Sketchbook Drawings – Icicles, Dreamcatcher, and Teddy Bear

Hello everyone, I’ve been drawing quite a bit at my new drawing desk. I should have gotten it sooner, I don’t know what took me so long. These drawings are all done on the blank side of my Interior Design sketchbook assignment. Let’s just jump right in . . . I’ll show the furniture side first and then the blank side.

Table

2. (4) Table:Icicles

This was sketch #4 of a table. It’s ok. The perspective is correct. My lines are a bit wobbly. No shading, no life, just a plain table.

Space Table

2. (4) Space Table:Icicles

The perspective made me think it belonged in outer space. So, I made it into some kind of space ship. I used graphite pencils and charcoal. Any Friends fans out there? I used to be a major fan, I over watched every season ’till I couldn’t stand them anymore. I have this scene running through my head right now:

friends space doody

It’s not just a table, it’s a space table.

Icicles

2. (4) Icicles:Table

My wacky boyfriend has a brain full of random stuff, so I got him to suggest some things for me to draw. He came up with so many great ideas, but then he said, “Icicles.”

Normally, I’d just say, “No, that’s too hard.”

But since I’m just drawing for fun with no pressure, I decided to just do it. They weren’t that hard, and I didn’t work to get them perfect. But they look pretty great for some fun sketching. I used graphite pencils.

Chair

3. (6) Chair:Dreamcatcher

Sketch #6. I didn’t do anything to it, I decided to share my professor’s notes. If anyone is trying to draw chairs and you’re struggling, then I hope this page can be helpful to you. They’re probably pretty common mistakes beginners make.

Dreamcatcher

3. (6) Dreamcatcher:Chair

Another one suggested by my boyfriend. He’s part Indian and his aunt has a dreamcatcher that this one is inspired by. I decided to use Polychromos colored pencils and let me tell you why that was a bad idea.

It’s a slow medium that requires a lot of layers. And since these are just sketches, I’m not willing to put in the work or waste the pencils.

So, I should have done graphite or chosen a different way to color it. That’s one thing sketchbook work is for, to help me make fewer mistakes.

dreamcatcher pencil

It definitely would have looked better if I did the whole thing in graphite.

Arm Chair

4. (17) Chair

Sketch #17. Another one that’s not too bad . . . some messy lines, but overall it’s a good chair sketch.

Zebra Print Arm Chair

4. (17) Chair zebra:Teddy Bear

Ew, it looks kind of gross here 😝. It’s because I drew the zebra stripes with 6B and 8B pencils and the graphite smeared. Also, the green I added sorta looks like a sickly covid 19 – green.

I wanted to use my Crayola crayons in the neat the little case. I figured they’d be faster and I really like the colors. And Omg, the crayon box is at the very bottom of the Leaning Tower of Pisa boxes. See that box on the bottom left with the blue lid . . . sigh.

zebra chair-1

Here’s the sketch before I added crayons. I probably should’ve just used graphite pencils, cuz that looks pretty good.

Ok, my drawing isn’t anywhere near as scary and complete as Francis Bacon’s on the right, but mine reminded me of this painting. I might go ahead and work some more on it . . . but the question is, who should I put to sit in the chair? If you have any ideas, just let me know in the comments.

Honey Joe Bear

4. (17) Teddy Bear:Chair zebra

I have an idea for a drawing I’d like to do that has a teddy bear in it, so I’ll need lot’s of practice drawing them. As you can see, I stuck with graphite on this one. His eyes look a bit sinister but it’s a pretty good sketch. I get a little impatient with things like fur, so that’s definitely an area I need to learn to be more patient with.

teddy bear-1

I got this bear when I was 1. We were living in California and my grandparents came all the way from Texas to see me and give me this bear, and another bear that’s identical. I guess they’re twins. We even have a cool home video recorded on VHS 😊.

That’s All the Sketches for Today

I hope you enjoyed them and maybe even got some inspiration for your own work. Just remember that sketchbooks are the perfect place to experiment with different supplies and it’s ok to make some mistakes, like smearing the graphite or using sickly covid 19 – green. Just have fun and draw.

Next Thursday, I’ll be talking about one of my favorite artists who is a  big inspiration for my photography.

