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Painting Tips from the Aureolin Art Studio
Get Your Edge On
One of the first drawing skills I learned in college was how to make four different types of edges with my charcoal pencil. I never forgot them—and this month I want to share them with you. By mastering a variety of edges you will be able to improve your watercolor painting skills.

What do I mean by “edges”?
An edge refers to the transition between two shapes of color, or the outline of an object. Because the edges describe the character of the objects in your artwork, thinking about your edges is vital when you paint.

There are 4 types of edges in painting and drawing:
1. Soft edges – Can push objects back or make them seem less important. For example, say you’re painting a landscape and want to soften the far-away mountains to push them back in the background. By softening the edges of those mountains you can achieve this. Soft edges take the shape or object out of focus for the viewer.

2. Firm edges – These are edges that are not quite hard. They draw attention to the object or shape without making it the focal point. Firm edges tend to come more naturally when you are painting.

3. Hard edges – A hard edge draws attention. By sharpening up your edges you make your object seem nearer to the viewer. Be sure to include some hard edges in your focal point.

4. Lost edges – This refers to when an edge disappears into the background or another shape. Lost edges are very intriguing and effective. All the great masters use lost edges.

When working on your edges, keep in mind that while it’s always easier to soften as you paint, you can also go back and soften after the paint has dried.

Awaked Courage: I used soft, firm and hard edges. See the hard edges at the top of the lion’s face? This helped make the eye at the top of his face the focal point.

Corner Pocket: I used all of the four edge types, including lots of lost edges.

In your next painting I urge you to think about your edges. Make adjustments based on your composition and desired focal point. For an even greater challenge try painting a lost edge; you don’t see lost edges as often in painting.

Happy Painting!
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