Ways to Simplify the Art of Writing a Sonnet

Did You Know?
The credit for inventing a sonnet goes to the 13th century Sicilian poet Giacomo Da Lentini, who served as a notary at the court of Frederick II.
The sonnet, a traditional form of poetry, originated in Italy, some time during the 13th century CE. The word “sonnet” is derived from the Italian word sonetto, which literally means “a little poem”. It is a very lyrical kind of poetry with a fixed rhyme scheme, and a subtle, rhythmic meter. As the popularity of the sonnet grew across the world with the passage of time, this form of poetry was adopted in many other countries with numerous famous poets working on it. Consequently, the sonnet evolved, and as we can see from many of the later creations of English, American, and even Urdu poets, we can say that it matured as well.

While writing poetry, special emphasis is almost always laid on its rhyme and rhythm so that it becomes more appealing for the reader. Learning to sonnet would be a good way to make the ‘traditional’ and the ‘modern’ meet―you can stick to the traditional rules of writing a sonnet, while making use of the modern words, thus, ending up creating an evolved and sophisticated poetry. Also, you can say more things in lesser words and that too, in a very romantic way. Buzzle brings you a few practical tips to help you write a soulful sonnet.
How to Write a Sonnet
Sonnet, as mentioned above, evolved over the ages, and so, the format that the first Italian sonnets used also underwent a significant change. In fact, Shakespeare came up with his own, distinct style of sonnet writing, which has thenceforth been known as the Shakespearean Sonnet. Nevertheless, there are a few elements that, even to this day, continue to remain common for all the sonnets. These are as under:

► Each and every sonnet has to have 14 lines; no more, no less.

► Every sonnet has to be written in the iambic pentameter, which means that five (‘penta’ means ‘five’) syllables in each line are specially stressed upon, when the sonnet is read aloud.

► Every sonnet has a fixed, set rhyme scheme. Rhyme schemes may differ from one sonnet to the other; however, within a single sonnet, the poet has to compulsorily follow one, single rhyme scheme; diversion from it may destroy the entire rhythm of the poem.

►Each sonnet, irrespective of whether it is Italian, Shakespearean, Elizabethan, Occitan, or Spenserian, always has a volta. In poetry, volta or turn indicates either a rhetorical variation, or a subtle shift from one emotion and/or thought to another.

Apart from the points mentioned above, every sonnet is written in its own peculiar way. Let us consider two different sonnets and try to analyze what goes into writing them:
Prologue to Romeo and Juliet
“Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which, if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.”

― William Shakespeare
On His Blindness
“When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.””

― John Milton
Tip 1: The Number of Syllables
In a sonnet, each of the 14 lines comprise ten syllables, which means that there are total 140 syllables in the entire sonnet. While writing a sonnet, this is the very first thing to keep in mind; none of your lines can contain more (or less) than 10 syllables.

Consider the first lines of the above sonnets:

“Two households, both alike in dignity”
Now let us split the words into individual syllables:
Two1-house2\ holds3-both4\ a5-like6\ in7-dig8\ ni9-ty10

“When I consider how my light is spent”
When we split these words into individual syllables, we have,
When1-I2\ con3-si4-der5\ how6-my7\ light8-is9\spent10
Tip 2: The Iambic Pentameter
The iambic pentameter has to be used uniformly throughout the sonnet. This means that you will need to see to it that five syllables out of ten in each line are stressed more than the others, while you read your poem aloud. The use of this poetic meter imparts a natural rhythm to the sonnet.

Let’s look at the five stressed syllables in the first lines of both the sonnets.

“Two households, both alike in dignity”
Two1-house2\ holds-both3\ a-like4\ in-dig5\ ni-ty

“When I consider how my light is spent”
When1-I\ con2-si-der\ how-my3\ light4-is\spent5
Tip 3: Understanding the Structure
Before you start working on a sonnet, it is vital to understand the various divisions within it. Take a look at the following terms:

►Quatrain refers to four consecutive lines of any poem or a stanza.
► Sestet refers to six consecutive lines of any poem or a stanza.
► Octave refers to eight consecutive lines of any poem or a stanza.
► Couplet refers to any two lines of the poem or stanza, which rhyme with one another.

Shakespearean sonnets invariably have three consecutive quatrains (the first 12 lines divided into three parts of four lines each), and one couplet (the last two lines that rhyme). On the other hand, Petrarchan sonnets comprise one octave (the first eight lines) and one sestet (the last six lines).
Tip 4: The Rhyme Scheme
Rhyme scheme is essentially the pattern in which the lines of a given poem rhyme with each other. The common practice is to use alphabets to indicate two lines that rhyme, with rhyming lines marked with the same alphabet.

Consider the first quatrain of our Shakespearean sonnet:

“Two households, both alike in dignity, (A)
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, (B)
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, (B)
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” (A)

So, the rhyme scheme of the first quatrain is ABBA.

Now, consider the second quatrain of the same sonnet:

“From forth the fatal loins of these two foes (C)
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; (D)
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows (D)
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.” (C)

So, the rhyme scheme of the second quatrain is CDDC.

Similarly, consider the third quatrain of the sonnet:

“The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love, (E)
And the continuance of their parents’ rage, (F)
Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove, (F)
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;” (E)

So, the rhyme scheme of the third quatrain is EFFE.

Lastly, look at the remaining couplet:

“The which if you with patient ears attend, (G)
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.” (G)

So, the rhyme scheme of the couplet is GG.

The rhyme scheme of our Shakespearean sonnet is ABBA CDDC EFFE GG.

Now, let us take a look at the rhyme scheme of our Petrarchan sonnet. Consider the octave:

“When I consider how my light is spent (A)
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, (B)
And that one talent which is death to hide (B)
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent (A)
To serve therewith my Maker, and present (A)
My true account, lest he returning chide, (B)
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” (B)
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent” (A)

The rhyme scheme of the octave is ABBAABBA.