I was looking for a little motivation for the teddy bear so I watched this video by Yong Chen. If you’re in the mood to see someone draw a teddy bear in graphite, go check it out.

 

 

Are You Ready to Improve Your Art?

rothko cats

If you’re looking for someone to give you constructive feedback, I would love the opportunity to help you take your art to the next level. It can be scary to receive criticism about your art, but it’s a risk worth taking.

When I was in college, I was surrounded by other artists. I would look at their work to be inspired (and give criticism) and they would look at my art and give me criticism. At first, critique was terrifying. But it quickly became one of my favorite parts of making art.

Why? What’s so great about putting yourself on the line and hearing what people have to say about your art?

Improve – Whether you made mistakes or your work is as close to perfect as possible, critique will help you see your artwork better. It will ultimately help you identify your weaknesses and your strengths. You’ll strive to work harder and smarter because improving your art, and understanding how to improve it, is very rewarding.

Fresh Perspective – Sometimes we artists get too close to our work. You might need a fresh pair of eyes to help you see what you cannot see for yourself.

Bond – If a trained artist is giving honest, but kind feedback, you create an opportunity to bond with them. If you ask a friend or family member who isn’t an artist, they might not really know what to say. And they probably don’t want to hurt your feelings. So, they end up just telling you they like it. Or worse, they inadvertently hurt your feelings because they only point out what’s wrong with the piece. Which brings me to my next point:

Thick Skin – Creative people must develop a thick skin. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there creatively. The more practiced you are at receiving criticism, the better you’ll be able to handle it when someone bashes your art.

Free Will – Ultimately, it’s your artwork. It’s your vision. You can take it or leave it. Critique gives you the opportunity to practice free will and stand up for your artwork.

These definitely are not the only reasons why critique is so valuable to artists, but they’re some of my favorites. Art Critique is a new service I am offering. If you are ready to improve your art, go ahead and start today.

I’m offering 2 Critique choices:

  • A Quick Critique – I’ll take a quick look and give quick feedback. This is perfect if you just have a little bit for me to look at.
  • In – Depth Critique – I’ll spend more time and give more thorough feedback. This is perfect if you have a lot for me to look at.

You can find more details about my Critique service at the top of my blog, under Art Critique. Here’s the link: Go Here.

I can’t wait to look at your art, and join you in your risk taking adventure as an artist.

Getting Better at Figure Drawing

figures-1

Aside from drawing pumpkins, I’ve been working on improving my figure drawings. My goal is to be able to draw people from my imagination . . . easier said than done though. It’s been a little frustrating, but very rewarding whenever I see improvement. I’ve mostly been sketching simple stick figures to get comfortable with proportion and movement.

figures-2

I grabbed an old sketchbook and started filling up empty pages and empty space with as many stick figures as I could stand to do. It’s actually a lot of fun creating little scenes for my stick figures. And I’m able to see my mistakes and fix them.

figures-3

I imagine people in my life and get a really good visual image of them and their personality in my brain. And then I draw them. Some of my favorites are on the right side of this page. My wacky boyfriend loves watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and likes getting into the crazy JoJo poses. They make really good poses to draw. Btw, if you like anime you should check it out.

figures-4

Yoga poses are usually held for a long time and make really good ones to practice. And if you like sports, just grab your sketchbook and draw while watching. Since they’re moving, sports is really good for quick gesture drawings. And don’t forget your mirror. If you’re struggling with a specific pose, you can just use yourself.

After tons of deliberate practice, drawing from your imagination will be a piece of cake. If anyone out there is also trying to improve, I’ve found a couple of websites that have really good reference photos with lots of variety. Check ’em out.

https://line-of-action.com/

This site also provides teaching material and a community of artists that you might find helpful.

https://www.quickposes.com

This site provides a good variety. I really like the warrior images.

mikeymegamega

I also found this guy on youTube. I was wanting to sketch, but I couldn’t get the motivation to just do it. So, I did a little search on youTube and this guy was just sketching figures while chatting with his viewers. I found myself listening and sometimes I wasn’t listening. But the important thing was I ended up drawing for an hour and I didn’t even notice the time going by. Plus, he’s a talented artist. Go ahead and check him out.

Struggles and Favorites

When I first started drawing figures, I struggled so much with proportion. My necks and torsos were always too long.

What struggles do you have when drawing figures?

