The John Middick Grisaille Technique (Or, as some call it, The “G” Method)
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
10M ago
I would like to explore and explain a time-honored technique in the art world that has guided many artists for centuries: the grisaille technique. While this method is typically associated with oil painting, I've adapted it for use with colored pencils, and it has turned out to be extremely useful for my art with colored pencil. I'm excited to share my process with you all and hopefully inspire you to try it out for yourself. Starting of the grisaille method on the Sharpen-Up Challenge in Members Circle. Fully rendered piece using the grisaille method. Why Should You Use It The first re ..read more
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Join me for The Art Conference III
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
2y ago
Join me for The Art Conference III A virtual art show and conversation I'll be guest presenting at this live event to be hosted on the Zoom platform. I'm delighted to have the opportunity to speak about creative inspiration as a special guest at Nancy Ori and Mindy Lighthipe's virtual conference. This conference is completely free, but you must get the link from Nancy (nancyori@comcast.net) to attend. So I hope you'll choose to join us! The conference will explore inspiration, and how to generate positive energy, workshops, and artwork during this challenging time we all are living through now ..read more
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10 Creative Ideas For New Direction In The New Year
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
2y ago
Happy New Year! It's a brand new year filled with new possibilities for your art. I wanted to share a few words of encouragement as we head into this new year. What Can You Do This Year? If you're as enthused about the possibilities of this fresh year as I am, then I have a proposition for you... Do something to stretch yourself in some new way. Need some help? Here are a few things to consider to get you started:  If you've been putting off establishing a daily drawing practice, now might be the time. If that still sounds overwhelming, then just grab a very small sketchbook and draw ..read more
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Beginning with the Basics for Colored Pencil Portraits
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
3y ago
Stop Beginning At The End! Portraits are some of the most striking pieces in colored pencil. When done well, the realism is breathtaking! I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say, “Is that colored pencil? But the people look so real! I didn’t know colored pencil could do that.” Many artists (myself included) see colored pencil portraits and feel inspired to draw one themselves. They race off to the bookstore or start searching YouTube for a great tutorial, then wonder why their portraits fall short. Why don’t my colored pencil portraits look realistic? Where did I go wrong? Can ..read more
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Portrait Prep Series: From Line to Basic Shapes
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
3y ago
Welcome to the first official installment of the Portrait Prep Series! Today we’re going to talk about a few of the basic skills you’ll need before you ever start to tackle a face-- and I do mean basic! We’re taking it all the way back to lines, shading/value, and basic shapes. Grab a sketch pad and follow along! Lines A line is all about finality. It says “STOP! Don’t look any further. There's nothing to see past this edge.”  Lines can also convey body, fullness, or a dark color. Caricature artists do this all the time. Their dark lines indicate dark brown hair or black hair, and their l ..read more
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Portrait Prep Series: Beyond Basic Shapes
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
3y ago
Welcome to the final portion of Lesson 1!   Lesson 1.2 In our last lesson we talked about drawing edges instead of lines and the importance of training our eye to see relative size and proportions. We also touched on value scales and spoke about how to look at a sphere. If you missed it or need a refresher, click here to review.   If you’re ready to join the Portrait Prep Course go here now! We’re starting the course June 1, 2020. This time we’ll begin by creating a few more shapes:  first a triangle and a circle, then a cylinder to begin to see more depth. We’ll use what we le ..read more
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PORTRAIT PREP SERIES: Lesson 2 The Skull, Muscle and Skin
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
3y ago
  Welcome back to Portrait Prep! (If you missed the previous lessons, you can find them here: Intro, Lesson 1, Lesson 1.2).   In this section, we're going to talk about the skull, the facial muscles, and the skin. These parts work together to form what we see as a complete face, so it’s important to get to know what’s going on under the surface to know how each part affects what we see. The Skull If you're using graphite and you're new to drawing the skull, remember to be patient with yourself and take it slow. Think more about the proportions of each of the areas you're drawing ..read more
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Portrait Prep Series: Lesson 3, Planes and Head Construction
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
3y ago
Lesson 3 - Planes and Head Construction In lesson three of the portrait prep series, I'm going to give an overview of Planes and Head Construction. We’ll be using the Asaro head, the Reilly method, and the Loomis method. (No clue what that means? No problem! I’ll explain in a second.) Head construction is so important because it in involves the entire head -- not just an isolated look at the face, or the sides of the face, or just features.  It provides you with a framework which you can build upon.  This as the final puzzle piece that enables you to begin your journey in drawing por ..read more
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Is Talent Holding You Back?
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
3y ago
Have you ever been told you have a “natural talent” for art?  I get it-- I’ve been told that, too. You’ve probably thought it was a benefit….but natural talent can also be one of the largest obstacles to improvement. The “talent myth” can make you feel like you can sit back and not worry about improving, thinking you will just naturally get better. You might think, I’ve never really learned what I’m doing now and it seems to be working. So you reject learning anything new that may offer some artistic insight. Some artists are even afraid of demystifying the process. They’re worried that ..read more
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​​​​​​​Are You Drawing Backgrounds That Don’t Work?
Sharpened Artist Blog
by John Middick
3y ago
Let’s have a little chat about backgrounds, shall we? Most new artists feel the need to have a background in their drawing. That’s all well and good.  An effective background can: Add depth and interest to your subject. Create context and keep the viewer engaged longer. Help establish the focal point and allow the subject to stand out. But an ineffective background can actually compete with your subject for attention. (Not good.) Let me use a few photographs to explain what I mean. When you look at this photo of a little girl, your gaze is automatically to her eyes-- that’s the focal p ..read more
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