An introduction to facial muscles

Looking natural is fundamental for any portrait that wants to be called “realistic”. To be able to achieve this, showing the skin creases or stretches is necessary. The best way to learn how to draw them accurately is by having at least a broad understanding of the structure of facial muscles. Since we are not aiming for “medical level” studies we will only quickly go through groups of facial muscles and follow a very simplistic method to draw and memorise them.


Continue reading “THIS WILL MAKE YOU SMILE”



How to draw a Skull in 3D

This article brings together knowledge from the last 2 tutorials dealing with the skull. However, we focus on the volume and perspective rather than details of sketching the face or the side of the skull (we dealt with those in detail here: IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD and THE BRIGHT SIDE). This is the last one of the “Skull” series and attempts to create a very simple and quick method of sketching the skull in 3 dimensions. While the previous articles helped you memorise the proportions of the skull and its various components, here we will see how all these things connect to each other and work together to form the skull.

Continue reading “SKULL IN A BOX”



Share knowledge. It’s good for you

I have taught Maths, Physics and English previously. The biggest satisfaction was seeing my little students doing great in their exams and gradually building a good understanding on these subjects. I didn’t expect that sharing art knowledge through my blog would give me the same feeling of satisfaction and happiness.



Perspective – Try a different angle

Try a different angle

Simple shapes in perspective

Date: 18/07/2018

Author: CHROMA

Time: 1.5h

Why would you read this article?

If you wish you could draw realistically then the first step you should make is learn the basics of perspective. Start with very simple shapes – a cube and a cylinder are a good starting point. Perspective, when broken down to simple steps is genuinely very easy. This tutorial will show you how to draw your first simple shapes; then it’s up to you to practice and experiment with more complicated objects.

Continue reading “Perspective – Try a different angle”


Life Drawing Sessions

A great way to challenge and teach yourself

If you have felt the urge to create and improve your artistic skills but doing so in the isolation of your room doesn’t feel tempting…be sure there are loads of people who feel the same way. After spending a few months working on my own, I eventually found something that worked very well for me and boosted my motivation.

Continue reading “WHY LIFE DRAWING?”



The Skull – Side

It is very cool being able to draw the front part of the skull; we used to do that since we were in school. If you want to understand though the volume of the skull, the structure of the bones and mainly how all these affect the proportions and arrangement of the facial features, then you really need to be looking at the side of the skull too. It is important to know what the proportions are and this is exactly what we are going to study today. As always, this drawing might not be 100% accurate, but it will definitely be a good starting point for you to understand and expand your knowledge in the long run.

37069946_1265074486959644_465367656506064896_n - Αντίγραφο

Continue reading “THE BRIGHT SIDE”

Drawing loosely

Jane – 4

Finally loosened up

Date: 09/07/2018

Author: Iasonas Bakas

Time: 3h



  • Step 1: Stepping on Object
  • Step 2: Pushing the Object
  • Step 3: Standing Pose
  • Step 4: Sitting Pose
  • Step 5: Long pose
  • Step 6: An extra one



1. Charcoal Sticks
2. Kneadable Eraser
3. Measuring Needle, Pencil, Ruler or anything straight to measure proportions
4. A few blank sheets

What happened today?

This time I went to class about 10min late. This is enough for everyone to find their spots, to set up their easels and start drawing the first quick pose. This is the bit I missed; and I am so glad I missed it! The reason is I didn’t have time to set up my easel, I just sat down and immediately started drawing the quick pose loosely. This helped me a lot to avoid my usual “technical” sketches. I ll go through each on of the poses in detail below.

Step 1: Stepping on Object

The first pose (which was set up before I went to class) was quite interesting. The model (Jane) had her one knee bend on the object we were using last time. Her other leg was stretched, touching the floor. The interesting part of this pose was that the leg muscles were stretched and the models tummy and breast were hanging, offering some very well-defined shapes for us to draw. Another element that I found nice was the model’s hair, falling downwards covering part her of head and face. I worked on this one for about 3-5 min. (See the bottom right sketch of the following picture).

Step 2: Pushing the Object

The second short pose was again of interest for similar reasons as the previous one. Jane now was pretending to be pushing the object. To avoid sketching similar elements and perspective (and since I didn’t have an easel…) I just grabbed my drawing board and sat at another corner of the room. I found this one a bit trickier for some reason and that why I didn’t add too much detail. I am pleased though I managed to capture the flow of the lines and the general shape. (See the top figure of the picture above).

