Did a small, little unfinished figure drawing today. I enjoyed making lots of lines and just letting my brain come up with whatever it felt like. I used a reference photo for a girl in a wrap as a very loose concept. The colors in the wrap and various other squiggly lines that I seem to be obsessed with lately are my brain child. This is very rough, but was relaxing and fun. I’m not super happy with the upper portion of her — her head — but as for her neck and shoulders, and the rest of her physique, I am very pleased with those lines. I may come back to this and add in her facial features, or just leave this as a exercise. Everything doesn’t have to be a polished, finished product.
The full image. You can see her full figure. I especially like the wrap colors!
The same image, but zoomed in and focused on her bust, and the wrap.
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.
Feeling a bit whimsical today, and missing a friend, I decided to make a small illustration featuring some hand-drawn, simple line art flowers. Sketchbook Pro has a great pattern and line-mirroring ability which I had yet to play with. The result is this image, based on my original idea of mimicking scrapbook paper.
Here is the image with original black and white flowers.
I felt like I needed some bright colors in my life today. I went back through the daily sketch archives and found a portrait to experiment with. My thought being, “Why not add some color digitally? Let’s see what happens.” I am super encouraged by this short, fun coloring! Pink seemed the way to go, and so, go with it, I did!
Hi, all you lovely people. ♥ I am nearing the conclusion of the first month of portrait drawing.
I haven’t drawn every day as I set out to do, travel and boat repairs interrupted some of my work flow. I also had days when there were no other circumstances to blame but myself. But, this is an exercise in improvement and strengthening of skill, not perfection.
Working on these sketches has really boosted my self-esteem, given me a task to look forward to every day (whether I carry it out or not), and increased my comfort level with both digital and traditional portrait methods.
My goal is to continue drawing until Day 100.
And just like the 100th Day of School we celebrated as a kid, I’m gonna have a party!
Here are days 24 and 25!
Day 24 – “Laura”
Digital art portrait. I really worked to keep this minimal. I did spend some time on her eyes with a bit of some honey-brown coloring. Playing with air brushes and the blending brushes was a delight. I’m becoming accustomed to working with digital tools — to show traditional-looking lines digitally. I enjoyed using the charcoal to make the illusion of her dark, flowing hair, and the straight-on intensity of the model made focusing on the eye color all the more alluring.
Day 25 – “Nasha”
Digital art portrait. A simple line drawing using an online reference. I wanted to see how much personality I could get out of black-and-white and lines. There is even some thicker lines in the eyes and around the nostrils, which make her features more sensual. Upon completion, this picture felt pop culture in style, and I felt could even serve as a panel in a comic book. Using an F grade of digital graphite and the HB graphite was a lot of fun. I learned a lot of unexpected versatility (stylistically and digital-tool-wise) keeping this simple.
Onto more work in the coming days, pushing into August!
Thanks for reading, and take care of your sweet selves, ♥
After living on a sailboat for seven months, I’ve developed a friendly relationship with a sweet pair of Mallard Ducks. They were wary at first, but after repeated feedings and sweet-talking, they are our little pets. I see them a few times a day, either paddling their feet in the water up to the back of the boat, or what has happened a lot more recently, they’re standing on the dock, waddling up to me and eating food straight from my hand. How cute is that? Because I obviously adore these animals, and have a million pictures of them on my phone already (lots of reference pictures,) I decided to make a drawing of the female duck.
Using the drawing I have so far, I’m just playing with some colors. I want to get a feel for how the rest of this drawing is going to work. I am asking myself some stylistic questions.
Or shall I take it to a realistic level?
Do I want to keep it minimalist?
Should I do a line art against a solid background?
Will it be a line drawing?
I don’t know the answers to these questions yet, but I’m keeping them in my thoughts as I’m working.
Here are some simple color choices, for fun:
I have some decisions to make about what direction this is heading. I also need to spend time cleaning up the lines that represent her feathers. I am many processes away from being able to color her, so it’s nice to play with colors and be loosely brainstorming them before my line-clean up / decision-making process. The little glimmer of instant-color satisfaction is very heartening to me. More on Miss Duck to come! Quack, quack.
I know of a lot of traditional artists who use paper and pen exclusively. I think that’s great. I really do. I find myself pulling out a notebook and a colorful pen or trusty graphite and getting down to business. There isn’t much that feels better, actually. The contact of utensil on paper, the movement, the instant gratification, the muscle and eye coordination, the connection. It’s amazing.
The only part of the art-creating process I tripped over, over and over again was making a great picture show up digitally. You mean, I have to stop everything I’m doing, set up perfect lighting conditions and take a picture of my picture? And all too often, the result would be a ghost of the original in-person glory. I thought: why not skip a step and learn how to make art digitally? After buying some cheap equipment, but a reliable tool, and finding some sketch software that is intuitive and compatible with other standard color and drawing software (such as Photoshop and Illustrator, etc.) and works in a mobile app, the feasibility of making art digitally got within the realm of worthwhile.
