Understanding the Different Paintbrush Shapes

Understanding the Different Paintbrush Shapes

Paintbrushes come in all shapes and sizes. From round brushes to fan brushes, there are a wide variety you can choose from. The paintbrush shape you do choose, though, will depend on what it is that you’re painting. Acrylic, for instance, needs a different paintbrush than watercolor. Additionally, you can’t use a large fan brush for painting small details.

Here we discuss each paintbrush shape to help you decide which one is right for your next painting:


Round brushes are thin and small with a rounded or pointed tip. Their bristles are gathered close together, making them an ideal brush for painting details or smaller areas of your work.

Good For:

  • Details
  • Thin or thick lines (add pressure to add thickness)
  • Filling in small areas
  • Outlining
  • Sketching
  • Controlled washes


These look similar to round brushes, and indeed they are used for similar purposes. Nevertheless, a rigger is longer and thinner, thus able to achieve even finer details than a round brush.

Good For:

  • Very fine details
  • Lettering
  • Calligraphy
  • Delicate areas
  • Spotting or Retouching


As the name suggests, these types of brushes are flat and rectangular. They are extremely versatile, able to work with various methods and paints.

Good For:

  • Filling in medium to large areas
  • Bold strokes
  • Washes
  • Impasto
  • Fine lines by using the edge of the brush


Similar to the flat brush, bright brushes are flat and rectangular but curve inwards towards the tip. They have short and stiff bristles that work well with heavy body paints.

Good For:

  • Thick lines
  • Heavy colors and paints
  • Short strokes
  • Working up close


Narrow and rounded at the top, filbert brushes add a soft touch to your painting. They are flat and have medium to long hairs.

Good For:

  • Soft edges
  • Blending
  • Details


With hairs spread out flat like a fan, it’s no wonder how the fan brush got its name. They can cover a wide area with a light touch.

Good For:

  • Blending
  • Feathering
  • Texture
  • Natural elements (clouds, leaves, etc.)
  • Smoothing

Angular Flat

This is a flat brush where the tips of the bristles are cut at an angle. The tip of the brush allows you to paint in corners you otherwise couldn’t reach.

Good For:

  • Filling in corners
  • Curved strokes
  • Small areas
  • Large areas

For more advice on choosing the best paintbrush for your next work, sign up for a beginner’s painting class here at Creative Ventures Gallery.

The Benefits of Thumbnail Sketching for Artists

Every artist looks for ways to improve their skills. One proven method is thumbnail sketching. These small, simple sketches are made quickly and with no corrections. They force the artist to rely on their memory and to work on crucial elements such as lines, shapes, curves, and more.

Here are some more reasons why you should be practicing thumbnail sketching:The Benefits of Thumbnail Sketching for Artists

It leaves room for experimentation

Since an artist can complete thumbnail sketches quickly, you can experiment with different methods without losing much time or effort. If something doesn’t work, you move on and forget your sketch. If it does, then you have something that you can use in more serious drawings or paintings.

Thumbnail sketching reduces overthinking

While planning things out is certainly beneficial, the more time you spend analyzing and thinking things over, the less likely it is that you’ll ever finish a project. This phenomenon is often called “Paralysis by Analysis,” and it can kill the creative process. Thumbnail sketches, meanwhile, are so quick and straightforward that they let your creativity flow without being weighed down by overanalyzing.

It helps you flesh out ideas

When you combine the ability for experimentation and the freedom from overthinking, you have an opportunity to flesh out your ideas fully. This is especially helpful if you’re creating a character or object that doesn’t exist in real life. A thumbnail sketch can help you get your ideas on paper to see which ones work and which ones don’t. It can also help you formulate new ideas when you let those creative juices flow.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, we have plenty of classes that can help you better refine your thumbnail sketching. To learn more, contact us today.

How to Draw from Your Imagination

Drawing from your imagination can be harder than you think. If you sit an apple down in front of you, you can see for yourself how the light falls across its surface, or how its shadow stretches out across the table. When drawing from your imagination, however, you need to make up for yourself how those lights and shadows affect the apple without it appearing fake.