I love drawing foreshortened poses. They’re so challenging, which is actually great for the learning process. If you can draw the complicated poses, then the simpler poses don’t seem so difficult.

What positions are your favorites to draw?

Pumpkin Drawing for October

pumpkins-2

Fall is my favorite time of year. The air starts feeling cool and fresh. The leaves start changing colors. And the best part – I start getting the heebie jeebies to the extreme. I love it.

Heebie Jeebies – By Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five.

While I was grocery shopping the other day, a giant display of pumpkins grabbed my attention. They had so many interesting looking varieties that I thought could be a lot of fun to draw. I got a bag of small orange pumpkins, and the other two kinds in the picture above.

Apparently there are at least 50 types of pumpkins. I used to think there was just one type – the big orange ones you see at Halloween and on Cinderella. Some of them have the coolest names too, like Hooligan and White Ghost.

Which Ones Did I Buy?

The similarities made it a little difficult to know for sure . . .

Pumpkemon – The white one with the orange and green stripes. Sounds like a cross between a pumpkin and a Pokemon. Maybe I can create a Pokemon character from this little pumpkemon.

Ornamental Gourd – I was going pumpkin crazy trying to figure out what kind the weird looking one on the left of my picture is. I’m pretty sure it’s a gourd used for decorating. Regardless, it looks like fun for making some art.

I started out sketching the orange pumpkin. Below are some quick sketches I did on yellow paper. I held the pumpkin in my hand and looked at it for a long time, trying to get familiar with it. This helps to be able to draw your subject better and faster.

Pumpkin1

Side, bottom, and top views

Pumpkin2

2nd page of sketches

Pumpkin3

Nupastel and pastel crayons

The next sketch I did using graphite and white charcoal on my gray paper sketchbook. I was still going for speed with this one.

Pumpkin4

This last one I decided I wanted to work on a larger piece of drawing paper and take my time. I like working large. It helps to focus on the details of your subject. I still have work to do on it.

pumpkins-1

I’m having a lot of fun drawing these pumpkins. My plan is to post my progress throughout the month of October and we’ll see what kind of art I can create with these cool looking pumpkins.

Are you working on any Fall/Halloween inspired art? If not, then run to the store and grab some pumpkins and get started!

How to be a Fearless Artist

I love the feeling I get when I’m ready to make some art. I gather all my colorful supplies and make sure I’ve got plenty of light. Then, I look down at my clean, stark white canvas and suddenly I go blank. Blanker than the empty canvas. Fear suddenly enters into my heart. Like a lil’ wimp, I let that fear take me away from the art to go snack, rake the leaves, or (seriously?) clean the toilet.

the-scream

The Scream, Edvard Munch

Creative Courage

 

Writers do it too. Staring at the blinking cursor against the bright white background of the empty document, has the power to traumatize more effectively than a terrorist in war. Before you know it you’ll be laying in a fetal position hugging your stuffed animal and wondering how you ever thought you could be an artist.

lucas scott i suck

Lucas Scott, from One Tree Hill, experiencing writer’s block and typing, “I Suck.”

How to Develop Artistic Bravery

Artists like Bob Ross make it look easy. He fearlessly slops some paint down and creates a beautiful work of art. Below are some helpful tips to overcome fear:

1. Sketch -Before you start the finished piece, grab some cheap scratch paper, do some sketches and work out your ideas. It’d be awesome to create the masterpiece on your first try but that’s also a lot of pressure, and not always realistic. (It’s not impossible though.)

Constantly sketching and drawing will help you improve, which will build your confidence and you’ll be saying, “Goodbye Fear.”

2. It’s NOT permanent – Some art supplies can’t be erased like graphite pencil. So it feels like your marks will be permanent and if you make a mistake, what do you do? First, relax. Start out with a lighter touch and build gradually. Oil takes forever to dry so if you make a mark you’re not happy with just wipe the paint away and cover it up with more paint. Remember that many art mediums are forgiving and workable.

Or, like Bob Ross, you might get a “happy accident.”

3. Act Brave – Being an artist requires bravery because you’re doing something that cost you. Your art comes from inside of you. And what if people don’t like it? What if they put it down? Just be brave. And if you don’t feel brave, then PRETEND.

