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Aspiring artists often encounter artist’s block while developing skills, but this can be detrimental to an approach at a career as it can lead to plagiarism, boring pieces, or most commonly, no art at all. Thus, it is crucial to cure artist’s block in order to continue advancing a career in art.Although it sounds basic, one way to approach this is to observe your surroundings. That lamp would create cool highlights, or maybe you can practice perspective with that chair, or even the person next to you would be a good reference for profiles. Look around, head outside, view photography, chances are you’ll find something inspiring.If nothing around you is interesting, just put pencil to paper. Give yourself a certain amount of time to just draw, paint, or doodle freely. This shouldn’t be the next Salvador Dalí, in fact, pressuring yourself will only make it more difficult. Scribble, paint blobs, tear and crumple paper, smash clay, mix paint, watch watercolor swirl in water, anything that has to do with art that doesn’t take much mental energy. This not only helps get your creativity flowing, but it sets you up to create art through preparation. If you already have everything ready around you to create, you’re more likely to use it. These are also proven techniques and warm ups for professionals to get inspired through color, texture, and touch.Lastly, try exploring different materials and mediums. If you’re an oil painter, try using clay, or if you specialize in colored pencil, attempt digital art. This will not only expose you to different forms of art, but will also shake things up if you happen to be stuck in a rut. You don’t even have to be good at it if you’re having fun.Now stop staring at an empty page and start creating!Color fills the world with beauty in many ways, like through the rich warm tones of a sunset, the vivid hues of a rainbow, or the pastel petals of a flower. Through their choice and use of colors, artists make their pieces more expressive.The tradition of “color theory” initially began in the eighteenth century through controversy over Newton’s theory of colors (Opticks, 1704) and the nature of primary colors.Today, we are well aware that the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue, and can be mixed to create any color in the visible spectrum of light. Most commonly, the results are secondary colors such as orange, green, and purple. However, lesser known colors include the tertiary colors, which result from mixing full saturation of a primary color and half saturation of another primary color. A few common tertiary colors include amber, teal, magenta, chartreuse, indigo, and scarlet.Why does any of this matter though? It is proven that here are generalized meanings behind all of the basic shades, and each color conveys a particular feeling. Studies have shown that the feelings associated with color are learned, and they are passed down to everybody unconsciously. For example, red is often thought of as passionate, orange communicates fun, yellow expresses optimism and positivity, and so on.Many famous artists use this to their advantage to evoke emotion in their pieces. For example, Pablo Picasso brilliantly displayed this in his blue period and his rose period.Picasso was good friends with another Spanish painter, Carlos Casagemas, whom he met at the Barcelona café Els Quatre Gats, and in 1901, they moved to Paris together. Unfortunately, Casagemas took his life at the L’Hippodrome Café in Paris, France by shooting himself in the right temple on February 17th, 1901 because of an unrequited love for Germaine Pichot. Picasso sank into a severe depression which led him to paint in austere monochromatic blues from 1901 to 1904 representing solidarity and isolation with doleful subject matter such as beggars and drunks.Eventually, Picasso transitioned to a more optimistic viewpoint. He began painting with more pleasant subjects, like clowns, harlequins, carnival performers, depicted in the contrasting, cheerful, warm, vivid hues of red, orange, pink and earth tones from 1904 to 1906.All of this was to provoke emotion and to achieve color harmony – a perfect balance of hues to please the human eye. Color fills our world with beauty, whether it be with monochromatic or complementary colors, warm or cool, it allows us to portray emotion that can’t be properly expressed through words. With a plethora of tools to choose from, and countless different mediums, the art world can be difficult to navigate. Sales, quality pigments, long-lasting supplies, and quick application all sound nice, but how much of it really works?Specializing in colored pencil, I’ve tested countless brands, comparing pigment quality, layering, color variety, and blendability, and continuously came back to two brands – Prismacolor and Crayola. Crayola has been around for as long as I can remember and has always held a special place in my heart filled with nostalgic memories of my older pieces. On the other hand, I remember the day I got my first pack of Prismacolors and how excited I was to use them at any and every opportunity. Two distinctive brands yielded similar memories.One thing the brands have in