My Daughter’s boyfriend asked me to do a scorpion. I don’t think I have ever drawn a scorpion before. Not sure if pleased or not. But here it is, my completed ink sketch (pen). I almost posted it half finished because it is well late, I am exhausted and have to be up early. Deadlines though, right?
It starts- draw something daily and post it. After my Jason sketch yesterday my friend Sharri asked me to do a Michael Meyers.
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.
Would it be too cheesy to start this post off with “Arrr Mateys”? Well, I wanted to give a shout out to all my subscribers. Up to 544 officially. I always get one the moment I finish the artwork. Welcome all. I hope you like what you see here. Please feel free to comment or contact me if you have blog suggestions, questions, etc. I love hearing from you guys.
For the sake of convenience I had the site set to comments post with email address. Sadly, spammers had to screw it up. I was being inundated with crap about cheap insurance, viagra and trash hauling to the tune of a few hundred comments a day that I would have to dig through to find anything relavant posted by readers. Sorry if this is inconvenient to anyone but now you must be registered and logged in to leave a comment. Please don’t lose your log in info.
Ok, now for the real topic – an art dump and discussion about what I’ve been up to and where I am going.
I signed up for a watercolor painting course – a real one with actual real people at an actual real place. I did so because I feel like I need to get out an socialize more now that my kids are in school all day. Also my anxiety is much reduced since I stopped having to take anxiety meds. Figure that one out. Lastly, but probably most important, it helps my Dutch language skills greatly when I have to get out and actually speak the language.
So now I have to draw things to take to class to paint. So I am starting to draw more often. I have been superiorly slacking off lately. Sometimes only drawing once a week. Totally unacceptable in my book. I have worked to hard and come too far to let things slip that far. For the last 3 days I have managed to draw every day and will continue to do so. Ok, maybe a few misses here and there but seriously – goals. Here is my rough pencil design for an illustration I want to do about Game of Thrones. I see some mistakes and have a few fixes I want to make, but I think I will paint this is class today and get a feel for what the real finished product will look like inked and colored.
Here are three pages from my sketchbook of the Draw 100 challenge I posted. I actually drew about 50 before I got a little barmy over drawing eyes. Note to self- come up with multiple subjects when doing a draw 100 so as not to get bored. Overall I liked the outcome and I feel like my eye drawing improved. Since I did them all in ink my inking skills also improved.
This is an ink portrait I did for fun of Jon Crosby of VAST. I would post my reference photo but I would have to ask his permission. I don’t really want to because I sent him a copy of this and got zilch for feedback. He’s given enthusiastic feedback in the past. Maybe he wasn’t impressed with this one? Oh well I thought it turned out rather well. If you have no idea who I am talking about a Google search will pull up some photos. Great band. I recommend giving them a listen.
Here are some more sketchbook doodles I did in art class. It has occurred to me I should work towards making more finished pieces and not have everything be a sketch. I’ve been digging through stuff I have posted in my gallery. Hmmm, well progress I guess? I thought all that stuff looked great 6 months ago and now I’m like “What are you thinking?”. Time to update in a big way. I am going to start working on more portfolio pieces. Further, I have suspended working on my comic for now. Not that I don’t have an interest in working on it more in the future, but I have come to the conclusion I need to put a lot more mileage into finding my drawing/ inking style before I continue. It doesn’t look very good and I don’t want to put readers off the story because of bad art. I can forgive a terrible story if it has cool art, but not the other way around. Not sure how you guys feel.
Lastly, I leave you with a page of skulls. I kinda got half way through the page on this one so not all are finished. As you all know when i get stumped on subjects I revert to skull drawing. So yeah, it had been some days since I had been drawing and I was trying to get over the blank page stare. I did all of the inking in this post with a gel pen, except the hyena which I did with a brush. I can’t really decide which I like more. i think I tend to do more shading with the pen. I have some plans to try mixing the two and see how that works out. I will keep you posted. Anywho, time for me to get to my painting class. Until next time, happy arting.
Hello all! I wanted to thank you guys for the awesome comments. It really makes me feel good knowing you guys enjoy the topics I write about. I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback lately and it really encourages me to want to make more content and continue with this blog.
Today I wanted to write a post for you about my experiences with online art schools. Of course, these are my personal experiences. Some of you might find your experience to be different. But I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts about them in case some readers have been trying to decide if trying any of them out was worth it or not. If you have an interest in checking any of them out just click the images to go to their website.
Schoolism actually feels like art school. The instructors are top notch industry giants in animation, illustration and fine art, etc. You get assignments to do. They are seriously challenging. You will learn something if you listen to the instruction and do the work. Don’t pass on watching the critiques. You will learn a lot from those.
The one drawback I can name is, in the last few months they have doubled their monthly costs to $30. They did do away with the annoying $1 charge to switch classes, so now you can switch between the classes freely. But I think the price hike was a bit steep because they didn’t add any new classes or content. Even though the class count may be limited compared to other schools, the quality is far superior. I really loved all of the courses I took. If I could give them one suggestion it would be to add more traditional media courses. Most of them are geared towards digital media, though I worked my assignments with pencils and paint. There is also an option, you can take a full on course with the instructor giving you weekly critiques of your work. It does not come cheap – $998 per course.
