The idea that technology is the great leveler in making the world flat has been around for quite a while. The internet has loads of resources available for almost anything you can imagine. When I was an engineering student, I learned a lot from the internet but almost all the resources I searched for were technical. I had never learned anything out of the technical domain using the internet.
Three months ago, I wanted to see if I could use the internet to learn something new. Although I attended “drawing” classes every year at my school, I did not learn much besides drawing the generic scene every middle school student in Nepal draws: a blue sky, mountains, green fields and a traditional Nepali house.
So my first search term was “painting for beginners” which led me to some interesting websites and videos. Some websites had too much text so I skipped them and searched for videos on YouTube. After watching some video tutorials which made painting look very easy, I felt confident enough to try it.
I looked at a few more videos and finally settled for a beginners video by willkempartschool.
I made a list of materials I need to buy to get started but did not know where to get the supplies from. Luckily, I had a friend who accompanied me to the store where she got her art supplies from and I got a canvas, a set of Camlin water colors and three brushes.
I cleared my desk, turned on the YouTube video and collected the supplies. In addition to the canvas, colors and brushes, I needed a cup to hold water, a color palette and tissue paper. I emptied my pen holder and filled it with water and since I did not have a color palette, I used a broken piece of window pane and started mixing the colors.
The first step according to the tutorial was to start with a reference image. So I selected this photo of Swayambhunath I had taken a while ago.
The 2nd step was to cover the background with a warm background.
The 3rd step was to draw the outline on the canvas using a pencil.
Then start coloring. This was much harder than what they had shown in the video tutorial. I started off by coloring the brightest and the darkest parts of the picture as the instructor suggested.
And I wondered, the sky is blue (a cool color) and my background is warm and was worried about how the painting would turn out. But after I put the blue color, it looked alright.
I was finally getting comfortable using the brushes. I was relaxed and started enjoying the painting process. I added some more details and the painting finally turned out to be like this.
I enjoyed it so much that hadn’t realized I had spent my whole day off working on the painting. It was so much fun.
This success at my first attempt inspired me to learn more about colors. So I searched for more videos on YouTube. But things got busy and I did not get to try anything new during the weekdays.
I was really excited at the weekends as I could try new things. So each week, I tried to paint something new. Here are some of the things I tried.
Last week, I came across a very interesting technique on Amy Pearce’s channel. The technique was so simple and was so much fun. Cutting the masking tape into small strips was awfully hard but I was happy with my version of the ‘gaida’ painting.
I was able to learn a lot of cool things about painting and colors, all thanks to the amazing instructors who make these great video tutorials.
I’d like to conclude with the following remarks:
- You need an initial push from someone to get started. In my case, it was a friend who encouraged me to paint and helped me get the supplies needed.
- Too much resources can be overwhelming sometimes, especially when you’re starting something new. So take some time to review a few tutorials first (YouTube lets you watch the videos in 2x speed) and choose 1 or 2 that you like.
- The basics are sometimes boring but absolutely essential. I had some knowledge about color theory and design principles from my graphics design projects and picking the right color was very easy and I could always press Crtl+Z if I made any mistakes. The basic color theory did help me grasp the concepts faster but things are unpredictable (at least for a beginner like me) when you’re using watercolor on paper. So just be patient when you’re learning the basics.
- You need to adapt to the situation and think of alternative tools or materials. For instance I did not have a color palette so I just used a broken window pane as a palette.
- As a beginner, you can learn by replicating other’s design. This is also true for programming, you can copy paste and run codes others have written to get started with and once you get a sense of how the code works, you can make the changes you need.
- Use personal references to make the projects more meaningful. For instance, I used the photos of Swayambhu and Mustang as reference images for my paintings.
- And the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy learning.
Here’s are some of the YouTube tutorials I used to learn to paint. I would like to encourage teachers and students to utilize these amazing resources and many more resources that are available on the internet. Happy learning. 🙂
- Beginners Acrylic Painting Course
- How to Paint a GEOMETRIC MOSAIC ELEPHANT
- How to paint a simple landscape in watercolor