Do the opinions of other people strike terror in your heart? If so, be inspired by the war hero. Look fear in the eye, be strong and stand up for your artwork. Allow the reactions from people to be constructive criticism to help you improve.

vincent_van_gogh_-_sp ear

Hide the Knives! Van Gogh Self Portrait with bandaged ear

The Tortured Artist

Artists are sensitive and have to develop a thick skin. It may seem like I’m being a drama queen but I think fear is a common problem for everyone . . . not just the creative souls. Remember . . . feeling these raw emotions is a big part of art. And for me, overcoming fear makes me feel like a BOSS, and gives me the power to overcome whatever obstacles I might face.

bob-ross

Bob Ross!

Being Your Own “Worst” Critic

Do you like your art? Are you conveying your message? Are you giving it your all? Maybe bravery in art, is really in facing yourself.

100 Days of Learning T-Shirt Art Project

My best friend is a grade school teacher and asked me to work on a school art project with her and her daughter. Of course, I’m always down for art. Her daughter is also an artist and we have a lot of fun making art together. We brainstormed for a couple of days and got a practice shirt out of the way, but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

100 days t shirt-1

Diamond

Finally the idea hit to use her kitten, Diamond. I recently took some pictures of her with plans to do a drawing so that was Puuuurrrr -fect. Haha, yea I went there. Based on the ideas we talked about during our brainstorming sessions, I came up with this design.

100 days t shirt-2

Shirt design and sketch of Diamond

Everyone loved the idea so we got to work. We planned on using those two butterflies but they didn’t make the cut. I put my drawing of Diamond under the shirt and traced it with a pencil. Then after I added the sun I got started adding the fabric paint.

100 days t shirt-3

My girl helping me out

I’ve never heard of this 100 days of learning thing, but I guess it’s something schools do when they hit 100 days in the school year. You have to use 100 things, so we glued a bunch of little diamonds.

100 days t shirt-4

Diamond posing with her shirt

There’s Diamond checking out her portrait. She was upset that I made her quit messing with the shirt and look at the camera.

My friend thought about saying something along the lines of “being brighter.” So it seemed appropriate to use lyrics from Rhianna’s song, “Diamonds“: Shine Bright Like a Diamond. It’s also consistent with her personality.

100 days t shirt-5

t-shirt drying

I forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt. We just added some more diamonds and the words “100 Days of Learning,” inside the sun and I wrote her name on the back. I also forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt I made for her mom. Haha, I was getting tired.

100 days t shirt-6

The teacher’s shirt

I added a bunch of yellow, orange, and blue lightning bolts all around the shirt to represent all the electricity from the brain power. It still needed something else though. My friend finally came up with a really good finishing touch: At the bottom I wrote in blue paint, “Leads to a Brighter Future.”

These shirts were a lot of fun to make and I love supporting art and education.

Digital Charcoal Drawing of Robert Fuller

robert fuller b&w

Robert Fuller Portrait 

Lately I’ve been watching some of the old westerns like Laramie and Wagon Train. The plot, the acting, and the creative use of colors and costume design are really good. Not to mention, the guys are really good looking manly men. One in particular that has caught my eye is Robert Fuller. I was looking for something to draw digitally, and I thought he’d be a subject that could keep my interest.

I’m drawing with blue tones on Corel Painter 2015 and I’m using charcoal on rough artists paper. On drawing 3 I like how you can see the texture of the paper on his hat and the stubble on his face. I started by getting my values and basic shapes down with the broad Charcoal and the Soft Charcoal. I’m adding details with the Soft and Hard Charcoal Pencils and a tapered blender.

He kinda reminds me of John Wayne in the first one, and according to my mom he looks like Marshal Matt Dillon.

I think he’s finally starting to look more like the picture. I’ve really struggled with getting his mouth right and his eyes are giving me a little trouble. I also have a tendency to exaggerate features, like making a ruggedly square jaw extra rugged, so I’m just trying to make sure all those things look right.

I’ve been working on it for a few hours and I’m thinking it’s a good time to step away from it for a while. I’ll come back to it later with fresh eyes.

What do you think . . . does he look like Robert Fuller?

A Basic Lesson on Value – Drawing a Dog with Graphite Pencils

hp photosmart 720

This Picture broke my first digital camera that I got when I turned 15.

