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"In spite of everything I shall rise again:

I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing."

Vincent van Gogh



Drawing & painting media we teach


Media - In art, "medium" refers to the substance the artist uses to create his or her artwork.



Graphite Pencils (all levels, heavily used in academic levels 3-5)


  • Made of powdered graphite (not lead) fired with clay, ranging in hardness from 6H to 8B, the softest, and encased in wood.

  • A good assortment for freehand drawing includes: HB, 2b, 4b, 6b, 8b.

  • Graphite is also available in bar, crayon, chunk, and powdered form.

  • Use paper with a smooth or hot press surface that has very little tooth or texture.

  • Can be erased; softer graphite smudges easily - can be controlled by spraying a synthetic fixative over the drawing.

  • Begin lightly with the hardest pencil and gradually darken the drawing with softer graphite. Do not put harder graphite over softer.

  • Use a light hand. Be careful not to score the paper surface with the harder pencils.


Colored pencils (Preparatory classes, academic level 1-2)


A colored pencil or pencil crayon is an art medium constructed of a narrow, pigmented core encased in a wooden cylindrical case. Unlike graphite and charcoal pencils, colored pencils’ cores are wax-based and contain varying proportions of pigments, additives, and binding agents. Oil-based, water-soluble and mechanical colored pencils are also manufactured.

Colored pencils can vary greatly in terms of quality and usability; concentration of pigments in the wax core, lightfastness of the pigments, durability of the colored pencil, softness of the lead, and range of colors are indicators of a brand’s quality and, consequently, its market price.

Colored pencils can be used in combination with several other drawing mediums. When used by themselves, there are two main rendering techniques colored pencil artists use.

Colored pencil drawing that displays layering technique on the mug and burnishing technique on the spoon

  • Layering is usually used in the beginning stages of a colored pencil drawing, but can also be used for entire pieces. In layering, tones are gradually built up using several layers of primary colors. Layered drawings usually expose the tooth of the paper and are characterized by a grainy, fuzzy finish.

  • Burnishing is a blending technique in which a colorless blender or a light-colored pencil is applied firmly to an already layered drawing. This produces a shiny surface of blended colors that gets deep into the grain of the paper.


Charcoal (Academic Level 3-5)


  • Made from burnt wood.

  • Great for value studies. Gives us a sense of three-dimensional space and a great range of lights and darks with minimal effort.

  • Known for expressive, direct and immediate qualities. Can create bold, thick lines or be sharpened to a point for more detailed marks.

  • Use paper with a medium to heavy tooth or texture.

  • Can be erased; smudges easily - can be controlled by spraying a synthetic fixative over the drawing.

  • Charcoal comes in three basic types:Willow charcoal is light-weight, hard and brittle. It is powdery and easily rubbed off.Vine charcoal is a fine quality natural charcoal made from hardwoods, which offers a full range of tone, yet is easily erased or blended with a paper stump.Compressed charcoal is made of powdered charcoal and is available in varying degrees of hardness. It has a good overall considency, but its dense tone can be difficult to erase and blend. It is available in squared bars, rounded crayons, pencils, chunks, and powdered.

  • Begin lightly with the hardest charcoal and gradually darken the drawing with softer charcoal. Do not put harder charcoal over softer.

  • Break into small pieces or sharpen for better control.

  • Use a light hand. Build up your darker values slowly after fixing each layer to control smudging. Make sure to erase any smudges or finger prints before fixing.



Painting Media




Gouache paint (Preparatory, Academic level 1-2)


Gouache /ɡuːˈæʃ/,  the name derives from the Italian guazzo. It is a type of paint consisting of pigment, a binding agent (usually gum arabic), and sometimes added inert material, designed to be used in an opaque method. It also refers to paintings that use this opaque method.  Gouache paint is similar to watercolor but modified to make it opaque. A binding agent, usually gum arabic, is present, just as in watercolor. Gouache differs from watercolor in that the particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher, and an additional, inert, white pigment such as chalk may also be present. This makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.  Its quick coverage and total hiding power mean that gouache lends itself to more direct painting techniques than watercolor.



Acrylics paint (Preparatory, Academic level 1-2)


Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water soluble, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted with water or modified with acrylic gels, media, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor or an oil painting, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media. Acrylic artist paints may be thinned with water and used as washes in the manner of watercolor paints, but the washes are not re-hydratable once dry.


  • Binder: acrylic polymer

  • Vehicle (solvent): water

  • Ground: prepared(gesso) or raw canvas, paper, wood, glass, etc.

  • Drys fast/permanent

  • Opaque/transluscent/transparent

  • Versatile media - can mimic oil, tempera, and watercolor



Watercolor (Academic level 3-5)


Watercolor, also aquarelle from French, is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle. The term "watercolor" refers to both the medium and the resulting artwork. The traditional and most common support (material to which the paint is applied) for watercolor paintings is paper; other supports include papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood, and canvas. Watercolors are usually transparent, and appear luminous because the pigments are laid down in a relatively pure form with few fillers obscuring the pigment colors. Watercolor can also be made opaque by adding Chinese white. In East Asia, watercolor painting with inks is referred to as brush painting or scroll painting.


  • Binder: gum arabic and water

  • Vehicle (solvent): water

  • Ground: paper

  • Drys fast/water soluble

  • transparent to transluscent




Pastel (Academic levels random)


A Pastel /pæˈstɛl/ is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation. The color effect of pastels is closer to the natural dry pigments than that of any other process.

Pastels have been used by artists since the Renaissance, and gained considerable popularity in the 18th century, when a number of notable artists made pastel their primary medium.

An artwork made using pastels is called a pastel (or a pastel drawing or pastel painting). Pastel used as a verb means to produce an artwork with pastels; as an adjective it means pale in color.


Oils (Academic level 5)


Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the dried oil paint film. Oil paints have been used in Europe since the 12th century for simple decoration, but were not widely adopted as an artistic medium until the early 15th century. Common modern applications of oil paint are in finishing and protection of wood in buildings and exposed metal structures such as ships and bridges. Its hard-wearing properties and luminous colors make it desirable for both interior and exterior use on wood and metal. Due to its slow-drying properties, it has recently been used in paint-on-glass animation. Thickness of coat has considerable bearing on time required for drying: thin coats of oil paint dry relatively quickly.


  • Binder: linseed oil

  • Vehicle (solvent): turpentine, mineral spirits

  • Ground: prepared canvas, paper, wood,

  • Drys slow/permanent

  • Opaque/transluscent/transparent

  • Versatile media




Color Theory  (more than 100 contact hours for 5 years course)


  • Hue - Primary/secondary/intermediate colors

  • Value - Low/high key - Light/dark - Shades vs. tints

  • Intensity - Chroma - Dull/Bright

  • Transparent/transluscent/opaque

  • Temperature - Warm/Cool

  • Unifying Relationships - Monochromatic, Analogous

  • Contrasting Relationships - Complementary, Polychromatic

  • Local/Arbitrary

  • Symbolic color

  • Expressive color

  • Texture - impasto/collage/trompe l'oeil


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