Step 3: Standing Pose

Main drive for this pose was to give Jane a small break. The previous poses were quite tiring for her so now our tutor chose something quite easy for the model. She was literally stood still looking straight and slightly upwards. I was sat at the same position. For me it was a good exercise looking at the model’s back. I think one of the next elements to study will be the spine and the shoulder blades. (See the bottom left sketch of the previous picture).

Step 4: Sitting Pose

The last short pose was a sitting one, not too different from the one we kept as a long pose. The model was literally just sat on the object. Her one hand was resting on her knee. The second arm, I couldn’t see at all. Here I think I sketched the head slightly too big, but again I was not too worried as these quick poses mainly served as a warm up for the long pose.

Step 5: Long pose

The model went back to last week’s long pose position. She was sat on the object with one foot touching the ground and the other one resting on the object. She had her hands “hugging” her knee.

As usually, I changed my position to give myself a chance to practice more with something new. This time I had a better view of the model’s side along with a relatively fine view of her back. I started sketching her back; took me some time to get the proportions right of the bits either side of the spine. The next element was her front leg and side. Once that was roughly sketched I tried to quickly sketch the front arm, before we went out for tea break.

After break, I roughly sketched the fingers and how they folded around the model’s knee. I spent some time sketching the second leg which I couldn’t quite understand as the other knee was in the way. Finally, I decided it was not worth spending ages getting the second leg absolutely perfect…I couldn’t see that well anyway.

I moved on adding tone. This step helped me avoid adding my contours (I added those recently). I managed to give volume to my sketch by adding shadows and tones. That was quite helpful to define planes and show what is in fornt of other bits.

The head is only roughly sketched just to complete the drawing.

Step 6: An extra one

I had ten minutes left before the end of the session. I knew that trying to improve my main drawing wouldn’t make much difference so I started a quick “dummy” sketch. I was inspired by our models pose for the bottom part of the body but then the upper structure literally emerged from my imagination. I d love being able to draw figures without looking at a model and I am so I happy I managed to this even the last few minutes of this session.

Brief Summary

Generally, a nice session. The biggest lesson learnt was that when you loosen up then this is translated into nice lines that flow on the paper. No attention to detail is required at that stage. Capturing the energy and movement of the model is enough! I hope you enjoy your painting and sketching!

The Artist says:

“It is so amazing when you start studying the human anatomy before you go to the next class. You gain an understanding of how things work together and then instead of just sketching individual shapes and planes you understand how the body structure works as a whole!”

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…


Love Sketching & Painting


Colour Theory – Exercise 1



We recently looked through some very basic colour theory. I am writing these posts as I study too so I guess it must be quite helpful for absolute beginners. Even if not everything is absolutely clear; at least these articles should be providing a starting point for further research and study. Also I am aiming to create an organised file of articles for someone to follow; then it’s up to you to further expand your knowledge.

Today we will do our first exercise, applying the knowledge we obtained about the Colour Wheel and Complementary Colours. If you haven’t read these articles yet, I strongly recommend you do before starting with this exercise. It will be much easier for you to understand what we are doing and why things happening.

Quick Summary:

  • Step 1: Starting the Exercise: Outlines
  • Step 2: Adding Background
  • Step 3: Base paint for the fruit
  • Step 4: Adding secondary and complementary colours
  • Step 5: Adding Shadows
  • Step 6: Adding highlights

Some advice before you start painting; be patient between steps and let layers dry before applying the next ones.

What will you need?

  • Acrylic Paints: Blue, Yellow, Red and a tiny amount of White.
  • Pencil and Eraser.
  • Canvas (canvas board or some thick paper will do alternatively) and brushes.
  • Finally, it will be very helpful for you to have a reference photo. I literally put two bananas a tomato and a green apple on my kitchen’s counter, used some spot light and click a picture. If you can’t do this…feel free to use this photograph below:DSC_0074f.jpg

Step 1: Starting the Exercise: Outlines

First of all you will have to roughly sketch the shapes of your fruit. Use your pencil for this. No need to spend ages detailing the fruit; remember, everything will be covered in paint anyway. What is important though is to double-check that your proportions are correct. Make sure that your tomato is not very small compared to the apple or the bananas too long compared to the other fruit. No need for precision but be proportionally correct. Allow for 20min maximum (if you spend much more than that you will start overworking the outlines which you don’t want).


