Basic Terminology in Drawing and Painting


Before you start with your art lessons, here are the key terms you need to learn first.


Composition is the arrangement of all the elements in your piece. The eight elements are balance, contrast, focus, movement, pattern, proportion, rhythm and unity. You need to take all these into consideration when brainstorming for a project.


Elements refer to the elements of art. These are color, composition, direction, line, shape, space, size, texture, tone, and time and movement. They are not to be confused with the elements of composition listed above.


Perspective creates the depth and space in the artwork. Two-dimensional art is boring, so artists try to create an illusion of three-dimensional spaces. Beginners are sometimes instructed to use lines and points to figure out where to place objects.


Depth could mean the intensity of the color or the distance (nearness or farness) created in the artwork by using perspectives.


Blending is when one color runs or is placed on another layer with different color. This also means that two colors meet smoothly. This is commonly found in water color and oil paintings.


Bleeding is employed when the hard edges are softened when blending oils and acrylics. A dark color slowly passes through a light color.


Chiaroscuro is the use of light and shadow as contrasts on an artwork. The tones of the shade and light are strong without consideration of the color. It is used to express a mood. The word comes from two terms meaning clear and obscure.


Shade is darkening an area using black or other dark colors. In color theory, shading is done when a lighter color is mixed with a dark color. Tint is the opposite of shade. A tint is a color mixed with white to make it lighter. The tone creates something in between a shade and a tint. Tone is created when a color is mixed with gray.


Value creates the illusion of light by using the different grays between the black and white colors. This is also used to create the illusion of space. This is useful when  shading and creating shadows of objects on the piece.


Grading is applying the light and dark portions of colors in successive stages. The artist manipulates the hue and saturation for different effects on the piece. Saturation refers to whether the color is mixed with white so that it isn’t diluted. Hue means the basic colors that are not mixed with others.


Highlight is the technique of illuminating an area in the drawing to create the illusion of light and how it reflects on surfaces. Highlighting is done when the final touches on the details are applied.


Texture is creating the illusion of a tactile quality in an artwork. A piece may suggest what it feels (rough, smooth and others) or it can actually be felt. The artist uses the lines, shapes and colors to create texture.


Wash is a diluted colored portion of the piece, usually employed in water colors. The color is almost transparent.



The Checklist for Studying Abroad  


We have the best schools here in Singapore – there’s the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological Institute. If despite this we still want to study abroad to broaden our horizons, we are free to consider it. However, starting is not easy and we need to consider many things.


The first thing that we have to consider is the school and the major. Some prefer Australia (since it is near here) but others go to Europe. Actually, choosing the destination and the school is the easiest of them all. The next thing that we should do is make connections. If we do not know anyone there, we can consult agencies that can help us connect and decide.

Of course, consulting an agency entails money and we should be ready to provide it. There’s also an emotional task that we have to face – sometimes, things will not turn out the way we expect it to be. We might also consider scholarship if we do not have spare money. Studying abroad is very expensive and if we do not have enough money to make it happen, we have to think about scholarships.

Scholarships are not easy to apply. We still need to prove to the school that we deserve the spot and we are an excellent addition. After securing the application letters and sending CVs, we still need to wait. If we are lucky, we might get the spot. After getting the spot, what next?


It is time to comply all the requirements. Here are some requirements that we have to consider:

  • English proficiency exams: Some countries require English proficiency exams. There are specific institutions that require a minimum score in an English standardized test like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). IELTS exams can be tricky so we have to seriously study.
  • Medical certificate: We have to show the institution that we are in good shape by showing our medical certificates. This will serve as our guarantee that we will attend the whole duration of the program.
  • Visa: Requirements may vary depending on the country but some countries require a student visa. The visa is often the cause of the delay in the application and it costs amount.
  • Proof of financial capacity: There are some institutions that require proof of financial capacity. These institutions just want to make sure that we can pay them.

Sounds easy right? Actually it is not in reality but if we are really serious about this, we can make it happen.

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