While learning how to draw from your imagination can be difficult at first, it’s not impossible with a little bit of practice. Here are some tips to get you started:How to Draw from Your Imagination

Use real life observations

Having a solid understanding of how the real world looks and works can help you when drawing from your imagination. Even if you’re drawing a creature that doesn’t exist, like a dragon, you still need an understanding of wing anatomy or how scales shimmer in the light in order for your drawing to appear realistic. Study the anatomies, lights, and shades of similar objects to get a further grasp of what your own object may look like.

Have a firm understanding of linear perspective

Linear perspective is a crucial technique for any artist to learn. It helps in making a two-dimensional setting look three-dimensional. Without a firm understanding of this concept, you won’t be able to make any drawing—based on real life or not—look realistic. Mastering linear perspective, then, will get you one step closer to learning how to draw from your imagination.

Understand light and value

In addition to mastering linear perspective, you should also master light and value. Being aware of how light travels and alters an object can help you create a realistic object. Additionally, understanding value is a key element in creating meaningful art. It will teach you how dark or light a certain color appears in a certain situation.

With time and practice, anyone can learn how to draw from their imagination. However, it always helps to have a teacher guiding you through the process. At Creative Ventures Gallery, our art classes and art workshops can help. Contact us today to learn more.

Choosing the Best Painting Medium for Beginners

Now that you’re comfortable with drawing, it’s time to start thinking about painting. But where do you start? From acrylic to watercolor to oil, there are many painting mediums for you to choose from. Finding the right one, however, can be difficult, especially for beginners who may not know everything there is about each type.

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve listed a few questions you should ask yourself before choosing your first painting medium:Choosing the Best Painting Medium for Beginners

Which style do you love the most?

Have you always found yourself drawn to watercolor paintings? Or maybe there’s something about acrylic that speaks out to you? When picking a medium, you should always take into account your own personal preferences. If you enjoy looking at a watercolor painting, for instance, then you’ll likely enjoy painting a watercolor as well.

Are there any circumstances that might make a certain medium difficult to deal with?

Say, for instance, that you want to try your hand at oil painting, but you start to notice that the canvas takes up much needed space in your tiny apartment. This can be extremely difficult to deal with, especially if you have other people or pets living with you. You may instead choose a medium that takes far less time to dry, allowing you to pack up your canvas and painting supplies when you’re not using them.

Which medium is easiest?

There is steep learning curve with any painting medium, but some have less of a curve than others. Acrylic is typically the easiest for beginners, while watercolor is the hardest. However, if you hate working with acrylic, don’t force yourself to paint it just because it’s easier. It’s far more important to find a medium that you enjoy. Plus, you can always find an art class or art workshop to help you in the early stages.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, we have plenty of beginner painting classes to help you learn your chosen medium. Sign up for a class today to get started!

The Elements of Composition in Art and Design

Take a look at a work of art. What do you see? You likely notice characters, actions, and scenery, but if you look a little closer, you will notice movement, contrast, patterns, and balance. These are the elements of composition—various visual elements that make up a painting or drawing. They are not to be confused with the elements of art, which include lines, shapes, colors, values, etc.  

There are 8 elements of composition in art and design, and they are as follows: The Elements of Composition in Art and Design

  • Balance focuses on the symmetry or asymmetry of a work of art. A symmetrical painting, for instance, will feel calm and balanced, while an asymmetrical painting will appear chaotic and unbalanced. 
  • Unity, or variety, asks how diverse or monotonous a particular work of art appears. In other words, do the objects of your painting or drawing fit together? Or does something seem out of place?
  • Contrast is the difference or juxtaposition of various elements of art. You can have contrast between light and dark, circles and squares, or any other seemingly different elements.
  • Focus, or emphasis, is as it sounds—it’s the focal point of your artwork. When someone views your painting, their eye will automatically gravitate towards a specific subject. That is the focal point.
  • Pattern is the repetition of certain shapes, lines, colors, or elements. Practically anything can be turned into a pattern just as long as it repeats throughout the painting or drawing.
  • Movement is the illusion or sense of motion (or lack thereof) throughout a piece of art. For example, a scarf blowing in the wind portrays movement, while a cup sitting on a table portrays stillness.
  • Rhythm relies on movement, as it uses the sense of motion to create an organized repetition of artistic elements. It is often confused with pattern, but while patterns are consistent (the same shape over and over again), rhythm includes variety (different shapes repeated in a similar order). You can think of it as rhythm in music where there is a consistent, underlying beat but with various notes.
  • Proportion is how different subjects or objects relate to one another. By using linear perspective, you can make objects appear large or small, nearby or distant.

