Which kind of art is right for me?

How do I know which art type is right for me?


This is a question that I get asked all the time from students all over the world. You may be sitting, asking yourself the very same question.  In the YouTube video that I have attached, I go in depth to help students discover and make an informed decision as to which type of art may or may not be best for you. In this blog however we have pulled from some of our artistic friends to give a detailed review of 4 of the most popular types of art.

Even if you aren’t interested in art tips yourself, I want you to think about who you know that might be. Share this with them. These tips will help art lovers gain a great foundation in the world of art.


Oil pastel 

Reviewed from our friends Buy dee strore.com

at https://www.buydeestore.com/the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-using-oil-pastels/

When it comes to oil pastels, there are a few crucial aspects that need to be taken into consideration. If you have been into using soft pastels, making use of oil pastels will help provide you with a whole new set of energy.

The Disadvantages

Due to their oily nature, there are not as convenient to remove from the paper surface. You will find it hard if you are looking for extreme precision and fine details with oil pastels. Oil pastels offer more difficulty in blending because the oil makes them quickly adhere to the paper, thereby leaving less room for error.

The Advantages 

Owing to their soft texture, these pastels create bold works of art with vibrant colours. Due to the fact that they do not have a dry and dusty texture, the vibrant colour would diminish when bumped. Contrary to the flaking that happens with soft pastels, fixative sprays will provide a glossy shine on oil pastel paintings, in addition to keeping them safe and secure from smearing. It can be used on a wide variety of surfaces. Moreover, they do not need a lot of supplies, palettes, turpentine, or others. Thus, the ease of use, brilliance of colours, and portability make oil pastels a wonderful tool to try whether you are just starting to discover your creative side or want to experiment with a new medium. Just find some oil pastels for yourself and start creating elegant, eye-catching artwork.



reviewed by from our friends at Emptyeasel.com http://emptyeasel.com/2009/07/21/artist-grade-acrylic-paints-advantages-disadvantages-and-a-brief-history/

Acrylic paint was first developed in the 1950s as house paint, and made commercially available as artist grade paints in the 1960s. The term—acrylic—refers to the fact that the pigment for the paint is suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion.

Toxicity Levels

Advantages – Acrylic paints are water-based, which means they can be thinned with just water (no toxic spirits are required). In addition, wet paint can be cleaned off of brushes with soap and water.

Disadvantages – Acrylic paints can contain toxins within their pigments, just like some oil paints do. Using “retarder” to slow the drying time of acrylics often introduces additional toxins.

Drying Time

Advantages – Traditional acrylic paints dry rapidly, so there is no need to wait between painting sessions for layers to dry. Paintings are dry enough to ship safely within a day or so.

Disadvantages – Because acrylic paints dry quickly they cannot be easily blended to create the “wet in wet” technique that is popular with oil paints. This is what can give a “harsher” look to acrylic paintings when compared to oils.

Acrylic paint also dries quickly on the palette. There are special palettes designed to extend the life of acrylic paint outside of the tube, but for slower painters this can be a big problem.


Advantages – Unlike watercolours, another water-based paint, once traditional acrylics are dry they are on the support to stay. This makes painting new layers on top of previous ones simpler.

Disadvantages – Once the paint is dry, it cannot be removed or altered.


Advantages – Acrylic paints have been proven to be more flexible than oil paints. There is no need to follow “fat over lean” rules with acrylics so that they won’t crack.

Disadvantages – We’ve only had 50 years of acrylic paints. . . how they’ll hold up after a few hundred years cannot be proven for another 150 years. Certainly, acrylics appear to be more durable now than oil paints, but one must remember that they have not yet passed the acid test of time.



I have been working with charcoal a lot this session in our art classes. Mainly for our mixed media course. There is a lot to learn with charcoal but the basics of how to work with charcoal is fairly simple. Artists’ charcoal is a form of dry art medium made of finely ground organic materials that are held together by a gum or wax binder or produced without the use of binders by eliminating the oxygen inside the material during the production process.

