Describing Artwork

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Describing Artwork

Post by Niamh »

This guide is designed to assist the visually impaired with creating works of visual art in text that are expressive and organized (see HELP ARTWORK in-game). This information can be pulled up on the MUD with HELP VISUAL ARTWORK.

Color is the hue of an object, while value is the quality of lightness or darkness of that color. The value changes the shade of the color, but not its core hue. For example, a cerulean paint would have the color blue and a value of dark.

Many hear the word "line" and think of it as a linear mark, but any edge when two shapes meet is a line. For example, a mountain range against the sky creates a line where the two meet.

A shape is any self-contained area. Its form may be either geometric or organic. Any positive shape created in painting or sculpture automatically created a negative shape around it. If a black circle exists on a white page, the circle is the positive shape and the white space is the negative shape. Geometric shapes include things like rectangles and circles, while organic shapes include things like shirts or trees.

Direction is the state of the lines in visual art. They can be horizontal (calm, stable, tranquil), vertical (tall, stately, formal), or oblique (active, moving, rhythmic). A seascape would use horizontal lines to represent tranquility. A painting of a clock tower would use vertical ones to represent height. A sculpture of Cthulhu would be filled with oblique lines to represent chaos.

Size is vital to the relationships between objects in visual art. In this case, size refers to an area occupied by shapes as opposed to the overall size of the work as a whole. In a painting of a mouse and an elephant, the elephant would occupy more of the canvas than the mouse because it is a larger size. A sculpture of a father and child would show that the child is smaller than her father.

Texture refers to the surface quality of a shape. The texture may be physical, as in a sculpture, or visual such as in a painting. A painting of a block of ice would use clean lines to represent a smooth texture. A sculpture of a shrub would use organic cuts to represent a rougher texture. A full list of textures would be too lengthy to list here, but it would include things like glossy, soft, frothy, velvety, solid, etc.

When painting the paint is the medium. When sculpting the stone or clay is the medium. For paint there are four major options for mediums: oil, acrylic, and watercolor.

Oil paint is thick, slow-drying, and refracts color pigment in the paint for very dense, rich hues. It is good for realism and detail. Oil paint never fully dries. Proper care must be taken with paintings created using the oil medium to prevent smearing and damage, even years or decades after the painting's completion. The end result of oil painting is typically thick, atmospheric, and dark.

Acrylic paint tends to be shiny and almost plastic in appearance. It can be acquired in fast-drying or slow-drying consistencies. The slow-drying mimics the look of oil paint without the downsides of oil. The fast-drying is more typical and can be as thin as ink or thick and heavy-bodied for textural effects. Acrylics offer the widest range of possibilities and can result in many different outcomes for a finished piece.

Watercolor paint creates transparency as a baseline, and allows for multiple layers with increasing detail using very minimal quantities of the medium. Watercolors are difficult to move once applied. The first layer of paint is typically a very clear, watery wash of a single color. Subsequent layers are built onto the top of the first. The more water added to the pigment the more transparent it is. Solid, bold colors can be created using less water. The end result of watercolor painting is typically dream-like and airy.
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