noun: juxtaposition; plural noun: juxtapositions
  1. the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.
    “the juxtaposition of these two images”

This is a rather useful concept in art.  The contrast of opposites can really help bring out the idea you are trying to communicate.  In this sketch, for example, I have a Twi’lek woman fleeing from a massive ship that is just coming in to land.  I was tempted to set the scene at a bloody sunset.  Instead made the sky a clear blue through the clouds of dust as a way of alluding to the shattered peace this ship has caused.  Whether or not my art was effective, juxtaposition is something to keep in mind as a form of contrast.

extermination ship adjusted.png



via Daily Prompt: Juxtapose

Making Your Own Stock Photography

Did you ever write an article or blog post and have a really hard time finding the right photograph that wasn’t in copyright and was available for reuse?

Not to worry. It can be a blast taking your own stock photos! You don’t even need an amazing camera. For web purposes, most sites need you to upload a comparatively small photo anyway, so a camera phone or older digital camera can do wonderful things.

Use the free program GIMP for all of your photo processing and resizing needs. It’s a great program and widely available, and it works whether you have Windows, Mac, or Linux. You can even use it to convert color photographs to make beautiful, vintage looking black and white photographs. I’ll write about that later.

Run around your area with your camera. Take pictures, not only of the things you need pictures of, but also random things. Think about where the item is in the “frame,” sometimes centered isn’t best. Try extreme close ups. Rearrange items, stack them. If you can zoom, do so.

writing tackle
I took this photo when I needed stock for an article about writing.

I made this stock photo a while ago. It’s not the best but it’s mine, and it did a good job of saying what I wanted it to.

It’s easy to make a backdrop, just use a white sheet draped over a chair for small items. Morning light from a north facing window has served me well for a lot of my art photographs. If you want to get fancy, you can get a light set from Amazon for about $50 that includes a tripod.

Experience will teach you more than any tutorial. If you take some really great photos, you can upload them to Pixabay to make resources other artists can use, and maybe earn some donations for them.

Now your photos will be part of your personal story!

Thumbnail Appeal


For art to impress, it’s helpful if it readily catches the viewer’s eye.

If you have your work scanned in on the computer, looking at the file thumbnails is an excellent way of quickly seeing what an art viewer sees as they pass by.

A similar effect can be had by putting the painting or drawing across the room from you and glancing at it quickly.   This is how you can truly tell if your work has good contrast and interesting composition.

What pops out at you?  What is the first thing that you see?  Is that the main focal point of your work, or can you think of ways to make the art more impactful?






Mixed Media Technique

There are times when you will want a strong background color but a lot of surface detail and highlighting at the same time.  At these times, a background of marker with surface layers of colored pencil, chalk, or oil pastel for the highlights and surface detail can work quite well.


This portrait of a Blue Heeler pup was done with two main background colors – black and blue.  Everything was built up on top of that.  I made a mistake here which can be learned from, however.  If at all possible, make your background marker color as smooth and even as you can.  Fresh markers are important for this.  I used Conte and normal chalk pencil for most of the detail here.

This mixed media technique also work with acrylic as a backdrop and chalks or pastels for the detail.  If you do this, however, spray it gently with fixative when you are done.


Experimental College Cover 1000.png


This cover painting made heavy use of chalks in the wood grain and in the surface details and highlights of the piece.  With the wood grain, I used the ridginess of the brush strokes to help form it.