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Teaching Commercial Art

Thomas Kinkade Reveals Formula 16

— November 19, 2008 — Business
The Christmas Cottage will likely be one of the top holiday movies of the year. As the trailer shows above, the flick is based on the the artist Thomas Kinkade.

I wonder, when we are all worm food, if Christie’s or Sotheby’s will have Thomas Kinkade auctions? If so, I hope the Kinkade painting of Elvis Presley’s Mansion at Christmas with the pink Cadillac will be considered a Kinkade masterpiece. If it is so ordained, it is because it followed all 16 guidelines for achieving the Kinkade Look. (Note: images reflect the Kinkade method.)

In a memo to his staff, Kinkade gave the lessons for creating commercial pieces of artwork like his own.

“1) Dodge corners or create darkening towards edge of image for “cozy” look.

2) Color key each scene to create mood, and color variation. When possible, utilize cooler tones to suggest somber moods, and warmer, more vibrant tones to suggest festive atmosphere.

3) Create classic compositions. Paintings generally utilize a theme and variation compositional motif. Utilize traditional eye levels for setting the shot—that is, no high vantage points,

4) Awareness of edges. Create an overall sense of soft edges

5) Overall concept of light. Each scene should feature dramatic sources of soft light.

6) Hidden details whenever possible, References to my children (from youngest to oldest as follows): Evie, Winsor, Chandler and Merritt, my anniversary, 52, 82, and the number 5282, Hidden N’s throughout—preferably 30 N’s.

7) Overall sense of stillness.

8) Atmospheric effects. Whenever possible utilize sunset, sunrise, rainy days, mistiness

9) A sense of space.

10) Short focal length.

11) Hidden spaces. My paintings always feature trails that dissolve into mysterious areas, patches of light that lead the eye around corners, pathways, open gates, etc.

12) Surprise details. Suggest a few “inside references” that are unique to this production.

13) Mood is supreme.

14) The concept of beauty. I get rid of the “ugly parts” in my paintings.

15) Nostalgia. My paintings routinely blend timeframes. This is not only okay, but tends to create a more timeless look.

16) Most important concept of all—THE CONCEPT OF LOVE.”