My own reference photos

I've started a new drawing. I'm really excited about this one, because it's the first time I use a reference photo I have taken myself. It makes such a huge difference for some reason, it feels better to have made everything myself from the beginning. I took a photo of one of my cats, Ludwig and I'm drawing from that. I just want to practice drawing the nose and the eye, I don't plan on finishing the whole piece now. I'll just keep going until I'm tired of it. I focus on one area and I go a couple of rounds with layers of colored pencil and odorless paint thinner. Then I move on to the next area. I think that way it's easy to get the contrasts right. Then I'll go over all the areas again until I have reached the amount of color saturation I'm after.

I finished the pink flower and put it up on the bedroom wall. I could probably have gone for longer, it's hard to decide when I can't get any more out of it. I guess that comes with practice. This time I haven't had to stop because I've damaged the paper by pushing too hard. It's a bit fuzzy round the edges, I need to pay more attention to having sharp lines where needed.

I'm in a really good place when it comes to drawing habits. For the past two weeks I have drawn for about two hours a day. I wasn't going to draw more than one hour a day until November, but I got so excited when I had a few days off work and I realised that it's not the length of time in front of the easel that's the challenge, but the size of my project. I need to keep telling myself that I'm just going to practice drawing small things. That way, I often do more than what I intended because my motivation lasts longer than when I think I have this huge task in front of me. It's amusing how our minds work...

What I've learned so far

I've finished my drawing of a bubble, and I thought this is a good time to review what I've learned. I want to write about that once in a while so I can look back and see my progress clearly.

I should draw smaller images so I don't tire of the project too soon. I wasn't planning on doing the background in this drawing, but after a while I realised just how much of the background was showing through the bubble. I colored it all in so that the transparency of the bubble would be easier to make sense of.

I should be patient and keep going when I want to give up. I won't mess up the drawing nearly as much as I think I will, and even when I do, I learn from it. I did push this drawing farther than the last one, but I still have a long way to go when it comes to working all the way to a finished work.

I have improved when it comes to drawing with a light hand. I do still have a tendency to push harder and harder without realising, but I'm becoming more aware of it all the time.

I have started on a pink flower, and taking with me what I've learned: I keep checking my pressure on the pencil, and this time I won't fill the entire sheet of paper.

 

Sketching

The latest issue of Drawing Magazine came in the post the other day. The main focus this time is on sketching and sketchbooks. I also listened to a podcast recently, about developing a sketching habit, so I thought this must be a good time to try that out. That way, whenever I don't want to sit by the easel and draw, I can do some sketches instead and still do something every day to develop my skills.

 

It's been a while since I used this sketchbook

It's been a while since I used this sketchbook

I used markers on the left one and a ballpoint pen on the right. I saw some great artworks on Instagram made with ballpoint pens in all colors and thought I'd give it a try. I thought it would be really, really hard, but it was fun!

I used markers on the left one and a ballpoint pen on the right. I saw some great artworks on Instagram made with ballpoint pens in all colors and thought I'd give it a try. I thought it would be really, really hard, but it was fun!

I do sketch from time to time but it's not really something I have enjoyed that much. It looks so unfinished and full of mistakes. Usually, when I start a drawing I don't sketch out different compostions or anything beforehand, I only try it out once, and that becomes the final piece. I don't want to waste time doing the same thing over and over, but maybe I should try it more often.

I think it's a good idea to keep my freehand skills sharp by sketching. To save time, when I start a "real" drawing I trace the outline of the image on to my paper, and although most of the work is yet to be done, I feel safe that I've started out the right way. Maybe that's why I haven't enjoyed sketching, because then I do everything freehand, and have no safe starting point, I have to spend a lot more time getting it right from the beginning. I guess I'll get better at that, as you do with anything you spend a lot of time on.

I do like a couple of things about this sketch, but it is mostly a huge mess! Getting the perspective right was surprisingly difficult.

I do like a couple of things about this sketch, but it is mostly a huge mess! Getting the perspective right was surprisingly difficult.