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Dean Kirkland

EmptyEasel.com

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Painting Tips, Artist Reviews, Selling Art Online and more

For the next several days I’ll be busy working on some very exciting updates for our artists at Foliotwist (more details on that, coming soon!) so we’ll be taking a short break from publishing any new articles until next Sunday. In the meantime, enjoy the articles from last week—we’ll be back to our norm

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Calligraphy students often ask if taking my class will improve their handwriting. Equally popular is the lament of parents or teachers, especially if they home school or their child is no longer learning handwriting in school. Less than half of U.S. elementary schools now require handwriting instruction. Interestingly enoug

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After studying at the Art Students League of New York as a young man, Howard Ziff spent most of his life in the world of business—but he never forgot his roots. Now, he’s returned to painting, channeling his life experiences to create new pieces in a timeless, modern style. Into It 1 is the first [...]

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Some time ago, I shared 5 blogs that I recommended for every serious artist.That left hundreds, maybe thousands, of other artist blogs to explore—more than enough for another first-of-the-year-article. But this year, I thought I’d do something different and share my favorite podcasts and video channels instead. Spec

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Monday in Drawing Tips – Want to get a jump on improving your drawing skills in 2017? Then drop by tomorrow and start exploring Carrie Lewis’s favorite podcasts and video channels for colored pencil artists—it’s months of instruction, all in one place! Tuesday in Featured Artists – “Bold, big

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Think back to the last time you were in an elementary school classroom—what stands out in your memory? The desks, arranged neatly in rows, perhaps. . . a chalkboard or whiteboard at the front. And (probably!) bright, colorful posters lining the walls. Nearly every classroom is decorated with educational, informational, an

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In today’s portrait drawing tutorial, I will continue to build upon my previous lessons from the past few months (I recommend reading through part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 if you haven’t already). Now, let’s get started: 21. Defining the cheekbones curve The cheekbones curve is an important contour of

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Monday in Drawing Tips – Don’t miss part five of Vladimir London’s step-by-step tutorial showing how to draw a portrait in 3/4 view. Need a quick refresher before tomorrow? Catch up on parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 right now! Tuesday in Artist Interviews – Carrie Lewis will be sharing her Q&A session with the

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! We’re on hiatus here at EmptyEasel through the end of December, so there’ll be no new posts for the next 2 weeks. . . BUT after that we’ll be back bright and early on January 1st with our regular schedule of articles. :) From all of us here [...]

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Here in the US, the last three holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years) snuggle up on the calendar. I know I speak for many when I say that by early December I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. My “to do” list includes cards and envelopes to design and mail, packages to wrap, home decorating. . . snowshoeing [...]

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Diane Griffiths’ paintings are a blend of fantastical colors and real-life scenery, inspired in part by the impressionists, yet always based on true-to-life drawings taken from the gorgeous British countryside. As a child, Diane was encouraged to draw “inside the lines,” and currently her day job is in fin

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So you’ve determined you’d like to have gallery representation and you’ve looked around and found some galleries that are a good fit for your art. Now what? Do you just drop in and hope for the best, or is there another way? Some people advocate drop-in presentations and there are good arguments for that.

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Monday in General Art Avice – Tomorrow, Carrie Lewis will share 6 questions you may want to ask the gallery manager (or gallery staff) before you set up an appointment present your work. Don’t miss it! Tuesday in Featured Artists – Drop by for a look at several gorgeous landscape paintings absolutely burst

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It may seem unnecessary to write an entire article about the tools of the colored pencil artist. I mean, they’re so basic. Pencils, paper, sharpener, eraser. What else do you need? The plain and simple truth is that you really don’t need anything else. That’s what makes colored pencils so appealing to a non-artist who

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I’ve always been a bit of an oddball. I’ve created art in one form or another since I was a kid: directing my little sisters in plays I wrote (and starred in, of course); singing at the top of my lungs, perched in the highest branches of a sprawling ficus tree. They were brutal, larger-than-life [...]