Now, for the remaining sestet:

“That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need (C)
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best (D)
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state (E)
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed (C)
And post o’er land and ocean without rest: (D)
They also serve who only stand and wait.”” (E)

The rhyme scheme of the sestet is CDECDE.

So, the rhyme scheme of our Petrarchan sonnet is ABBAABBA CDECDE.
** It should be noted that while the rhyme scheme may differ from sonnet to sonnet (of the same type), the structure mostly remains the same. It should also be noted that the Petrarchan sonnets of Dante differ in structure, in that, they have two sestets and two quatrains.
Tip 5: The Plot
After understanding all the prerequisites of a valid sonnet, the next and final step is to develop a plot. Generally, every sonnet begins with an idea, the poet builds on it in the first six to eight lines, and then takes a turn―volta. In the remaining six or seven lines, the tone of the sonnet tends to suddenly change, while the poet either comments on the idea he has attempted to develop and/or tries to solve the problem, if the plot involves one.

►In our Shakespearean sonnet, the first two quatrains describe the plot and the backdrop of Romeo and Juliet in a nutshell. The volta can be noticed at the third quatrain, which tells the audience about the next two hours of the show. In the last couplet Shakespeare promises the audience to be patient and quiet and watch the play, as everything that the prologue (that our sonnet is) leaves out, can be seen on stage.

►Similarly, in our Petrarchan sonnet, Milton begins his first octave by telling us that he is blind. He further says that he believes in his talent, and how he wants to continue serving God by being patient and indulging in the thing he can do the best (writing poems). The volta is visible in the next sestet, wherein Milton speaks about God’s reaction, who tends to remind the poet that He is sovereign, and man should always keep faith in Him, no matter what.
Examples of Sonnets
Here are a few examples of other sonnets, just to give you an idea about their structure and the rhyme scheme that they may follow.
Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room
Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room (A)
And hermits are contented with their cells; (B)
And students with their pensive citadels; (B)
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom, (A)
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom, (A)
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells, (B)
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells: (B)
In truth the prison, into which we doom (A)
Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me, (C)
In sundry moods, ’twas pastime to be bound (D)
Within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground; (D)
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be) (C)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty, (C)
Should find brief solace there, as I have found. (D)

― William Wordsworth

The above sonnet has an octave and a sestet, and its rhyme scheme is ABBAABBA CDDCCD.
The Cross of Snow
In the long sleepless watches of the night (A)
A gentle face-the face of one long dead- (B)
Looks at me from the wall, where round its head (B)
The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light. (A)
Here in this room she died; and soul more white (A)
Never through martyrdom of fire was led (B)
To its repose; nor can in books be read (B)
The legend of a soul more benedight. (A)
There is a mountain in the distant West (C)
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines (D)
Displays a cross of snow upon its side. (E)
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast (C)
These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes (D)
And seasons, changeless since the day she died. (E)

― H.W. Longfellow

The above sonnet has an octave and a sestet, and its rhyme scheme is ABBAABBA CDECDE.
Happy ye Leaves! When as Those Lilly Hands
Happy ye leaves! when as those lilly hands, (A)
Which hold my life in their dead doing might, (B)
Shall handle you, and hold in love’s soft bands, (A)
Like captives trembling at the victor’s sight. (B)
And happy lines on which, with starry light, (B)
Those lamping eyes will deign sometimes to look,(C)
And read the sorrows of my dying sprite, (B)
Written with tears in heart’s close bleeding book. (C)
And happy rhymes! bathed in the sacred brook (C)
Of Helicon, whence she derived is, (D)
When ye behold that angel’s blessed look, (C)
My soul’s long lacked food, my heaven’s bliss. (D)
Leaves, lines, and rhymes seek her to please alone, (E)
Whom if ye please, I care for other none. (E)

― Edmund Spenser

The above sonnet has three quatrains and a couplet, and its rhyme scheme is ABAB BCBC CDCD EE.
One thing is for sure, writing a sonnet is not an easy task. One has to practice it over and over again to achieve perfection. It is needless to say that a poet has to make utmost use of his/her feelings and emotions while writing a sonnet, so as to add a soul to it. It is also essential that you read other sonnets aloud so that you understand all the technicalities, including the use of iambic pentameter. The louder you read, the easier it is to identify the “stressed” syllables. So, what are you waiting for? Go on and write down your own sonnet; you will surely bring a smile on your loved one’s face.

Tips to Help You Master the Art of Glass Painting

Glass painting is a remarkable form of art, comprising gorgeous synthetic colors done up on glass. The combination of glass and paints gives the painting an ethereal appeal. Glass painting is very interesting to do. Glass painting kits contain an outliner, which is meant to keep the different shades of glass paints in place. One can either unleash one’s creativity and paint freehand, or else use templates. Four main types of paints are available for glass painting: stained glass paint, vinegar trace paint, matte paint and silver paint. Each type is meant for a specific purpose. For example, if one wishes to include a variety of colors on the piece of glass, then the stained glass paint is suitable. Vinegar glass paints are appropriate when one wants to add a tint of color. However, these vinegar paints are quite sticky! For painting a clear glass vase or bowls, one can use silver paint, as it adds a hint of silver, thereby giving a translucent effect to the painting. Matte paint, on the other hand is useful when one wants complete coverage without translucent aspects.

Glass Painting Instructions and Tips

Glass painting is quite easy to learn, and can be done without many hassles. Keeping a few tips in mind, before the commencement of the glass painting project will prove beneficial.

