How to Block-in a Painting

How to Block-in a Painting

Becky Joy

Learning how to block-in a painting is a basic and very important skill that beginning artist don't intuitively do. Most people want to start immediately putting the details into a painting.

Think of a painting as designing a building. You start with the big shapes, then put the decoration into it, the carpet, cabinets, painting the walls. The decoration is the final step. If you were designing and sewing a dress, you would start with the big pattern shapes. Then put the decoration on at the end, buttons, lace, etc.

Painting is like designing any other thing, the big shapes come first, then the details. Draw in your subject on the canvas, keeping large simple shapes. Use a brush and paint or a pencil. Thin your paint a little by dipping your brush into your solvent. Use thin paint, but not so thin that it is running down the canvas.

Start with the darkest colors and work to the lighter ones. In each large shape you will put the average color that you see. Squint at the subject to find the color and value that you will use. Do not get caught up in detail. This is the initial step, the pattern for the rest of your painting. You can adjust colors, temperature and values after the block-in if necessary, but try to choose as closely as you can. Today I have posted one of the videos, How to Block in a Painting.

Enjoy learning! Becky

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