There are many ways in which you can express your thoughts on a sheet of paper. Each medium has its own way of painting or colouring. Different techniques have to be used for each type of medium. Here are some basic to complex ways of colouring or painting:
Plastic crayons are a very basic medium for colouring, usually used by kids. Some drawing teachers recommend plastic crayons as the first medium a child should use, to gain control of the hand while colouring.
Plastic crayons cannot be used as a medium for complex paintings which have large areas to be coloured in the same colour, but can be used where intricate, small parts need to be coloured. Plastic crayons need good control and handling by the fingers, to obtain the real beauty of the medium. Since it is fairly erasable, it has an added advantage for people who make lot of colouring mistakes. Most plastic crayon paintings appear to be dull, due to lots of white spaces that appear when you shade. Hence it is a good medium for simple drawings, but not complex or too realistic paintings.
As the name suggests, these crayons are made from wax, and it is more fit for kids who are just learning to draw and colour. It can be used to fill in colours, but not shade, because when you start shading, the crayon starts getting powdery and the wax starts disintegrating away. Such properties do not make it a very efficient medium for professional artists.
Colour pencils is a very favourable and liked medium for most type of paintings. It can be used by all types of artists, and very skilled people can create extraordinary paintings using colour pencils. Colour pencils are best for portraits, animals, birds, still life, and sometimes even sceneries.
For colouring sceneries with colour pencils, you need a lot of patience. The advantages of colour pencils are that they are an excellent medium for shading different colours; different textures and strokes can be achieved through them; they can make pictures look realistic if coloured really well. Leaving lots of white spaces in between will make your picture dull. Colouring it darkly and carefully can make it a masterpiece.
Pencil shading is a very popular medium for shading all types of paintings, especially portraits. The perfectness and intricate strokes can be achieved through this medium. This one being erasable, makes it even more popular. Pencils of different shades or darkness, like HB, 2B, 3B, 4B, 6B, 8B, EE etc., can be used to bring out the variations in light and shadow.
Usually, the first lines are drawn using the lightest pencils, then the last finishing touches of shadow are added using the darkest pencils. A sketch which is shaded using dark pencils efficiently can come out very bright and appealing than one, which has been done using only light pencils. Almost all objects can be sketched perfectly using this wonderful medium. But lot of experience is needed for using this medium efficiently. A first-time pencil sketch may not be so satisfactory. It adds on experience, paving the way to excellent, perfect portraits.
Oil pastels is a very popular medium in India, especially among schoolchildren. For many years, the only medium I used was oil pastel. Again, as the name suggests, this type of crayon is very oily and sticky. But it can bring out excellent results if used properly. Layers of a dark-coloured pastel can be added to a layer of light colour, and it can be scraped out, giving an illuminated-line effect.
Oil pastels can create very dull or not-so-nice-to-see paintings, but can create wonderful, realistic paintings too. It all depends on how the artist uses it. Oil pastel is favoured by all because it can be blended easily. Two colours can be blended with less effort, since it is oily. The oily-property also makes oil-pastel paintings sticky and messy. It is useful to cover large parts of a sheet. Hence, it is best for sceneries, animals, birds, and other types. But I would not recommend it for portraits. Portraits need perfection and oil-pastel is bound to mess up the features a lot.
Many people use a dark 8B or EE pencil on top of an oil-pastel to give outlines. It is an efficient way to give outlines over a completed oil-pastel painting, which can’t be done using sketch pens or markers.
Pen Shading / Pen Drawing:
Pen shading is a medium which requires lot of precision and caution. Sometimes a pen-sketch may not come out well. Pen shading is done using a ball-point, gel or stick-pen of black or blue colour. It is more preferred for drawing comics or cartoons, but can be used for sceneries and portraits too. The problem is, if you don’t use them with control, then your sketch won’t look exactly beautiful. But some people consider them an easy medium. It can be for those who have good hand control. Pen sketches, if done with lots of effort, can be really beautiful and striking to see.
Paint is a completely different medium from the others mentioned above. You need paint, brushes, a bowl of water, a wastecloth, a pallette and so on. Paint is a complex medium, and is usually not used by kids due to the lack of hand control. First-time painters are sure to experience shaky hands when they use brushes. And you also need to understand light and shadow concepts before you start painting anything.
Poster Colour Paints:
I wouldn’t prefer poster colour for complex paintings like portraits or inside-house scenes. It’s best for sceneries and nature-type paintings. Poster colours produce a dull picture and the paint itself has a mud-like texture.
Water Colour Paints:
Water colours are also a popular medium. It is fairly difficult to handle, if you do not know its basics. Once again, as the name suggests, you need to use a lot of water to handle these colours. The paint inside the tube is very concentrated and the artist has to dissolve it using water. Here, the main concept while painting is light and shadow, corresponding to dilution and concentration. Water colours, if used properly and carefully, can produce very beautiful and bright paintings. All types of paintings like portraits, animals, birds, sceneries, trees, flowers etc., can be painted beautifully using watercolours. Trees are usually painted using different techniques. Different layers are needed for a bright painting.
Acrylic paints are the best paints according to me. Anything can be painted using acrylic. There are mainly two types of painting using acrylics- the original acrylic method and the watercolour method.
In the original acrylic method, different layers are added, and completely fill in the sheet. This type is completely opaque and gives a realistic feel. More light can be added, while even shadow can be added. This isn’t the case with watercolour where you can add only shadow, no light. This makes acrylic a very popular medium. It is also the best medium for painting on canvas boards, making it even more popular.
The other method, the watercolour method, is actually the same watercolour method, using dilution and concentration, but using acrylics, not watercolours. This is more translucent and easier than the original method. Acrylic paintings using this method can be completed quickly when compared to those done using the original method.
I haven’t started using oil paints yet, so I don’t really know how they work!