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See like and Artist - Part 2

Draw what you see

See Like an Artist - Part 2

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The Nuts and Bolts of seeing like an Artist

To translate Thoughts, Feelings, Ideas, and Emotions into Art an artist must see:

  • Edges

  • Shapes

  • Size

  • Proportion

  • Value

  • Color

  • Pattern

  • Design

  • Composition

These are the Fundamentals


There are different edges in art. Hard edges, Soft edges, and Blurred edges (softer edges). Edges help create visual interest and draw attention to a specific area.

In the photograph of the apple the hard edges help it stand out from the background creating a sense of depth. Using both Soft and Hard edges gives the piece visual interest.


Artists see things as more than themselves. He sees the shape of the whole and its parts. He sees the object as it is, separate from the name associated with it.


How big or how small something is in a piece of art communicates the importance of something in relationship to the whole

In the first image the relationship of size between the foreground and background communicate the idea of a whole cohesive scene.

In the second image the huge foreground dwarfs the background making it stand out. The main focus becomes the sculpted rock formations with the background serving in a support role to show their magnificence.


Proportion is the relationship of size.

Pay attention to the relationship of size. Are they about the same size, a ratio of 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, and so on. When doing a representational drawing always compare the size of different objects to each other.


Value is relative lightness or darkness. Value is used in the shading of an object to communicate volume. It is also used to set different elements within a drawing apart from each other. The contrast of light and dark helps draw attention and set the mood of a piece.

The use of Value in a work of art can be your greatest tool. Learn to master it and you will create amazing pieces.


Color can be a powerful tool in creating great art but be careful, it's easy to abuse color. Use it to your advantage to create mood in your work and draw attention to your focal point. There are three main elements of color; Hue, Intensity, and Temperature.

Save your more intense colors for your focal point to draw the viewers eye in and use subdued colors to set the mood of the piece. The mood will be a major factor in how a viewer will react emotionally. Be aware of any feelings or emotions you feel while working with a certain color palette. Cool colors generally create serene thoughtful moods, while warm colors are more comforting and passionate. Use them together to evoke the emotions your piece demands.


Pattern is repeating shape or form. It organizes a piece in a consistent, regular manner. Think of pattern as the organization of the parts of a composition. Use pattern to draw interest.

Use pattern as the main element or as subtext. Use it brashly or as a subtle element to lead a viewer into a work of art. Practice using different patterns in different ways. Have fun with it and let it inspire you.


Design is the arrangement of patterns and elements within a work of art. It is seeing the whole image in a simplified form. Studying and learning design can help you give your work more flare. This is the place to release the full potential of your creativity.

Think design at the beginning of the whole art process. Let it inform all your decisions. Let it create flow and harmony in your piece. Think about it during the process of drawing, painting, and sculpting. Before you finish your piece step back and see if it's working. Reassess, and adjust as needed to communicate your ideas clearly. Design is about seeing how all the parts fit together to create movement in a harmonious flow.


The organization of all the parts into the whole. This is where you take everything you have, from line all the way to design, and put it together. Composition is about drawing the viewers eye into your piece and holding it there. Balance all the art fundamentals; edges, shapes, size, proportion, value, color, pattern, and design into one piece of work.

Composition is big picture thinking. It takes all the elements and combines them into one cohesive piece. It can make or break a work of art. Study it and learn how to use it effectively. You don't want to put hours of blood, sweat, and tears into a piece just to find it's off-kilter when you finish.

Put it all together

The artist must see how things fit in relationship to everything around them. Learn to translate three dimensional objects into two dimensional works of art. Translate your ideas from complex and cluttered to simple and clear. Art is communication. An artist must know what they are communicating and be proficient in its language.

Learn the language of art and share all your thoughts, ideas, emotions, and feelings with the world!

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