Drawing Lizzie.

She reminds me of (a modern) Lizzie Bennet somehow so I called her Lizzie…

A few weeks ago I drew that one portrait I was really proud of and now I’m struggling to reach that level again. Several attempts failed horribly and my desk is full of unfinished, awful looking faces. Discouraging. The strategy for this one was to start smaller and with the thing I’m not really good in – drawing the skin. It turned out ok I guess and I’ll keep drawing until uni starts again. Hope to not lose the last bit of motivation…


lizzie colours


Basics of Drawing: Pencil Portraits.

Welcome to another episode of this little series I’m making, the ‘Basics of Art’. I tell you everything I’ve learned and I hope it helps a bit when you try to find your creative style, explore new ways of creating art or if you are just interested in it.

I’ve started 4 years ago again, after years of no serious drawing except in school. I was a child who was always crafting and painting and so it was no surprise that I had to start again. This was my first drawing. Audrey_Hepburn_z

The 17th of January 2012. How long has it been. And you see the progress, I’m quite proud of that actually. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of tears and a lot of ‘Oh why am I doing that, I can’t even draw properly’. Loads of existencial crisis. But finally I got there. And I started a blog. One year after this date. Three years of blogging now.

But enough of this nostalgia, let’s get back to the purpose of this writing. I’ll explain how I proceed when drawing with a simple pencil.

IMG_20160114_202908First I draw some outlines of what it will be. What is very important when drawing with pencil are the shadows and the contrasts. Your picture will look a lot more realistic if you add shading. I just mark the parts where there will later be shadows.

IMG_20160114_204608Then I begin shading itself with a softer pencil. Don’t draw dark lines at the edge of the face or the nose. There are no lines in nature, these are surfaces and you need to recognise them as such. Edges are only surfaces connected to each other…


The process of hatching is really hard, I know. I normally don’t leave so many lines, I smooth it all up a bit. That’s totally up to you. For you to see it, however, I left those little lines. Always draw the shades in both directions, it makes it a lot easier to produce dark areas.

IMG_20160114_210739The hair. What a tricky thing. Always think of hair as little strands. They need highlights and darker bits. Even if you draw perfectly straight hair, it still has some movement in it. Start the line where the darker parts are and draw with your pencil towards the hightlight. It sounds difficult but I’ll probably make another little tutorial on that.

IMG_20160114_212859Now begins the process of filling the other parts of the drawing. You are finished with the face, congratulations. Except: you aren’t. There is a lot of reworking, reshading, erasing left. (For this drawing I didn’t erase at all but it’s quite hard in the beginning to not do that. It’s perfectly fine if you do!) This is the hard part. Writers will know it as the frightening ‘EDITING’ process. What I find very helpful is to take pictures of my drawings and look at the photo. Does it look natural? What is missing? Where could I add some more? It creates a distance between you and the drawing that you need to think about it critically.

IMG_20160114_215022And after all that hard work you are there. A lovely portrait of Martin Freeman. Stop, if you feel uncomfortable and go on another day. Or just leave it. It is what was on your mind, what you could do at the given moment so that’s perfect.

The whole process may look a bit difficult but you can do it!!!

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments, I’m happy to anwer them. And now: get a pencil and start 😉

Basics of Painting: Acrylics.

I’m starting this series with advice on painting. I love it just so much and I could really do that all the time. My lovely friend Jie (https://sweetartworks.wordpress.com/) suggested this series and I really liked the idea, so let’s get started, shall we?

Painting or drawing or… What to do?

Our art teacher gave us a test, what is better for us, drawing or painting.

Draw a garden. Some flower patches, just an overview, a map of a beautiful garden.

Now look at it. (1) Are there straight lines and everything is ordered? (2) Are there curves and circles?

  • If (1) – you should work graphically, take a pencil and go.
  • If (2) – you should paint. Get some nice colours and start.

I’m the second type and that is why I want to offer you some suggestions and tips about painting.

Which art supplies do I choose?

  1. I use really normal acrylics, they should come in little tubes. I always need a huge amount of white, so maybe you should buy another white one. For beginning I would really suggest acrylics, it’s so much easier than oil colours and they dry ridiculously fast. Oil colours… Nah, you got to wait 2 weeks to be able to paint again…
  2. Then you need some good brushes. They are expensive, I know. But when I think about it – I only use two. One bigger flat brush and a very small round brush. That’s it. Perfect for both acrylics and watercolours are synthetic brushes, the orange ones. Don’t buy the cheapest ones, they usually lose lots of hair but you don’t need expert ones. It’s your art that matters, not your supplies!
  3. A canvas. Or really thick paper. I usually use really cheap canvases but it’s better if they don’t absorb too many water because then painting gets weird. Maybe try some different brands and finally you find one that suits you. There are so many shapes and sizes!

Which motive?

That’s totally up to you. I often get inspired by photos on tumblr, generally on the internet but also from nice landscapes around. What is really helpful is to take a long walk outside, observe the clouds and the light – makes a beautiful motive.

Sometimes I just take photos as a reference and see where it leads me.

dancing queen

Which style is the best?

Do you want to work abstract in lines and circles? Impressionist with little dots and lines? Or realistically like the baroque paintings? That’s also up to you, you’re free to choose whatever suits you best. Just try and try many different things, combine them, that’s the joy of painting!

