Visual Art Methodology

Visual Art Process & Fundamentals

Created time: December 4, 2022 11:38 AM
Last edited time: December 11, 2022 2:13 PM
Tags: Art

How to create aesthetically pleasant and technically correct artwork, in minimum time?

This presentation is meant for amateur, beginner, and intermediate artists, who are struggling with sketching, drawing, and painting and they are unable to create an artwork which is –

  1. Aesthetically pleasant.
  2. Technically correct.
  3. Lesser iterations and accidents.
  4. Execute the artwork project in less time.

To achieve the above objectives, artists use constructive visual art methodology, and its fundamentals.

How to accomplish the above objective?

The following 3 sections of the presentation will give you an insight into the visual art process and its related fundamentals –
A. Examine the typical functioning of the mind of an artist.
B. Define the steps involved in a visual art process.
C. Required skills and knowledge, that is, fundamentals of visual art and skills.

A. The Mind of an Artist

A visual artist’s mind is quite different from a normal mind. While creating an artwork, an artist’s mind goes through the following 3 linear steps –

  1. Visual Perceptual Observation
  2. Creative Transformation
  3. Meta-Perception

1. Visual Perceptual Observation

Vision receives various sensory input, which is collected in the brain and influenced by the existing knowledge base. The mind of a visual artist has a unique ability to perceive an object using acute visual awareness.

2. Meta-Perception

Thereafter artistic mind manipulates the above Visual Perceptual Observation with an aesthetic sense and generates a modified qualitative artistic response, which satisfies most of the Principles of Design.

3. Creative Transformation

Then the artistic mind, using the Element of Art, improvises and refines the above Meta-Perceptions, which results in a unique creation with a personalized style. This improvisation process evolves the artwork from abstract to detailed, using artistic methodology and fundamentals.

B. Steps Involved in the Visual Art Process

The visual art process consists of 2 main steps –

  1. Drawing –
    1. Observation & analysis
    2. Drawing process
  2. Rendering –
    1. Observation & analysis
    2. Rendering process


Drawing is creating a 2D structure using elements of art such as Points, Lines, and Shapes. In Drawing, an Artist uses iteration and improvisation that creates 2D structures, that allow rendering to take place. In the initial stages of the drawing, usually, Artist’s focus is on creating a macro-structure using external boundaries of the objects. In the later stage of drawing, the focus gets shifted from macro to micro and from external to internal details. The drawing process is split into 2 steps –

  1. Observation & analysis
  2. Drawing process

Observation and analysis for drawing involve the following steps –

  1. Composition: Composition of the objects in a scene.
  2. Layer: Split the drawing into layers.
  3. Space & Perspective: Apply space and perspective rules if applicable.
  4. Cross & Envelope: Define a cross & create an envelope for each object in a layer.
  5. Landmarks: Apply standard landmarks based on the knowledge base.
  6. Shapes: Break down the object into standard (point, line, and shape) and complex shapes.
  7. Drawing: Final Drawing.

Drawing creates 2D structures, where rendering takes place.


Whereas rendering converts the 2D drawing into 3D, using elements of art such as forms, colors, values, and texture. The rendering strategy will depend upon the medium i.e. dry, wet, transparent, and opaque qualities of the medium. The rendering process is also split into 2 steps –

