Archive for the ‘How to’ Category

vangoghs-heartAs promised here are sort of the nuts and bolds of doing a paint party. I went out and bought some simple table top easels. I got them on sale at Michaels and ended up paying about $10 a piece for them. If you watch for the sales you can do really well at Michaels. I bought 20 over the course of a few weeks. I also get my canvases at Michaels. I use standard 16×20 canvases that they sell in a five pack for around $20. Again sales and coupons and sometimes make this less expensive. I also know A.C. Moore sells a paint party pack of 20 canvases. I find that if the group is too much larger than 20 it’s hard to give people the attention they deserve.

schneemanAs far as paint goes, I buy the quart jugs of acrylic they sell at Michaels or A.C. Moore for around $10. I use five colors, the primaries, plus black and white. I give each participant three different sized brushes, small medium and large, the large being about an inch wide, but of course this will vary depending on the piece. I use styrofoam plates and I put the paint on the plates in advance. This allows me to have some control on the “portion sizes.” People can really waste paint if you don’t do this. I also put out one water jar for every two people.

masterpiece3In developing my paintings, I work them up in advance. I will usually work out a painting I like and then go back and redo it step by step to figure out how I will paint it. Once I have that worked out I photograph it and add it to my website. I then made up a blank poster format for each of my paintings so when I book one, I can add their information and send a pdf so that they can print and use them to publicize their party.

As far as what to charge. That is on a case by case basis. I know my rough costs to do a painting and I add to that what I need to make all the work make sense. I will usually do a per person charge and I set my rate low enough that the person hosting the event can add a little on to earn some money for a cause, etc. This gives them some incentive to promote the event. I also have a flat rate if they just want to pay for the event outright. Of course this includes a limit to the number of people.

masterpiece2You’ll need a large enough room to house the amount of people signed up. I highly recommend that this be an uncarpeted room as people will occasionally drop brushes, etc. You also want to make sure that the people have some elbow room if possible. You will need tables and chairs and the tables should be covered. it is also wise to tell people to wear older clothes or to distribute aprons. Acrylic paint does not usually come out of clothes very well.

Those are the logistics. Next time we’ll look at the teaching aspect.

People often ask me how I can painting a painting in six minutes. The short answer is, I can’t. Oh, I stand before a congregation and do that very thing night after night, but the truth of the matter is the reason I can do it is because I’ve done hours of work in advance.

There’s no substitute for experience
The first reason I can do it is because I have been making art for nearly half a century. You might say, “You’re only 52.” Of course, I would then say, “I didn’t say professionally, but all the work that I’ve done has led to what I do now, even the bad, amateur stuff.” I’m not saying you need fifty years of experience, just that you need to make a lot of art, even if it’s bad art, to build your skills.

I rarely paint a painting live for the first time
There have been times over the years where I have painted a painting for the first time before a live audience (never in six minutes though). Sometimes I was even pretty successful, but for the most part I have sketched and then worked a painting out several to many times in my studio before an audience ever sees it. For example, these two paintings are pieces I worked out this week. They are rough sketches for two presentations I am working on.
They’re not exactly right yet, but they’re a start, I’m working out composition, getting the facial expressions right, etc. These were not six minute paintings. I spent close to an hour on each, because at this point, I’m trying to get the image right. They’re not beautiful, their painted on old canvasses, I’m just working it out. From there I…

Break it down
One of the first things we learn as artists is breaking things down into their basic shapes. This is crucial for live painting. I don’t do an advance sketch on a live painting, i.e. there are no sketch lines on the “canvas” before I begin (with the exception of a few guidelines on a piece that I do where two pieces come together at the end of the night). All the “drawing” is done with the paint, so the basic shapes are crucial.

