Creative Expression | June 18, 2021 |

Art Techniques and Forms to Learn

4 minute read
Art Techniques and Forms to Learn

When we think about making art, we think of traditional art forms like painting or drawing. But there are thousands of different ways to find inspiration and explore your creativity.

Art-making can be a private practice that you do for yourself, or it can be a way to connect with a creative community online. Some art forms also offer practical benefits, leaving you with a tapestry to hang on the wall or a teapot you can use to serve tea to guests. The opportunities for your artistic endeavours are endless, and it’s never too late to learn. Your expression can be as unique as you are. In this article we’ll share five different art techniques and forms you can explore right at home.

How to explore your own creative expression

If you want to explore new art forms and techniques, it’s important to start without judgement. Let yourself try new things, create without expecting perfection, and challenge yourself to look beyond what you’ve done before.

Here are a few tips to consider when you’re ready to create in a new way:

  • Think back to what you loved to do as a child. If you enjoyed playing with clay or building LEGO towers, then sculpture might be a good place to start.
  • Foster a space in your home where you can comfortably create. This could be a renovated closet, a sunroom, or an outdoor space where you can set up an easel and paint.
  • Remove any expectations of perfection and allow room in the creative process for surprises, failures, and new discoveries about yourself.
  • Having trouble focusing? Try putting on classical music, an album you love, or a podcast about the creative process.

5 art forms and techniques to explore

Even the most popular art forms have creative offshoots you may not have considered. From styles of drawing to a resurgence of handicrafts to unique forms of sculpture, here are five ideas to spark your imagination.

1. Drawing

Many of us learned to draw in school, but the applications and creative nuances of drawing techniques are expansive. You may connect more deeply with realism. Or perhaps you’ll enjoy playing with unconventional styles of drawing: making cartoons, getting creative with lettering, or challenging norms with Picasso-like modern drawings. Pick up a pencil and try some of these drawing techniques and workshops—they’re suitable for people at any skill level.

  • Calligraphy explores the art of beautiful lettering to create personal, meaningful pieces that can also serve as invitations, romantic notes, or thoughtful mementos for those you love. Learn some of the basics with this Introduction to American Cursive workshop.
  • Zentangle drawing is a meditative, creative way to create interesting images with structured patterns. Learn how to create your own “tangles” in a special Boomerang Zentangle class.
  • Do you have some background in drawing already? Sharpen your pencils; it’s not too late to become a master sketch artist. This four-week beginner drawing course goes deeper into drawing techniques and practices to enhance your skills.
  • If you want to bring some natural beauty into your life, learn the nuances of floral drawing. This workshop uses pencil and Micron pen to create detailed, beautiful drawings of flowers and goes into the nuances of floral drawing.

2. Painting

Choosing between a variety of paint and canvases can make painting an endlessly interesting and challenging hobby. If painting on a canvas doesn’t interest you, try adorning a table with painted flowers, or play with a new kind of paint to challenge your skills. Whether you’re looking to experiment with soft watercolour, create bold, textured pieces with oil paint, or to follow in the footsteps of world renowned artists, painting offers a variety of artistic paths. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Acrylic painting is easily accessible because it dries quickly, offers a rich pigment, and is affordable. Acrylic paints can be used on paper, wood, metal, ceramics, clothing, and other surfaces. This makes it a fun medium to explore. Try updating a piece of furniture or adding your own signature look to a piece of clothing. Learn the basics of acrylic painting in this online class.
  • Watercolour painting uses the combination of water and pigment to create a colourscape that is translucent. Learn how to use watercolours, mix the colours and create different textures to create beautiful artwork with this Painting Watercolor Techniques course.
  • Oil painting is a more dense paint medium and uses drying oil as a binding solution in the paint. The texture of oil paint can be exciting to work with, since it has a thick, textural appearance. It can also be a challenge. As the paint dries slowly, it allows the artist to scrape away paint and begin again or rework certain areas of the canvas.

3. Handicrafts

Handicrafts are often steeped in tradition. From quilting and crocheting to knitting and weaving, handicrafts often result in beautiful, practical items you can use in your everyday life. One great way to engage with handicrafts is to reconnect with a craft you did as a child, or to teach a skill like knitting to a child or grandchild.

Many handicrafts have had a recent resurgence, and crocheting is definitely a skill that’s regaining popularity. In the contemporary art world, traditional mediums like quilting or embroidering are having a resurgence; art institutions once dismissed these skills.

Looking for inspiration? Check out Craft Ontario, a non-profit organization working to have craft recognized as a valuable part of life. They offer virtual tours of their exhibitions, which you can check out at home. If you want to get started on your own art, learn needle felting with Boomerang’s three-part class series. This class is great for beginners or for those who want to refresh their felting skills.

4. Working with paper

Paper is an incredibly versatile medium. Whether you’re inspired to collage, decoupage, origami, or discover a new art technique like book binding, paper can be an inspiring art form to explore. Here are a few paper-based art techniques to try.

  • Decoupage is often used to decorate objects. It uses creative paper techniques like gluing gold leaf or magazine pages to reimagine the exterior of an object. You can decoupage with gold leaf, paper, or magazines, and use other techniques like painting or drawing to create an original work of art. Decoupage is a brilliant way to decorate a book cover or family album.
  • Book binding may feel intimidating, but take a book binding class with Boomerang and you’ll learn how to compile a series of notes, drawings, or special pages and bind them with a traditional Japanese book-binding technique.

5. Sculptures and pottery

Sculpting, carving, and molding clay into new shapes can feel like building a little world of your own. If you’re not a painter or sketch artist, you might find inspiration in working with a three-dimensional medium like clay. Try creating home decor with polymer clay or craft beads to make your own jewellery. If you’re looking to learn about sculpture without investing in a pottery wheel or expensive clay, you can also explore sculpture and form with household objects. Learn how to create inspiring wire sculptures to create your own unique work of art.

Try new art techniques with Boomerang’s online classes

Our online community at Boomerang is a great place to source inspiration from the comfort of your home. Our community members love to share creative ideas, tips, information, insights, and ideas. Boomerang’s accessible online classes are designed so that you can learn by doing.

Try a new hobby with Boomerang

Pursuing your hobbies or rediscovering your passions has never been easier. With Boomerang, older adults can register for over 250+ online workshops to explore creativity, wellness, mental health, culinary skills, and more. Express yourself through visual art, learn to cook new dishes or get active in virtual yoga classes. Our online workshops are led by passionate hosts to help you explore your interests.

Sign up today to get access to all Boomerang workshops!

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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