• By: Keith Whittier

An Eye for a Picture

Even if you have a good eye for images and detail you can still make some basic mistakes once you try to put things down on paper. If you are learning to draw or paint and teaching yourself, perhaps with the aid of the Internet you may find it difficult to improve.  It is easy to keep repeating the same mistakes. It’s a bit like reading a text over and over again. Once your eye has missed a mistake a couple of times, it is unlikely to pick it up at a later stage.


If you gather together a few of your pieces, why not judge them against these principles?

  • Are they too pale? If you have been sketching then that may be because of the pencils you have been using. If you are painting then have you thinned the paint too much?
  • Have you used flash photography to then paint a portrait from the image? Flash flattens the features. Few people are proud of their passport photos. It is far better to paint photos that have been taken in natural light.
  • Have you got the head and facial features in proportion? It is worth starting with a sketch until you are happy that everything is in proportion.

Personal Advice

There is no doubt that portraits are the most difficult to get right. It only needs one slight mistake and you will be unable to capture the person and expression. You may not quite know where you have gone wrong. If you want to persist with portraits or something like painting your pets you will probably need some advice. The keen experienced eye can provide it.

Whatever your personal preferences for subjects companies such as www.jacksonsart.com provide an online service and your materials will be delivered to your door promptly. It is worth having a good stock of everything because you never know when you will suddenly get a flash of inspiration.


It is worth looking for good quality. If painting is your hobby and you value your work, you want good paper and canvas. You will notice the difference for example when sketching on cheap sketch paper rather than paper of a little more quality.  When it comes to paint, the richness of colour comes from the pigments in the paint. The cheaper paints cost less because of the amount of filler being added. If you pay a little more then you will be happy with the results.

Painting is not an expensive hobby and it can provide many hours of enjoyment and relaxation. In order to improve your work it is always worth seeking and following good advice. It will make your art well worth hanging on your walls.

By Remi Ashton