Late August and September 2015 Art Dump

For sketching, I've pretty much moved entirely to using color pencils.  I like the fact that they're expressive and immediate, that playing around with different colors can have a vastly different feel for the resulting sketch. I find sketching in color pencil to be very immediate and gestural- I don't overly worry about making things perfect, because I don't have the ability to erase.  If I absolutely have to redraw something, I'll use a piece of sticky note and attach that on top. 

 I like using Blick's color pencils when I can get them easily, as they're cheap, but I also buy Prismacolors from my local Jerry's Artarama for sketching.  I've tried Jerry's SoHo color pencils, and find them to be too waxy for the sort of sketching I like to do.  If you can buy Derwent's ColourSoft color pencils in openstock, and you enjoy sketching with pastel pencils but don't like the fact that they smear, I highly recommend you give Derwent's Coloursoft a try.

If I have a sketch I like and want to refine, I usually scan it, turn it to bluelines in Photoshop, and print it out on the appropriate paper.  For the most part, I work in watercolor these days, so I'm usually printing it out on watercolor paper, and penciling it.  

I do still use non photo blue lead and graphite for drawing- most of my Field Test illustrations were drawn with a mechanical pencil and inked with a Mitsuo Aida, and I definitely still use non photo blue lead for convention commissions.  The problem, for me, with using NPB in my sketchbook is that I feel obligated to do something to it- pencil it or ink it, but using color pencils leaves me with no such compulsion.

August and September saw me still struggling with depression, so sadly most of my inspiration was sapped.  I relied mostly on working from reference or doodling fanart, anything that kept me drawing every day.  Its important to draw daily, regardless of how motivated you feel, because one of the keys to good drawing is enforcing positive drawing habits.  The key there is GOOD drawing habits.  

You can also reinforce BAD drawing habits, and that's how people like me went ten years of drawing daily with no solid improvement (ala high school and early undergrad).  Whenever I find my art has stalled out, I switch to practicing subjects or techniques I'm not yet comfortable with.

However, if you're struggling with depression and lack of motivation, the most important thing is drawing daily, and the best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to work on basic skill building, exercises that don't require much creativity or even skill, just learning how to see.

So this August and September, I continued working on developing a sub style that's a little less literal and a little more gestural, and turned my focus to drawing a wider variety of body types by drawing some plus size models.  Its often difficult to find a variety of body types for study through traditional figure drawing reference sources, so I simply looked it up on Pinterest.


Studio Ghibli fanart, Sophie Hatter
Warmup sketch from The Sartorialist, Sophie Hatter from Howl's Moving Castle (Ghibli version)

Studio Ghibli, Ponyo, Satsuki, Mei, My Neighbor Totoro
Ponyo, Satsuki and Mei from My Neighbor Totoro

Of course, gotta try Kara in this style.

Princess Carolyn from BoJack Horseman
Princess Carolyn from BoJack Horseman

Kiki and Jiji, Kiki's Delivery Service, Studio Ghibli
Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service

ChiChi, Dragonball
ChiChi from Dragonball

Steven Universe, Lapis,
Lapis from Steven Universe

Connie, Steven Universe
Connie from Steven Universe

Aurora from Child of Light

Sakura from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

If you liked these sketches, you should definitely check my Instagram, Tumblr, or Twitter, because I'll be inking many of them as part of my Inktober!  I'll share all my inky adventures here on the blog once Inktober is over.

An inking test for a set of fineliner pens from Ali-express.

Focus on figure work using plus size models

I've gotten bored with the lack of figure variety on sites like The Sartorialist, so I turned to Pinterest for some plus size model reference.   By changing my inspiration, I found I was able to work on a problem that consistently plagues my work-oversized heads.  The change in proportions meant I had to study the figure carefully, rather than being able to cheat through muscle memory, which just reinforced bad habits.

Tired of Western fashions, I also looked into some Bollywood inspired fashions for inspiration.

Ink Studies Outside Dose

Dose is a local Nashville coffee shop right off West End.  Although there isn't really much to see in the area (it faces an interstate), I tried to do some environmental sketching.

I'm really out of practice with sketching with a brush pen, and I found that the Sailor Nagoya I was using wasn't really delivering much ink.  I switched to the Pentel Kirara, which was a bit better, but I may end up fishing out a few of the other brush pens I've tested in the past to see if any are up gestural field sketching.

Since I've switched to using a variety of colors with color pencils, I've also started applying more shading to my sketches.  This has lead me to purchasing a toned sketchbook, and I hope this leads to some interesting sketches soon.

Ah! An example of using a sticky note for correcting a color pencil sketch.  The intention isn't to trick the viewer into thinking you've never made a mistake, but to assuage your tortured artist soul that you made a glaring mistake that ruins the whole piece for you.  Use the stick part, and just stick it right on.  Now you can sleep at night.

Invader Zim, Gaz
Since Hulu has all three seasons of Invader Zim up, I decided to binge watch it, as I never had the chance to as a teenager.  Here's Gaz.

So that's it for SKETCHES from August and September.  Stay tuned, because I have more art to share!


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