Order & CHAOS
Artists & Illustrators|August 2020
Order & CHAOS
A precise drawing can help less confident artists get started. However, as HASHIM AKIB explains, a chaotic start that you tidy up later can produce more satisfying results
HASHIM AKIB

It’s important on so many creative levels to allow a little bit of chaos to reign over your artistic process. This is how you’ll discover the most innovative and engaging aspects of your art. The naivety that allows you to make random marks without inhibition is exactly what many artists strive for, and most children have in abundance.

We are generally corrupted in this aim by well-meaning instructions to perfect the mechanics or follow techniques in a very exacting manner. Yet fundamentally, great art needs a balance of chaotic innovation with a more orderly approach to technical mastery; make it too predictable and it looks dull, too chaotic and it leads to a complete mess. So, think of chaos as the mystery, the unexplainable. It does what it wants and doesn’t want to be understood, there’s no pattern or cycle, rhyme or reason.

Determining the sweet spot between order and chaos is subjective but finding it can be really exciting for both you and individuals viewing your art. I work on the basis that the first hour of the process is always the most chaotic before the logic of the scene catches up. The start of a painting is the most important as there’s nothing restraining you, no boundaries, no precious lines to mess up. You might be mentally apprehensive, but your blank canvas or paper is a clean slate.

As you start considering a new subject, sketching a few guidelines or defining the forms is where the restrictions start. Try instead, at least for the first half-hour, to avoid drawing outlines and simply look for larger marks and possibly richer colours.

This technique is especially useful when working in acrylics as they dry so quickly. Having established the initial flurry of marks only then should you look to fulfill your drawing duties and define the shapes. Use a large brush or palette knife for those early stages and aim to end with your smallest brush. When using acrylic avoid over working, diluting or blending the paint, you’ll certainly create a complete chaos if you do.

DEMO Venice Scene

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August 2020