Cubism is a painting style that originated with Pablo Picasso and Gorges Braque in the years between 1907 and 1914. This style aimed to show the two-dimensional nature of the canvas.
In cubist style, the artist fractures their objects into geometric forms and uses several contrasting perspectives in one painting. When a French art critic named Louis Vauxcelles called the forms used in Braque’s work “cubes,” this style was called Cubism. Learning Cubism painting can be a fun way to look at the art of painting from a new perspective and connect with art history.
The first step before starting to learn Cubism painting is preparing your workspace and required tools.
Find an area with good natural light and a table or an easel to hold your canvas.
- To keep your work area clean, you can lay down some newspaper.
- To clean your paintbrushes between colors, you can use a soft rag and a glass of water.
If you are just practicing, you can create your paintings on large multi-media art paper.
You can use a pre-made canvas or make one yourself. Larger or mid-sized canvases are easier to paint.
You can paint a Cubic-style painting with any type of paint, but we recommend buying acrylic if you are a beginner. They are versatile and cheaper than oil paint and make creating crisp lines easier.
Pick brushes labeled for acrylic paints. Get a few different sizes cause you will need them.
- Pencil and gum eraser
You will need these two for sketching before you begin painting.
- A ruler or yardstick
You may need a yardstick or ruler to draw crisp and straight lines.
Now that you have gathered all tools you need and found a perfect place to start learning Cubism, it’s time to talk about training steps.
- Pick a subject
Although Cubism was an abstracted form of modern art, many Cubist painters drew their paintings from real life. Although their paintings may seem very fragmented and geometric, you still can distinguish a subject within them.
- Decide what you want to pint: a human figure, a still life, or a landscape.
It’s better to choose a subject that you can look at when you are painting. For example, you can ask a friend to pose for you if you want to do a figure. Arrange a group of objects or a single object in front of you if you want to paint a still life.
- Put your idea on canvas
Use a pencil to sketch your subject onto the canvas. This sketch will be your guide when painting. You don’t need to pay much attention to details in this step.
After drawing a general sketch, sharpen the edges with the help of a ruler.
Change any soft, rounded lines into sharp lines and edges. For example, change the rounded line of your model’s shoulder to look like the top of a rectangle.
- Add more lines
In a Cubist painting, the geometry of the painting should be more than just a basic outline of the subject. Break down the shapes in your painting as much as you can.
Use the light to create shapes. Outline where the light falls, and where you would generally shade your painting, in geometric shapes.
- Create your color palette
In a Cubist artist’s paintings, the focus is on form rather than color.
Use between one and three main bright colors if you want to use bright colors.
You can also use a monochromic palette from just one color family.
Put the paints onto a palette in front of you. Make shades lighter by adding white to them. mix colors any way you want.
- Paint over your sketch
Outline the geometric shapes you created while sketching with your darker colors. In a Cubist painting, lines are distinct and colors are not blended into each other.
If you are using acrylic paints, you can layer colors which results in a more dimensional look.
You can use the ruler to guide your paintbrush to draw paint lines as crisp as your pencil lines.
Important points of Cubism painting
- Pablo Picasso was the artist who invented Cubism.
- This style is considered the first abstract art movement.
- Pablo Picasso’s cubism paintings were not in the first public exhibition of Cubism.
- Cubism was one of the most influential visual art styles of the twentieth century.
Painting a Cubist painting is a good way to have fun and get creative, but if you enjoy watching a Cubist painting more than creating one, here is what we recommend: Cubism Faces: Adult Coloring Book
This book includes 30 cubism face drawings by Melissa Caudle, inspired by Picasso. If you are interested in enjoying the world of no rules by coloring amazing Cubism drawings, you can purchase the book at the link below: