Argh...I'm so sick of making crappy sketches of people. I really want to be able to quickly sketch people and at least get their essence (but not super real likenesses) but I feel like I have so far to go to get there. I keep trying, though, so I guess that's what matters, right? I'm not brave enough yet to venture out and sketch people in real life (don't want to piss people off with crappy sketches of them) so I found a picture in a magazine to work from. This is the result. I do actually like the face a little bit. I think I got the basic features down in quick scribbles but I definitely need more practice!
I'm just over 5 months into this endeavor. I really have no idea when it will end. I know lots of people have been doing year-long projects and I get how that makes sense. I might do that but I'm not sure yet. It's definitely still helping me to produce something each day but I definitely need to push myself even more. I'm starting to think I might want to start having themed weeks. I'm really enjoying working in my sketchbook but I would like to start producing works I can potentially show and sell and it would be really helpful to have series of works for this. I think I'm going to start with the ink drawings on the watercolor backgrounds. I just need to figure out what to draw!
Sorry for my absence yesterday...I did do some work but had nothing really to post about it so I opted to skip over it.
Animator Chuck Jones said, "“Every artist has thousands of bad drawings in them and the only way to get rid of them is to draw them out.” Today I'm sharing one of those thousands here. I have no experience with drawing people (portraiture) and I'm really pretty sucky at it right now. I'll admit that this frustrates me to no end because there are many other things I pick up and can do pretty quickly and easily...this is not one of those. In talking about this one with Oscar, I realized that I didn't check the angles so the eyes are tilted but the rest of the features aren't at the proper angle so he ends up looking like he has Bell's palsy or something. So, I humbly submit this as my work for the day and commit myself to working more on this technique...
I've got a short post for you today...I had low motivation today as it seems like my lungs have decided to get in on the illness action...bronchitis is typically how I finish sinus/throat issues. But despite low motivation, I did get some sketching in the books...sketchbook that is...get it? ;) So, here are some funky looking squirrel sketches.
Ugh...feeling like hell but trying to create as much as I can. Today, I decided to play around with blind contours. These drawings are made by not looking at the paper at all (I cover my drawing hand with the previous page in my sketchbook to remove the temptation to peek) while you are drawing, only following the edges of the object with your eyes and trying to have your hand follow that movement. I had grabbed a bunch of squashes/gourdes at the store the other day so I set out to draw them. The leaves turned out really well...I promise I didn't peek once! Blind contours are funky with the emphasis on fun! Hoping for better health tomorrow!
Ugh...today ended up as a sick day :(. My throat started feeling scratchy this afternoon and then I started feeling achy this evening. I've had strep a couple of times and one time it came on like a ton of bricks and I really didn't want to feel worse. overnight so off we went to urgent care. The quick strep test came back negative so that's good news but I still have tonsilitis...yuck! Thank goodness I worked on these two pieces before I started feeling crappy. I love trees and I think they are definitely part of my artistic symbology. The pencil sketch of the tree resulted from wanting to play with some water soluble graphite pencils. I love how it turned out and it was so much easier to blend the shading with the water than scrubbing it around with a blending stump. The other piece is another like I worked on yesterday. This time it's on a card made from watercolor paper. I still have the leaves to do but that'll come tomorrow. Once done, this card is on its way to my husband's grandma for her birthday! Now off to bed to rest since I feel like crap...
Ok, still struggling a bit to get back into the swing of art making. Today ended up being an unexpectedly busy day so I wasn't sure what to work on but I will say that not only did I work on something, I have filled my first sketchbook! I've been working in a variety of them (and on sheets of paper) depending on what I'm doing so I'm sure I would have filled one already if I were just working in one but this excites me! Ok, to today's sketch...I've had an idea of doing a drawing/painting of beach huts but wasn't sure how to approach it. I'm planning to use a square sheet of canvas-paper (paper that's coated and textured to resemble canvas) with oil pastels. I have a tendency to just launch into an idea without really considering composition but I actually thought it a good idea to do a preliminary sketch for this one. I'm so glad I did because I'm realizing that my initial composition idea is a bit bland. I think the huts need to be either farther up, with less sky and more beach/ocean or farther down with much more sky. I'm also planning for it to be more of an expressive landscape rather than realistic so I'm thinking bright vivid colors will be quite interesting!
