Drawing and Painting Techniques
The minimum necessary tools for drawing are white paper and a pencil, of pretty much any sort. (It dosnt have to be a fancy "art" pencil. I use a plain old #2, but real sharp. 5mm Mechanical pencils are especially nice.
I use a rather expensive paper, but it took me a while to get used to wrecking nice paper. (Over half my attempts go into the recycling bin).
Many people tense up when facing down $3 piece of paper. For those, its probably better to start with a cheap sketch book. But when you've created the best masterpiece of your life on a crappy sheet, that will yellow the first 48 hours you hang it up to enjoy, you'll switch to the good stuff.
I use Saunders Waterford Hot press 140 lb, for my watercolors as well as my colored pencil, and pen and ink work. I especially like it because it has a surface that will take a lot of erasing, and re-erasing, without the surface flaking off into those little rollie thingies. Arches H.P. 140 lb watercolor paper is my 2nd choice.
There are some very expensive papers that also perform POORLY for me. So its not as easy as saying, "you get what you pay for". Best advice is to try many kinds.
The Daniel Smith Co. sells sample kits with lots of different sorts of paper to try out.
You can get a free catalog by calling them:
Daniel Smith Catalog of Artists' Materials
Here are some other suppliers that I've used:
Cheap Joes Art Stuff
You'll also need Workable fixative. This is a clear acrylic that you spray on to keep your work from smearing.
The best ever free-hand drawing techniques and exercises are in a book, "Drawing from the Right side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards, which I highly recommend.
Optional supplies for laying out your drawing include : tracing paper for transfering a layout from crappy paper to good paper, a projector. Mine is a cheapo ART-o-GRAPH TRACER .
These tools can also be used for "cheating" , making a drawing by other than free-hand, based on your own photos. which is ...PERFECTLY OKAY. But you'll still need to do a lot of free hand work on a traced or projected sketch, if the result is going to look very nice.
To turn your drawings into paintings, use the kind of watercolors that come in a tube. You dont need very many colors. Your paintings will look better (REALLY!) if you work from a limited palette.
1 or 2 reds, 1 or 2 blues, 1 or 2 yellows. ....THATS ALL!
No greens, no white, no black. You mix your own. If you cant mix it, you dont need it. SERIOUSLY!
Be very very careful with green. A strong green can wreck your painting, makes leaves look like astro-turf .
Underplay your greens. Always. This is SO true, I wonder that they left it out of the Bible!
I add a wash layer of what ever color predominates in the flower, to the greenery.
Brushes: Most beginers make the mistake of selecting teeny-tiny brushes.
I use larger brushes. I can get fine detail because the tips are pointy.
The only brushes I used for these paintings are a # 8 and a # 12 Golden Fleece . You can spend a lot more on kolinsky sable brushes if its just burning holes in your pockets, but good synthetics perform nicely and last much longer than sable.
Inexpensive bamboo sumi type brushes dont work too badly either.
For some finishing and detail, I apply a little colored pencil to some of my drawings.
Try it! Theres alot of pleasure in drawing and painting.