Category: Illustration

5-Step Drawing Walkthrough!

Today is many things: Daniel Boone Day, National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, and National VCR Day.

It is also the day I got around to a walk-through of the illustration below.

 

^ Here’s the final drawing. Click to make it bigger.

If you’re interested in reading and playing along, grab some paper, ballpoints, cheap watercolors, crayons/colored pencils, a Sharpie, and white acrylic paint.

Or you can just read, which is totally easier and involves practically zero effort. It’s what I typically do with other people’s tutorials. I toss cool ideas in the junk drawer of my skull. (Sometimes they even find their way back out.)

Here we go.

^ Optional prep work: Find a reference. You can draw from your imagination if you want, but I often use Flickr Commons (copyright-free images), Sktchy (a phone app, more info here), or Reddit Gets Drawn for starting points.

^ 1. Ballpoint. I used the girl’s face as a reference. Once I was done with the face, the page felt empty, so I drew some other crap. A Minnie Mouse thing happened.

^ 2. Watercolor. I used the source portrait to choose face colors. Afterward, I tried to carry those colors into the rest of the page.

I use a cheap-ass palette like this. It’s quick, easy, and under $5. I guess if I ever grow up, I’ll use the nice ones people have given me.

^ 3. Highlights & lowlights. The watercolor mushed everything into a mid-tone. I added white acrylic touches for highlights. A permanent marker delineated the blackest areas.

^ 4. Screw around. I felt like I needed to make the image more “interesting.” Sometimes doing this irrevocably fucks everything up.

I tried some color-changing crayons I bought on a whim at Target, and they were total trash. They were too waxy and kept snapping. They are dead to me now. After abandoning those crayons, I switched to tri-tone colored pencils my brother got me. They’re a million times better.

You can use anything you want for this part, or skip it altogether.

 ^ 5. Final touches. I went back in with white acrylic and dialed the background back. The “hero” of the piece was mouse-girl, not all that psychedelic dicking around.

You could argue that doing all that work in the background, then painting over it, is pointless. However, I think that the light variation in the background makes it much more interesting than just nothingness.

In Photoshop, I touched up the dark spots in the dress and on her cheek. They’re two small area tweaks, but this isn’t quite the drawing in my physical sketchbook. (See digression below).

I also made the image square so it’d turn out correctly in Instagram and back in Sktchy. (Gotta share it, especially with the girl who was the source material!)

Done!

Thanks for following along! Feel free to join me for a discussion below.

And now for a digression: Is Photoshop “cheating”? Should drawings be presented online exactly as they are in real life? Is the drawing I’ve presented here a “lie”?

When I was in college, a professor told us that our work would be seen online 99% of the time.

Most people are going to catch your latest creations on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, whatever. They’re never going to know you flubbed that line or fucked over your color scheme unless you tell them. The original work can be like me in middle school — untouched, unseen, unneeded. (I went through a really prolonged Ugly Duckling stage.)

I think that the most important thing is to show everyone whatever your vision is. If your materials or your hands betray you, that shouldn’t stop you from expression. So sure, fix those colors. Erase bits. Rearrange things. Split it apart and smash it back together. You aren’t entering the “I Did This By Hand And No Photoshop Came Into Play” contest.

Or are you? If so, ignore this part, you Cheaty McCheat-Pants. You’re a horrid person.

5 Portraits I Made Once I Started Drawing Again

I stopped drawing for a while.

My after-work time became half-watching TV while absently scrolling through the Internet.

I didn’t even want to draw. I thought things like:

What’s the point of creativity? Who’s benefiting from this? Am I really contributing anything to the world by bothering?

Was I just telling myself that I was “creative” to fill up the emptiness from a childhood spent memorizing my ceiling’s texture instead of going outside?

Was “creativity” a consolation prize for failing in every single other way?

What if I wasn’t even that good?

What if I was the William Hung of drawing?

Sounds like depression, right?

So I did all the things you’re supposed to do:

I reconfigured the way I ate. I took up exercising almost every day before work. I touched up my wardrobe. I lost 15 pounds.

My sketchbooks lay empty. My blog collected dust.

If I wasn’t “creative,” who was I?

The situation was turning into a sloppy existential crisis.

Time for medical intervention.

My doctor recommended taking a class. He knew that: 1) I tend to do things I’ve paid for, and 2) I can’t resist an academic challenge. I’d follow through.

Sketchbook Skool seemed like a great alternative to taking a class in real life. I like Danny Gregory’s blog, so signing up for one of his classes sounded pretty good.