Understanding the elements of composition in art and design is one way to elevate the quality of your artwork. To learn more about how to use these elements, sign up for a beginner’s art class here at Creative Ventures Gallery today!

How to Use the Horizon Line in Your Artwork

For any type of artwork, the horizon line is an essential part of making your art more realistic. It helps you to scale the subjects in your drawing or painting properly, and it provides a sense of three-dimensionality to a strictly two-dimensional surface. As such, understanding what the horizon line is and how it works is one of the first steps you need to take in improving your artwork.  

What is the horizon line?How to Use the Horizon Line  

In a drawing or painting, the horizon line is the point where the earth meets the sky. It is always at eye-level—no more and no less. While not all works of art depict the horizon (after all, plenty of paintings and drawings feature interior settings rather than exteriors), artists will create an eye-level line to ensure that the subjects are in the proper perspective.   

Why do we need to use it?  

Simply put, a horizon line helps us to create perspective. Linear perspective is an artistic technique that makes a 2D surface appear three-dimensional by creating an illusion of depth. Think about it. Objects that are farther away from us appear small, while objects that are closer to us appear big. Thus, to make a painting or drawing realistic, we have to replicate this by making subjects that are further away smaller, and items that are closer to us bigger. We can do this by creating a horizon line with a vanishing point as a point of reference.  

Horizon lines and linear perspective are crucial techniques for beginner artists to learn. At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner drawing classes can teach you the basics of horizon lines, linear perspective, and more so that you can reach new creative heights. Give us a call today at 603-672-2500 to learn more. 

How Art Therapy Can Benefit Seniors

Art therapy can help anyone, no matter their age or situation. Children, for instance, can improve their critical thinking skills, and adults can use art to improve their mental health. Seniors can also benefit from art therapy, as recent studies have shown that seniors who participate in artistic activities are less depressed and have fewer doctors’ visits. Here’s how:

Cognitive functions and intellectual stimulation How Art Therapy Can Benefit Seniors

Art is a creative activity the involves using different parts of our brains. By stimulating brain activity, then, it can keep our minds sharp. Some studies have even found that art therapy can slow the development of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Motor skills

Art is found to improve motor skills in children, and that’s also the case for seniors. It forces you to use your hands as you focus on a single task. The low-impact physical activities can improve coordination and increase blood flow in your joints, hands, wrists, and fingers. As such, it can also help alleviate pain brought on by arthritis.

Communication skills

Art is a form of expression, and as a result, it can help seniors communicate emotions or thoughts that they may not able to form into words. Additionally, an art class can be especially helpful as it gives seniors a chance to meet and talk with others, alleviating feelings of isolation or loneliness.

Mental health

As we said before, art is proven to help those suffering from mental health issues, no matter their age. Many seniors struggle with depression and anxiety disorders. In fact, 15% of adults over the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder. Art therapy may not be a sole cure, but it can certainly help ease symptoms, and, in conjunction with other forms of therapy, it can lead to a happier lifestyle.

Here at Creative Ventures Gallery, we believe that art can help all people, in all age groups. That’s why our classes and workshops are open to anyone near the Milford, NH area. Contact us today to learn more.

How to Stay Creative During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Creativity doesn’t have an on-off switch. Even if the best of times we struggle to find our artistic inspiration, but during the coronavirus pandemic, it is even more difficult.  Yet, art can be a great way to escape the stresses of everyday life, and thankfully, there are ways to find that creative spark again. Here’s how: 

Give yourself a break How to Stay Creative During the Coronavirus Pandemic

While you may have more time to dedicate to your creative endeavors, a global pandemic is not necessarily conducive to creativity. When you’re worrying about your health, your family, and your job security, the inspiration for your next drawing will be harder to come by. So, don’t force it. Instead, put down your paintbrush and give yourself a break for a few days, even a few weeks.  

