Drawing Every Week 2018

Drawing of the Week- week 3

It’s been a while since I drew a finalized piece in graphite. Funny, considering that’s all I used to draw with and what I know the best. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been doing them much.

Once I start to get the hang of a new skill, I have a habit of dropping it for something novel. I’m a wannabe jack-of-all-trades. It’s not necessarily bad, but it means I rarely give myself the chance to master anything.

That’s why my blog pots are always jumping around so much from one medium and technique to the next. It won’t stop being that way either; it’s a huge part of how I stay motivated.

But this year I want to focus on improving skills I’m already familiar with, along with everything else. Like drawing in graphite for example.

Thus this drawing:

DEW 3 '18 Hat.jpg

My goal for this was to complete it quickly (well, quickly for me) without worrying about every single little detail. I’ve come to realize that you can obtain realism without that.

This drawing is still really detailed obviously, but you have no idea how much less precise it is. And that’s exactly the point; no one can tell if you missed some details (not even the artist). It’s more about values and proportion etc.

Art projects

How I Layer Colors (in which I draw a bunch of scarves and can’t stop)

I’ve finally recovered from Drawcember everyone!

You know what this means. I’m back to my maddened pace of churning out art. Ahh, it feels so good.

Here’s a project I’ve been working on this week.

Scarves 1


Let’s be honest, these studies are almost just an excuse to use my toned sketchbook more (after those gazelles I couldn’t resist), but I’ve wanted to do them for a while so they’re not quite. They’re partially a study on fabric folds; however, it’s more about practicing my color layering skills. Getting the ‘right’ color when you don’t have it, in other words.

For the moment, these studies are limited to scarves, but I’m enjoying myself so much I think I’ll branch out to other things.


Today I started work on the second page with the scarf below.


             First I added highlights. . . blocked in colors. . . adjusted colors and added shadows 

I started the block-in phase for today’s study with more or less the ‘right’ colors. Reds where red would be, blue where blue would be, etc. But as you can see, I adjusted the colors quite a lot as I moved on. I added blues and greens to red objects, blues and reds to green objects, brown for extra depth as needed.

A huge part realistic coloring involves layering colors that don’t initially appear to belong with the actual color of the subject. Having the ‘perfect’ color from the start and coloring the whole subject with it doesn’t look realistic, it looks cartoonish. Weird, isn’t it.

And even though you can’t always see all of these colors in the final product, they still add dimension and interest to the scarf that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.


The final touches were black pen for the darkest shadows and a white outline to make the scarf pop, as always

There’s something so satisfying about taking all the wrong colors and transforming them, step by step, into just the right shade. It feels a little magical.

Drawing Every Week 2018

Drawing of the Week- week 2

For my drawing this week,  I did some gazelle studies at various levels of completion on my toned paper (which I almost forgot existed).

I can’t believe I haven’t used this toned sketchbook for so long! I think it’s been almost two years or something crazy like that. Odd since I loved working in it so much. Doing those highlights especially. . . so satisfying.

I’ll definitely be working in this sketchbook more in the future.

DEW 2 18 Gazelle

Which is your favorite of these gazelles?

Drawing Every Week 2018

Drawing of the Week- week 1

First drawing of the year! Well, painting technically. I should have named this challenge Art Every Week not Drawing Every Week. I guess we’ll just have to pretend paintings are drawings for the next however many years I do this challenge.

Anyway, for my first painting of the year, I went back to my good old acrylics. Like I’ve said in past posts, I’ve made a lot of improvements with my acrylic painting skills, but as much as I have, there is still a longg way to go.

I especially felt this during this piece. To be honest though, I think a lot of my initial struggle had to do with me not sketching this rose before I painted. How was I supposed to keep track of all those petals? I ended up doing several layers before I gave up and did a sketch overtop everything and followed those lines.

DEW 1 '18 PR1a.png

You should have seen this painting before I did that. It looked a lot worse than this.

Despite the improvement, I still wasn’t satisfied with how the petals were turning out. It was hard to get that subtle shading that I wanted and the highlights were basically invisible next to the oh-so-pale pink of the rose.

And then I thought. . . what if I combine some graphite scribbles onto everything? I’ve done the colored pencil thing a thousand times, never graphite, so why not?

DEW 1 '18 PR2

I really like how it turned out in the leaves (which I already liked to begin with). But once again, those petals stuck out like sore thumbs to me. The graphite was just too strong and it looked too chaotic.