Charcoal drawing was used for preliminary drawings during the early years of human history. Due to disadvantages of the charcoal blowing or dusting off and being very messy – the base charcoal drawing was then painted over or was drawn over by another media. However, no artistic media has lasted as long as charcoal has over the years, with charcoal cave drawings still seen today.

Advantages of Charcoal in Drawing

The use of charcoal for drawing is less limited than the use of graphite pencils, with it being more spontaneous in its creativity than many other types of art material. When using charcoal, its usage has a tendency to be “scribbling or sketchy” in its techniques, quickly expressing the emotions of the artist. I like the speed and look that I get from using charcoal during our teaching sessions. These vary from thin to thick tones and lines.

Different Types of Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal can be obtained in sticks, chunks, pencils, vine, and compressed charcoal. The long and thin vine charcoal and willow charcoal are very popular with artists and is considered to be one of the main media for artists who like to use uncompressed charcoal. Vine charcoal is dark grey, whereas the willow charcoal is dense black. Versatility in willow charcoal makes it available in several widths – from thin, through medium to thick, and even jumbo – ranging from 3mm to the jumbo 24 mm. Many beginning canvas sketches are created with willow charcoal, in many classrooms, and also by professionals.

Compressed charcoal, as compared to uncompressed charcoal, can be shaped into longer sticks of charcoal. It is less messy to use than uncompressed charcoal and is rated by its hardness. Sold in extra soft, soft, medium, and hard ranges, many different companies use this same range for graphite pencils, which are 4B through to HB – or very soft through too hard. The 4B charcoal pencil is also sold as a carbon sketch pencil, with the larger and heavier charcoal products requiring a heavier drawing paper. Charcoal pencils come in a range of 9B to 9H, with HB the average middle range to use for soft and light. They can be purchased in sets, or individually.

Compressed charcoal can also be made into 8 oz. charcoal chunks for those who like to work on large areas. It is also made into white compressed sticks of charcoal, which use a special charcoal paper which is black in colour. In addition, charcoal crayons often are used by artist caricaturists, and are made with less binder, if any, and mixed with compressed charcoal.

Reviewed and revised from http://www.drawingcoach.com/charcoal-drawing.html



Graphite is the dark grey material usually found encased within a wooden pencil. It comes in many different forms, but most commonly we find it within a pencil. We’ve all used them to write and draw and most of us feel very comfortable with a graphite pencil in hand.

Although most of us have heard someone refer to the material within a graphite pencil as “lead”, you may be surprised to learn that there isn’t any lead there at all. Instead, graphite is a form of carbon and is completely safe for drawing.

Graphite Grades

Graphite is produced in various grades or degrees according to the softness or hardness of the material. Different grades produce different types of marks. The grade of the pencil is usually designated on the side or the end of the pencil. For drawing pencils, this designation is an alphanumeric value.

Writing pencils differ in how they are categorized and usually only feature a number. For example, a #2 pencil is a standard writing pencil – which happens to be of the same softness as an “HB” drawing pencil.

Grades of drawing pencils are organized in a scale based on softness or hardness. An “HB” pencil is found directly in the centre of the scale.

“H” pencils feature harder graphite. (The “H” stands for “hard”.) “B” pencils feature softer graphite. (The “B” stands for “black”.)

The number found in front of the letter reveals just how soft or hard the pencil is. In other words, a “4H” pencil is harder than a “2H” pencil while a “4B” pencil is softer than a “2B” pencil.

Harder pencils produce lighter marks since less of the material is released as pressure is applied. Softer pencils make darker marks since more of the material is released. Therefore, a “4H” pencil will produce lighter marks than an “2H” pencil while a “4B” pencil will make darker marks than a “2B” pencil.

What is an F Pencil?