Shadows, midtones, and highlights which are caused by our trusty light source the Sun, make all the awesome stuff we see everyday visible. To create a believable and interesting 3D image on a 2D surface you must become BFF’s with these three things that make up the design element: Value or Tone.

As an 18-21 year old student in my early art classes I really struggled to comfortably discern between the three and determine what I needed to adjust to make everything look right.

What Exactly Are Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights?

Basically, Highlights are the really bright spots that get the most direct amount of light. The Shadows are the dark spots created by something that is blocking the light. The Midtones are everything in between the two extremes.

After I got my initial sketch of Dynamite down with correct proportions it was time to focus on building the variety of tones that will form the dog.

  1. I like to start with my darkest darks and my lightest lights. I mark where the white parts and the bright highlights are so that I make sure to keep them clean. It’s a lot harder to remove than to add. And I like adding the darks early on because they help me to adjust and refine placement and they’ll eventually disappear a little bit as the drawing develops. They’re also really easy to see.
  2. After filling in the darks and lights, I start filling in the midtones almost everywhere, following the shapes of the muscles and folds in her coat. I also add a light layer of pencil in the background so that Dynamite has a place to live in.
  3. The last step is to continue adding the variety of values (tones) until the drawing can be called finished. After drawing for a while, I noticed that her belly and her back leg area needed to be moved down some. Both were easy fixes.
dynamite sketch 3

3.

Practice working gradually in a balanced pattern throughout the image being careful not to focus on just one part of the image for too long. If you do work on one single detail you run the risk of making irreversible mistakes.

So that’s Value in a nutshell.

I’ve noticed that at first, the people I’ve taught art to really struggle to discern Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights . . .  and it’s easy to get a little discouraged. Just Remember it will eventually become second nature. I can barely remember a time when my brain didn’t notice these three and all the other elements of design. If you diligently practice seeing these details you’ll get to the point where you can’t NOT see them.

Guy From Burn Notice who sees patterns

The guy in the middle

I always think of that crazy guy from Burn Notice in S3 E5 who said,  “Once you see a pattern, you can’t un-see it.” That’s what we’re going for, minus the crazy part. Then again, if crazy works for you . . .

Quick Tip Before you Go:

When you’re working with graphite, you can cover the entire page with a graphite powder if you like to speed up the process. It’s such a light layer of graphite, that you’ll be able to draw in details with your graphite pencils and your kneaded eraser. Read the label carefully! It’s pretty dangerous stuff to breathe in.

A Few Tips to Help You Draw from a Bad Photo

Ideally, if you’re going to be drawing from a photo you should try to get a good photo with good lighting, etc. If that’s not an option you might be able to make some adjustments in Lightroom, or whatever editing program you like to use.

I zoomed in a little and I adjusted settings in Lightroom to make it a little easier to see the details. If you’re not sure what to adjust, start by just playing around and comparing to the original until you get the desired effect.

What I adjusted for this image: 

  • Increased Clarity (+33)
  • Increased White Clipping (+22)
  • Increased Sharpening (+22)
  • Decreased Black Clipping (-69)
  • Decreased Shadows (-24)
  • Decreased Highlights (-22)

I played around with Exposure, Saturation, and Contrast but those changes didn’t help any. It’s probably hard to see the differences, but the picture on the right has details showing that the picture on the left does not. These adjustments didn’t make a huge improvement, but it’s good enough to help me out.

I also had the 4×6 print to measure and double check things. I admit . . . I guess I got a tad bit dramatic about the difficulty of this drawing. Turned out not to be that hard once I finally put in a little effort.

I started with a page of thumbnail sketches to warm up and work out some quick mistakes. Then I started a larger HB pencil sketch . . . It’s not too bad . . . my proportions look pretty good and it actually resembles Dynamite. *sigh of relief*  The details in her feet and eyes are pretty much indistinguishable in the photo, so I still have a lot of work to do before I’m happy and ready to start the finished piece.

P1050965

I’m not sure what medium the finished piece will be done in. Maybe Prismacolor pencils . . . maybe something else. Dynamite actually died a couple of years ago and her owner has been missing her a lot lately so I was thinking of giving it an ethereal quality to indicate that she isn’t with us anymore but that she’s loved and missed. I still have some time to decide. Better get to work.