So I took my trusty eraser and, you guessed it, I erased it. Well, partially. I still wanted some of the shading to come through.

DEW 1 '18

And voila!

Not the best thing ever, but I kinda like how it turned out. I probably could have made it a bit better, but I wanted something simple after Drawcember. And let’s be honest, I was rather done with this painting at that point.

Still, it was pretty fun to try (yet another) new technique.

Art projects · Thoughts & notes

2018’s Singular Resolution

As I said last year, I’m not big on New Years Resolutions. You’ve seen the jokes before: New Years Resolutions are practically built to fail and they’re certainly expected to.

But now and again I indulge myself in the endorphin-pumping exercise of creating a bunch of random goals (mostly art related) and you know what, sometimes I’m not half-bad at sticking to them.

Last year for example. I had one resolution: produce one piece of artwork every week of the year. True, I only got 20 weeks in, but that’s if you’re only counting the official ones. I did at least 10 more weeks if you count Inktober and Drawcember and there were a few other drawings here and there. So that’s about 30+ which is over half slightly. I’m totally not bragging, but I think that’s pretty good for a resolution.

Let’s see how far I can go this year. . . Yep, I’m reviving the Weekly Drawing challenge. I need to earn more bragging rights– I mean– get more work done. Yeah.

Once again that’s pretty much my only resolution for this year. My Bucket List, on the other hand, is quite long.

How about you guys, any art resolutions for you this year?

Drawcember 2017 · Thoughts & notes

Drawcember Favorites 2017 (and comparisons)

Happy New Years everyone!

It’s been about a year and a month since I started this blog, and since I started it in December, one of the first things you guys got to see from me was all my Drawcember 2016 pieces. As that was the case, it only makes sense to begin the new year by looking back to where it all started.

So let’s compare Drawcember 2016 to 2017, shall we?

First things first, it’s important to note that I gave myself a lot more freedom this Drawcember, both with the paper and mediums. I could basically do anything I wanted and I let myself do it on far higher quality paper. All the same, I think you can see the improvement.

2016                                                     2017

Two flowers done in colored pencils

A quick pastel piece last year vs. a quick one this year

Here’s two where I don’t think you can see much difference

Two quick and simple birds

For fairness sake, I tried to keep the pieces close together in either time spent, intent/technique, and/or medium.

Now, it’s not that I drastically changed over the year– after all, it is only a year– but it’s more progress than I’ve ever seen in such a short time and for me that’s really encouraging. I’ll probably dive deeper into the ways I’ve improved in my next post, but that’s not the point of today’s one.

The point is. . .

My top 5 pieces for this Drawcember (in chronological order):

Drawcember 1 '17 Lemon tree
Drawcember 1 ’17- oil paint
Drawcember 12 '17 Stag
Drawcember 12 ’17- acrylic paint
Drawcember 18 '17
Drawcember 18 ’17- ballpoint pen
Drawcember 21 '17 Owl
Drawcember 21 ’17- charcoal
Drawcember 30 '17 White rose
Drawcember 30 ’17- colored pencil, watercolor

It was tough choosing my favorites for this Drawcember. My favorites don’t necessarily reflect what I think I did the best job on– though that plays a large role– it’s just what I prefer, which makes it a bit harder of a choice for me.

If you missed out on the rest of Drawcember or if you want a refresher, I snuck in a slideshow here just for you:

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Drawcember 2017

Drawcember Day 31, 2017

I kinda wanted to do something extra special for the end of Drawcember or something, but to be honest, the 31 days have worn me down and I felt like I needed something quick and easy to finish with. Also, it was a Sunday and Sundays are always packed for me already.

You might have noticed I don’t do holiday-themed drawings often, I just do whatever whenever. This one is no exception, but if you want you can pretend this road symbolizes the New Year up ahead and the blurry trees symbolizes how fast time passes or whatever you like, I don’t mind.

Drawcember 31 '17 Road.png

As far as the piece itself, I’m not super happy with how it turned out, other than the road. The road is great. It has those lovely complimentary colors I’ve been using a lot lately and I like how the transition of color turned out and how shiny and colorful it is.

The rest of the picture I’m not ecstatic about. The trees didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted them to begin with and then I smudged everything with a wash of darker color. Silly me. I know gouache reactivates and I knew it was a bad idea. I suppose I could have fixed it, but I didn’t give myself enough time to complete this so I just ended up substituting more washes for colored pencils, putting the distant trees into focus and going to bed.

Oh well. We can pretend they’re just blurry because you’re whizzing past them.