Practicing with some workflow concepts—changing from paper to digital. I made a simple drawing of a rose and some sage leaves that I had on my desk. I liked the layout and the composition. I kept wanting to add more, but I made myself stop, realizing it was just enough.
After struggling with eyes for so many sessions, I focused more on them today. I used some preliminary measurement lines. I could use more practice doing measurements in general, and I am scaling from photographs, which complicates the likeness, too. Flipping through the sketchbook, I am seeing progress, so I’m pleased. I’m only about quarter through this sketchbook, so more drawings to come.
In an effort to draw more, but keep my barrier of entry low (and the practice and line motion high) I decided I am going to do some gesture portraits.
Gesture, for those who you who are unfamiliar with it, is this: (definition from wiki)
A gesture drawing is a laying in of the action, form, and pose of a model/figure. Typical situations involve an artist drawing a series of poses taken by a model in a short amount of time, often as little as 10 seconds, or as long as 5 minutes. Gesture drawing is often performed as a warm-up for a life drawing session, but is a skill that must be cultivated for its own sake.
In less typical cases the artist may be observing people or animals going about normal activities with no special effort to pause for the artist. For example, drawing from people on the street, performers, athletes, or drawing animals at the zoo.
The key takeaway for my use of the word and technique is: “short amount of time, often as little as 10 seconds, or as long as 5 minutes.”
And that it is a skill performed as a warm-up for a drawing, but should also be cultivated for its own sake.
So, that is what I am going to work on.
These are portraits primarily using the technique of gesture drawing.
If I develop them more, or shade or color them, or it becomes a more fully-realized drawing, great.
Or, if they become the basis or inspiration for a future project, that’s good, too.
In the same way I have been freeing up my poetry, to come up with a few lines at a time (the poetry equivalent of sketching), I thought, “why not get back to drawing in the same way?”
No pressure, not outcome, just semi-daily practice and some fun.
So far, the results have been surprising good, especially, since I’m not measuring or laboring over anything.
I’m just looking at a picture and letting that arm move, with my drawing brain doing what it needs to do.
The happy outcome that is happening while trying this mindset (with both poetry and drawing): I’m learning to get out of my own way.
Here are 6 gesture portraits. Three I drew a few days ago, and three I drew today.
I posted toward the end of December, rather hastily, that I would draw and write a poem-a-day until the remainder of the year. In celebration of the arrival of 2018, and to spur myself onto productivity greatness, I declared my intentions to Facebook and social media. I was met with enthusiasm and encouragement, while dopamine-dumping and happy-feeling, was not enough to keep me motivated. In fact, a few days later, on DAY FOUR, I FAILED.
Why did I fail, you might ask?
I failed because I stopped. I stopped creating. I stopped working toward my declared goal. I just, plain, didn’t do it. There are many reasons for this. Here is a list of some of the reasons, most of them I discovered in hindsight, after thinking about WHY I didn’t dowhat I said I was going to do. Let this be a lesson, to myself and others for the future.
I neglected to consider my timing. Nearing the end of the year, with lots to do, what made me think adding pressure to an already pressured time of year was the answer?
I didn’t monitor my resources. How was I feeling? What was going on in my life? What other things were taking up my attention?
I set unrealistic standards. Performing two creative endeavors each day? TWO?
I made it too complicated. Requiring that I do two creative things in a set period of time = not brilliant.
I put a time limit on it. Ever enjoy playing a timed quest in a video game? Or had to meet that school paper deadline? Um, why did I do that to myself?
I gave into perceived peer pressure. The drive for the New Year, Facebook Friends posting their creations, art and inspiration for 2018 abounded, and I bit that poisoned apple. Hard.
I was doing opposing activities. Art-making and word-making do not go together for me. I know this. Why did I think I could do right brain work and left brain at the same time?
I failed to self-assess. Asking questions such as: How has my mental health been lately? Or my physical condition? What could distract me from this work?
I didn’t look at my creative track record. Have I created anything lately? How did it go? How has my creative health been? I haven’t created in a long while. Why is that?
I wasn’t invested. I declared an activity without thinking. I was riding on enthusiasm of the possibility of productivity, not being rooted in the reality of it.
I didn’t plan. All too often, I have to remind myself that inspiration is great, but as I age it is not not not how I get creative work done. Set aside time. Focus. Make it work. Anything else is wasteful.
So, what does this come down to? Basically, I woefully neglected to care for myself as a person living my life, AND as a creative person.
They are two separate jobs. But, they feed into each other, demanding the same resources, and the same time. And the same mind, body, heart.