I was so rusty, and busy with all that exercise, that I’m still not quite done with the class (even though it’s technically been over for a while), but it did get me rolling again. Drawing. Painting. Exploring zines. (I still haven’t made one, but I have some ideas.) Playing.

It’s nice, and I hope it sticks around.

5 Acrylic-Infused Sketchbook Spreads! Plus a digression about Laika the Space Dog that’s actually sort of depressing. Sorry about that.

It’s a beautiful Friday! Let’s celebrate with some sketchbook pages.

I can’t draw snails. I don’t even think I have a good idea in my head of how they’re supposed to work. They’re one of the Universe’s weirder offerings. Who came up with  that crap?

Looking at you, Darwin. What niche could that possibly be filling? The “crazy slimy bullshit with an impossible-to-draw shell” demographic?

I draw; then I paint; then I draw some more, just in case. My favorite part of this spread is the upper right corner. I love the dog astronaut.

Speaking of dog astronauts: do you want to be depressed? If yes, read the Wikipedia article Laika the Russian Space Dog. It contains heretofore-unknown horrors. I had not known those horrible facts about that poor animal, its conditions, or its death.

If you’re okay with the way your day was, actually, skip ahead to the next spread and its pithy title.

 

I call this spread “Furries: After Dark.”

Read More 5 Acrylic-Infused Sketchbook Spreads! Plus a digression about Laika the Space Dog that’s actually sort of depressing. Sorry about that.

These 5 sketchbook spreads will make you more stupid.

“Do male Medusas go bald?” 

You can’t un-read that dumb-ass question.

Space Banksy says: “I flew millions of light years to leave my art in your craps!” 

What if crop circles are “real”? Are they the equivalent of a teenager with a can of spray paint?

Are crop circles left by cosmic assholes who are actively disappointing their parents?

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world. But I’m a vegan.” 

To extend the animal metaphor, you can’t win the rat race if you’re not in it. But who wants to be a rat, anyway?

Why are all of the metaphors about getting ahead always animal-based? What does that say about the nature of success? That we lose our humanity to achieve it?

I know. That’s something a nihilistic 14-year-old boy would say.

 

 

Ninja Turtle to Squirrel: “… Dad?”
Squirrel: “Oh hell no. I always use condoms.” 

At what point did Splinter have to tell his kids that they were adopted?

Or did they figure it out on their own?

Donatello: “There’s no one in the universe that Pops could’ve banged to make us come out.”
Raphael: (storms out, breaks stuff)
Leonardo: I’ll go after him, I guess.
Michaelangelo: I’m going to eat my feelings. It’s a 3-pizza kinda day.

Ghosting: “I’m not going to text you back.” 

Was ghosting started by Casper-being passive-aggressive to his girlfriend?

Does your skull hurt from just skimming your eyes over that question?

I hope you found your visit to my sketchbook fun, if not intellectually enlightening.

5 Collage-Infused Sketchbook Spreads, Psychologically Examined

Sometimes I look at blank pieces of paper and hiss “stop stressing me out.”

I take them and slap some ripped-up magazines or whatever on top so that insidious whiteness can’t assault me any more. Then I usually glue or draw figures on top, because every page winds up needing some kind of character living on it. Abstraction never feels right on its own.

There are people out there who specialize in looking at what artists choose to draw and draw inferences (pun intended) accordingly.

“If you sketch weird or ugly faces, you are probably mistrustful.”

Uh-oh.

“One who is sensitive to living creatures, the type of animal is a great deal about the mood of the doodler and often the type that the person wants to be (ex: tiger means desire to be courageous, snake means sneaky).” What does a snake crawling out of a totem pole man-bird mean?

“Drawing Several Flowers in Order: desire to see sense of family/togetherness.” (source) What does that mean? And what happens if the flowers are the tail of some kind of ragweed-nightmare mermaid?

Drawing food allegedly indicates “need for love, desire to be filled up, of course it might indicate hunger/thirst.” (source) Hunger/thirst? Yep. I’m always starving.

My choice to draw a hermit crab means “slowness, lack of self-confidence, more introverted tendencies.” (source). True enough!

“Creating spontaneous cartoons aids in information processing. Doodlers who are able to portray emotion in simple drawings are great at discerning customer experience and behavior.” (source) False.

Hit and miss, but pretty interesting anyway!

May you all find deep psychological truths in your illustrations, Internet.