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Tiny Tutorial: DIY Minimalistic Art

Have you noticed how as the world gets bigger, a lot of things are only getting smaller? Think of it: mobile phones, houses, minds….I jest. Similarly, we have also seen a rise of what’s starting to be known as Minimalistic Art.

Simply put, minimalism is a style that captures only the most important elements of an image or a set-up, and includes a lot of negative (or blank) space. This creates an appearance of very neat, clean lines. Minimalistic desks always look so organised, it’s a type-A person’s dream!

So here’s a super quick tutorial on how to create your very own minimalistic art, so you can join in on all the clean fun!

Minimalistic Art

Today I’m going to show you how I created a little painting which literally took me about 15 minutes (not counting drying time).

First, start by picking your tools of the trade. I chose watercolours because I have been obsessed with them recently, but feel free to use anything at all. If it can stain paper, it works!

Now for my subject, I chose the magnificent, adorable Hulk. Why? Because who doesn’t love the Hulk?!

  1.  Begin by painting a strange shape, somewhere between a circle and a rectangle, for the head. Now of course this would be closer to a circle for most other human(ish) characters, but the Hulk has a very strong jaw!DSC_0009Add some cloud-like bumps on either side of the head, to create an outline  for the shoulders and upper arms, as shown above.
    Side note teeheee


  2.  Paint the body in however/ as much as you like. I chose harsh vertical strokes because I wanted it to look quite raw and imperfect. Allow this to dry completely if you’re using paints like I did!DSC_0010
  3. For the final step, paint in a few quick details using a darker green. You can do as much or as little as you like, I mostly used this step to define some of the outlines and to separate the head from the body.
    Add in some hair without worrying too much about the dimensions.DSC_0012

And you’re done! That’s my finished piece, and I quite like how the accidental deposits of the light green gave his face a spherical appearance. Happy accidents, as Bob Ross always says!

Another cool way to create minimal art is to use white space to create false dimension, like I did with the painting of Natasha Romanoff below.


The white of the paper acts as a placeholder for highlights, making the entire shape appear a bit more three-dimensional.

Now, of course, these techniques can be applied to any other piece, and it would look just as good, if not better!

So what are your thoughts on minimalism?

As always, remember to follow this blog for more fun tutorials, and like this post so I know to make more of these! Perhaps drop a comment below to tell me what you think? 🙂

Thank you so much for reading, and have a splendid week!



6 Life Lessons From Abstract Painting

Here’s the great thing about abstract painting: there are no rules.

Abstract art is not bound to or defined by a subject, a scale, or a medium. An abstract piece of work is, in essence, a snapshot of the artist’s mind: and oh what a wonderful place that is! Being completely open to interpretation, it holds a lot of meaning to a lot of different people.

However, abstract art isn’t just nice to look at and understand. To the artist/creator, working solely with colours and textures often rids the mind of inhibitions and structure, and allow creativity to flow unrestricted.

Here are the 6 most important lessons that I have learnt from abstract painting.


1. A blank canvas isn’t always white.


Not all your work has to be bright and sunshine-y. Sometimes, a haunting darkness is just what you need, to let the mind wander.

Now I’m not trying to advocate or romanticize sadness or difficult times, there is nothing pretty about them. However, waiting for the “right” frame of mind to create something could mean you wait for a long, long time.

Sometimes, it’s okay to channel your inner goth (I know everyone has one, so don’t even pretend!) and put it on a page.

2. Start small, and you’ll have nothing to lose.


You’ve heard the old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and I’ll say it again. A lot of the times, we put an unnecessary amount of pressure on ourselves to know exactly where we’re going and what we’re doing, right from the start.

Here’s the thing though: if you already knew the outcome of an event, why would you go through it in the first place?

The whole point of life, to me, is discovering new things about the world around us and, ultimately, discovering new things about ourselves; which leads us to our next point:

3. Experiment. A lot.


I’ve always been a textbook person: I’ve always been terrified to take risks, and as a result, have very few memories of an extraordinary childhood. Ask me to tell you about my past, and I’ll almost certainly repeat a story of wake up, school, come back, dinner, bed.

Only recently have I realised just how important it is to put yourself out there. Dye your hair a crazy colour. Learn how to play a crazy instrument. Teach yourself a new sport. Move to a different country. Make memories that can only be communicated through pictures, and I promise you, there won’t be a day you regret how everything turned out!

4. Let your personality explode!


A lot of the times, we try to define ourselves based on how other people define us. What we fail to realise is that their perception of us is often affected by their perception of themselves.

For instance, as a creative person myself, I’m inclined to categorize people into “creative” and “non-creative”  types; someone obsessed with healthy living would categorize others as “healthy” or “unhealthy”, and it goes on.

So how do I find out what my personality is really like?

It’s actually quite simple. What makes you happy? Where do you like to shop, and why? What do you love learning about every single day?

So many of us are unconsciously obsessed with labels, which is fair enough – it’s instinctual to try and categorize people and situations. But these labels also bring with them a lot of restrictions that we impose upon ourselves unknowingly. Break through those, and you’ll finally learn exactly who you are!

