Practice Drawing – Cats, cats, and more cats!

I am slowly working my way through the book Craft-a-Doodle, playing with the tutorials for drawing fun little doodles. I got stalled on the exercises in the second chapter though, which was about drawing pugs. The tutorial is very straightforward. The problem is, I didn’t want to draw pugs. To me, pugs seemed to be the signature motif of the artist who wrote the tutorials for that chapter – Gemma Correl. Her pugs are adorable, but they’re also her pugs, and I’m not doing this drawing practice so that I can perfectly imitate anotehr artists.

I opted therefor, to draw cats instead. I know nothing about pugs, but I’ve lived with cats all my life. We have three prime specimens in the house right now, in fact! So, after reading through Gemma Correl’s pug-drawing tutorial, I set baout drawing cats.

The basic idea behind Correl’s pug drawings is that they’re very simple and very cute. Everything is composed of basic shapes, mainly circles and triangles. So I tried to stick to that idea when I drew my cats. However, things didn’t quite workout the way I wanted…

I drew my first cat in Paper on my iPad and immediately ran into problems. Paper doesn’t give me a lot of control over how the tools work. I can pick a tool and I can pick the color to draw or paint with, but I can’t make any adjustments beyond that.  And there’s a definite limit to how far I can zoom in. In some ways, that makes Paper the perfect app for doodling, but in others, I feel crippled by the app. I can’t draw as smoothly as I can in other, more sophisticated apps, nor do I have the tactile advantage of working with more traditional media, like markers and card stock. Anyway, I drew the first cat, and here’s how he turned out.


Okay, he’s not bad, but I wanted to draw him with a thicker line and I didn’t have the option to do that. The result was a scratchy little drawing that just disappeared on the page. Since the lines were so thin, I thought maybe coloring him would help him pop out more. I opted to give him Siamese coloring, and discovered that the watercolor brush in paper has some quirks when it comes to blending and layering colors. Frustrated, I decided to redraw my cat in another app.

Here’s cat number two, drawn in Tayasui Sketches. Again, I did a simple pen drawing with watercolor.


To me, this was even worse. The water color blended better, but I had such limited control over the size of the brush that colors were constantly bleeding into areas where I didn’t want them. Keep in mind, I wasn’t using the pro version, of Sketches, although I did pay to unlock all the features in the version I am using, so I’m not sure what the differences is between the two apps. I also don’t know if the pro version would allow me more control over the brush size. That’s something I’m going to ave to investigate. But the biggest problem I had with Sketches was that it worked sooooooooo slooooooowly on my iPad. There was a definite lag between when I drew a line and when it actually appeared. I don’t know what the problem was, but that’s something else I’ll have to look into.

Anyway, frustrated with both Paper and Sketches, I finally opened up my favorite drawing app, Sketchclub, and drew a cat in that. Sketchclub has a pen tool, excelelnt zooming, panning and rotating capabilities, layers, and shape drawing tools. It doesn’t have water color brushes, but it does have plenty of other tools that I think make up for that. And since at this point I was damned and determined to draw a cat the way I wanted to draw one, I ditched the whole idea of a simple doodle and pulled out all the stops to draw a Siamese cat. And here it is!


Again, not a doodle at all, and the complete opposite of the point I think Gemma Correll was trying to make, but this was the one cat drawing I was happy with, so there you go.

This is not the end of the cat saga, of course. I had not accomplished the goal of the tutorial, and I refused to be beaten by this, but I did set the tutorial aside for a while. I’ll show you the results of round two next week!

Practicing Drawing – Flower Power

Yay! Another blog post! As promised, I have done more practice drawing and I’m ready to share some of the results with you all. Again, I’m working my way through Craft-a-Doodle by Jenny Doh. There is a list of 75 exercises and drawing prompts in this book, gathered from 18 artists. No two artists draw exactly alike, but everyone is focusing on the doodle style of drawing, which I enjoy. Why, you may ask? I’ve always loved to doodle. Doodles are fun little drawings of little or no consequence that I can do any time, on any handy scrap of paper. And because they’re of little or no consequence (i.e. I’m not making art to sell), I don’t feel a lot of pressure when I scribble away at them. I don’t need to carefully pencil my doodles, I can just go straight to ink (always my favorite part of drawing comics). I can use any colors without worrying about the overall color scheme of an entire comic strip. I don’t have to worry about scripting anything, and I don’t even have to think about whether what I’m drawing makes any sense. So doodling is a judgement-free zome for me!!!

Or at least it should be. The one thing I find my self struggling with as I go through these exercises is to not use the undo button. Again, I’m drawing these using Paper 53 on my iPad. Paper is a pretty basic drawing app with some decent natural media style tools, but they’re not the most precise tools, and I have no control over the size of the brush tips, the opacity of the color I lay down, or much of anything else. I can zoom in to work on something, but not as far as I’m used to doing in a drawing app. So, I’m using some pretty basic tools with very limited control, and I am making a lot of mistakes as I draw, which I hate. And what happens every time I make a mistake? I hit the undo button, which goes entirely against what I’m trying to accomplish with my practice drawing.

