Posts by Paul Heaston

Paul Heaston was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He received his BFA in painting from the University of Texas, San Antonio in 2002 and his MFA from Montana State University in 2008, where he continued on as a faculty member. He is an obsessive sketchbook-keeper and spent 6 months between 2008 and 2009 meticulously drawing every building in downtown Bozeman, Montana in a pocket-sized sketchbook. Heaston is a correspondent for, an internationally known website showcasing visual journalism all over the world, and in addition maintains his own sketch blog, Three Letter Word for Art. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Linda and their dog Freddie.

Fine Art Friday: Introduction to the Great Romantic Painters

Théodore Géricault's The Raft of the MedusaNo movement in painting has captured more drama and storytelling power than the Romantic movement. Romantic artists depicted raw and powerful emotional experiences, showing how humans experience the sublime -- the terrifying and wonderful mysteries of nature and the universe. Here's a look at some of the great Romantic painters. Read more »

4 Essential Tips for Drawing a Self-Portrait

Hand Drawn Self-PortraitWe starving artists know that in a pinch, we always have access to one model absolutely free of charge: ourselves! The self-portrait is one of the oldest traditions in art, and for good reason. Not only are you always available to pose (so long as you have a mirror), but there's no better way to practice achieving a likeness than with the face you are most familiar. Read more »

Getting to Know the Types of Acrylic Paint

Acrylic PaintsYou might have noticed while wandering through the art supply store recently there are a few newer types of acrylic paint out there: heavy-bodied, fluid and open (slow-drying). These different kinds of acrylic paint open up new possibilities for the medium, allowing for even more versatile applications of paint. What are the differences? Let's take a look. Read more »

The Artist’s Studio: 5 Tips for Caring for Your Brushes

Cleaning Paint BrushesYou might have noticed that some paint brushes are very expensive! Most of the time the reason is that they are of very high quality, and worth the investment. But a good brush is only worth it if you can get the most use out of it. Get the most out of your investment with these five tips for caring for and extending the life of your brushes. Read more »

Fine Art Friday: The Basics of Three-Point Perspective

Drawing Three-Point PerspectiveWe've covered one-point perspective and two-point perspective, which are excellent methods for drawing when you are looking out toward the horizon line. But what if you are looking toward the ground or up into the sky? These are situations when the rules of one and two-point perspective begin to break down and distortions starts to happen. But there is a solution! Three-point perspective gives you the ability to make far more dynamic drawings. Read more »

Know Your Types of Pens

Types of PensWhen it comes to drawing tools, there are two kinds: those that make a dry mark, such as pencils, charcoal, and pastels, and those that use a liquid ink: the pen family. Because of the unique flowing properties of ink, pens are almost a marriage of drawing and painting. Let's take a look at kinds of pens and what they're best used for. Read more »

Introduction to Drawing With Charcoal

Nude Figure Drawing, Done in Charcoal

When it comes to black and white drawing, no other medium is as rich and satisfying as charcoal. The velvety darks and the ability to create loose, gestural marks are what make charcoal so unique. Here's a step-by-step tutorial demonstrating the basics of drawing with charcoal.

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Rules of Thumb: The Art of Drawing Hands

Albrecht Durer's Praying HandsIf there is any other part of the human body that intimidates artists as much as the face, it might be the hands. Drawing hands that look right can be a challenge, particularly because they are deceptively simple in construction. Five fingers and a palm can be shown in so many positions that it helps to understand a bit of the basic anatomy and proportions before beginning. Here's a basic guide to drawing hands that will help you master this tricky body part. Read more »

The Artist’s Studio: How to Stretch Your Own Canvas

Stretching CanvasIn this day and age when you can buy a pre-stretched, pre-primed canvas in virtually any size, there's still nothing quite like the feeling of doing it yourself. And for artists who paint a lot, it can certainly be more affordable when you buy the materials in bulk. If you’ve never tried it before, stretching your own canvas is quite simple if you follow these steps. Read more »

Getting to Know the Master Impressionists

Monet's It may seem hard to believe these days, but when the first impressionist painters started making work in Paris in the 1870s, they were not well received by the 19th-century art world. Though they faced opposition initially, the power and beauty of the style overcame the objections of a conservative few to become one of the most important art movements of all time. So who were the impressionists? Let's get to know them! Read more »