For me, it’s mostly the abstracted way of painting. Shapes get a bit stylised, not as realistic, so that the colours are more important. I did that quite a few times and it really worked well.

Also, you can work covering or with a lot of water. I usually combine those. First, I put the basic outlines on there with a lot of colour and add layer by layer with a lot of water. That gives the picture a much more 3-dimensional atmosphere.


How to use colours?

Colours. Now, that’s difficult. First tip: Don’t use black in the beginning. Start with the light colours and get darker with the time. It’s so much easier to erase a mistake. In art there are no mistakes, but you know what I mean 😉

What is important, is the contrast. To make a painting interesting, you need many of them. There are some: complementary, dark and light, cold and warm, sizes of shapes, if the colours are tarnished and bright… Look them up and then try to figure out how to use them in your painting.
A combination of colours that works perfectly and is absolutely fool-proof: red, prussian blue and ochre. It always reminds me of the mediterranean and it’s beautiful, I used it so many times…

Important: Don’t use just one colour, use different shades of it. Don’t just mix it with black or white but with red and blue and yellow. The picture gets so much more lively!

splintered anger

And how do I start?

Maybe you like to add some basic outlines. For that – and I’m always doing it wrong argh – use a lightly coloured pencil. If you paint over pencil it will ruin the picture with its pigments. Don’t do that!

And then: Let the fun begin! Start with light colours, whereever you want. Use the colours again in another place. Each colour should be used at least three times, another great rule from our art teacher. You have to connect all the shapes of the picture with one another so that it gets a unity. If you use a nice palette, you can mix some colours on it and directly put it onto the canvas. Don’t make every shape look the same, don’t make it look to neat – it should be exciting!

That’s it, it’s really not that hard if you just try things. One last thing: If you are unsure about how you like what you did, leave it for a while. You can always fix things but you need to look at it from another perspective. Go and have a cup of tea and then come back… Paint! And have fun!

If you have further questions, please leave them in the comments and I can add them here. I hope it helped you a bit. See you for the next art lesson

verena x

Drawing lessons: Part 3 Face

Today I gave another drawing lesson about the face. I made a little tutorial for you and I will explain every step to do. I’m not an expert, a master or something like that, I just draw things, I see – I’ve never had any drawing lessons – I’m a self-taught artist!

Well, enjoy this lesson!

Let’s get started with the eyes.

First draw the shape of the eye, with the lid and the eyebrow.
Next part is the iris and the highlight, which is very important for drawing an eye. Without it, the eye wouldn’t look realistic.
Do some first shading in the iris with a few lines to make the eye more interesting.
Now draw the eyelashes. Remember: on the left side they are going to the left and are very short, in the middle they point upwards, and on the right side, there are the longest lashes.
Finally you do some shading of the lid and the eyebrow – and you finished the eye!

That was an example for drawing an eye. I think, this is very difficult, but the mouth and the nose are much more easier. Here you can see how to draw these three things.

drawing lessons face

Drawing lessons: Part 2 Scenery

Drawing scenery and the strange thing called ‘golden ratio’.

Today I gave a drawing lesson about scenery and the effect of golden ratio. The golden ratio is based on Phi. (instructions for constructing in the sketch on the bottom of this post)

Everything on this world is based on it – also the humans. To make it more easier you can use the rule 2:1, which helps you to make a picture more interesting. Look at this example, which is a photo, I made long time ago:


If you draw a scenery, you have to understand, what you’re drawing. The sky has to be drawn horizontally, a meadow vertically. You really have to see the lines in a picture.

To make a drawing more interesting, you have to let lines go into the background. This gives a kind of flowing feeling to the viewer.

All lines in a picture go to a special point: the vanishing point. If all lines end there, it will be a thrilling picture which involves the people looking at your art work!

1. Try to draw a scenery with a tree and a river or something like that.

2. Search for a nice flower and first draw the simple structure of it, then try to make your sketch more detailed.

Here are some sketches of the lesson I gave today…

lesson 2 lesson 2_2

Drawing lessons: Part 1 Hatching and Shading

For a student of my class I‘m going to give drawing lessons and I want to show you how to draw too. You will see some exercises and examples of how to draw something so – have fun and I hope you‘ll like it!

I learned drawing by myself and teached me everything on my own, so all my lessons are made just from studies and very much practising, as you can see on my blog.


First take a piece of paper and draw just lines to fet you hand in the right mood for drawing. Than draw circles and with everyone you draw, try to make it more perfect.

Finished with that? Than let’s go to


First it‘s important to know from which direction light is inciding. High parts of something are always sketched lightly and edges of things or holes in darker shades.

1. Take a piece of paper and a pencil. Draw a little square and an arrow which shows the direction of light. Now try to make a fluently transition of darkest grey to white.
It‘s very important that you first draw lightly and than make darker shades, because it‘s much easier to make a part of a sketch darker, than making it much more lighter.

2. Now try to draw a cup. The light shines on the middle of the cup. You have to realize, that the cup is round. First draw the shades vertically, than try to make them horizontal – but in curves!!!

3. The third excercise is to draw a square where the light is punctual in the middle. Draw in circles around this point and also try to make the shade fluently.

lesson 1