Practice Drawing – Cats, Part Deux

When last we talked about drawing practice, our intrepid artist (i.e. Me) was struggling to doodle the purrfect cat! Ha ha! I’m so funny!

But seriously, I was not happy after my first attempt at doodling a cat. It was supposed to be a simple doodle exercise, and I couldn’t do it. My first thought was that the apps I was using to doodle were not adequate to the job, but these were apps designed for doodling! So I got to thinking, maybe the problem wasn’t the apps. Maybe the problem was that I was overthinking the doodle. I wanted something that looked like a cat, but maybe I was trying to hard too draw a cat, an actual cat as I would see it in my mind.  Maybe I just needed to really get back to the basics.

So that’s what I did. The Paper app actually has a tool that changes my squiggly lines into nice shapes. It’s cheating in a way, because I’m relying on the tool to make the shape rather than my own skill, but drawing precise shapes on an iPad can be tricky, so let’s just acknowledge that I took the best approach to the problem and move on. With the shape tool selected, I started drawing basic shapes – ovals, circles, triangles – and used those to make a few cats.  Here are the results.

I really like these cats! Even though they’re simple shapes, they have personality. And look at their expressions! They’re so cute and goofy! These are the cats that exemplify the simpilicy that I think was the point of the the doodle exercise in Craft-A-Doodle

So I got that exercise done and then I tried the next – making a flag with my doodled pet. Again, the exercise in Craft-A-Doodle suggested drawing a pug, but I love cats, so I drew a cat flag, again using the simple shapes tool in the Paper app on my iPad.

Yep, I even managed to make this kitty a Siamese!

However, I still wanted to see if I could draw cats free-form, without relying on the shape tool in Paper. So I took another stab at it and here’s what I came up with:

These cats are a little different, but they still rely on basic shapes. This time, though, the whole body is a basic shape – rectangle, triangle, oval. And finally, finally, I feel like I really got the point of the exercise. Stick to the basics. Don’t overthink things. Don’t try to hard. And that’s a lesson I think I really need to learn.

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 – 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







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.