  • The piece of glass chosen for glass painting should have a smooth, plain and clear surface. Printed glass and designed surfaces should not be used, as the painting will not be prominent then. Since natural oils from the hands tend to smudge the glass surface, it is advisable to put on surgical or latex gloves while handling the glass piece.
  • The glass surface should be cleaned thoroughly, to free it from dust and dirt. The glass paint will fail to stick on a dusty surface. One should make use of warm water and soap to clean the surface of the glass. The glass surface should be thoroughly dried using a paper towel or clean piece of cloth.
  • People not confident about freehand painting can trace the design on a sheet of drawing paper and then tape it to the inside of the glass piece. Make sure the piece of paper chosen is the same size as the glass piece. This is one of the easiest glass painting techniques, as once the picture has been taped, all one requires to do is paint, using the traced paper below as a reference. People using freehand style should place a white cloth or paper below the glass, for clarity while painting.
  • Trace out the design using the black liner provided in the kit. This step must be done carefully, as it is this black outline that defines the final glass painting. Make sure the lining is smooth, with least number of breaks and bumps. One can carry out this step slowly, taking as much time as one requires.
  • Be careful not to smudge the previously drawn outline while outlining another portion of the painting. Allow the outline to dry completely. Beginners may find some extra lines formed while outlining. Such extra lines can be removed with the help of a blade or outline thinner.
  • Once the outline has dried completely, the painting is ready to be adorned with vibrant glass paints. Depending on the design of the painting, the paints are to be chosen. Glass paints come in bottles with a user-friendly nozzle, which allows one to apply the paint directly onto the glass. However, if the glass paint is available in wide-mouth bottles, then the paint can be applied using a regular watercolor brush (a thin one). Stir the bottles well before use, and never mix them with water, as water thins the paint.
  • Narrow down the painting in smaller zones, and concentrate on one zone at a time. This way, the painting will not appear so intimidating. Always remember to allow the paints in one zone to dry completely before doing the adjacent ones. This is because there is the possibility of paints from one zone seeping into the other through the outline, and then merging. This will ruin the entire painting.
  • While applying the paints, one should ensure that the glass piece is kept intact. Moving the glass can cause the paint to run all across the painting, thereby ruining it. The glass piece should not be disturbed until the glass paint dries completely. Keep siblings and pets away! Once the paint has dried, the painting is ready to be framed and hung on the wall.

All one requires for this art is the interest to paint, some creativity, and lots of patience. One can look online for designs for glass painting, whereby one can try out different kinds of paintings. Once the skills of glass painting have been mastered, one can even try one’s hand at stained glass. Glass paintings make great gifts, and since they are homemade, they are appreciated even more.

Ideas to Master the Art of Creating Monumental Anthologies

If you have ever thought about making an anthology of essays or stories on a similar theme for potential publication, perhaps you thought it might be easier than writing your own book on a topic. If you have attempted to put together an anthology, you know it is much more difficult than it looks. Either way, if you think you might want to publish an anthology, there are a few things you should know before you get started.

Selecting a Theme
The first thing you need to do if you think you want to compile an anthology is select a theme. Your theme should be interesting enough that you will grab readers and writers without too much work. Think of things going on in your life or in the lives of others about which people have interesting things to say. Think of something, also, that hasn’t been overdone, or that has a new twist. You should also be sure to make your topic narrow enough, so that you know what types of essays you will get, but broad enough that every essay doesn’t sound the same.

Finding Writers
The first thing you want to do, before writing a proposal, is to find about ten or so writers who are on board with your project. This can be difficult, as they will not necessarily be paid or published as your project hasn’t been bought yet. However, ask around; you may be surprised. Once you find those writers, make a deadline for their essays so you can be sure to get them in your proposal.

Writing a Proposal
When you write your proposal, you’ll need to be sure to include a sample introduction. The essays you’ve collected and edited so far, as well as a marketing strategy and some research as to what books are out there on your topic, and what makes your book different or more interesting. It never hurts to also include any media outlets to which you already have connections, as well. A quick internet search can yield many results for sample proposal templates.

Submitting a Proposal
Once your proposal is written and refined, you have a choice. You can send it to potential agents, or you can send it to publishers. In the nonfiction world, it’s possible to do it either way, but in the fiction world, you probably want an agent to shop your work around for you. Regardless of whether you are submitting the proposal to agents or publishers, be upfront about whether you are submitting it to multiple places or not. Many publishing companies will not look at a manuscript if it has been submitted elsewhere.

Finding More Writers
Once your proposal has been accepted and your project has been bought, you’ll need to find more writers. In a collection of essays, 35-40 writers would be ideal. Depending on your publisher, the writers may not be paid, but you can sell your project to them by enticing up and coming writers with the promise of having their names in print. It is also possible for contributors to make money from speaking engagements and press releases if their work is quoted or used. No matter what, be upfront with your writers, and have firm deadlines.

Editing and Ordering Works
Once the writers have submitted their work, you must make edits to the pieces. This is standard. Be sure to edit for content and style, and make sure you also check with the writers for acceptance of your edits. After everything is edited, selecting an order for the works is crucial. You want the pieces to flow from one to the other, so readers will go from cover to cover without stopping.

How to Help You Perfect Sand Sculpting and Sand Art

Sand art and sculpting have become very popular in recent times. It remains to be an activity that has caught the fancy of children and adults alike. Take a stroll down any sandy shore, and you can see people reveling in festivities and celebrating sand sculpture and art festivals. This is where we can see budding talent all geared up to go beyond the ordinary in crafting their creations. This art has gone beyond magnificent castles with soaring towers. Today, the mere combinations of sand and water have gone complex with the various creative forms of sand sculptures being constructed by people for their sheer love of this art form. Myrtle Beach proudly showcases the world’s tallest and longest sand castle ever constructed. People have created masterpieces through sand sculpting. From prominent figures to cars, castles with moats, and fantasy lands, the themes are endless.

Tips to Build the Perfect Sand Sculpture/Castle

Before you begin the sculpture, you must first ensure you have the right tools. Ensure you have packed a long-handled shovel and a bucket. Try to include chisels, spatulas, apple corers, spoons, ice cream sticks, knives, and pastry brushes. The main idea is to improvise on the items used for sculpting. (Use a fork with the prongs broken off in the middle. This will make it easier to form columns in the sand castle). Next, you will need to include a spray bottle, as the sculpture needs to be kept moist to keep the surface firm whilst you construct the castle.