(P.S. I’m still in the process of doing this…)

5. Sometimes, it’s okay to cut back a little.


As an introvert, I find it mentally exhausting to have to be “on” all the time. In a crowded room, my mind is constantly switching between “I need to project the best version of me that I can” and “why couldn’t this just have been a night in with Netflix and popcorn?”

However, in order to not appear to be an unsocial hermit, we often bite off more than we can chew, and hit “Going” on that event we know we’re not going to enjoy. And invariably,  all of this stress leads to physical illness, which then leads to more stress cause really, I can’t make it to a 9 am lecture with aching bones!

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve had to learn is to stop when I feel the need to. It may disappoint people if you’ve promised to be somewhere and don’t show up, but they’re much more likely to be forgiving than your own body is. Sometimes, it’s okay to take the time off and recuperate.

Bonus: the next time you go out, you’re going to look and feel a whole lot more alive!

6. Finally, don’t be afraid to change your mind completely!


Change is the only constant in this world, and oftentimes, it leads to much greater, grander outcomes than you’d anticipated.

Be it your personal style, a career choice, or even the interiors of your home. If something doesn’t look/feel right, you’re probably going to end up resenting it one day. So change it now, while you still can!

‘Space Bound’
Corel Painter and Wacom Intuos DRAW.

I’ve made prints available for this piece here: http://fav.me/daild6z

Go grab yourself one! 🙂

I hope this article has been helpful, and I’m so very grateful you’ve taken the time out to read it!

Thanks for being here, and have a lovely week!

S. xx

Your turn: What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt growing up? Tell us in the comments below!

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3 Ways To Grow Your Art Portfolio Quickly

Starting out as an artist can be incredibly daunting, especially if you’re self-taught like I am. You don’t usually know where to begin, and should you bring up your passion for art, the first thing people want to see is a body of work that they assume you’ve already built.

Many new artists often take a while to amass enough work to show off, and often lose potential opportunities (competitions, commissions, placements etc), purely because there isn’t enough tangible evidence of their skill!

Continue reading 3 Ways To Grow Your Art Portfolio Quickly

Tutorial: How To Paint Loose Curls In 12 Easy Steps!

Artists hate curls. It’s a simple fact.

Ask anyone who has ever painted hair, and they’ll almost always say they prefer to render straight or wavy hair. It’s so much easier, and doesn’t make you want to pull your own hair out!  (See what I did there? Do ya???)

Continue reading Tutorial: How To Paint Loose Curls In 12 Easy Steps!

5 Best Pieces Of Art Advice I’ve Ever Received

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For years now, I’ve always had people drop me messages, asking if I had any advice for budding artists and how they should go about getting better at what they do. Most of the times, I have a look at their work and give them feedback based on their own style, but there are only so many people I can do this for. So today, I want to share a general set of the best advice I’ve ever received or read, and how I like to implement it into my own artwork.

Continue reading 5 Best Pieces Of Art Advice I’ve Ever Received

Getting Inspired: Why you should observe other artists’ work.

When a lot of people talk about “seeking inspiration”, they often have completely different definitions for the term. To some, it’s the way nature creates the most beautiful scenes through apparent co-incidence. To others, it may be a particular book, movie or piece of music that makes their spidey senses tingle.

Continue reading Getting Inspired: Why you should observe other artists’ work.

Watercolour Painting for Acrylic Artists: The Basics (+ Sakura Koi Water Color Field Sketch Travel Kit Mini-Review)

This post is not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the brands mentioned. All opinions are my own.

If you’ve followed my work for a while, you’ll know that when it comes to art, I’ve somehow always managed to learn things backwards. I started drawing faces before I learned to draw individual features, I learned to shade before I perfected my lineart. So naturally, I worked with acrylic paints way before watercolours even entered my life.

Confident (or at least praying) I’m not the only one to work like this, I’m hoping this series of posts will help all you over-achieving artists like myself, who try to fly before they learn to walk! Watercolours and acrylic paints could work to achieve similar end-results, but the processes are entirely different, and this post aims to tell you why.

First, let us break down the very basics of both, acrylic and watercolour painting:

  • Watercolours consist of pigment particles bound by gum arabic, which is made of hardened sap. This basically adheres the pigments to each other and to the painted surface.
  • Acrylic paints follow a similar principle, except the binder is acrylic polymer.
  • Both types of paints can be thinned by water, though watercolours are obviously much more soluble than acrylics.
  • As with acrylics, you get both student- and artist-grade watercolours. However, while a higher quality of acrylic paints usually refers to better pigmentation, you can still get artist-grade watercolours without adding unwanted opacity.
  • More opaque watercolours are usually referred to as Gouache, but we won’t go into that here (mostly because I haven’t tried that method out yet!).
Watercolours come in both, cakes and tubes. However, having experienced immense amounts of wastage with acrylic paint tubes (*cough*MyPoorPalette*cough*), watercolour cakes were most definitely the best choice for me.
My current watercolour kit (that I’m absolutely loving, by the way) is the Sakura Koi Water Color Field Sketch Travel Kit (24 shades). While that’s a mouthful, this kit is incredibly handy! As pictured below, it comes with 24 cakes of watercolour, a detachable palette, two sponges, and a (barely visible in this shot) waterbrush. Admittedly, I pulled the picture below from my Instagram, and it is from a while ago when my palette was still quite green. By that I mean I still had the outer cover.