13 weeks in the bag and it keeps on going! I made the blue ink-stained paper a couple of weeks ago but wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, so I figured it best to wait for inspiration to strike. I really loved the koi I did last week and feel drawn (no pun intended) to do more of them. I think the inky paper looks kind of like water so it makes sense to use it for the koi. In the other ink paintings I've done, I've let the colors form the objects by obscuring the rest of the background but I want to preserve the background in this one so I'll be painting the koi with more opaque paint, covering the blue where the fish will be. I'm thinking I want to use white, cream, yellows, reds and oranges on the fish to create a nice contrast between the background and the fish. I sketched out some compositions to get an idea of how to set up the painting. I'm leaning toward the composition with two fish, which will be different colors to set them apart from one another since they are so close in proximity to each other. We'll see :)
Ok, it doesn't look like I did much today but I actually spent several hours working on this. I signed up for Kindle Unlimited last week and have since found that they have a TON of art instruction books available. I have like 104 on a wishlist already and I keep finding more. Of course, this begs the question about how much time I've wasted looking for said books rather than working on my art...procrastination much? Anyway, I found "The Ultimate Colored Pencil Guide" and read through it last night. There are a couple of projects I'm interested in completing in this book so I decided to get one underway.
What you see above is the start of one that is a section of a stained glass window. This exercise teaches blending and burnishing techniques and I'm excited to work on it. There are a lot of pencils used in this one so it took me a while to get all of them sorted out. Then I set out to copy the design to my paper. I'm sure I could have free handed it but I really wanted the proportions to be as accurate as possible, especially since I was increasing the size of the design from a 7"x5.5" piece of paper to 14"x11". So, I opted to use the grid technique for transferring. One thing I had to be really aware of was to not press hard on the graphite pencil when making the grid lines and when drawing in the glass sections. I have a tendency to be really heavy handed so this was a little challenging. The issue with this is that when the pencil is pressed too hard, it forms an impression in the paper and the colored pencil won't cover that impression easily. Now, this can be a useful technique to create texture or add interest to a colored pencil drawing but I'm not going for any of that in this one. Unfortunately, I won't really know if I was successful in avoiding the impression until I start applying the color, so wish me luck :)
The second picture shows the drawing in the next stage...ready for coloring. As per the book, I used a color from each section to draw a line adjacent to the graphite line so that the space would be depicted but I could erase the graphite lines. Now with the grid lines and other graphite lines erased, I'm ready to color...tomorrow...
I have several pieces of those inky drawings I did last week that just didn't work and that I decided to cut into pieces. When I started painting again last year, it was really thanks to the work of Flora Bowley. She is one of my favorite artists and I just love her style...vibrant colors, organic imagery, they are so lovely (and so is she...I had the pleasure of meeting her twice since she also lives in Portland!). Having fallen in love with her work, I of course just had to learn how to make art like hers. I bought her book and made a very lovely painting (that actually looks nothing like her work, the second image below). Then I took her online course and made another lovely painting (again nothing like hers, the third image below). I just really struggled with the imagery part. Her process is amazing and there are definitely many aspects that I continue to employ but I have come to realize (and have posted about before) that her style is simply not mine and I can't force myself into that hole. But I decided to try again with imposing imagery on top of the abstract work but not worrying about laying color over color...just focus on the images and making them stand out.
I picked out one of the leftover drawing pieces and just started drawing in flower shapes on top of the dried ink/paint with pencil. Then I added in the stems and vase. With a brush, I painted white acrylic ink around the pencil marks. I used the ink because I wanted to keep it fairly transparent so you can still see something of the abstract patterns underneath it. Once the shapes took form, I used green acrylic ink for the vines and to outline and shade the stems, and pink acrylic ink to give the petals more definition. I also used some diluted acrylic inks in a couple of colors to make the vase form more cohesive. Finally, I added in the white details/highlights on the flowers and vase. I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out. Like most of my projects, I had to employ a lot of trust, perseverance and persistence. It's so easy to let that critical voice win and to just stop/give up but once again, I prevailed and the result is pretty much how I imagined after I had drawn in the objects. I think I'll have to make more of these...maybe with different colors to cover the background..
I got some great suggestions over on my Facebook page for my next 30 ways to draw something piece but I just wasn't feeling it today. I do some tutoring on the side to bring in some additional income and this summer I've been working with a high school student to prepare for first-year Spanish in the fall semester. I spent hours last night and this morning before our appointment trying to find some exercises to help him learn the vocabulary better. This ate up a ton of art time but it was time well spent as he loved what I found and was much more engaged than pretty much any other time this summer!
So, my contribution to my daily art project for today is three colored pencil flowers. This past weekend, I drew some simple flower designs on a sheet of Bristol paper. I didn't really know what I would do with them but they came in handy today. I cut them out from the larger sheet and decided to color three of them. I opted not to outline them with ink so that the edges would stay soft. I used Prismacolor colored pencils and using three shades of each color, a blender pencil and a white pencil I colored and shaded each flower and leaf.. I find with these pencils that the wax builds up quickly and I have to be careful to not build up too many layers. I suspect the surface of the paper is also too smooth for too many layers of the pencils. I really, really love Tobow's Irojiten colored pencils as they layer and blend so nicely and smoothly but they are also pretty pricy so I admit I'm a little precious with them. Maybe I can get a second set of them and then just go to town! The Prismacolors are really lovely, too, though and come in a huge 150 pencil set! I never thought I'd like colored pencils but I totally do!