Once you have gathered all the tools, it’s time you hunt for the right location on the beach. First, keep a look out for the high tide line. You can test the formation of the sand before you begin. Pick up some sand and compress it in your hands and roll it into a ball. If the ball does not remain firm, it clearly shows that it is not meant for any such art. You also need to look for a place that is moderately away from the sea.

After you have found the ideal location, start digging. You need to keep digging till you reach wet sand. This would be your initial tough task. It needs to be done, as it is this wet sand that will give a firm foundation to your sculpture.

Now, you need to accumulate enough wet sand to start with the building and carving. This is known as the process of tamping. A form is basically used for tamping. This is what results in building towering structures. Use the form (box or plastic can sans the base) to begin your construction. Place the form on the spot. Now, add the sand and water into it. As you proceed further with the process, remember to tamp it firmly.

Once the form is filled, try to lift it slowly. Once you have finished with the base form, you can create other forms on top of that base. The idea now is to mold the wet sand into the shapes you desire. Try to retain as much water as possible with the forms. Use the basic mounds of sand to create various shapes you desire.

Once you have finished with the basic structure, it is time to unleash your creativity. Always start carving from the top. Carving must always be done in the outward direction. Do remember to concentrate on the entire structure rather than attempting to complete one side at a time. Always try to create basic shapes. Use materials like aluminum cans on the castle to create the look of outposts, towers, etc. If you scrounge through items at home, you can come up with various little unused items that will enhance your sand castle.

The limit to your creativity is endless. Today, sand art and sculpting have got a professional touch with new sculptors entering this bracket, and creating some of the most whimsical forms of sand sculptures seen on coastlines today.

Canvas Painting Ideas

If canvas painting seems like an activity that you would like to try your hand at, then it is important that you keep the following tips in mind. These will help you start the art of painting, without making the blunders that most people tend to make when they start painting. For your convenience, we have divided the tips into three sections―the tips that you will need to use before you start working on your art work, those that you can use while painting, and the things you need to keep in mind after you are done with the painting.

Before Starting the Painting
The tips that have been given here are some things that you should definitely keep in mind before you start on your canvas painting. These tips are in no particular order or sequence.

  • One of the first things that you will need to decide on is the kind of canvas you should choose to paint on. There are a variety of canvases available in the market like canvas boards, rolled canvas, canvas mats and even stretch canvas. Depending on the kind of painting you want to make and also what your comfort level is, you can choose one of these canvas types. The canvas can be made of either cotton or linen. If you want a canvas that is strong and has a long shelf life, opt for a linen canvas. Also, the size of the canvas is an important thing to bear in mind. Remember, the smaller your canvas, the less chances there are that you will miss out on details. Also, a smaller canvas is perfect for a beginner to start with. Also use an easel for your paintings.
  • Next, decide on the medium that you want to use. Many people believe that water paints are the best for a beginner to start with, but it is not. Sure it is easy to use, as it spreads easily, but lack of experience can cause smudging of colors and spreading, which is unnecessary. One of the best paints to start out with for beginners are acrylic paints. These paints dry easily and therefore, if you need to make corrections, it is extremely easy to do so on acrylic paintings, but sometimes blending colors can be difficult because of the same reason. Try to blend colors when the colors have dried off a little, but not completely. Some people prefer to use oil paints. These are not as easy to use as say acrylic paints and the techniques are such that beginners may take time to master them. But they are perfect for paintings that need a lot of blending of colors, as they take a lot of time, sometimes even days, to dry.
  • Brushes come next in the list of things that need to be bought for canvas painting. Get a variety of sizes of brushes. You will need thin bristled brushes for details and bigger brushes for background areas and the likes. Pay attention to the quality of the brushes. You do not want the brushes to be shedding hair on your painting. Use a brush tote. If you do not want to buy one, you can fashion one out of a coffee container or use a coffee mug as a brush container.

During the Course of the Painting
Once you have worked out the various things that you need to make the painting, you need to decide on the subject that you want to paint and what technique you are going to use in order to recreate the subject. Remember, creating an almost photographic representation of a subject is best left to masters or maybe master forgers. As a beginner, try to get your proportions right, get your brush stroke techniques right and work on your color combination and blending. Here are some tips that you can try as a novice to the art form.

  • One of the first things to remember as a painter is to avoid the use of pencil on your canvas. It is difficult to erase out pencil marks later without affecting the quality of the paint, and somehow, they always tends to show through.
  • One of the best canvas painting techniques to use when starting out is to paint in those areas first that will have prominent darker colors. You do not need to detail these areas, but you can loosely block these areas out. This will also help you get your composition of the painting right.
  • If you are not comfortable with this idea of blocking dominant areas out then try painting the canvas in sections moving from left to right or top to bottom. But this technique may pose problems with blending of colors, if you are using those paints that dry fast. This is an extremely useful technique for oil paintings
  • Another canvas painting tip that you could probably use if it works for you is start with the details first and then paint the background of the painting. Personally, I prefer it the other way; painting the background first and then adding the various details of the painting as this ensures that I do not smudge the details with the color of the background.
  • While it has been mentioned earlier to avoid the use of pencil on canvas, sometimes, when your drawing needs a lot of details, it becomes necessary. Even in such cases, I would suggest that you first make the drawing on a sheet of paper and then etch it on the canvas.
  • Now that you know what are the different techniques that you can use, focus your attention on studying the subject. Study it in terms of color, shape, texture, line, hard and soft edges, terms that painters would study it in. Try to fit the subject on your canvas with the help of a grid.
  • Once you have studied the subject and decided on the technique that you want to use for the painting, make a rough sketch of the same and then start painting the canvas.

After the Painting
Once you have finished the painting, there are certain important tips that need to be followed to ensure the life of not only the painting but also the different things that you use in order to make the painting.