The performance is important
When it comes to ministry, people cringe at the word performance, so I better explain myself. People like to watch me paint, but the main reason I paint is to draw people into the message. (Your reason for live painting may vary, but this is mine.) For this reason, I work to make my painting process intriguing. I want the people to be guessing for as long as possible. I’m working on a painting on grace right now, for example, and I am trying to formulate a way to write the word “grace” on the board and use it as the basis for the painting. When I paint a face I line up the eyes and nose by painting a cross on the board. I always want to keep the people guessing as long as possible. I also try to paint something very meaningful but not always totally obvious. I want people wondering why I painted what I painted so they are engaged when I tell the story.

Leave perfection and detail behind
The first step in a six minute painting is “done.” Translation, the first thing you need to do is have a recognizable finished image at the end of your allotted time. Once you have that you can perfect and detail the piece in the time remaining, but the first thing you need to be is done. It’s best to keep it simple and try to be as effective as possible. Remember, this is not the best painting you can do, it’s the best painting you can do in the time allotted.

These steps will help you have a pretty successful speed painting. Don’t do it the first time before an audience. Practice, practice, practice!

elephantcookbookYou’re not going to learn anything from today’s post, but you could gain a lot. You see the math here is so simple any second grader could do it, but the outcome of learning this simple truth could be astounding.

Is there something you would like to accomplish? Does it seem like it may be too large for you to do. Does the size of it seem daunting? Does that “dauntingness” make you give up? You need to change your thinking with simple math.

Here’s an example from my real life. I am wanting to create one of those adult coloring books, with the really complex designs that are a gateway to creativity for many people, some of whom have long since put creativity out of their minds. It looks as though I will need about 100 pages. At that level of complexity 100 pages of art would be enough to make me say, “Forget it.” Of course if you’re a long time reader here, you know that’s not my style and it doesn’t have to be yours either. While 100 illustrations seems daunting, I can easily do one or two a day, three on a good day. That means I can finish the project in one to three months. That feels a lot more doable doesn’t it. It’s simple math 100 divided by 1 = 100, 100 divided by 2 = 50. You get the point. 365 blog posts feels really huge, one a day is really manageable, and guess what, in one year, 365!

Want to write the great American novel? 320 pages is probably about an average length. Seems like a lot, but can you write one page a day? Of course you can, and your novel with edits and everything else can be done in less than a year. Want to create a body of art for an exhibition. Figure out how many pieces you need. Set a goal of when you want it done and do some simple division. It’s really all about goal setting and dividing that goal into manageable chunks, then faithfully carrying out your goal each day.

So what happens if you don’t meet it? You get busy. You get lazy. Something unforeseen happens. Simple, you pick up where you left off and keep moving forward. If the deadline is self imposed, it’s really just a matter of pushing back your goal a bit. If it’s imposed by someone else, you have some catching up to do, but you can do it.

You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t start. So start, set a sensible goal, a sensible deadline and do the math.

It really is that simple.

A friend saw a photography project I did for a class assignment and asked me if I knew how to do watermarks on photos. Watermarks are not something I generally do, but I do know a simple way to make a watermark in Photoshop. I haven’t been able to afford to upgrade my photoshop in a while so I am using an older version, but most of these features have not changed too much as far as I know.

So let’s say I want to watermark this Creacher cartoon.
1. Open your photo.

2. Take your text tool and type your watermark over it.

3. You can use free transform under edit on your menu bar to rotate your watermark or expand it as necessary.

4. In the layers window, take the opacity on your watermark layer back to about 50-60% and you should have a suitable watermark.

If you want to use a logo instead of type for your watermark:
1. Use a logo with a transparent background.

2. In the layers window take the opacity back to about 50-60%.

I am not sure if there is an easier way to do this or not. If there is, I would love to hear about it. This is just a way I found that works.

The other thing that is quite prevalent in the world of adult coloring are patterns called Mandalas. These are repeating designs in a circular or star shaped patterns. These are a little more complex than the repeating patterns we looked at yesterday, but they are still rather eat to generate using either image editing software, or copies of your original art. I will be talking about the digital side of assembling them in this tutorial.

