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Exercise 2: Getting the gist.

For this exercise I bought the magazine Artists & Illustrators. I looked through the magazine and decided to use the first paragraph on the 3rd page which was written by the editor Steve Pill. I started by reading the magazine article written by the editor. Once I had gotten the general gist of the piece I started writing out the paragraph on Microsoft word so that I could highlight the keywords which described the message the editor wanted to put a cross. I then went back over the highlighted words to find the summarised words that stated what I needed to draw. This summarisation lead me to the conclusion that “I’m going to create an image about Landscapes

Please see the screenshot below.

Editorial from the Magazine.

Rediscover the joys of landscape painting.

I’ve always admired landscape artists. Painting in the comfort of your own home can be tricky enough at times, just dealing with basics like mixing colours, judging proportions or finding the strength of will to clean your brushes at the end of a long day. Imagine adding sunburn, flies in the paint and the lack of a loo to your worries. So I’m being mischievous of course. Painting outdoors (or en plein air, if we must be fancy) can be a sheer joy. Nothing can truly replicate the thrill of trying to desperately capture the effect as the clouds part and the sunlight breaks across the scene. Returning to locations and seeing them at different times of day or under different weather conditions is equally satisfying, each observation and detail only adding to the value of your work. So as the bank holiday bonanza of late spring gives us added opportunities to dust off our paint boxes and head outside, we decided to focus on landscape painting in this issue. Tom Hughes is one of Britain’s most passionate and talented plein air painters, so I’m hugely excited that he is beginning a series of articles with us that will hopefully be the first of many. Regular contributor Grahame Booth also provides a fantastic masterclass, while the wild Scottish landscapes of Beth Robertson Fiddes must be seen to be believed.

Steve Pill, Editor.


So knowing what I needed to illustrate I set out to find some different landscapes that I could access near where I lived. Luckily I am surrounded by fields and scenic land which was perfect for this exercise. Using the keywords from the editorial piece I decided to go to various places and take a photograph of the landscape which I could use as the initial thumbnails. I noticed the editor was detailing how drawing outside was a fun idea for artists. And even though I do agree with the editor, I decided not to draw the landscapes outside in that moment in time. The reason for this is due to me drawing digitally and so I felt it would be more practical to take photos of the land to capture the scene and then draw the illustration at home. However I did understand the hardships and the advantages of drawing an illustration outside and how it must feel experiencing the atmosphere while creating the piece.

Below are the photographs of the landscapes I was able to obtain.

As the editor suggested I decided to choose which landscape I wanted to use from the photos I had taken and go back there when the weather was different to see if the atmosphere had changed. As you can see from the stream photos above I made sure the photos had the same composition but you can clearly see that the atmosphere is totally different in both images even though they are of the same landscape. This demonstrates that lighting can set the mood of your artwork and that bad weather can also ruin your art materials in the process if outside when drawing the landscape. This would affect when you would choose to go outside to draw or if you would take a photograph like I did.

Putting both photos next to each other as thumbnails I decided to draw the sunny stream as this filled me with happy thoughts when I looked at it and would allow me to use bright colours. I sketched the initial sketch on my IPad in Clip Studio using the pencil tool. However that didn’t work out too well as it wasn’t looking very good and I was not happy with the outcome. So I decided to try a new approach and I used a paint brush tool straight on to the digital canvas to create a painted look which worked out so much better. I finished the piece by using some effect brushes to help the colours pop right out of the screen and then I was finally happy with the final outcome.

Here you can see my failed sketch and final digital illustration shown below.



This exercise was a good opportunity for me to see how fun it is to draw landscapes. However for me that was not the case. I found it very difficult to create this piece and after failing at the sketch I had to step back and look at my options for this artwork. I felt like I was out of my depth but I wanted to try to achieve something for this exercise and accomplish a decent piece of art at the end and hopefully learn some new skills along the way. I’m so happy to say I feel like I did this as the final artwork looks a lot better than I though it would and I ended up being able to put my own mark on this piece which made it more enjoyable to create the second time around. I put more hours into this art than I thought I would but that was foolish of me to think as I know landscapes are not my strong point but I am hoping that the more I practice the better I will get. I realise artists can’t be good at everything and that it’s about not giving up that matters. I learnt that having a flowing approach to work can make the process more fun and using the paint brush and not being precise allowed me to just draw a piece that I wanted to create and loved. So I basically focused on colour for the final artwork which is what I love to do in my art and I love how the colours turned out so I feel like it was a success.


I was pleasantly surprised when I looked inside the cover of the magazine  and noticed this advertisement for the Open College of the Arts. I was so happy I came across this page as I thought it was quite fitting for the fact I was using the magazine in this exercise.

Posted by Sarah Cook on 16 June 2019 14:39

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