November Drawing – Day 04, Mushrooms and Mermaids

I spent this morning working in two different vector drawing apps, seeing what results I could get. I went back to work on the mermaid image first, working in InkPad.


Mermaid tentacles!

My mermaids tend to be more Ursula than Ariel…

In addition to working on the ink lines (which are actually made by using the brush tool to trace shapes instead of lines over the pencil drawing), I did a bit more work on the colors.


Mermaid colors!

Colors with shading andhighlights.

I’ve added some highlights and started work on the hair. I like how I can control the shapes of both the colors and the lines. I also like that I have a dropper to pick up the colors I’ve used so I don’t have to keep hunting for them in a color palette as I work.

After working in InkPad for a while, I switched over to Concepts to play for a bit, to see if I can get some results that I like. Here are the results.



The Fungus among us!

To get a line with variable width in Concepts, I have to set the pen tools to the smallest line width setting. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look very good on large images (at least to my eyes), so I drew a small box on the canvas and zoomed in to do this drawing. Now this is a style I like – shaky, creepy lines that aren’t too big and aren’t too small, that have a nice amount of line width variation. And best of all, I get to color this image the way I like, because Concepts doesn’t let me draw a shape for the fill or let me use a fill bucket. I get to color my drawing like it’s a digital coloring book page! 

(And yes, I love coloring, but I would prefer to color my own artwork as opposed to buying a coloring book. Nobody draws the kind of creepy stuff I love to work on. Perhpas I should make my own freaky coloring pages to share with everyone?)

So that’s the results from today. I’m very happily coloring and drawing away!

November Drawing – Day 02, Skull in Concepts


Sugar Skull

Suguar Skull, by Helen Madden

I spent some time this morning experimenting with Concepts for the iPad, looking at how the different tools worked with various settings. Concepts offers vector versions of markers and various types of pens. The problem I have is getting the line widths to vary the way I want it to. There are also options for smoothing the lines, but I don’t really have the hang of that yet.

I do have a pressure sensative stylus for the iPad, so I will try that next.

November Drawing – Robots and Vampires

So I spent all day thinking about what I want to do for November’s creative challenge (because I did a creative challenge in October, so why not do another one in November?) and I decided this month’s challenge would be ART.

Or doodling, at least.

The idea for this month is for me to get back to a regular drawing schedule. I love to draw, but like a lot of other things I love to do, when life gets really, painfully hectic, I jettison just about all but the essentials from my schedule.

I am hoping that this month will not be nearly as painful as last month. October just about did me in with all the events and volunteer work and making costumes I had to do. I’ll get into all that later this week when I do a final review of the whole October Crochet thing.

But for now, the plan is to draw every day. Just like with October Crochet, I do not plan to finish a drawing a day, but I do plan to complete more than one drawing this month. AND I plan to get back to a regular schedule for the webcomic as well. Assuming this month’s schedule goes as planned.

For my first entry this month, I present to you two quick doodles I did this evening on my iPad. First we have robots…



“We are robots! We are handsome!”

And then we have a Vampire!

Both of these drawings were done in Concepts, a vector drawing app. Concepts is similar to the old Adobe Ideas app that I used to use a lot, but it handles a little differntly, so I’m still working on how I want to use it and what kind of drawings I can make with it.

Unfortunately for me, Adobe Ideas was “retired” and replaced with Adobe Draw. Adobe Draw works just like Adobe Ideas used to, except for one very important little details. It will NOT let me export my artwork in SVG format. It will let me export my work directly to Adobe Creative Suite, but I don’t own a copy of Adobe Creative Suite because it’s TOO FUCKING EXPENSIVE! The only other option Adobe Draw gives me is to export my artwork as a PNG of suck low quality that I cannot then trace and convert to vector format in any graphics program I have. So I have pretty much quit using Adobe Draw.

So I’m making the switch to Concepts. And I’m hoping that if I spend a lot of time working with it this month, I’ll get pretty good with Concepts.

So that’s what’s up for this month! More drawings tomorrow!

