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A support is any surface that contains your drawing or painting. Of course, the most common support is paper, including drawing paper, watercolor paper, pastel paper, etc. But a support can be anything. Often pastel artists will use sandpaper; a painter might choose wood, glass, or ceramics.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about different drawing and painting techniques. Although the artists use traditional types of media, they use more unusual supports to get the effects they want. For example, in her book PAINTING ANIMALS THAT TOUCH THE HEART, Lesley Harrison describes her use of velour paper with pastels. I recently read the blog of a colored pencil artist who draws on drafting film, and today I met an artist who uses watercolor paper for her pencil drawings.

What does that all mean? It means that your options for supports are almost endless. Whatever the medium you’re working with, try a variety of surfaces and see which results you like the best. You’ll soon be developing your own techniques to share!

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BOOK REVIEW: Lifelike Drawing with Lee Hammond

While I have always found it easy to draw wildlife, people proved to be much more difficult for me. I could draw people – I just couldn’t get them to look like the people they were supposed to be. Then one day, I stumbled upon a website that had the most beautiful portraits. They looked just like black and white photographs. That’s when I discovered it was possible to draw realistic portraits. Perhaps I could draw them too.

I then searched for books at our library to find out how other artists did it. I found LIFELIKE DRAWING WITH LEE HAMMOND, and I’ve checked it out many times since then. In this book, Lee covers a number of subjects including portraits, making this book a great reference for any art library. She discusses how to use a grid when drawing as well as paper selection and shading techniques, taking the reader step by step through the demonstrations. Anyone interested in realistic drawing should definitely check this book out!

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Torn Paper Mosaic

Here’s a fun activity for a rainy (or hot!) summer afternoon: making a mosaic from torn paper.


Colored contruction paper

Coloring pages


Mosaics are pictures made of hundreds of pieces of colored stones or glass set in a pattern forming a design or picture. To begin making these mosaics, choose a simple picture, such as one from a coloring book, or, if your child prefers, he can create his own design.

Next, have your child tear up various colors of construction paper into small bits.

The child then glues the bits onto the coloring page one by one (a glue stick is less messy, but white school glue applied with a q-tip lasts longer) on the design. By using one color for each the different sections of the design, the design will still be recognizable but the texture and look completely new.

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