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Monday in Other Tutorials – Tomorrow, calligraphy expert Phawnda Moore will share some fantastic tips for designing fun, holiday-themed envelopes to go with your Christmas cards this year. (Plus, her Christmas card tutorial is coming just next week, so stay tuned for that as well!) Tuesday in Featured Artists –

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Avant-garde photographer Tommy Hawk Appleby lives a thoughtful, art-centric life, creating beautifully layered artwork referencing his past artwork, the cities where he’s lived (including Paris, for several years) and the rich world of visual detail and artistic possibilities that exists around all of us. When you div

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Welcome to part 4 of my ongoing series on drawing a portrait in three quarter view. If you’re just now joining us, I suggest reading part 1, part 2, and part 3 where we discussed how to build a general wire-frame of the head, and ended with some simple shading in the last lesson. Now [...]

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As some of you already know, I work in both oils and colored pencils. My preferred method with oils is a personal adaptation of the Flemish technique, a seven-step process starting with a detailed drawing and going through color glazes and a detailed finishing layer. It’s a classical method that is slow and careful, produ

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Monday in Other Tutorials – Tomorrow, Carrie Lewis will go through the Flemish Method of painting and explain how she’s adapted it for colored pencils. If you love classical oil painting techniques but work in colored pencils, this is the article for you! Tuesday in Drawing Tips – Drop in for part four of

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We’re taking the entire week off to celebrate Thanksgiving, so from all of us here at EmptyEasel, have a blessed holiday with family and friends—we’ll see you back here next Sunday! Last week’s articles on EmptyEasel: Looking for Beautiful, Transparent Earth-tone Oil Paints? These are my Favorite Gail Bu

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The seasons are changing—which makes it a magnificent time to take a walk and see what your neighbor’s trees are up to. Their fallen leaves are like small paintings. As I surveyed the sights on my street, I wished it was Thanksgiving, but that was yet a month away. A few thousand leaves later, still [...]

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We all wish we had more time to paint, draw, sculpt, or whatever we do. At the very least, we often wish we could make better use of the time we do have. Especially if we happen to also be working a full-time job. Well, from one artist to another, take heart! My own experience [...]

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There will be no new articles published on EE until next week (I’m taking a few days off to celebrate my anniversary) but don’t worry, I won’t leave you in the lurch! :) With all your extra free time, I recommend heading over to A Singular Creation’s free art contests—they always offer great prizes

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It’s a rare artist who hasn’t used castoff and worn-out clothing as rags to clean paintbrushes or hands. But what about using them as painting tools? Here’s a short list of clothing items that I’ve found have a second life as useful studio tools. For good measure, I’ve also included a few bonus

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Art is a communication form, yet most of us don’t know what we are trying to communicate and need to try lots of different things before finding out. Personally, it took me until I was 54 before I found out what the hell I was trying to communicate. In the end, it turned out to [...]

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Welcome back to “The ABC’s of Art Marketing”—an alphabet guide to marketing your art, from A to Z. In today’s article, I’ll be focusing on the letter “W” for Writing. Writing is a huge part of art marketing. Professional marketers call it “content marketing” because despite all the images online,

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A short while back I wrote an article for EmptyEasel about art school, and how to decide if it’s right for you. I wrote that article because most young people—and many who are no longer quite so young—believe they must attend art school if they’re going to be a successful artist. And yet, if you [...]

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When you put color onto paper with colored pencil, the color stays exactly where you put it. No easy washing. No easy blending. Creating detail requires time AND patience. Of course, there are certain methods for putting color onto paper in more productive ways. That begins with the basic pencil strokes, but it doesn’

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How many of you use Pinterest? Probably most of us, right? After all, for creatives, it’s an easy way to find massive amounts of inspiration—and then quickly save that inspiration for later. But more and more, Pinterest is becoming a place for shoppers, too. And that makes it especially helpful to artists who are tr

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