I don’t want to be perfect when I draw. I want to be good, and I want to get faster, which means learning to deal with mistakes and accept them as they happen, instead of bogging down the whole drawing process by constantly undoing my work in an attempt to make it perfect. I’m having to fight with myself not to hit the undo button, and even then, sometimes I can’t live with the line I’ve just drawn or the color I just put down, and instead of just making it work, or accepting it and moving on, I undo and undo and undo and undo…

Ugh. It’s infuriating. But one habit I need to break is hitting that undo button, so that’s why I’m doing this drawing practice.

Okay, enough yakking. Time for a couple of pics. The exercises I worked on this week had me making  sprays of flowers and drawing more elaborate stylized flowers. I love drawing flowers, so I enjoyed this week. Here are two of the drawings I produced.

Floral Spray

BeeYOUtiful Roses


Fancy Flower

Fancy Flower


I did take a little time with the second one to pick out the colors I wanted to use. I’m fussy about colors and I wanted colors for this that would contrast well but still work together. I like the final product. It reminds me of 1970s kitchen wall paper for some reason. That or Pennsylvania Dutch decor.

After playing around with flowers on the iPad, I decided to try drawing on ACTUAL PAPER with ACTUAL PENS AND MARKERS. Here’s how that turned out!

Floral Card

It”s a greeting card!


I have so much more control over actual paper and pen, and I had no problems not undoing anything I did on this card because THERE WASN’T ANY UNDO BUTTON!!!

Anyway, that’s this week’s drawing practice. I hope you like it. If you’re curious about the book Craft-a-Doodle, you can get it here.

Practicing Drawing – Lovely Ladies

So I mentioned the other day that I was going to start blogging about my drawing practice. I honestly don't believe I do enough drawing, and I want to change that. I have several books in my library that offer exercises for drawing and doodling, and so I've decided to work through at least part of each book and share the results here.

The book I'm starting with is Craft-a-Doodle by Jenny Doh. I love doodling. It's a painless way to practice drawing because I don't feel so emotionally invested in the process of drawing, yet once it's done, I'm usually pretty happy with the end results. I think it's that idea that “it's just a doodle” that allows me to relax and draw. Unlike when I'm working on the webcomic. I tend to get way too tense and judgemental then.

I've worked my way through the first chapter in Craft-a-Doodle. Each chapter is made up of prompts and exercises by a different artist. Chapter one offers exercises by Cori Dantini, including drawing faces, owls, and flowers. The exercises are pretty straight-forward, but the results are great! Here the doodles I did for this chapter:

Lovely Ladies

Lovely Ladies

 

Owls

Owls

 

Flowers

Flowers

I drew these on my iPad, using Paper51. It's a nice app with some decent natural media tools. It's not the best app for drawing, but it does have the advantage of a notebook format, allowing me to keep a group of drawings together.

I plan to work through the next chapter over the course of the week, and have another update next Tuesday!

 

Krampus Challenge – Day 20, Three Elf Heads Are Better Than One!

 

Shrunken Elf Heads!

Ta-daa! A trio of shrunken elf heads!

 
I managed to get these three finished today. I’m very pleased with how they turned out. They’re a very simple project, but even simple projects take a bit of planning and thought.  I experimented a bit with each elf hat to determine exactly how I wanted to make it. Small things – like crocheting in the front loop only on the bottom row – make it easier to assemble the final product.

I also noticed a few things about the yarn I used for these. For the most part, I went with Red Heart. Red Heart has plenty of shades of green and red, and some of the greens are perfect for making zombies. However, some of these yarns were more difficult to work with than others. Some of the reds had a stiffer feel to them, making them harder to stitch. One of the heads I made with Vanna’s Choice, which is one of my favorite yarns to make toys and amigurumi with. The difference between your basic Red Heart and Vanna’s Choice is very noticeable. Vanna’s Choice is much softer and easier to use. But it’s also more expensive, so there’s that to take into account.

I also did a little sketch today of my little shrunken elf heads.

 

Elf Heads Sketch!

This is exactly what our tree looks like right now.

 
I drew this in a book called “Never Quit Drawing,” by Laura Simms, illustrated by Kerby Rosanes. The little duck and snail critters at the lower left of this sketch are Rosanes’ work, as is the pencil at the top of the page. The rest of the artwork is all mine. The idea behind “Never Quit Drawing” is to establish a daily drawing habit. The book guides you through the process of developing habits in general, and looking at how drawing habits affect an artists work in particular. After each chapter, there are pages for the reader to draw on, with a spot to write down the time of day the drawing was done, and the mood/energy level of the artist. Obviously, i wasn’t feeling my best this morning (see the note on “tired, joint pain’). But i did get my drawing done for today.

TTomorrow, I hope to finish off the second Krampus Raven and maybe get started on a Ginger-Dead Man ornament. We’ll see how it goes.

I Love Drawing Comics!

Hubster pencils!

Hubster is sooooo cute!