Random Sketches – Pavement Crack Psycho Bird

I’ve been doing some more doodling lately, playing around with using random elements to create a character. Here’s a random crack I found in our road.

Crack in the road

Random crack in the road

And here’s the sketch I made based off that.


Psycho Bird

Psycho Bird from a Crack in the Road

If you don’t see the resemblence to the crack above, that’s because I turned it sideways to do the drawing.

The idea for this little drawing experiment comes from the book Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop with Carla Sonheim. It’s a fun read, lots of creative ideas in it, and yes, you can find the book on Amazon.

The Art Of Doodling

last weekend, our Girl Scout troop worked on the art badge. Some of the girls were worried that they couldn’t draw, so I thought we would try doodling instead. I’ve recently picked up a bunch of books on doodling, Zen Tangles (TM), etc. I love to doodle, and I’ve been spending a lot of time doodling lately. I also picked up a bunch of blank cards with envelops for a really good price, so I spent an afternoon working with the girls on making greeting cards as part of their art badge activities. And I enjoyed that so much, that I decided to finish my card up and send it to mym mom for her birthday. Here are some pics of the artwork in progress.



I lurve DOODLING!!

Last Saturday I think I fractured a rib. Today, my back started going out. Obviously, the school year has started, because I can't recall a school year in recent history that hasn't started with me being sick or injured or both.
But that's okay, because now that the school year has started, it means I can once again indulge in my favorite past-times – watching really bad horror movies on SyFy while doodling and working on webcomics. The image above is the warm-up doodle I did today while watching some abysmal crime against cinema called “Headless Horseman.” It's not a huge piece of art, but I'm glad I can steal some time to doodle and watch bad movies. I can't do that while the kids are home during the summer, so at least there's one good thing about them going back to school.


Work-in-Progress – Adventure of the Heart

Work-in-Progress – “Adventure of the Heart”

I'm too lazy to do much of anything this morning, so I decided to doodle instead. This hopefully looks like Finn from “Adventure Time.” No great dramatic pose, just some doodling and playing with colors and brushes. I'm doing this is SketchClub on my iPad.

Have a fun Sunday morning. I'm finally going to get up and move now.


Flashback Friday! Colorful Cat

"Colorful Cat" by Helen E. H. Madden

“Colorful Cat” by Helen E. H. Madden, colored pencil on paper

I almost didn’t get this post done. I try to do all my posts by Sunday before the week starts; otherwise they likely won’t get done. I’m writing this at 11:20PM on Sunday evening, you’re reading it sometime on Friday. I’m dead tired after a lousy week. I can only hope by the time you read this, things have turned around a bit.

Anyway, enough whining. This page of doodles was a drawing exercise I attempted many years ago. The exercise was listed in a colored pencil drawing book I have, and the point was to draw freehand, with as many colors as I liked, to see how the colors might work together in creating a sense of depth, warmth or coolness, texture, etc.

I love working in colored pencil. I haven’t done it in years, but maybe I’ll be able to change that this year. I have a complete collection of Prismacolor pencils, and I’d love to drag them out, sit down and start coloring. It’s very soothing to just lay down layer after layer of color, and slowly produce a richly colored work of art.

By the way, the cat in that picture is one of my old kitties that passed away a couple years ago. From the pose and the length of fur, I think it may be Lydia. Or it could be Fritti. The color was supposed to give the image life, but I failed to use it to accurately record which cat I was drawing at the time.

Sunday Contentments – Ravencon

I spent the weekend in Richmond at Ravencon, one of my favorite sci fi conventions. Normally, I just go to hang out, but this weekend I ended up working on staff, filling in at the very last minute as volunteer wrangler. It turned out to be a low key job, and I enjoyed it enough to do it again next year. Meanwhile, I got to hang out with lots of friends and in general be a con lobby slug. Perfect weekend indeed.

After I got home, I did a quick robot drawing. Liked this app a lot. It’s called Sketch Club, I believe. This was 10 minutes work.