To start off, you will need a template. This will help you to keep your edges straight and make sure your design elements work in a mandala. I recommend starting buy creating a circle the size you want your finished piece to be. I generated a circle 7.5 inches in diameter, like this.

A mandala could be described as a very symmetrical design pizza, so the next thing we will do is divide our circle into eight equal pieces, like this.

Lastly isolate one of the slices. This will become your template. (I enlarged mine to make it easier to draw my design.) You can click here to download the template. (remember I enlarged this. You will have to shrink your final drawing down on your copier.

Now it’s time draw. The key here is to design everything you do within the borders of your template. I placed my template under a page in my sketchbook so I could see my borders without drawing them on my paper. Any place you want the lines to connect across your mandala will be drawn right up to the line. DO NOT draw over your lines. Anything outside your “pizza slice” will throw the design off. Here’s my design.

Next we start putting the whole thing together. First I reduced my drawing down to fit into the size of the template and removed the white background on my scan.

Next I duplicated this layer, flipped the second one horizontally, sliding it into place on the format.

Then I merged those two layers, and duplicated the layer again,this time flipping it vertically and placing it point to point with the other layer as shown below.(as you can see I now also removed the format from the image.)

I then merged these two layers into one, duplicated the layer and rotated in 90 degrees clockwise, and the design was complete. (Click the image if you’d like to download the coloring sheet.)

I also did this one in color just for fun.
And speaking of fun, I hope you have some fun creating these really cool projects on your own. Happy designing and happy coloring.

There’s a trend that is sweeping the nation, maybe even the world. It’s adult coloring and I for one am a huge fan. So many people feel they can’t make art, but something like coloring feels pretty non threatening, relaxing and fun. Who knows maybe adult coloring can reignite a creative talent long buried or at the very least provide hours of relaxing fun?

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a coloring book for adults. So many of the books I see, look a little bit on the feminine side so I thought I would try one with some more masculine images. Two of the things that are very prevalent in adult coloring books are repeated patterns and mandalas. I wanted to share how one would create designs for these formats.

For today, let’s start with repeating patterns.

This one is easy. I wanted to do one tentatively call Reimagine Dragons. I started off by drawing a dragon. Note that none of the art touches the sides of the paper.

Next I cut the image exactly in half (vertically) and switched the left and right halves of the drawing, leaving an image that looks like this.

Finally I cut that image in half horizontally and switched the top and bottom half leaving an image that looks like this.

The next step can be a lot of fun. You fill in as much of the white space as you want. I figured, “What’s a dragon without some flames?”

Copy the finished piece as many times as you want, put them all together and they look like this!
(Click the image to download your coloring page.)
This is really easy to do. It’s even easier if you have image editing software like Photoshop, but this is also doable with photocopies and your original art. Have fun with it and let me know what you think of it.

Tomorrow I will show you an easy way to make Mandalas.

Here’s a very powerful verse. Psalm 30:5. It says “For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”

I picked this verse because it presents some interesting visuals so it will be good for trying journaling, but also because it holds a message of immense hope. It’s God telling us life may be tough now, but it gets better, that we can live in His favor and that the dark times of life will one day be illuminated in His light and His joy.

Pray asking God what He wants you to see and then create from this passage. Meditate on this passage. What images does it present to your mind? What is the context of the verse? (read Psalm 30.) Perhaps you need more information. If so, the linked page has a study this tab that leads to a lot of outside resources.

How would you express this verse to a friend who is in need of some help? Take some time to really focus your creativity then begin to create. When you have finished, share a link to your creation in the comments.

I found two pretty good videos on the subject of Bible journaling that might help you if you decide to go that route, this has some great tips on what to do and not to do. Thanks to Michelle Hotchkiss for this content.

You can check out her channel for more information.

journaling1There’s a trend right now in the Christian Creative Community that kind of excites me. It’s Bible Art Journaling. In truth, some people have been doing this for years, but it seems to really be catching on. People going to the Scriptures and rather than just taking notes or highlighting, they actually use the text as the inspiration for creation. I love this idea. Anything that draws us into a deeper exploration of the Scriptures has got to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

How to do it:
Of course the methods will vary from person to person, but here is what I suggest.