I have slowly learned over time that when I am sloppy drawing pencils, I actually get the penciling done faster, and better, than when I agonize over the details. There was actually another layer of VERY sloppy sketching with this snippet, but I accidentally deleted it once I had the pencil lines I actually wanted. Oh well! Maybe when I do more penciling tomorrow, I’ll be able to show it then!

November Drawing – Day 30, Finishing “Time”

I took this drawing as far as I could go in the Concepts app…

 

What a way to end the month!

 
I have exported the SVG of this to work on in Corel Draw. I don’t know if I’ll get to him this week, but I think I can finish the Pirate Queen. And I will continue to work on the other mermaid I started at some point before 1 January.

Considering that my main goal this month was to draw every day, I’m very pleased. I finished up 4 drawings on the iPad, and have a 5th drawing about 3/4th finished. I do believe I got the hang of the Concepts app. It helps that they released a major update at the beginning of the month.

Today I also found out that Indeeo’s Graphic app also had a major update. Graphic is another vector app that I use, though I haven’t played with it much lately. That’s going to change! Indeeo added the ability to  draw tapered vector strokes using a variety of brushes. Add to this that Graphic has a text tool, complex shape tool, alignment tools, SVG export and import, and other nice features, I’m thinking that Graphic is going to become one of my go-to programs from now on. And did I mention it plays nice with Concepts? Yeah, going to use those two apps a LOT from now on.

As for Adobe Illustrator Draw, I will be abandoning that app. They just did a nother big update today, and still no SVG export. I doubt they will ever add that option back in, and that stinks. I paid for the original app, paid to unlock the layers and SVG export features, and now I have drawings on there that I can’t do a damn thing with because I can’t export them as SVG UNLESS I OWN A COPY OF A PROGRAM I CAN’T AFFORD AND DON’T WANT TO BUY ANYWAY. I will export low-res PNGs of my work from there so I can redraw them in either Graphic or Concepts. It’ll be a lot of work, but it will be worth it.

So that’s the end results for November Drawing! Tomorrow we start work on December’s Krampus theme. YAY!

November Drawing – Day 29, Flat Colors for “Time” Finished

 

Flat colors!

I have no idea why I chose these colors, but they seem to work.

 
I am hoping that tomorrow I can finish off any detail coloring on this one. Then I’ll spend the rest of the week fniishing off the red-haired mermaid I started at the beginning of the month (yes, I am STILL detailing her hair). When I get that done, I’ll clean up all the drawings from this month. I plan to offer at least four of them as prints. I have a Society 6 shop, but I also have a Zazzle shop. I’m thinking of closing the Society 6 shop and just moving everything over to the Zazzle shop. I don’t really have the time to manage multiple shops, and the greeting cards I sell do well on Zazle, so I think it would be best to consolidate there. I’ll be taking a look at both shops this week to see.

Anyway, tomorrow is the last day for this challenge, and then I move on to the “Krampus” challenge for December. Fun times ahead, people! Fun times indeed 🙂

November Drawing – Day 27, Drawing “Time”

I decided to see if I could squeeze in one more drawing this month. 

Just one more drawing this month!

I think I will call this “The Fly of Time.”

 

I think this was kind of sort of inspired by the latest trailer for “Alice Through The Looking Glass,” but I wasn’t really consciously thinking of it when I started drawing. I was just thinking about what it would be like to have one really big giant eye. A really big giant clock for an eye.

I did the pencil sketch in Sketch Club on my iPad, then imported that into Concepts. I love Sketch Club for sketching quick pieces but also for more involved digital painting. I’m thinking that sometime in the next couple months I may do a painting challenge.

Meanwhile I’m looking ahead to next month’s challenge. I’ve decided that for December the challenge will be “Krampus.” I want to do a series of projects related to Krampus – drawings, Krampus cards, ornaments for my personal Krampus tree, and maybe a few Krampus related gifts. I’ll be crocheting, doing computer graphics, sewing, and who knows what else. We’ll find out next month!

November Drawing – Day 26, I’m thankful for a cleaned up SVG!!

I did it!! I managed to clean up the Victorian Mermaiden this morning!

Pretty, pretty Mermaiden!

Oooooh, so cleaned up and pretty!

It took a few hours of work, but I think I managed to make this look really nice! I created a custom brush stroke to use on the inking lines, and then had to fiddle with the settings for a while to get a stroke that wasn’t too thick. It helped that I scaled the drawing up by 250%, but was able to keep the stroke width of the inking from scaling up with it!

See the difference between the before and after images!

Sad mermaiden drawing...

No line variation, just thick heavy clunky lines!

Happy mermaiden!

MUCH better! The lines look like ink strokes, and the colors look nicer too!

I spent a lot of time playing with the colors. The background frame really gave me trouble. The original colors were way too dark, but I wanted to have a strong contrast between the frame and the mermaiden. So when the dark colors weren’t working, I went in the opposite direction. Lightening up the frame made a huge difference!

I still want to add a few touches to the background frame, but this one is pretty close to done. Yay!