Spend your time doing activities to spark your creativity 

While you’re taking a break from your art, you can find other activities to spend your time with. There are several activities that can help to boost creativity and might encourage you to head back to the canvas again. Here are just a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Go for a daily walk or run 
  • Read a book 
  • Listen to podcasts 
  • Doodle in a journal 
  • Watch movies or TV shows 

Start small and start slow 

When you feel you’re ready to pick up that paintbrush again, don’t think that you can jump right into your biggest project. Instead, ease your way into it by starting with a smaller, less intimidating project. Create whatever comes to mind, and don’t worry if it’s not very good. When you feel you need to take a break again, do so. Your project will still be there when you come back. 

While you may not be able to attend your favorite art class, staying creative during the coronavirus pandemic is important for your art and for your own well-being. Then, once this pandemic is over, you can return to our classes here at Creative Ventures Gallery and pick up where you left off. If you still find that you need a hand tapping into your creative side, we are open by appointment and for a limited number of classes. For more information, contact us today.  

How Drawing Can Improve Your Mood

There are many reasons why people should pick up a pencil and draw. Drawing, or any other form of art, can improve our mental health and aid childhood development. It can also improve our mood in the present moment, helping to make a bad day somewhat more bearable. Here’s how:

It gives us something to focus onHow Drawing Can Improve Your Mood

When you’re in a bad mood, your mind can swirl with a thousand dark thoughts. This will only make your situation worse, but if you can take your mind off of what’s happened, then your present state of mind will start to improve. Drawing helps us do this by making us focus on something else. In that respect, it’s similar to mediation, forcing us to pay attention to our environment and our actions rather than what’s bothering us.

Drawing helps to express our emotions

Sometimes we have emotions that are just too difficult to explain in words. Drawing can help by giving us an outlet to express our feelings without words and without judgment. By expressing our emotions, we can lift that invisible weight off of our shoulders.

What should I draw?

Anything! If you’re a bad mood, just pick up a pencil and draw anything that comes to mind. It could be a beautiful landscape or simple stick figures. Whatever it is, it will at least help to distract you from your present concerns. If, however, you’re having a hard time coming up with something to draw, then try to look online or outside for some inspiration. And remember, it doesn’t have to be good to help improve your mood!

Here at Creative Ventures Gallery, we believe that the creative process enriches all lives. So, be sure to sign up for one of our classes or workshops to see how art can be a positive force in your life.

What Is Value in Art?

The word “value” can take on many different meanings in the art world. There’s the monetary value that a piece of artwork may have; there is also the cultural value that a painting or drawing may have as well. For this blog post, however, we are concerned with the third type of value: that in relation to color and light.

The definition of valueWhat Is Value in Art?

There are seven elements of art, and value is one of those seven. Put simply, value is how light or dark something is. An object can have multiple values depending on the way light hits its surface. For instance, if you shine a light down on an apple, the top of the apple, facing the light, will be lighter than the bottom of the apple. These two parts of the apple, then, will have two different values, as will the parts in between. In order to replicate an object accurately, then, an artist must replicate the exact values that object may have.

Value scale

Value exists on a black and white scale that, technically speaking, can go on for infinity. However, most artists use a scale from 1 to 9, with 1 representing the lightest white and 9 representing the darkest black. Every color can be placed somewhere on this scale, as all colors, even if they’re not in black and white, have their own value.

Why do you need it?

In order for your artwork to appear realistic, you must create the illusion of space and depth. One way to do this is through linear perspective; another way is through value. Value creates the illusion of light and shadow so that your drawing appears as close to the real thing as possible.

At Creative Ventures Gallery, our beginner classes can teach you the basics of value as well as the other seven elements of art so that you can reach new creative heights. Give us a call today at 603-672-2500 to learn more.