These are definitely one of the higher-end student grade watercolour sets, but definitely well worth the money. It has been specifically designed for plein-air work, and is thus convenient to carry around with you. I love that the shade range is rather realistic, in that I can definitely see myself using all of these colours at least a couple of times in my work….or perhaps it’s my painting style that has evolved to involve more colour…. Either way, below is a swatch sheet of all the colours in natural daylight (post-processed slightly to get the colours as close to real as possible). Zoom in for the shade names!

I must admit, I have always grown up a scientist. As is seen in a lot of my drawings, the technical aspects of art come a lot more easily to me than abstraction. If something doesn’t make universal sense, it probably has no place in my work. So, of course, when it comes to comparing two media of art, I was obsessive about try to make it a fair comparison.
I started by grabbing a couple of tubes of acrylic paint that had identical namesakes in the watercolour kit. These, for me, were Cadmium Red Hue and Viridian Hue. I swatched out two circles split into quarters, one with watercolours and the other with acrylics. I also looked at the effects of layering the paints on, and this is what I found:
Before we go any further, I would like to mention that right now is when I realised just how much of a difference is made by the paint quality. Both the acrylic paints I used are student grade, but from different brands. The Viridian is so much sheerer than the Cadmium Red, it’s almost funny! Lesson learned: a lower price almost certainly guarantees a trade-off in terms of pigmentation. 😦
Now clearly, the acrylics are, overall much more opaque than the watercolours, but what’s worth noting is that with enough layering, watercolours can most definitely achieve an opaque enough look. That being said, these have been swatched on paper. It probably wouldn’t be a similar case with primed canvas, which is great for thicker acrylic paints, but would barely hold on to anything so watered down.
Next, I tested the water solubility of both. Admittedly, the colours below aren’t identical, but they are similar enough to be comparable.
What you’ll notice instantly is that the acrylic swatch (right) is much streakier than the watercolour swatch. This, as I mentioned before, is because the gum binder in watercolours is much more water soluble than the polymer in acrylic paints. I should also mention that both these swatches were wet paint on dry paper, and I added some extra water about halfway through the circle.
Now as an acrylic artist, the concept of dipping into water before swiping over paint, to get more pigmentation even, is going to seem strange (unless, of course, you’re using watercolour tubes, in which case I bow down to your superior tube-squeezing skills). With acrylics, I mostly only use water to wash my brushes, and occasionally to thin paint enough so it can be poured on to the canvas directly.
The other novel thing about watercolours for me was the way they dry.


If we look closer at this half of the previous (watercolour) swatch, there are a few visible streaks. Funnily enough, this is not because the paint applied unevenly. Usually with acrylics, though the paint dries really quickly, it is still workable when wet. Watercolours do this thing where the paint sets into the paper in the blink of an eye, even if the paper is still wet. The fibres in watercolour paper trap the water really well (hence why this paper is specifically manufactured in the first place), which means that while it adheres the pigment beautifully, it does take a bit longer for the water itself to evaporate. This means that if you outline your shape first  and then go back for more colour to fill it in (which I clearly did here. Rookie mistake, Srish!), the outline might have set, and the new colour will apply like a new  layer, making the edges of the outline appear darker and uneven. If you’re trying to create realistic art with watercolours, this can be a huge bummer. However, here are a couple of tips that help me avoid this kind of kerfuffle:
  • The best thing to do would be to try a wet-on-wet technique to begin with, where you fill the shape in with water first, then go over it with paint. We’ll discuss this in more detail in a future post.
  • An alternative would be to use a lower water-to-paint ratio on the second layer, so that all of it is  significantly more opaque, and you can’t really see the edges so much. However, this can often take away from the airy, care-free feel that most artists seek from watercolours.
  • Finally (and this is my least favourite method) you can go in with a wet brush that has no colour on it, or a damp sponge or tissue, and try to rub the edge out before quickly going over it with more paint. The reason I don’t like this technique is because, as I mentioned before, the paper is usually still wet, and adding friction to wet paper can cause it to peel off or tear. Not an effect anyone is ever really going for!
Watercolours bring with them an amazing freedom for creativity which, for someone as structured as I am, is a huge craving. While acrylic paints help you grow as an artist due to their amazing flexibility of usage, watercolours encourage you to simply play with colours in their purest form. If this hasn’t convinced you to try them out, here’s a super cool watercolour effect that is difficult, if not impossible, to create with acrylics:
So these are some of the basic things I learned about watercolours, as someone who has spent years loving (and sometimes ruing) acrylic paints. I do hope this was a good read, and I would definitely love to hear any similar experiences you might have had! And finally, here’s a piece that I completed using this watercolour kit (and some white acrylic paint for the stronger highlights): WARNING FOR POSSIBLE GORE!
Sakura Koi kit: http://sakuraofamerica.com/component/product/products/412
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Thank you ever so much for reading, and I’ll see you on the next one!