Art Tutor has a variety of courses geared towards the traditional media artist. I signed up with them specifically to take the courses on ink drawing. They did not disappoint. I stuck around for several months do several other courses and having fun learning different mediums. This site’s courses also have the feeling of a real art school. Many of the classes have assignments to do. The courses are of excellent quality and I learned many tips and tricks. At €17 per month I felt the value was excellent. Again, if you follow the instruction and do the work, you will learn and improve whatever medium you are studying.
I’m actually looking back through their classes and debating a resub. I think they may have even added a few new ones that look pretty cool.
This group is affiliated with North Light. You may have visited their website or seen some of their books on Amazon. They publish art and craft books on a massive range of topics. Anywho, they also have a channel with more than 700 classes on all sorts of media. My biggest interest was drawing, ink drawing and watercolor. The courses were pretty good. Claudia Nice does some watercolor and ink courses. I LOVE her work and have a few of her books, so this was huge for me to get to watch her process.
The classes are mostly follow along style. A little YouTubish, but overall informative. The price is $19.99 a month for total access. Maybe a little high in terms of quality but it makes up for it in quantity. Seriously, you could be on here forever and never run out of videos to watch.
The Virtual Art Instructor
This is a cool site run by instructor Matt Fussel. His courses are really top quality and worth checking out if you are a traditional media artist. It really helped me up my ink drawing game. He has a week trial for $1 and then $19 a month after. Sometimes he runs special offers and you can sub even cheaper. Some of his videos are completely free and you can view them on YouTube . As a full member you can download the videos and ebooks from the site and watch them as many times as you like. I really enjoyed his courses. Sadly, there just wasn’t enough to keep me around for long.
Society of Visual Storytelling
SVS is the brainchild of illustrators Will Terry, Lee White and Jake Parker. You might remember Jake Parker as the guy who started Inktober.
SVS is mainly geared around children’s book illustration. There were some classes on ink drawing and comic creation, which is why I subbed. THE absolute coolest thing about this school is the courses on the industry side. Yes, they discuss how to get a contract, what contracts are bad and which ones are good, legal pitfalls, what should you be getting paid, ethical practices in the industry and other awesome topics no one ever talks about.
According to the reviews I read some people feel they can’t live their lives without Skillshare. I hated this site with the burning passion of 1000 suns. You can get 2 months trial sub for 99 cents. After that it is $11 a month. If you search around you can find discount codes. I think I got one for $8 for a month. Even after I tried it and hated it I went back and paid for a month because I wanted to take Yuko Shamizu’s ink drawing class. As much as I love her work her class was disappointing. Most of the classes on there I found disappointing. There were a few gems – Jen Dixon’s ink drawing/ watercolor classes were informative. Rob Marzullo’s comic creation courses were good. However, he also does them for free on YouTube, so why pay for it? Truthfully that is exactly Skillshare reminds me of- YouTube you pay for. The classes are mostly low quality. They are not vetted for quality by the company. Anyone can make a class and post it. Many of the videos are only a few minutes long and teach you nothing. Lots of the “instructors” can’t even make themselves understood. Seriously, save your money and go elsewhere unless you have a buck burning a hole in your pocket and nothing better to do.
Lynda.com / LinkedIn
Lydia.com has been bought out by LinkedIn and is now LinkedIn Learning. You can still sign up through the Lydia.com site- which I am posting a link to here because it is slightly easier to navigate. You can sign up with the Lydia.com site with your LinkedIn account information.
This site boasts a huge library of classes (according to their website anyway) which are nearly impossible to find. You can do a search for topics and get a short list of about 6 recommended topics. If you click on those topics you get other recommendations based on what you are looking for. In short, this site severely pisses me off. The saving grace is you can get an entire month free to attempt navigating through this nightmare if you have a credit card or a Paypal account. They also invite you to cancel ahead of time if you hate it and they won’t bill you further.
I have found a few comics creation courses and drawing courses. So far the quality of them seems to be pretty good. Most of the topics they offer, at least in the topics list you can find on Lydia (if you dig deep enough you can find a somewhat tragically ordered list of keywords) seem to be geared towards business classes and learning software programs. I’m going to watch the comics creation videos and be done with it. Hey, free is free.
I love YouTube. You can find pretty much anything on there and it is absolutely free. If you are persistent and do some digging you can get some really worthwhile information. Here is a list of some of my favorite channels for art and comic creation:
- Christine Karron – Watercolor
- Alphonso Dunn – Ink and Watercolor
- Mark Crilley – Comic Creation
- Lethal Chris – Drawing and Comic Creation
- Stan Miller – Watercolor
- The Art of Aaron Blaise – Drawing and Painting
- Kelly Eddington – Drawing and Watercolor
- Draw Mix Paint – Oil Painting and Color Theory
- James Gurney – Painting
- Jeff Watts – Drawing and Painting
- Cha Yeon Painter – Watercolor
- Fine Art Academy – Drawing and Painting
- Stefan Baumann – He mostly deals with oils. Sometimes he lectures on galleries and art shows. He is insane and always dresses like a pirate.