Do yourself a favor, and before you jump into the next big activity, ask yourself some real questions:
How are you? ♥ How are you feeling? ♥ And, What Makes the Most Sense for Me Right Now? ♥
Take care of yourself!
Best wishes for you this year, with hope and happiness,
My new challenge up until the beginning of the new year is to draw a small drawing, and write a small poem a day. There will be no quality-judgment on my part, just producing and seeing what I can come up with in tiny, 30-minute maximum work segments.
I was playing around with Photoshop, learning some skills, and came up with this.
It seems like a very fitting theme for today, as I’m going to look at a motorcycle, and I’m doing some intense therapy / healing.
This print, various other items, and a throw pillow, are all available at my Redbubble Shop.
And a throw pillow that looks like it belongs in a therapist’s office.
After a long time of not working on portraits, I started longing to make them again. This is the beginning of my reintroduction. I am also firming up a mode of working. I want to remove boundaries and obstacles to starting a drawing–draw when I feel that impulse (low barrier of entry)–but have the power, scaling, and multi-media application that is possible with digital art.
I am trying out a new workflow: physical to digital
1) sketch the image on paper with graphite
2) semi-finalize lines
3) minimal shading with graphite
4) take a picture of the drawn image
5) upload image of the drawn image (scaling / resolution)
6) overlay uploaded image with digital lines / trace
7) working and finalizing lines as I go along
8) creating multiple layers digitally
9) manipulating layers/mood/look
10) finalizing lines
11) apply digital color
12) rework, edit, add, remove as needed
Here is a picture I titled, “Her Winding Self,” using this workflow method.
The original image, graphite on paper.
The final image, with dark digital lines and digital coloring.
This was a short study in using simple lines to convey depth and perspective. I didn’t pre-measure, just launched in to the drawing, using my hands and eyes. I am still working on developing the connectivity between what my eyes see and what I can bring to paper. I’m sure this is going to be an ongoing process, with many iterations, for the rest of my life. I’m happy with this because I was able to get so much out of it being minimal in my approach. (To view at a higher resolution, click here.)
After looking at lots of fantastic photography featuring female models with swirly hair, I felt like drawing a woman with fantastic hair! I also made an effort to use different line thickness—to accentuate certain features. I also like the idea of making contour lines bold—a technique my favorite portrait artist (Anthony Ryder) uses that I think enlivens any portrait work. “Lily” took on the style of Art Nouveau, but I think that she is beautiful, and for a two-hour freehand drawing, really encouraging.
A quick drawing of the day, which I really enjoyed doing. I felt like working on a portrait but also felt like working on something that felt like Autumn. All those lovely Fall colors and I wanted to feature them. I decided to include all of those elements in one drawing. I like this theme so well, I’m going to continue making various flavors of “Autumn” and even begin working on the other seasons of the year. Winter! Spring! Summer!
A Facebook friend of mine, a few weeks ago, looked at my T-rex line drawing and said, “I would wear that as a t-shirt if it said, “Half of all t-rexes were female,”” so yesterday and today I’m playing with the idea. I downloaded the Jurassic Park font, threw it on there, and began manipulating in Photoshop. This is a fun concept. In a weird way, I’m not sure what the slogan means exactly, but it seems feminist-empowering. Plus, I realized I had not once thought about a T-rex being female, always assumed male. Which do you like better: bright green or dark green?
This guy is a T-Rex, but you knew that, right? Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Mr. T, as I affectionately call him, is one of many elements in an epic drawing I am working on for a friend.
Other elements in this drawing to come include, but are not limited to: volcanoes, meteors, and an atomic-bomb mushroom cloud. Cool, and dark, and scary, and intimidating, and certainly a deviation for me, but I am enjoying it a lot. Putting this all together is very playful and feels loose and fun. I used a visual aid to get him right as I’m not familiar drawing animals, especially lizard-like monster ones, but it turned out really well.
Here is the finished line version of Mr. T. I need to play the A-Team soundtrack and Jurassic Park simultaneously to fully enjoy the fulfillment of this drawing. What a clever girl I am.
radial symmetry, noun, BIOLOGY:
symmetry around a central axis, as in a starfish or a tulip flower.
Digital art. I spent some time playing with the radial symmetry tool in Sketchbook Pro. I selected 16 points of radial symmetry, (for extra credit – see: forms of radial symmetry in nature) the scale ranging from 6 to 16, and got these lovely, intricate, fun flower shapes. I used a watercolor pen on a lower layer and added some color to be more cheerful and dynamic. This was just a calm and meditative thing to do — I might very well take up making these in the future, just for relaxation. I love flowers — so this was great.