I know I’ve been away from art for months now. I can’t seem to get my mind back to a sitting still place. Even though, I have been doing a lot of sitting still—just a restless, unproductive kind. I have been experiencing a lot of emotional stress, and some weird physical symptoms. A lot of heaviness has been on my mind, and physically, I am feeling the toll of that in a new and unique variety of ways. My dissociative tendencies have gotten healthier and more manageable but I have a lot of internal work to do.
I am hoping that with deep breathing, mindfulness, and getting back to art via art therapy might just be the thing I need right now. Once again, I am back to building up my confidence by doing a small thing, which will hopefully lead to momentum. I smiled when I doodled these images on my phone—a positive sign that I’m in need of this expression.
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.
Was inspired by more photography today. The combination of a line drawing including flowers and floral arrangements, and simple portrait elements, are making me super happy the last few days. Here’s Flora with a few background colors to choose from. I honestly like all of them and cannot pick. And who says I have to? ♥
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.
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.
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, ♥
Digital artwork. Based on an online reference photo. I wanted to include more of the figure in the portrait drawing again. I liked the white and dark, and the clean lines. It’s interesting to note how much texture can be achieved even without lots of gradient areas.
Day 23 – Darcy
Digital artwork. I felt like coloring today. The black lines being visible with the hair but with color underneath (very watercolor-like effect) is something I really love. The white area on her lower lip also adds a painterly look.
Day 24 – Jill
Digital artwork. I kept this exercise graphite focused. Just a touch of some gradients really add a lot of life to a simple line drawing. The darkness of her hair adds a lot of weight and depth. I feel as if using an off-white background is sort of like cheating – making her look more ‘warm’ than she actually is – but I like the effect it has.
I am about a month into doing these exercises, and my comfort level with digital work has increased tremendously. I feel less as if I am fighting with tools, as if they exist to help me accomplish what I want them do. I feel as balanced with traditional drawing methods as I do with digital, particularly regarding simple line portraits – and that is a Really Good Feeling. The barrier to starting a drawing has also lessened – it feels more like play – exactly the emotional association I was hoping to cultivate.
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!
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.”
The beach is only about two miles away from my home, so you’ll be seeing lots of ocean-themed art by me. Here is some more line art. I really like the accessibility of this type of art — I just pick up my pens and go for it. No paint, prep work, or organizing. This is a good way to “keep it loose” and I’ve been enjoying it. I would definitely recommend it if you are having a creativity block, or need some space from a larger project.
ABOUT THIS PICTURE
9.5″ x 6″, ink on paper. The rocks in real life that I drew from are dark black with playful streaks of granite. A very interesting shapeset to work with. The lines started as a way to draw in the planes of the rocks, but as the drawing progressed I lengthened them and they became a feature of their own. Also, I really love any excuse I can think of to use my fat, size 2 Micron.
It was my opportunity and pleasure to spend more drawing time near the ocean. Yay! It really is the most soothing thing ever, sitting in the sun, bring directly in front of the subject matter, all while being able to take in other sensory details to enhance the drawing. How does it feel to be next to the grand Pacific Ocean? Even though my feelings are not fully articulated in my language brain, the senses do aid in “telling the story” of the drawing.
ABOUT THIS PICTURE
Ink on paper, 9.5″ x 6″. This is basically a twenty minute study. I’m finding that tracing the horizon with my eyes and “drawing over” the ridges of the cliffs was a great exercise for looking, perceiving accurately, and capturing the natural movement of the shapes. This picture was made on the rocky Northern California coast.
Ink on paper. I took my drawing to the beach! I felt very artsy as I sat in the sun, near the ocean, and drew the shoreline and picturesque dark rocks. Possibly I’ll color this later, but for now I like the simplicity of the dark lines and the white, clean paper.