Art Techniques, WarmUps

Wednesday Warm Up Square Six Subtract

Erased black of squares with monoline brush in Procreate

Square Six Subtract Warm Up 4


For at least the next three weeks, this blog will host “Wednesday Warm Up,”— a day of usually quick drawing, inking, brushing as warm up to our serious art. I’ll share a strategy to try each Wednesday using the iPad app ProCreate. I will only use the brushes in the app— there are so many I haven’t tried that warming up with a new brush will be an added bonus and challenge.

I hope you enjoy this one that I call Square Six Subtract. It’s a reverse strategy from last week, a great way to unthink and get the creative juices flowing— forcing yourself to see the unseen!

Goal: warm up the mind memory for drawing; freehand; quick design decisions; fun shapes and creatures– all from a blank square to warm up both the mind and the hand…by erasing what doesn’t belong.

This one is similar to the last one, but it’s about taking awaywhat can be taken away to create something?

The Process

Set up your canvas with a colored background. Then draw in six solid squares.

Here’s mine— you see a deep red background and six black squares, evenly spaced on the canvas— but do your own thing, of course. You may want to use circles.

Six Squares Ready
Or try circles.

Use a timer if you’d like to challenge yourself.

Take a good look at a square and imagine something within it.

Erase parts of each square to create something out of each — a monster, face, an object. Monoline brush or dry ink both work well.

Your erasures can be detailed:

detailed challenge

Or simple:

Be simple for a quick warmup

Just have fun and create by subtraction!


Easily Create Squares:

Remember that you can easily create a square in Procreate by choosing the select tool, select rectangle in the menu, draw the square, then drag in the fill. 

Or– with Procreate 5x: Choose your color. Choose Select. Choose Rectangle. Choose Color Fill. Draw your square and it will fill in automatically.

Exit select and duplicate/transform to create your template…

Make templates:

As you can see from my layers, I create a template for both squares and circles. To create the template, draw in one square.  Duplicate it and transform it next to the original.  Merge those two layers. Duplicate and transform that layer twice to create the six square template. Merge to one layer. Label it as “template.” Each time you want a warm up, just duplicate the template and hide the other layers.  

Look at the layers to see templates. Just duplicate and use one, hide the other for later.

I hope you share your warm ups!

8 thoughts on “Wednesday Warm Up Square Six Subtract”

    1. Hi Karen– I’m the opposite– I’ve been in the Mac ecosystem since the beginning and could not imagine switching. The iPad is a wonder, especially for art–and super-especially those like me, still learning. Besides Procreate, there’s an awesome vector app I use as well– Affinity Designer. I blog from there as well sometimes, and all my books are now digital– I use the Kindle app mostly. Just a few things for the iPad. Thanks for commenting and stopping by 🙂 ~ Sheri

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It was really fun painting by subtraction. I did the same thing with 3 of my artworks. The greatest thing about it was seeing the drawing come to life from the background I had previously created. Painting by subtraction is Such a fantastic stress free activity. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you stopped by and tried it out. Thinking about your comment, it brought to mind another idea: it would be fun to create a multi-colored background, add a layer with a circle or square solid, and use the symmetry tools to erase! I think I’ll add that to my Warm Ups. It is stress free, and watching the symmetry play out would add to that. Thanks for the inspiration! ~ Sheri

      Liked by 1 person

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