The “F” pencil is similar in mark to an “HB” pencil, only slightly lighter. Like an “HB” pencil, it is capable of producing darker and lighter marks, but without any extremes. The graphite material found in an “F” pencil is slightly harder than an “HB” pencil meaning that it can stay sharp for a longer period of use. For this reason, this pencil is designated as “fine” which is why this pencil is labelled with an “F”.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Different Grades

A clear advantage of the “H” pencils is that they can stay sharp for a longer period of use. In contrast, “B” pencils tend to dull quickly due to their softness.

“H” pencils are better suited for filling the tooth or texture of the paper, resulting in smoother transitions of tone and value. “B” pencils fill the tooth to a lesser degree, making the texture of the paper more noticeable. By combining “H” and “B” pencils in a drawing, smooth transitions of tone can be developed without compromising a full range of value.

“H” pencils are clearly capable of producing light marks, but are limited in the range of tone. Putting more pressure on a “4H” pencil will not result in a very dark mark. “B” pencils, however allow for a much broader range of possibilities. A “4B” pencil for example can produce lighter marks by reducing pressure, but is also capable of producing darker marks with additional pressure.

You may be tempted to use a hard pencil such as a “4H” for a preliminary sketch since the mark is light. If your pressure is light, then this is an acceptable practice. But if too much pressure is applied to the pencil, then grooves can be created in the surface of the paper. These grooves become difficult to fill in or cover with softer graphite applications. This can lead to noticeable inconsistencies in the drawing.

Another factor to consider is “graphite shine”. Graphite is naturally shiny. However, this shine can be reduced if the graphite is applied using a layered approach. Lighter pencils may be used earlier in the process followed by darker pencils. Even and consistent pressure should be applied with each layer so that the tooth of the paper is not destroyed. (Flattening the tooth often increases the shine.)

“B” pencils tend to produce more shine compared to “H” pencils so it’s recommended to gradually increase the contrast in a drawing using a layered approach.

Which Drawing Pencils Should You Use?

The pencils that are best for you to use will vary depending on several factors. These factors include:

The amount of pressure that you naturally place on the pencil.

The texture of the paper.

The approach that you take for developing the drawing.

Some folks place a heavy amount of pressure on the pencil naturally. For these artists, a “4B” pencil may be the darkest pencil that is required. For those that naturally produce lighter marks, a much darker “6B” or “8B” may be required.

The surface of the paper also plays a role in the pencils that you choose. Papers with a lighter tooth (smoother surface) may be more receptive to harder pencils and show less of the texture when softer pencils are applied. Papers with heavier textures may be more receptive to softer pencils but reveal more of the surface texture as they are applied.

For quick sketchy drawings, usually only one drawing pencil is required to produce an adequate range of value. If this approach is taken, then a softer “2B” pencil may be all that is needed. For more refined drawings that require a layered approach, several hard and soft pencils may be required.

No matter what the circumstance, every single graphite grade is not required. Most artists will only need a few pencils to be successful. Because softer pencils have a bit more range, most of the pencils that an artist will use fall on the “B” side of the scale. I suggest the following grades – “2H, H, HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B”.

Pencil Alternatives

Pencils produced by different manufacturers vary in quality and behaviour. Inevitably, each artist will discover their favourites. I have found that Derwent Graphic, Prismacolor Turquoise, and Staedtler Mars Lumograph are among the best choices. But even with these great pencil choices available, there are other options.

My favourite alternative drawing pencil is the General’s Layout pencil. This pencil is capable of producing rich dark tones but without dulling quickly. Because this pencil is harder than most equivalent “B” pencils, it does a better job filling in the tooth of the surface. As far as darkness goes, this pencil is most similar to a “4B” pencil. Because this pencil has such a broad range, it can sometimes be used alone or with just one lighter pencil.

Summing it Up

In any drawing, creating a full range of value should be one of the priorities of the artist. By using a variety of degrees of graphite, we are better prepared to develop a full range of tone. However, we must understand that every grade is not required to produce the necessary contrast and that there are advantages and disadvantages each grade of graphite.

From our friends at https://thevirtualinstructor.com/Artists-pencils-graphite-pencils-explained.html

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