  • One of the foremost things to keep in mind after you have finished the painting is to ensure that you allow it dry well. Whatever the medium that you have used in order to make the painting, it needs to be allowed to dry well. Try to cover the painting, so that dust does not gather on the painting.
  • Once the painting is dry, you should varnish it in order to preserve it. This will also give your painting a glossy look and negate the need of a glass protection when you frame it.
  • Take proper care of your paintbrushes. This is a very important to extend the shelf life of your brushes. Wash the brushes with warm water, which should be allowed to flow outside the bristles of the brush. After that dip the brushes into warm water mixed with soap. While dipping it into soapy water, ensure that you keep moving the brush rapidly and do not allow it to rest. Now do the same in clean water and repeat the process till the brush is cleaned completely without changing the color of the water it is dipped in. Use rubber bands to hang the brushes upside down, so that the water drains out.

Once you have finished your painting, do not be discouraged if it has not turned out the way you expected it to. Every painter in the history of the universe has started by painting pieces that would have seemed atrociously ugly to even the least discerning of art critics. Try again, as you need to get used to the medium of canvas in order to become better at it.

Charcoal Drawing Tips for That Bold Creation

unduhan-20The thing about charcoal drawing which differentiates it from other media of drawings, like pencil shading, brush work, or mechanical pen shading, is that it gives a very soft and subtle effect. Also, a charcoal sketch does not fade away with time, if cared for properly. You will see many portraits or drawings done by charcoal, as a soft drawing technique is required for portraits, which is naturally present in it. Drawing with charcoal is not difficult, but if you wish to do detailed drawings, then you need to practice different skills to get the proportions and shapes properly.

Required Materials

› Primarily, you need charcoal sticks and paper for this art form, both of which come in different varieties.
› Select a paper with a thick texture so that erasing or rubbing does not tear it.
› You can buy vine uncompressed charcoal, also known as willow charcoal, or use compressed charcoal that looks like graphite and comes in a pencil or stick form with soft or hard shapes.
› A good white eraser and kneaded eraser are also required to create tones and highlights, and also to make corrections.
› Blending stumps are good for adding minute details. You can also use small pieces of paper towels for rubbing the drawings.

Tips for Beginners

Understand Tones

Before attempting to draw with charcoal, you need to train your eye for understanding tones. This is the first lesson when it comes to shading with charcoal. Start by simply observing objects around you. Hold an object near you, and look out for three tones, viz., dark tones, medium tones, and highlights that are shown in a sketch as white.

Understand Shadows

Shadows are an integral part of charcoal sketches, as that is what is drawn on the paper in the first place. Suppose you are looking at an object that is illuminated by a ceiling light. The light is directly on top of the object in this case, and it will have few highlights that are tiny spots on the object, which are the brightest at the rim or near the top. You will see some light tones at the top of the object, medium tones around the middle region, and dark tones at the bottom. Finally, there will be a shadow somewhere on the surface on which it is placed.

Type of Paper

Charcoal will change its appearance depending on the type of paper you use for drawing. Smooth papers will not be able to hold the carbon dust and will fail to give a subtle feel to the drawing. So, it is better to use rough and grainy surfaces for drawing with charcoal. This will also make it easier for you to shade the drawing.

Avoid Smearing

Charcoal smears easily, which can be a curse or a blessing. You can use smearing to your advantage for shading your drawing, but this can also spell doom if you cannot help resting your hand on the page while drawing. In such situations, you can tape the paper to a wall and draw vertically. If you are not comfortable with drawing vertically, use a fixative on the parts of the drawing that you have finished to avoid smudging. If you cannot find a fixative, any hair spray will work just fine.

Try Unconventional Techniques

Most people think that drawing with charcoal is done just like pencil sketching, but you can also work backwards. You can cover a whole paper with charcoal and then “draw” with an eraser. This will give a striking effect to your drawing.


There are no rules in art, so you can experiment with various techniques in charcoal drawing and come up with what works best for you. Try different styles, strokes, and techniques, and create different types of drawings that are unique.


Even though charcoal drawing techniques are relatively simple, you cannot expect to master this art overnight. Practice makes a man perfect, and this also applies to drawing with charcoal. So, try different styles of drawing with this versatile material and practice them to come up with something original.

These were the various charcoal art tips. So, gather your supplies and start practicing them. First, make some simple still life sketches, and as you gather more skills, make portraits. You can find many drawing tips and video tutorials online that will help you learn the art of drawing with charcoal.

Warm-up Art Called Gesture Drawing Ideas

The method of gesture drawing is used by artists to loosen up, just like athletes warm up before a game. In this form, one has to quickly sketch things he has already seen. Such kind of drawing is generally completed within 10-30 seconds. Using gesture drawing for animation and general sketching is common. This activity helps in creating drawings quickly by analyzing the objects. Let us understand more about this technique through the paragraphs below.

A form of drawing which depicts action or movement is known as gesture drawing. Presenting a human figure in motion can also be termed as gesture drawing. It is the depiction of character/essence of what one observes. The activity of portraying motion through gesture helps depict the relation between forms/objects with their surroundings.

A simple, step-by-step and easy-to-understand procedure of making a gestural drawing is given below.

  • The object to be drawn should be placed in front and observed properly.
  • A charcoal (about 1-1½) should be used for drawing. One should just glance at the paper occasionally while drawing.
  • The process of drawing should be a continuous one. The general shape of object, important curves, angles, etc. should be sketched quickly in order to get an idea about the basic outline or probably the nature of the drawing.
  • The strokes made while sketching need not be limited only up to the outer areas of the drawing. One can also think about working through the basic shape.
  • If the hand eye movement is coordinated properly, one can draw a satisfactory sketch in quick time.
  • To establish the proportion of the whole sketch, it is recommended to draw a line from top to the bottom of the sketch.
  • Once all the basic shapes, angles, curves are drawn, detailing should be completed. The sketch should be created within 30 seconds. Time limit for drawing should be increased gradually for different drawing poses.

