A quick draw to get in a creative mood for this new beginning of a year. I just picked what colors and themes that came natural. 30 minutes, and I’ve got something that makes me feel good, and helped me to step away from some anxiety I was feeling inside. (I’m sure that’s how that heart got in this thematically.) Pleased with the quick-line portrait work. Fighting back the inertia and moving…into motion! Go fingers and brain, go!
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.)
An ink drawing of an approximation of my sailboat at the opening of our marina. This started as a landscape, but I decided to include the boat. The perspective is off in places, but I like the composition. Not a bad drawing for not sketching first and making up the scene mostly from memory.
This drawing is based on a picture I took. I visited a local quarry. It was so pretty! I was enchanted with the light and dark of the landscape, and the planes of the rocks. This is a study sketch that I felt came out really well. (To view at a higher resolution, click here.)
I felt like getting back to drawing on paper recently. This is a quick sketch study of Martinez, CA, from the view of a nearby park. Minimal and simple, but still visually interesting, I think. I used a small, black Micron pen.
A quick drawing after reading some poetry about being submerged and floating. I liked the uncolored the best, but the colored version is emotive in a way, too. The salty watercolor brush gives it some life. I suppose this qualifies as art therapy for me today, with all the swimming / drowning / floating symbolism dreams I’ve been having.
Digital art. Taken from a reference photo I took of six succulents gathered-together in a landscaped space. I liked the cascading shape. This was a quick half hour exercise, mostly learning about synthetic paint in my painting program, Sketchbook Pro. I worked at keeping the colors warm and free, but yet still true to the color scale of a believable succulent-color palette.
Figures and lines. I missed looking at pictures of lovely naked people. Seeing the form, the contours, all that gorgeous stuff. After I spotted a great reference photo online, I thought why not try it out for fun?
I found a picture of a woman in a bathtub. The intimacy of her, all alone, leaning into the water and stretching across the back of the tub was soothing. She is smiling and happy. There is relaxation and the feeling of the day fading away. This small moment of quiet made me feel so zen. So, I thought, wouldn’t this be great to work with? It’s relatively simple in composition, so I could focus on the few elements (and representative lines) in the picture.
Step One: The Reference Photo
I zoomed in and arranged the composition as I thought it looked best. The image became the background layer. I added Layer One and began to think about getting basic lines down.
Step Two: Basic Lines
The goal in this step is to keep the lines loose, but as faithful as possible to the original image in this beginning stage. I want to feel the lines, and get my brain familiar with the curves as I’m setting up my work in the following steps.
Step Three: Cleaning Up Phase One + Hand-Drawn Lines
This process requires zooming in and out of the image about a million times, and going over areas repeatedly. This is the beginning of artistic expression, as some of the lines get altered based on my preferences and what I wish to feature. I begin thinking in the back of my mind about line weight — how thick or thin I want lines, which represent different aspects of her features. I want to loose the original “seriousness” of the original image trace lines and start to open up, making this my own image, in my own conceived style.
This is as far as I’ve gotten with this project. Step Three will take many more iterations and line cleanings, which will become subsequent steps. I will update this as I work more. I will post the second part of this short sharing tutorial when complete!
Digital art. I made this using Sketchbook Pro on my smartphone! It’s a Galaxy Note 4, which has a lovely little stylus. I worked on this while I was doing my laundry at the laundromat, which goes to show you can fit creativity in at any time! This was a short sketch, using an existing photo I took of some succulents. Being able to use my own reference photo really makes the art process a lot more fun. I feel more emotionally connected to the final art product. I know where I was, and what I was doing while I took the original photo. I remember why I was entranced, and what was originally artistically pleasing to me about seeing this in real life. I like the lines of succulents. The innner and outer shapes, the colors, the way everything is so delicate in form and yet so sturdy at the same time. They are hardy, yet pretty plants, and emotionally, I like to think of myself the same way. Maybe they’ll be my personal icon from now on. Seems like a good choice, doesn’t it? (If you want to see work-in-progress photos of this work, please go to my WIP page.)
I’ve posted parts of this small work on my new WIP page.
I’m working on keeping my hands and brain going. I’ve got lots of ideas for the upcoming year. How have things been going for you? Have you set some goals for the year ahead? Instead of setting goals this year, I’m sticking to some core values and working my way from there.
1. Love and be loved
2. Kindness, kindness, kindness – toward self and others
4. Art is play, poetry is play, life is play
(A great article I read along these lines is here.)
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with creative pursuits. I have poetry goals, artistic goals, book goals, learning various programs and getting-proficient goals. The task list can be eye-boggling, but taking it a little bit at a time is helping to steady me. I can take small steps everyday. That’s a thing I can do. Over time, those small steps will lead to a large progress. It’s the One-Day-At-A-Time Mentality. I can do this. You can do this, too.
I’m rooting for you and thinking of you in the days ahead.
Keep doing what you’re doing, keep your goals in the forefront of your heart and go for it.
Out on a walk, I found the cutest and most-nicely assembled bunch of mushrooms.
I took a picture. Once I got home, I loaded this picture in Sketchbook Pro and started tracing and modifying the lines.
It is a work-in-progress, so I don’t have the image finalized yet, but seeing the progress in a post like this is helpful for me. It gives me a chance to become more familiar with the image, and share. This is the image showing the line work I’ve done with no background image. As you can see, the line work is very clean and represents the shapes and unique texture of the mushrooms very well. (And we haven’t even done coloring or textures yet, which are to come.)
I’m excited to see how this turns out. The playful shapes in the interior of the mushroom were a lot of fun to draw, and gave me some good eye-to-hand exercise. I’m really enjoying the freedom of digital artwork, and the ability to make multiple iterations and moods to the same structural image.
9.5 x 6″ ink on paper. A simple line drawing based on some flowers I picked. I had in mind to work on perceiving negative space. By drawing the outline of the petals and focusing on the overall shape of the bouquet, I was able to get a pretty good line representation. Measuring and a before-sketch would have gotten me more accuracy, but in terms of loose lines and working an exercise, I am pleased with the outcome.
We’re packing up and moving down to the more artsy South Bay Area, so I stole some time between packing boxes, scooted onto the floor near a nice natural light area and drew this.
ABOUT THIS PICTURE
8.5″ x 11″, Ink on paper. This started out as figure drawing exercise based on a reference photo of a ballerina bending down to tie her ballet shoes. As I was sketching, my lines got a little crossed (translate: messy) and her legs started looking less and less like what they should based on the reference photo. Instead of starting from the beginning and retrying the sketch, I simply worked with the lines, drawing what looked to me like a flower shape. A concept began to come together — what if she were a Flowerina? I am excited to take this into further directions, likely with some color and some signature types of flowers. So, it goes to show you that creativity comes from unexpected places, and that it is full of “happy little accidents.”
9″x 6″, watercolor and ink on paper. This is my first real attempt in the realm of watercolor. I’d been keeping away from it, as I was intimidated by its fluidity and transparency, but it is actually a lot of fun to work with! You do have to modify you working methods, as opposed to working with oils or acrylics. Watercolor has a bit of a life of its own, but if you keep in mind a few simple guidelines, you can take advantage of its great instant-color properties. I’ve heard watercolor artists use the phrase “drop in color”, and that’s exactly what it is like. Dot your brush over an area, and out runs color directly onto the surface, no brushstrokes required. Starting with a drawing based on waterproof ink really helped me keep my color flow together, but a big part of the magic of watercolor is overlapping color, bleeding into each other to create dynamic new colors. I’ll likely be experimenting with watercolors more as they travel and clean up easily, and pair well with sketching.
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!