Wanted to get a jump on sketching this morning. Stupid effing sun! Can’t see anything in here for all the light. Good time to make a blog post!
Draw something every day!
One common thread in all of the courses and advice I have been given is that if you want to improve your art seriously you should draw every day. That can be quite a challenge. Real life has a tendency to take over, especially when your art is viewed more as your hobby. (Hiss! Seriously this pisses me off!) My goal for this year is to sell a piece of my art so it becomes legit and I can justify all the time I spend drawing and painting. But I digress.
One of the things I did for myself, as well as others, was to start this blog and post the art prompts. It can be exhausting trying to even think about what to draw. Ok, problem solved. Now there is a list of stuff to draw. So why am I still not drawing? Well real life can be chaos. Plus I get a lot of big ideas about all the stuff I want to do- comics, illustration work etc and I feel like my skills aren’t up to snuff. My inner critic wins out and it gets easier and easier to avoid my sketchbook.
Here is the first ink sketch I ever did, circa 2014. I had been working in graphite quite a lot and my drawing skills had improved greatly. Then I did this ugly sketch and I couldn’t even touch my sketchbook again. Seriously, my perfectionism was THAT bad. I didn’t draw much of anything again for over two years.
Now is the time I have been working hard (most of the time) to get my skills up but I really want to push further. I need a plan, both long and short term. Long term plans are professional work and comics. What I really need most is a short term accountability goal. I have decided that I can use this blog to my advantage. Draw something every day and post something every day. I will also use social media and try to gain more followers and maybe get some critiques and feedback along the way. Constructive (yet honest) criticism can be extremely useful when developing skills.
You are never too good for fundamentals.
Outside of being practiced with your medium of choice – in this case ink, and whatever tools you wish to use (brush, pen etc), the bottom line is if your drawing skills are under par your work won’t look as good as it should. This does not account for style. My personal taste (which becomes your style, ladies and gents- really it does) is for realistic looking renderings. My brain is just happier when I draw something that is proportionally correct and recognizable. I do like to copy other styles and incorporate a messier, sketchier feel into my own art. I really love those people who can really be loose and just go for it and make art with total abandon. That is not me. Period. I have to work for that.
As you can see by the drawings above (from Oct. 2016) I do not have a talent bestowed on me by a higher power. I had/ have to work to build my skills. I did these October 16 and signed up for Schoolism October 17. I knew I needed a drawing refresher course. Sometimes when I get stalled in my progress I go back to basics and buy a drawing book or take a different course. Every place you can gain new insights from will have an impact on your work. If you don’t like where your art is, go back to the basics. The problem lies there. Truth.
Eventually, persistence pays off.
Don’t be afraid to copy other peoples’ work! This was so frowned upon when I picked up an art class in London. It really left an impact on me and I was terrified and wracked with guilt when I decided to do copy work. This is one of the best learning tools out there. Do it! You need to! Just don’t be an asshole and try to pass someone else’s work off as your own. Be considerate of the original artist. Ask their permission or at the very least give a credit if you post your copied work online. Make sure it is known that it is copy work or fan art. This is a copy / fanart from The Walking Dead. The original the barrel of the gun is much longer, but I had to cut it short because I ran out of space in my sketchbook.
When you start to work on original drawings (this one is done of a costume I found on Pinterest that I liked), it is also helpful to try to draw them in the style of artists you admire. I really like Ashley Wood‘s sketchy loose style. I want to incorporate more of that into my art. This was the outcome.
Slowly…..ever. so. frikkin’. slowly….my style with ink is emerging. I really like that sketchy/realistic, gritty feel. I am slowly getting used to the stark contrast of black ink and white paper. I am getting used to the look of hatching. My favorite tool is a Chinese calligraphy brush. Sometimes I use a gel pen, but it gives a totally different look. I love the varied lines of a brush. The calligraphy brushes are really expressive. I love them and that’s my thing. When I get done with the line work I do washes over the top. Sort of pulls it together for me. I am working to get a better handle on controlling the flow of ink and the tone. I’m also wanting to get more detail into art. Doing a lot of experimenting with that right now.
I did this yesterday. Wouldn’t it have been cool if I thought of this last week and posted it on Friday 13th? Yeah, well I’m not that cool, creative and forward thinking. I’ve learned to live with it.
Nonetheless, I am really proud of this one. THIS is the direction I have been working to go in. I finally managed to get the background and foreground to not meld together. Devil is in the details. I was experimenting with dry brush and markmaking. I experimented with texture. I think I got pretty close with my value structure (tone). Overall super happy to have this page in my sketchbook.
Ok, so this brings us full circle. I need to get my skills up. I need to draw every day. So I am going to challenge myself to draw something every day and post a daily ink sketch. Hopefully you guys will enjoy my work and follow along. Comments and constructive critiques are welcome. Also I am interested in the work you guys do. Post links to your stuff in the comments. Another goal with this blog was to network. I am really interested in surrounding myself with more artistic people who are into the stuff I am into. I assume if you read this far this is your kind of thing. So, say hello.