Sketchbook Goal

mtv spankin new

Photo By MTV

Now that I have a brand SPANKIN’ NEW drawing desk to work at, I’ve decided that I need to fill up every sketchbook I have. There are a lot of blank pages, partially used pages, and probably a lot of sketches I’m going to cringe at when I see them. I’ve been bad about not drawing in my sketchbooks lately which has resulted in my drawing skills getting rusty. It’s important for artists to draw in sketchbooks regularly to develop ideas, to work on technique, and to just be creative.

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This box is full of sketchbooks I got from when I was 13 all the way up to now. The pink one is a new watercolor one I just got.

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These sketchbooks are all leftover from college and they’re a bigger size, 11×14 I think. And the water stained box they’re sitting on is jam packed with scratch paper.

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The paper is damaged but that’s ok. I’m sure I can use them up.

Interior Design Furniture Sketchbook

This notebook is from an assignment I had in an Interior Design class I took my freshman year. I had an interest in architecture and my advisor didn’t think I was cut out for their department. She was right, but I’m glad I took them anyway, because I learned so much. She signed me up for 3 classes, one was a sophomore level class that I was not ready for.

They had us constantly observing our surroundings, everywhere we went we were told to study the interiors, the furniture, the light fixtures, the space between tables . . .everything. (I had no idea how many little details I didn’t notice before then.)

We also had to turn in over a 100 sketches of furniture.

Filling up the Furniture Notebook Pages

I decided I’ll flip each sketch over and start sketching on the blank side. I also want to try to do something with the furniture side, because my sketches are very plain. I had very little drawing experience at the time and I was overwhelmed by the assignment.

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Some aren’t so bad, like these two. They could be better but they’re not as bad as some of the others I shamelessly turned into my professor.

Chair Before

1. (11) Chair:Cupcake

This chair is the 11th sketch. (I chose it in no particular order.) It’s not too bad for a contour sketch. Everything makes sense and it’s clearly a chair.

Chair After

 

1. (11) Chair2:Cupcake

It reminded me of a chair you’d see in a 1970’s den so I added a wooden wall, a sunburst mirror, and attempted a shag carpet. A bookshelf, some lamps, and maybe a house plant would also be good additions.

Cupcake on the Back

1. (11) Cupcake:Chair

I’ve been talking about drawing cupcakes so my mom suggested I go ahead and draw one on the blank side. My boyfriend makes fun of me for always adding bursts in my background, saying it’s my signature holy Jesus background. He’s silly.

I used graphite pencils and it was really good practice. Most importantly, it was low pressure and fun, my current goal for drawing.

If you have any suggestions for something you’d like to see drawn just let me know in the comments. And if you have any empty sketchbooks go fill them up. In my next post I’ll talk about the Cornhole game paintings I just finished.

Pumpkin Drawing for October

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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.

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Side, bottom, and top views

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2nd page of sketches

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.