Mass Gesture Drawing
To make mass drawings, the general guidelines remain the same; however, few things differ. Lines used for creating these sketches need to be broad. The charcoal should be held sideways for making such drawings. One should start from the interior of the sketch and progress towards the outline. Keeping in mind the baseline of still objects is important. Pressing the charcoal harder is the way of adding depth to the sketches that are drawn farther away. The pressure on charcoal needs to be lightened while drawing an object that appears to close in. The light and dark effect is an important feature of mass drawing as it helps in unifying the drawing and creating a rhythm.

Sustained Gesture Drawing
The sustained gesture drawings are created with an objective of combining the activity of the object with its actual appearance. A quick study about what is expected in the drawing should be carried out and appearance of the object should be analyzed. The proportions and scale which defines the dimensions of the drawing should be understood. Edges need to be drawn beforehand as it helps in developing the sketch further and to carrying out the detailing. The movement or activity to be portrayed in the drawing should be verbalized in the mind. The sketching work becomes much easier with this activity. One should first begin with light strokes and should continue for 2 minutes and stopping only to analyze the subject should be the set procedure. Corrections if any, should be made after analyzing the drawing.

The gesture drawing examples could be anything we see in day-to-day life. One should practice a lot to master this form of drawing.

Tips Stylish Nail Art Designs

For creating nail art designs, you do not require manicured hands, however, make sure that your nails are clean, healthy and evenly shaped. Today, the stores are flooded with all sorts of nail polishes and acrylic paints suited for nail art designs. Acrylic paints not only help you create remarkable designs, but are also cheaper than nail polish. You could use toothpicks to create tiny dots and fine designs.
Besides, you will also need some fine tip brushes to paint the designs. Glitter is also widely used to make nail art look even more attractive and decorative. However, don’t forget to keep a bottle of pure acetone to wipe off the polish in case of any errors. You will also require an acrylic top coat, which is to be applied once the nail art design is complete. This top coat will keep your nails shiny and glossy for several days.

Halloween is the time of skulls, bones, Jack-O-Lanterns, fire, ghosts, vampires, skeletons and scores of other spooky characters. So why not have them as nail art designs? For creating Halloween nail art designs, you should take black varnish and apply it onto your nails as the base color. Apply a double coat for a better look. On this black base, you can try out various designs. By using white acrylic paint, you can paint skulls, bones, skeletons, ghost faces, etc. on the nail. In fact on each fingernail, you can have different Halloween characters. For the Jack-O-Lantern, you will require orange, green and a bit of white acrylic paint.

Mostly red and white colored acrylic paints are used as the base coats in these nail art designs. You could apply white color for the base and then using a fine paint brush or toothpick, you could paint a Christmas tree, holly leaves, Christmas stockings, candy canes, etc. onto the nail. Touches of glitter would add to the festive feel. Santa Claus’ face can also be painted on the nails. For this, apply blue acrylic paint as the basal coat; applying it twice for better finish. Once it dries, use white acrylic paint to draw the beard and the face with skin color paint. Paint the hat with red and use black to do the eyes and even for the outline of the entire face. Then cover with a top coat. Mistletoe is also quite popular, and can be either made on the entirely painted nail or a nail painted white only at the tip (with transparent varnish) below. Tiny bells and stars can also be painted, with glitter adorning them.

You need a shiny metallic shade of nail polish which would serve as the base coat. Take white acrylic paint and by using a thin brush paint a dot on the nail. From this dot, paint 8 lines or spikes, extending from the dot in a circular fashion. Where the spikes end, draw two more spikes, something like one spike branching into another. So you will have a snowflake. You can also paint half snowflakes on the edges of the nails, and to give it a more attractive look, you could also paint one of the snowflakes in blue. In case you do not have metallic nail polish, you could even use blue acrylic paint for the basal coat. However, you will have to use white paint for the snowflakes.

For marine life designs, you would require blue acrylic paint and a bit of white acrylic paint for the base coat. Apply transparent varnish onto the blue sea-like coat and then paint tiny fish on the nails. Using green paint, you could draw thin weeds through which the fish are swimming around. A slight touch of a darker shade of green along with the green on the weeds, would give it a natural look. A few pebbles can be painted at the base with brown and white paint. Apart from the fish design, you could even consider painting starfish and tiny seahorses on the nails. Whales and dolphins are other good options.

Tiger, zebra and dalmatian designs are quite popular among the animal nail art designs. For the tiger skin nail design, apply a yellow acrylic basal coat. Apply it twice for a thicker and better finish. Then apply smudges of orange color on the nail at different areas. After it dries, paint thick zigzag lines using black acrylic paint. The zigzag pattern should be thick at the base and tapering towards the other end. And the patterns must be in alternating fashion. Thick means, if one base is thick, the stripe next to it should be tapering and so on. For a zebra design, you could do the same by applying white acrylic paint as the basal coat and then paint stripes of black. The stripes of zebra are not like the tiger, so paint thinner ones. Have some stripes in one direction and some in the other to make it look like zebra stripes. You could even add some glitter to make it look more attractive. To create a dalmatian design, just paint smudges of black paint on a white base.

Ladybugs are ‘easy to do’ nail art designs. For the ladybugs design, apply white nail polish on the nail. Once it dries, paint small circular shapes (bulging at one end) on the nail, each of a different size and well-spaced from each other. If you wish, you could stick to one large ladybugs a nail as well. Once the red paint dries, paint a black line from one end to the other, with the tip of your thin paint brush. Further, paint very tiny black dots on either side of the line. Now draw a black head on top of the red circle (at the bulging end) and then paint two antennas. You can also paint colorful butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers on your nails if you have a hand at painting.