After months of practice, playing, and manipulating, I completed a digital work! This is the digital final of an original traditionally-drawn picture Flowerina. She started out as a simple line drawing with a ballpoint pen. As time went on, and I got a new cheap (but technically sound) computer that has pressure-sensitive capabilities (Fujitsu Lifebook). I decided to make Flowerina a digital artwork. The process took me a great deal of time: from her humble beginnings, to rough new beginnings, to smoothing out, to refining. Of course, for it all to work, time and (mostly) discipline were needed!
**(Click on ANY of the images below for their full-resolution glory.)**
1. Humble Beginnings (To read about the start of Flowerina, click here.)
2. Rough New Beginnings (To read about the digital inking process, and see pictures, click here.)
3. Smoothing Out
4. Refining (aka A Lot of Zooming in and out)
5. The End Product
After a good four hours of smoothing lines, erasing, cleaning, adding lines, etc., I arrive at the final product.
6. Alternate Possibilities
Because Flowerina is now digital art, I can easily make modifications. For example, I wanted to see what she would look like in black and white. I selected her, and made some color changes, and I got to see instant results from that moment of whimsy-thought; nothing is permanent with digital work.
7. Playful Variations
Because I have a nice, clean digital image to work with, I get to have fun and play with colors!
This was a fun work for me. I enjoyed the cleaning and editing, even though it took hours, and months in the grand scope of time, with many transformations. I learned a lot, using digital tools, but also about the process of working a piece of art from conception to finish. I look forward to getting faster and better at it as I work on more, and getting more reliable and artistically fantastic results with the powerful tools software provides. I want tools to cut out repetitive time-wasting and enable innovative creativity.
This is my first real attempt at coloring digitally. I’m using Sketchbook Pro to draw and to color. Getting used to this program has been a real pleasure. I’m learning a lot about using layers to my advantage in order to build up colors, as I would be with painting using physical paints. Merging layers and making layers transparent really helped me get a feel for color integration. I hope to do many more of these works — with succulents in particular, as they are so full of color and interesting line shapes. They are also just plain adorable and I think they’re fascinating.
Here’s my process as I went along, starting with the original picture I took with the beginning lines.
I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of the process. I know it’s been educational for me to see the progress, and very encouraging.
An ending to the mushrooms I was working on yesterday. After struggling for hours with “natural” tones of the mushrooms, in white, brown, and gray, I rebelled and made them rainbow-colored.
This was a fun exercise, and I learned a lot, especially about the inner workings of Sketchbook Pro. I got more familiar with the behaviors of the brushes, and how to merge and separate layers to make the coloring process more forward-moving and less tripping over myself. The splatter-dot brush was entertaining and gave me a lot of texture in this image that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I look forward to learning even more!
9.5″ x 6″ on watercolor paper. This was my first time playing with conté. I expected it to handle more like oil pastels, but it was slightly tacky in application. However, the conté was excellently bright and bold regarding color.
The rouge areas in the image are where I used conté. The dark blacks and distinctive lines are willow charcoal and charcoal pencil, which made a nice contrast. I like the warm colors of flesh, the makeup on her eyelids, and the natural blush of her lips and cheeks. Her eyes are closed, making it hard to show her vulnerability, but using a little color and brightening her feminine features softened her and brought her to life.
8.5″ x 11″, graphite, acrylic, and ink on paper. This is one of my first mixed media attempts. Even though she’s very unfinished, I like the incomplete nature. I started this with the idea of working on a portrait in graphite, but I randomly got the idea to make a rainbow come out of her right eye. I had some newly-purchased and unfamiliar to me fixative I wanted to play with. I sketched her face with graphite, and then used fixative to secure the image and prevent smearing. Happily, the acrylic paint was merciful and was willing to go over the fixative areas fairly well. As an experimentation in incorporating all forms of art I’m working on, in one small test project, I was very pleased with the outcome. I would like to try this again, possibly using a canvas, and incorporating watercolors.
18″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas. This is one of the first paintings I ever did. I spent a considerable amount of time making a color chart, (featured below), being new to painting, taking note of how much white to mix with a particular shade of blue, for example, to get the color I wanted. The colors in this painting are very stark, bright, and not muted. I would have done better to work with a limited palette, but the explosions of color available to me, and my unfamiliarity with painting, made this more of a learning experience rather than a satisfying finished piece. This was still good practice using a reference photo, color mixing, sketching and planning a layout, and painting onto canvas for the first time.
Ink on paper. I drew this for a friend. It’s a resting butterfly, I believe one of the many varieties of beautiful swallowtails. My reference photo was an image I found online. The ease of instant dark, rich color with markers is so satisfying. I used up more than a few Sharpies working on this, particularly yellow and green!