Step 2: Adding Background

With your outlines roughly sketched we are ready to start painting! Grab a thin round brush and load it with some diluted blue paint. Draw a lines which separates your background from you foreground. Again, you can experiment and see where you like it more. Once you have made this decision you can start blocking in with colour the surrounds of the fruit. Remember, the background will be darker than the foreground. You can apply more than one layers of colour until you achieve the desired density and thickness.


Step 3: Base paint for the fruit

The background and the foreground are now ready and the separation with the fruit is already obvious. We need to provide a nice light base colour for the fruit. I have chosen yellow for the bananas and the apple as it is very easily covered by any other colour. For the tomato use directly red…


Step 4: Adding secondary and complementary colours

For secondary colours have a look here. Mix some blue with some yellow to create a vibrant green. In reality there is no right and wrong amount of colour. Add a little bit of both until your green satisfies you.  Paint your apple with that and also paint the edges of your bananas. It is important at this stage to define the different planes (top of bananas, sides  bananas). To do this just add a little bit of green to the side of the banana-this difference in light will immediately inform your eye that this is a different plane. Read below for the shadows.


Step 5: Adding Shadows

If you are aware of the complementary colours,  adding shadows on the fruit is actually very simple. (If you haven’t heard the theory do take a look here). Take some green and mix it with a tiny bit of red  This will create a darker green which you can use to add a shadow to your apple. Similarly, take a small quantity of green and mix it with red. This will create a dark, muted red (adjust the amounts of paint to achieve the desired dark colour-you might need bigger amount of green here). Use this one to add shadow to your tomato. The green darker areas you have used on the bananas will serve as shadows. A trick here is that you can add some orange on the bananas, reflecting the red colour of the tomato. (See photo above).

We also need to add shadows on the table behind the fruit. To do this simply mix some purple. Again do not go crazy. Adjust your colours as you don’t want a very deep dark shadow behind a small tomato which is lit uniformly.  Similar for the bananas. Be careful with the proportions of the shadows too. Don’t make them huge or too small; they are connected to the size of your fruit.


Step 6: Adding highlights

This is the final detail and here is where we will need the small amount of white. Before you apply pure white for the highlight we need to brighten the areas around that dot of light. For your apple you can mix some of your green with some extra yellow and little bit of white (mixing with white will be looked at later. If interested you can read the theory here). Do the same for your tomato; mix some red with a little yellow and white.. You only need small amounts and you don’t want to make it stand out too much; just prepare the ground for the light. Finally, drop a touch of pure white for the light concentration reflection.


As mentioned above, this is an exercise…do not expect to create the most beautiful painting of your artistic career! Focus on learning and applying the theory!


The Artist says:

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“I have been passionate about painting since I remember myself. I started by just eexperimenting with colours, colour mixing and colour application. However , it’s not always easy to achieve what you want unless you know exactly what you are doing. Techniques are different for different media; colour theory though is the basis of painting and is the same for everything! I decided to teach myself the basics; and here I am sharing that with you!

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…


Love Sketching & Painting


JANE – 2


Last week unfortunately I had to skip my life drawing class and today it felt really awkward the first ten minutes; I thought I had forgotten to hold the charcoal stick! I was trying to refresh my memory as to how we draw the ribcage, what I had learnt about the skull and mainly how do we put all this together. Th bright side is that after a few wrong lines I slowly got up to speed again.

Our model today was Jane. Jane was the first model I ever sketched and this truly a good opportunity for me (and yourself if you wish!) to look back and see the progress I have made the past few months (see JANE).

As usually the model did three short poses. Finally, the class picked their favourite one as the long pose; we picked pose number three. Lets go through them one by one.

For the first pose Jane was sat on a table with her legs crossed. This pose gave me a good sight of her torso and breast. I tried to quickly sketch and remind myself the structure of the head and the Ribcage (and mainly how these affect the skin of the body). I am quite happy with this pose as we didn’t spend more than 7 minutes.