  1. Observation & analysis.
  2. Rendering.

Observation & analysis for rendering involves the following steps –

  1. Break down the drawing into 3D forms i.e. Sphere, Cube, Cylinder, and Cone.
  2. Define the primary and secondary sources of light. The Source of Light will have Direction, Distance, Luminious, Size, Radiosity, and Sources (Primary, Secondary, and Reflected). Effect on Object will have bright and dark areas.
  3. Object plains have Angles, and Surface Quality (Specular Reflection on Smooth Surfaces, and Diffuse Reflection on Rough Surfaces). Bright will have Highlight / White, Light tone, Midtone, Reflected light, and Form Shadow. Dark areas will have Shadow, Core shadow, Cast shadow, Umbra, Penumbra, Antumbra, and Crack / Occlusion.
  4. Posterize the reference picture using digital tools and find the gradation which can be from dark to light or light to dark.
  5. Define the color & value palette. Value can be Black, Dark, Mid value, Light, and White. Color variation will have Hue, Tint / White, Shade / Black, and Tone / Gray. Color types are Primary (Red, Yellow, and Blue), Secondary (Green, Orange, Purple), and Tertiary (Yellow Orange, Red Orange, Red Purple, Blue Green, and Yellow Green. Color temperature is Warm (Yellow, Red), Cool (Cool, Green, and Blue). Color schemes are complementary, analogous, Triadic, Monochromatic, Split, and Tetradic.
  6. Create texture i.e. surface quality. Texture can be Real or Visual, Rough, Smooth, Soft, Hard, and Glossy.
  7. Enhancement the contrast and highlights and add fine details.
  8. Rendering i.e. shading which will have a gradation.

C. Fundamentals of Visual Art

The following fundamentals of visual arts help an artist to sketch, draw and render an artwork that is aesthetically pleasant and technically correct –

  1. Gestalt law of grouping is the way our mind interprets the visuals. They are Similarity, Proximity, Continuity, Closure, Common Fate, Good Form, Figure-Ground, and Other Factors such as Expectations, Beliefs, Desire, Culture, Language, and Motivation.
  2. Principle of design, which makes the artwork impactful. They are Directional movement, Balance (Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, Radial, Mosaic), Proportion, Repetition, Dominance, Harmony, Unity, Contrast, Variety, and Originality.
  3. Rules of composition, make the artwork aesthetically pleasing. They are the Rule of Third, Golden Triangle, Golden Ratio: 61.77% + 38.22%, Left to Right, Rule of Odds, Fill the Frame, Symmetry & Balance, Layers & Depths, Leading Lines, Pattern & Texture, Minimal & Simple, Change Point of View, Rule of Space, Contrast, Color Combination, Details, Plato’s rule i.e Variety + Unity.
  4. Concept of 3D space & perspective (1, 2, 3 i.e. Ant & Bird, and multiple points), which creates the illusion of depth (z-axis) in the artwork. Space elements are Size, Detail, Overlap, Placement, Contrast, Colour, Horizon, and Fore sighting.
  5. Elements of visual art are Points, Lines, Shapes, Values, Color/Value, Forms, and Textures, which also include shape and form modifiers to create hybrid and complex forms. Shape and form modifiers are Scales, Rotate, Position, Cut / Scoop Out, Combine, Compress, Pull, Stretch, Twist, and Bend. The basic forms are Sphere, Cube, Cylinder, and Cone.
  6. Measurement methods were used in all the steps. They are Sighting, Grid, Triangulation, Positive & Negative Shapes, Liner Perspective, Standard Proportions, Gesture & Stickman, Angle, Relative Size (Unit Size), Position, and X-ray Vision
  7. Mediums skills and tools used in an artwork. They are wet (watercolor, oil, acrylic, glass color, ink) or dry (pencil, charcoal, graphite, soft pastels), and opaque (acrylic, oil, charcoal, graphite, soft pastels) or transparent (watercolor, ink, glass color).
  8. Knowledge base collected from observation and from the replication art from a reference picture.

We will discuss the fundamentals of visual art in the next presentation.


So we have understood the mind of an artist. Based on the functioning of the mind of an artist we have deduced the visual art process, which is executed using the fundamentals of visual art. This helps an artist to create aesthetically pleasant artwork and technically correct artwork, quickly. Freehand drawing is a fun activity, which gives immense pleasure, satisfaction, and ultimate freedom to an artist. Select a simple artwork from the Internet. and use the above method and try to sketch, draw and shade. Most of the armatures are able to draw reasonably well by adopting the above technique. For sure, it is going to be a pleasant surprise for you and your loved ones!

Stay tuned. We are in the process of exploding the above process with examples.

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