigments from different shades of natural oil, and has been around for centuries.
It’s suited to creating glossy, luminescent work. Watercolours have been around for even longer – and lends the artist the ability to build a thin, translucent coat of paint over time. Acrylic paints, on the other hand, are made from synthetic resin. They’re soluble in water, and lack the long drying time of an oil-based paint, and so they’re a popular choice for many.
If you’re looking for something a little more immediate, then pencil and paper is a great alternative to paints. The appeal of pencil is obvious – there’s no drying time to consider, and therefore little scope for unsightly error. If you’re working with ordinary graphite pencils, then you’ll be limited to monochrome – but many artists are able to produce spectacular results using just pencil and paper, as evidenced by this modest gallery of hyperreal images.
Like paintbrushes, pencils come in many different sorts – but they’re not sorted according to fineness (which, with the help of a sharpener or suitably sharp knife, is infinitely malleable), but according to softness. A HB pencil is the middle of the spectrum, with pencils getting progressively harder and softer on either side, respectively described by the letter H (for harder pencils) or B (for softer ones) as well as a number indicating just how hard or soft they are. In order to create the highest-quality artwork, you’ll want to use the entire range!
A slightly more unusual medium is charcoal. The charcoal used by artists is often not the same stuff that comes out of the ground – it’s bound together by a wax or gum binder. Charcoal has the considerable virtue of being very easily removed from the paper without leaving any permanent scarring. Consequently, artists are able to fine-tune their work again and again, until effective perfection eventually results. With a combination of strokes, smudges and blends, an infinity of black-and-white shades can be achieved.
If you’d like to achieve the best of both worlds, then you can even get charcoal sticks which are housed inside pencils. You might also want to secure yourself special stumps and erasers, which will allow you to easily remove charcoal from the page. Though you can get by without them, tools like this will help you to avoid getting charcoal on your fingers and thereby creating an unsightly mess!
We’ve covered just a few of the materials you might use to create an image – and they’re all available from good arts and crafts supplies shops. There are many more out there – some more unusual than others. Once you’ve developed your artistic chops, there’ll be nothing to prevent you from migrating to your medium of choice – whether it be biro, concrete – or something even more exotic!