For the second pose Jane stayed on the table however she turned her back towards my side. I spent less than five minutes sketching this pose as in the meanwhile I had a quick chat with my tutor. She pointed out that my lines should be less heavy and bold! I spent most of my time sketching the model’s left foot. Feet are always a challenge! Apparently, the model appears to wide here but as mentioned before, I am not too worried as this served mainly as a warm up for the longer pose.36176870_1244913152309111_163261482266525696_n.jpg

For the third pose Jane returned pretty much to her original position; main difference being that instead of crossing her legs she now had a stool to support her right leg, while the left one was touching the floor. I couldn’t see her right arm almost at all. As before, I had a good view of her torso and legs. In my first attempt (short pose) I didn’t make any effort to sketch the legs. I only focused on the upper structure. As you can see below (drawing on the left hand side) the sketch is quite technical – I tried to put together previous knowledge before starting the long pose.36283152_1244913288975764_902433458511413248_n.jpg

Finally, after a quick tea break (actually it was fizzy drinks and cheese snacks break…) we went back in class to start with our long pose. The class decided pose number 3 was the preferable one (and I totally agreed). This time I did spend time drawing the whole body, including legs and upper structure as well. I was lightly criticized by my tutor for being too technical and strict with my drawing but at this stage I would like to learn the structure and then allow myself to go crazy with colour and lines. I had the time to add some tone too to satisfy myself with a complete drawing.


The Artist says:

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“It is so amazing when you start studying the human anatomy before you go to the next class. You gain an understanding of how things work together and then instead of just sketching individual shapes and planes you understand how the body structure works as a whole!




Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…



Love Sketching & Painting




Colour Theory – Tints, Shades and Tones



Before moving on to a series of exercises covering the theory of the recent articles we will have a look at another aspect of colour theory; the tints, shades and tones. This is nothing more than mixing your base colour with white, black and grey respectively.  Recently we discussed how we can create shadow and “mute” our colours by mixing them with their complementary ones (COLOUR THEORY–COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS). In this article we will see how this can be achieved by using only your base colour, black and white.

Previous Article: COLOUR THEORY – SHAPES


  • Tints – Colour + White When mixing your base colour (for example a blue) with white, you create a tint of blue. This is paler than the original colour and can be used for various purposes. It could be applied to a well lit surface of an object or maybe applied it to a mountain which sits quite far from you in the landscape you are painting. When you want to make a less vibrant colour then just mix it with some white; it instantly becomes paler.
  • Shades – Colour + Black In the contrary when mixing a base colour (say a red) with black it instantly becomes darker. Depending on the amount of black you add your original colour could disappear completely. Therefore be careful to keep a balance between your initial colour and the very dominant black. These colours could possibly used for darker sides of an object. Of course uses are not limited to light and shadow. Sky is the limit for use of tints and shades.
  • Tones – Colour + Grey In reality this is just a combination of the above. If you Add some white to your original colour (tint) and then you drop a little black in the mixture then…obviously you have created a tone! Again here there is no limit to different mixtures; one must play around with the amounts of black, white and base colour to achieve the desired outcome.


As always we are trying to keep this as short and simple as possible. Our focus is to learn the theory rather than spending time preparing loads of materials etc. For now you will need the below. Allow for 1.0hour.

  • Acrylic paints: Blue, Yellow, Red (or any other you fancy!) + White, Black
  • Canvas
  • Brushes
  • Water and Cloth to clean your brush (avoid mixing everything together and ending up with a messy canvas)
  • Pencil, Rubber and Ruler (if you are very organised) for your grid


Lets quickly put all this onto a canvas sheet to witness the difference between tints, tones and shades and realise how dominant black can be. Quickly sketch with a pencil a 4×7 Grid. 20180608_222111

Fill the first line with white, grey and black and the first column with various colours you would like to explore. For ease, I have just used the primary and secondary colours (COLOUR THEORY – BASICS). Now the fun part begins; we need to start mixing and making combinations. It is pretty straightforward but as I mentioned above…be careful with the use of black! It is dominant colour and you could end up having a muddy black table in the end!

  • Summary
  • Colour + White = Tint — use it for highlights
  • Colour + Black = Shade — use it for shadows
  • Colour + Grey = Tone — use it as midtone (bridge light and dark)
  • Black is dominant colour; be careful with the amounts you use

The Artist says:

28407451_1162363890564038_455176961_o“I have been passionate about painting since I remember myself. I started by just eexperimenting with colours, colour mixing and colour application. However , it’s not always easy to achieve what you want unless you know exactly what you are doing. Techniques are different for different media; colour theory though is the basis of painting and is the same for everything! I decided to teach myself the basics; and here I am sharing that with you!



Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…


Love Sketching & Painting