You can create human footprints as well as animal pug mark designs on your nails. For pug marks, apply pearl-white nail polish as the basal coat. Once it dries, use different colors of acrylic paints to paint the pug marks. Pug marks are very simple, just paint one circle and three small circles on top of it. The smaller circles’ size should also be in decreasing order. You could even paint two or three different colors of pug marks on the same nail. The smaller the pug marks, the better they look. For the human footprint design, you could use any dark or bright shade of nail polish. If you take red as the base, you could use white to make the footprints.

Netting design is one of the simple and elegant nail art designs and involves painting a netting design at the tip of the nails. For this design, apply silver varnish as the basal coat. Once it dries, draw thin vertical lines with black acrylic paint, with the help of a thin brush. Then draw horizontal lines crossing the vertical ones. Since we don’t want checks, make sure the lines are crossed in a slightly uneven fashion and let the ends extend at the edges of the design. Outline the black net design with silver glitter varnish and after it dries, apply the usual top coat.

Hawaii reminds us of the glorious beaches and Hula dancers dressed in colorful flowers. This theme can also be applied to nail art designs. However, these designs are not very simple. These are suited for those who have a good hand at painting. If you have a skillful hand, you could paint beaches, waves, surfers and Hula dancers on the nails. For those of you who cannot manage to paint these complicated pictures, you could still bring Hawaii on your nails by painting garlands on your fingernails. You could even paint figures of people in black and then adorn them with colorful flower tiaras and garlands.

Warli designs are very simple to do and also require only two shades of acrylic paint to bring about a wonderful nail art design. You could use either black, red, brown or green for the basal coat. Apply a second coat to give it a better finish. For the designing bit, white acrylic color is used. Using a thin paint brush, paint tiny Warli figures onto your nail. Using your creativity, you can have Warli figures doing different things like playing musical instruments, dancing, etc.

Puzzle designs can be of two types, having one base color and one contrasting color for outlining the puzzle pieces, or else having different colors for different puzzle pieces. The first type is easier to do and requires just one basal coat to be applied to the entire nail. Once the basal coat has dried, you can draw lines with a contrasting color of acrylic paint to form a puzzle design. For the second type, you will have to first draw the puzzle shapes and once they have dried, you will have to fill each puzzle piece with a different color. Once all the puzzle pieces dry, you will have to again paint the outlines and for a better finish, apply silver glitter on the outline.

Flowers are the simplest and the most popular of all nail art designs. But don’t shy away from this design just because it is very common. The flower concept can never fade out because of its elegance and variety. The types of designs you can make are just endless. You could either paint lots of tiny flowers or paint leaves and branches adorned with few flowers. You can apply various shades of basal coats and try out as many variations of flower designs as you wish.

Hearts and cupids reign on Valentine’s day celebration, so there’s no doubt they will be seen in Valentine nail art designs. Apply white varnish on the nail and let it dry. Once dried, paint tiny red hearts on the nails using red paint. Add glitter if you wish to. This is the simplest Valentine design. You could also paint two hearts in an overlapping fashion with an arrow piercing the hearts or else paint just the outlines of hearts in pink and red all over the nail, with some overlapping the others. You could also use red acrylic paint for the basal coat and then paint cupid in white. Bright red roses can also be painted on a white or pink basal coat.

Lovely delicate nail designs would make your nails look perfect for the wedding day. For this, you need pink varnish for the basal coat. Then use white acrylic paint and then paint tiny white flowers at the base of the nail. Paint a strand of tiny white dots to make it look more attractive. For French nails, you can have designs made at the conjunction points. You could have a streamer of dots starting from one end of the conjunction point to the other, in increasing order of size. At the outer end, you could draw one pretty flower in white and paint the petals with baby pink.
There are numerous designs that you can try out. Unleash your creativity and try out whatever you feel like. However, irrespective of the design you create, always remember to reapply the top coat after every two or three days. Also apply cuticle oil every day (for moisturizing the nails) and wear gloves while handling mud. Don’t just stop after designing your nails; make sure you provide appropriate nail care too.

How to Selling Watercolor Paintings Online

Painting is not just a hobby; for some people, it acts as a therapy, whereas for others, it is a full-fledged profession. This is one such activity that relaxes your mind, body, and soul, and gives you complete freedom to express yourself in your own way. Painting something using any medium, be it oil, acrylic, watercolors, poster colors, batik, or even pastels or crayons, can transport you to a different place in your mind. The fine art of watercolor painting has seen its share of transitions. It is loved by some people and not so loved by others, but it still remains popular. The following paragraphs provide more information about this art form.

Basics for Beginners

Watercolor painting is a great way to express your creative talent. If you are a beginner, then there are many resources you must be equipped with, which will help you get started. This technique is a bit tricky to master. If you have that creative spark in you, then you first need to get your supplies ready. The following are the items that you will need.

You need a good set of brushes that include flat brushes, round ones, and oval ones. Check hobby stores for beginner’s kits that have brush sets. Depending on the type of picture you will be painting, decide the brush size you need.

The next step is the paints. You can either buy paints in the form of cakes or those that come in tubes; it depends entirely on you. You will also need a pallet.

Next is the paper. You can either use simple blank sheets that you have at home, or a drawing pad. Remember, the thicker the paper, the better. A thin paper will warp and change shape when the paint dries. Other basic supplies you will need are a water holder, drawing board, pencils, erasers, tissue papers or towels, drawing board clips, etc.

How to Sell Your Paintings Online

Professionals have many options when it comes to selling their watercolor paintings. Your local art gallery would be the best solution. This would help you establish a name and as you gain a strong foothold in the market, the sales would also rise. Most budding artists plan group exhibitions to save on the expenditure, as this would help them market their works at a lower price. Another option is to sell your watercolor paintings online. There are a few different methods that you can follow. These methods are listed below.

Look for online galleries that host the works of new artists. Do your research properly and send your pieces to the ones that best suit you at the moment. Check their submission process and whether they take any commission for displaying your work. Read through their terms and conditions very carefully to avoid misunderstandings later on.

