Much of art seeks to emulate the real world, yet sometimes it is better to merely suggest the form of the real, and let the observer’s mind fill in the blanks. Ironically, the first thing you must do is trace a picture.
This is the one I chose, partly because I like it, but mostly because I lost a lot of my previous photos at some point. When selecting an image for this project, you are looking for something that can be represented with as few colors as possible. This is not to say that you can’t get a rainbow of construction paper, but it will take a while and lose some of its impact if it isn’t detailed enough.
The joy of laptops is that you can tilt them so the screen is flat, and trace without a care. Just don’t press too hard when drawing.
Like so. Now is the fun part; once you outline the colors, try to see things into the shapes. Can you see the old woman? How about the vulture? Or the sea urchi- no, that is a sun, no matter how you look at it.
See the letters? That’s so I can remember what colors go where later on. Also, since black is ‘B’, blue has to be ‘U’, clearly.
Look, a handy little scale on the side to set the order right. As for what you use to cut the construction paper, that is up to you. An exacto knife is traditional, but I’m not sure what kind of cutting board you would need, and I don’t have one. Instead, my weapon of choice is my steak knife. The cutting board is just a cutting board, the flexible plastic kind, for easy clean up.
Now, this may be a bit counter-intuitive, but you don’t cut the construction paper of the color written in the diagram. Instead, you cut the next color up to have a hole for the lower color. Not pictured here is a featureless white rectangle deathly afraid of knives. Joke’s on him; there will be scissors in the end.
I then proceed to ignore the statement I just wrote about leaving holes for the lower color, but that is because I realized I wanted a bit of depth to the streambed. I gave it a darker background, as well as some character flaws. See the diagram up there? Since I have to cut through it to make the shapes in the construction paper, it gets rather frazzled and shifty. Keep a steady hand on it, or it will tear or move right in the middle of a line you were making.
Light blue is pretty simple, just a bit narrower than the shores of the stream, letting that deeper blue in around the edges. Light blue is chill like that.
Green went much the same way. At this point, I trimmed down the edges of the layers in a very broad fashion. This is because paper doesn’t like being cut, and will wiggle and squirm away like a child fleeing the prospect of pants.
So I had glued down most of the elements, but I wasn’t satisfied with the look of it all. Turns out large, uninterrupted blocks of color can be a bit bland. That’s when I decided to get fancy with light blue over there, and carve out a few black circles for rocks.
Looks pretty good, but now the stream is overdressed for the party. While I do advocate improvisational artistry, this is one of the drawbacks. To make up for my addition, I had to add more detail to the other areas of the piece.
Good thing I saved the scraps from the previous cuts. Now, this art form is hardly limited to landscapes; anything with strong shapes will work. Especially mildly embarrassing pictures a sibling takes with your camera.
(What do you call an agreement sent through snapchat? A verbal agreement? A digital agreement? At any rate, my sister okayed the use of this picture.)
Have I inspired you? Do you also have a terrible habit of wasting food? I would be very interested to see if others have followed in my rambling footsteps, so if you have made something inspired by one of my articles, take a picture and send it to [email protected]. Label it: Crafts for Brandon. If you do, that picture will be at the end of my next article, with your name attached. If you made something beyond the fantastic scope of my chronicle, you might consider writing a guest article and sending it to that same email address to be considered as a guest post. It is always inspiring to see what art you may see in the mundane.
About Brandon Quist
Brandon is originally from Olmsted Falls, Ohio. He has studied both at Baldwin Wallace college and Brigham Young University, and is currently pursuing Chemical Engineering, among other things. He considers himself a jack of all trades, and a master of none. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys knitting, guitar, reading, origami, writing, and photography.