common are that they’re both wax-based and not oil-based which is conducive for blending, layering, and mixing. They also both have a wide color range, with 150 Prismacolor colored pencils and 100 Crayola colored pencils. Another plus about both of these brands is that they come pre sharpened which saves a lot of time. Lastly, they are of course nontoxic, so young children can also use them.One thing that I appreciate from Prismacolor is the tin box packaging with pencil slots  because it protects the soft cores of these delicate pencils. Crayola simply has a cardboard box for packaging, but luckily, the pencils themselves are more durable with their hard core.The cores in these pencils determine most of their qualities. The soft core of the prismacolor pencils is ideal for blending, shading, and layering, whereas the hard core of the crayola pencils provide a smoother finish and better durability.In comparisons, Prismacolor had richer pigment, they were more blendable, and they were easier to layer. Crayola surprisingly created better gradients than Prismacolor, because since Prismacolor is so pigmented, it was difficult to make it lighter near the end. Crayola also provided a smoother swatch, however, that’s normally not a problem because since the Prismacolor blends more easily, we can make it smoother through blending.In the end, it’s truly up to your needs. As a person who specialises in realism, and uses layer after layer of pigment, I prefer the Prismacolor pencils, but if you’re a cartoonist who rarely has to shade, I would recommend the Crayola pencils. If you analyze what your art style includes, and take into account that the Prismacolor pencils are thirty-two cents more, you’ll most likely be able to choose one or the other.I think for being a student grade brand and having a low cost, Crayola has amazing quality of durability, gradients, and smoothness, but if you are searching for something that can blend, shade, and layer with pigment, and are willing to pay extra, Prismacolor is fantastic. Just observe your needs (and your bank account) and you’ll undoubtedly end up with colored pencils that were made for you. A crucial component of the fine arts is the human profile, however, people can spend years mastering the proportions and shading of it, when a few simple steps can make it look more realistic. Hair can easily add life to an otherwise boring piece, without being extremely challenging. The first thing you want to do before you even think about drawing a full head of hair, is to fix your lines. Although it may sound monotonous, different lines are used for different things in art and are some of the main points people struggle with. When drawing a strand of hair, you want to have a tapered end. A simple method to do that is to just draw the line quickly and confidently. The reason we do this is because hair doesn’t have a blunt end unless it has been recently cut. This is because hair endures conditions that thins the ends easily such as chemicals, pollution, and heat. The next step is the most fun, and that is you get to choose the hair texture and style. Typically the straighter the hair is, the easier it is to draw, but I highly recommend having fun and experimenting with braids, curls, buns, waves, ponytails, etc. Finally the moment you’ve been waiting for, we get to start drawing! Based on the style you chose earlier, outline the shape of the hair with a new outline for every piece that sticks out. For example if I’m drawing a simple ponytail, I want to outline the ponytail and then add outlines for the front sections next to the face. Don’t outline and flyaways, we will work with those later. Once you have that done, it’s time for the longest, but in my opinion, the most enjoyable part. We are now going to shade and highlight to add shine and body to the hair. Choose a place where the light is coming from, and imagine a mini light bulb is right there, adding shine to the hair. To fill in the outline, use what we learned in step one and put dark lines where the light does not hit, and very light lines for where the light would hit. Typically, darker strands are added to the ends and the lighter lines are in the middle. The key is to know where the light hits. This step is optional if you’re trying to make your hair look perfect, but it is to add flyaways, and it’s probably one of the simplest steps. Flyaways are simply the pieces of hair that stick out. No matter how healthy your hair is, you will have them, and they are not to be confused with split ends. Typically, the straighter the hair is, the fewer there are, but this is not always the case. To draw them, just follow the flow of the hair, but go outside the outline. You shouldn’t be able to distinguish where your outline was. Don’t do too many of them though or else your hair will not look appeasing. Our last and final step is to add any finishing touches, or intensify what you did in steps four and five. Just add anything to it that you think would make it look more realistic. Congratulations! You’ve just drawn some stunning hair in only a few steps that can make any person look more realistic and give them that extra pop.

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