There are many websites where you can directly advertise and sell your work. Sites like eBay, Deviant Art, Craigslist, Artbreak, etc. are used by many budding and seasoned artists to sell their work. However, read the sites’ terms properly before displaying your work for sale on any of them. There are also many online artists’ communities that you can join.

You can also do some self advertising by displaying your work on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You can even create a blog for this. The way you advertise yourself here also matters. The manner in which you display your work and how you describe it are just as important. The main aim here is to get maximum exposure. Remember to regularly keep updating your page with photos of your latest creations.

Another good option is to create your own website. It can be a great way to showcase your work. You will either have to get someone to maintain and update it regularly or you will have to do it yourself. This will give you the freedom to display your art as you feel.

A few things to remember are that while taking photos of your work, see which ones are the best, most effective, and look most similar to the original, as there is always a slight difference between a photo and an original. When pricing, do not set an amount that is too high or too low. Be reasonable. When showcasing a piece online, always include the price and a brief description where required.

Why Are Watercolors Popular?

Watercolor painting is one of the most beautiful ways to express your creative talent, making this medium quite popular among people. There are various reasons for its increasing appeal, some of which are listed below.

The beauty of watercolor paintings is that it allows the artist to use his/her spontaneity and create works with just a few color washes or strokes. Depending on the subject, this medium is also very fast to use. It does not involve any cumbersome process.

Compared to other mediums of painting, this one gradually becomes easier. There may be some hiccups when you start out, but it is a matter of mastering the strokes of the brush. With practice, you can see improved results in a shorter period.

It is greatly favored by those who are on the move. It is the first choice of most artists when it comes to landscapes and seascapes. The kits are light and easy to carry, and there is no need to lug too many supplies, except for the palette, water container, and paper.

Experts do not even use a pencil for the basic drawing. Watercolors also dry faster than any other medium.

Pastel and charcoal works may prove to be difficult to carry for the fear of being smudged, but this does not hold true for a watercolor paintings.

This medium proves to be ideal for depicting nature and even abstracts. The beauty of the strokes is such that it helps you fill large areas in a short time, and if you have a very good creative bent of mind, then you can use these strokes and create new results that do not need any planning.

Watercolors help you to get results which you may not even have visualized. This adds to the beauty of your work.

Selling watercolor paintings online is not really difficult, and is an option that is exercised by many artists. Just keep the above mentioned important considerations in mind, have patience, and once you get some recognition, your works of art may start selling as masterpieces!

Tips to Motivate Yourself and Fine Tune the Art

Self motivation is the inspiration for your behavior and actions. It helps you to reach your goal, without external influence. It improves your confidence and self-esteem, as well as gives you strength to achieve your goal.

Self motivation is important in every aspect of your life, be it career, social life, relationship, health and fitness, spirituality or personality development. Firstly, you must find out what motivates you. Some people may get motivated by influential people, while, some by reading inspirational books, stories or poems. Self motivation is a very efficient method. Reading motivational books will inspire you temporarily. If you can motivate yourself, you do not have to depend on any external factors. Self motivation is the best inspirational technique.
Tips to Motivate Yourself


“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”
― A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

You need to have a dream, a goal in mind that you have to achieve. You must have observed how obsessed great men are with their dreams. Everyone is aware of Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous speech, ‘I Have A Dream’. Only when you have a dream, you will be determined to follow it and make it real.

Make concrete plans

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It is very important to make goals. They may seem unattainable at the beginning, but should be realistic. Firstly, discover your strengths, your fortes, and also your limits. Then set your goals accordingly. You should also have a blueprint of your plan and the different ways you can follow to execute it. Your action plan must be flexible in order to overcome obstacles.

Positive attitude

“A positive attitude can really make dreams come true – it did for me.”
― David Bailey

Your attitude is your biggest asset. Positive thinking is extremely important as your thoughts and attitude will influence your plans and actions. Do not let negative thoughts or people influence you. Do not get frustrated or depressed if things do not work out your way. Recall the famous song, Some Days Are Diamonds, Some Days Are Stone. Write down your positive aspects and achievements and focus on them. It will definitely boost your self-confidence.

Start with a small step

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
― Lao Tzu

It takes a lot of effort to initiate the planned course of action. It is observed that many people have their plans ready, but they find it extremely difficult to make a start. You must at least take a single step to begin your work. Once you begin, it is easier to continue. Do not fear making mistakes because the more you fear, more likely you are to commit one. You may experience failure. But, remember that failure is often followed by success.

Block external forces

“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.”
― Charles F. Glassman

External forces likes negative thoughts and ideas (provided by others) must be completely blocked. You should never lose your mental balance under any circumstances. You may at times be nervous or depressed. But, do not let emotions empower any of your actions.


“Part of courage is simple consistency.”
― Peggy Noonan

Steadiness and regularity in your actions is very essential. It is possible that you may get discouraged or tired, once the initial excitement of new things is over. But, you have to be focused and try to strengthen your interest and desire to succeed. Determination will help you accomplish your goal. You must not let any kind of obstacles affect you or your action plans. Remember, commitment is the key word.

Procrastination is your enemy

“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.”
― Mason Cooley

Delaying your day’s work will lengthen your time in achieving your goal. Avoid being lazy or procrastinating. Taking breaks to get refreshed is necessary, but do not put things off for the next day frequently. Procrastination is a hindrance in your progress.

Never quit

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.”
― Jack Ma

If you follow the right plan and work hard, you are sure to succeed. But, there may be times when things can go wrong. However, you must never lose hope. Keep on trying, find out what is wrong, but do not quit. Memorize the famous quote, Losers quit when they are tired, Champions quit when they hold gold.

So, gear up and get started. Reward yourself, even if you make a single accomplishment. Believe in yourself so that you can easily motivate yourself. Recall these self motivation skills daily, and you are sure to succeed. Good luck!