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The Art Of Realism (Part 1)

Posted by Matthew Bell on
The Art Of Realism (Part 1) - Matthew Bell Wildlife Art

One of the most recognizable characteristics of my art is that it is very realistic. I have always enjoyed the challenge of making a subject look as realistic as possible and this is also one of the aspects of my art that I most enjoy

The more realistic an artists style however, the longer it takes to complete the drawings, as every little detail becomes extremely important. Every strand of a Wild Dog's fur, every wrinkle of an elephants skin, the dot of light in a Lilac Breasted Roller's eye and the softness of the Acacia Pied Barbet's chest feathers must be drawn with great care and attention to detail

My original drawings are typically quite small - around A4 size, sometimes a bit larger, sometimes smaller and is therefor the type of art that draws the observer in close - as opposed to standing back and observing a large art piece up on the wall of an entrance hall for example. This is one of the reasons all the little details are so important in my drawings. Another reason is that I do not draw a background. The animal, bird or tree that I draw is the only focal point of the artwork with nothing else to distract the eye and therefor must be perfect

Apart from the actual pencil work of my drawings, the other major aspect that I focus on extremely closely is getting the proportions of the subject just right. It is very common with wildlife art so see animals, birds etc. that are for the most part well drawn/painted, but one cant help feeling there is something that is just off about the artwork. The cause of this is most often dodgy proportion (a leopards head being oddly shaped, an elephants leg slightly too long compared to the others or a lions nose that looks flat. Therefore I am extra careful, even if it takes me a bit longer when starting a new drawing to get the initial proportions spot on. To start each new drawing off I use a normal HB pencil to draw the outline of the subject, along with all the main features (eyes, nose, ears, mouth etc) and only when I am one hundred percent happy with this and all proportions look on point do I start with the coloring/shading process

In my next 'short reads' article: The Art Of Realism (Part 2) I will discuss my process of drawing to achieve realism. For the aspiring realism artists out there, you can use some of these recommended techniques in your next drawing and see if they help you to get that little bit closer to that perfectly, realistic artwork


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