  1. Read the passage
  2. Pray asking God what He wants you to get out of this passage and what He wants you to see/create.
  3. Read the passage again
  4. Meditate on what images the passage inspires
  5. Meditate on what God is trying to tell us in this passage
  6. Study the passage further, i.e. seek out online resources, commentaries, etc.
  7. Create

Now of course some of you will want to just jump right into step 7, but remember our intent here is to draw closer to God as we “draw” His Word. The more of the other steps you do, the more likely you will be to get something great out of it. Whatever you do, do not skip step 2.

Of course some will also want to do this in response to a message/sermon. This is also a great way to meditate and absorb God’s Word. Many people concentrate better when “doodling” just be certain not to lose your focus and draw when you should be listening.

Where to do it
Some folks will work directly on the pages of Scripture, others find this uncomfortable or worse. I recommend that if you decide to use a Bible for your journaling, buy one specifically for that purpose. Sometimes your creations will obscure part or all of the text on a page and it is best to have another Bible you can actually read. (Journaling is not a substitute for reading God’s Word.) Some companies also publish journaling Bibles that give more space around the text for notes, etc. These can be a wonderful resource for creative journaling. Other people will use a journal for their journaling and simply use it side by side with their Bible.

At the moment I am working on a few topical devotional journals that include excerpts of the Scriptures along with plenty of space for creative meditation. The above illustration is a piece I did from my first journal on the parables of Jesus. I am still working out formatting but it should be available soon.

Whatever you decide to do, this is a great way to dig deeper into God’s Word. It could also be a great way to brainstorm and sketch new finished pieces. However you use it, why not use your creative gifts to “draw closer to God?”

One of the questions people ask me on a fairly regular basis is what kind of paint I use. The short answer is acrylic. The main reason is it dries very quickly, which is really important when you are trying to layer paints quickly.

0051950000000-st-04-beautyI tend to go with a heavy body paint, while many speed painters use liquid latex paint, their environment is different than mine. Their clients don’t seem to mind flying paint, the churches where I do my work would tremble in fear with that level of splattering. This is a real consideration. Think about it. The person who brings you into a church, the person who pays the bill, is usually the pastor or another staff member who answers to a lot of people and would be in serious trouble if my paint flies hits carpet.

Node-IOGLO000030000900001000040000H0001M0001L0000E000020000J0001Y00002009SK.ViewAssetOne of my main goals is to make the people who bring me in glad they brought me in. Of course, my most important considerations are Spiritual, but I also want to be a blessing to the church leadership. My goal is to edify the church and glorify God. I can’t really do that if I know there are going to be furious trustees because I made a mess.

100589545I don’t use overly expensive paint. My favorites are Liquitex basics. They tend to stand up and cover the black boards on which I paint and blend nicely. The reason I go with an inexpensive paint, is due to the volume of paint I go through. I often do five large paintings in a night. I especially go through tons of black and white paint. I tend to use a more flowing paint for these colors. It dries even quicker and the white lays a nice base and the black is strong enough to cover all the colors, flowing nicely for line work, which is a staple in my speed painting. I use Michael’s store brand, Artist’s Loft flow black and white. I also use the black to cover my surfaces.

1500-2TAs far as brushes go, I have to admit, I use the cheapest ones I can find. The reason for this, is I beat them up frequently. Clean up can be difficult and I don’t feel bad about throwing them away if they go bad, for detail brushes I tend to use similar texture brushes to the chip brushes and some nylon brushes. The largest brush I use are two inch chip brushes and the smallest are probably about 3/8 inch though I will occasionally go a little smaller, again I don’t spend a lot on these.

You may be a little disappointed in this list, but the truth is, I want to do the best work I can with supplies that will fit the budget I have. These supplies have made me able to do some really effective work, and that work helps me tell the story, which is the most important thing.

In my view (and you may be different), the art serves the story.