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.

Drawcember 2017

Drawcember Day 30

Yesterday I mentioned the under-developed rose in my last piece. Well, here’s a much better one done in colored pencils with the help of a bit of graphite.

 

Drawcember 30 '17 White rose.png
Unlike my usual colored pencil piece, I didn’t use odorless mineral spirits to blend. For one I was too lazy, for another, I’m running out

I took some creative liberties with this rose, specifically with the colors. The reference photo I was using had a bit of these yellows, greens, blues, and pinks, but I added a lot more than what it showed. The background was also something I decided to do in the spur of the moment.

 

 

Drawcember 2017

Drawcember Day 29

Day 29 of Drawcember. Wow, the days have just flown by. I can’t believe I’ve done 29 pieces already, 30 by the time you read this. (That is, if you read it today.)

For Day 29, I did another piece with my watercolor pencils, this time a still life.

Drawcember 29 '17 Tea.png

I didn’t have a ton of time to do this one, and I think that shows a lot in the rose, but I had fun playing around with cropping the composition. The reference photo had everything placed dead center and as pretty as the rest of it is, it looked kinda boring to me. So I switched it up a bit. I can’t say it’s the best composition– there are a few things I would change now– but it definitely spiced it up more and that’s all I ask.

Drawcember 2017

Drawcember Day 28

After yesterday’s oil painting, I thought I’d take a break and try something simple for a change.

Drawcember 28 '17 Stags.png

I went for this charcoal drawing of some stags (apparently I can’t escape the deer theme).

There’s something about charcoal’s natural that encourages the messy, loose, scribbly side of me. I really should experiment with it more. I think I overlook it a lot because it limits you to black and white (unless you mix it with other mediums, which is always a possibility) and I’m a fan of color.

But I do love my blacks (as I learned during Inktober) and I think I’m starting to love charcoal as well.

 

Drawcember 2017

Drawcember Day 27

 

Like I mentioned on the first day of Drawcember, painting an oil paint all in one layer (painting in one day in other words) is rather intimidating for me.

And that was when I was painting a simple piece with only some tree branches, leaves, and lemons. So you bet I was intimidated when I started this oil painting with a bear, more branches– this time ones that are far from straightforward (pun intended)– and pine needles.

Drawcember 27 '17 Bear.png
Sorry about the slight glare; wet oil paint is practically impossible to photograph

Yep, this piece was a challenge alright.  It didn’t make it any less of one that wet-on-wet oil painting practically forced you to make things impressionistic. Again, like I mentioned on the first day of Drawcember, impressionism isn’t my strong suit and I have to work against my natural tendencies to accomplish it.

As hard as this piece was– and as imperfect– I’m proud of it. Last year I wouldn’t have been able to do this. I wouldn’t have tried it at all for that matter. And if I had, I would’ve quickly stopped. I would’ve been scared by the ugliness of the block-in stage and given up. I wouldn’t have know where to go with it either.

Drawcember 27 '17 Bear WIP

That’s probably the biggest way I’ve improved– going through with things until completion. It might like a small thing, but if you never finish anything, it’s very hard to learn from your experiences; you don’t really have any. My improvement skill-wise is largely thanks to that. And ‘that’ is mostly thanks to challenges like these where I’m ‘forced’ to go through with things.

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to get to a point in your art where you can really feel your improvement. Ahh, it’s such an amazing feeling. Was there a specific point for you guys where you realized just how much you’ve improved?

P.S. As if that wasn’t enough excitement for the day, look what I got to paint on for the first time:

 

Easel.png
My first easel and my first painting on that easel

 

 

Drawcember 2017

Drawcember Day 26

Yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I want to experiment more with mixed media. Well, here you go. This piece was done in ink (the most vibrant colors and cross-hatching), watercolor pencils (the faded colors), and gouache (the highlights).

 

Drawcember 26 '17 Plants

Unfortunately, the camera washed out the colors and this was the closest I could get to the real thing.

Drawcember 2017

Drawcember Day 25

 

Drawcember 25 '17 Raccoon
It’ll be awhile before I’ve ‘mastered’ my technique with water-soluble pencils, but I’m pretty happy with how this turned out

 

It’s not immediately apparent but this raccoon isn’t entirely made up of water-soluble graphite. And even though I want to experiment with mixed media more, my decision to for this piece was more practical than anything else.

You see, as lovely as my water-soluble pencil is, it has a few disadvantages. For one, it’s hard to get to a fine point and that combined with water makes it hard to get/keep fine details. (This piece was no exception) For another, it’s hard to get super dark and it’s hard to avoid over-shading lighter areas. That’s recipe for mediocre contrast.

Here’s where my regular pencils and charcoal come in. For details and lighter shading, the pencils I can get to a super fine point and the charcoal, well. . . it’s super dark.

Combine all three of them and you get really nice darks, precise shading, and a beautiful washy look (with a bonus of random splashes).