3/29: Day 8
Played around today with ballpoint pen and sketched a little chicken. I love shading with ballpoint pen, it’s challenging but fun at the same time. I think I’ll continue on this trend of drawing cartoony animals with pen.
3/30 Day 9
I wanted to practice line shading with a Micron pen today. This is something I’ve been trying to grasp for years and still feel like I don’t get really get it. I found a little robot on Pinterest to inspire my drawing.
A little note about copying other artists- there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to this. All artists copy others in some form, especially when they’re first starting out, it’s how you learn. Trying to replicate what another artist did helps you to become a better artist. This is okay in my book as long as you give a nod to the original art and acknowledge that it’s not your idea. You can fill your sketchbooks all day long with copies of other artworks, what you can’t do is try to sell that work or pass it off as your own. Make it, learn from it, and use it to help you develop your own style and your own ideas.
Here’s the image I used as inspiration, made by Brandon Fayette.
3/31 Day 10
Last day of March! This has been a tough month and I’m pretty glad to say goodbye to it honestly.
Today’s daily draw was this grumpy little cat. I’m trying use this daily drawing time to hone my skills and a lot of that means tackling things that have always given me trouble. There’s so much that I never learned about shading, and have always just kind of gotten by on winging it. All told, I really haven’t taken that many drawing classes and I know there’s still so much to learn.
I do fine with shading when drawing something I’m looking at in real life because I can literally see the highlights and shadows. But when I’m drawing something from my mind I can see the shapes and lines in my head but not the shades, so I make them up on the page. I think I did all right with this cutie but it’s still something I want to work on more.
4/1 Day 11
When I was a kid I got a book that showed how to draw Disney characters step by step. I tried and tried and TRIED to draw the characters just like in the book and I just couldn’t. It wasn’t for lack of effort or motivation. I desperately wanted to draw just like Walt Disney. The problem was I was 8 years old, with about 4 years of drawing experience under my belt, my only training being once a week art class with a teacher who left much to be desired. And I was comparing myself to illustrators who had 20+ years of experience and training at the most exclusive art schools in the country.
When it comes down to it, you can’t possibly ever fairly compare the two. What my 8 year old brain couldn’t understand is that it was just not physically possible for me to be at that calibre yet. YET. I was defeated before I even picked up a pencil. I wish someone had explained this to me, or rather, I wish art books did a better job of teaching. And this isn’t even skimming the surface of my issues with art books.
Why do we so desperately want to draw something JUST LIKE someone else did? Why is that the measure of success?
In no other world is making exact copies of something considered a pride point. And artists train for years to be able to make art exactly like the masters, then they have to go back and train again to learn how to develop their own style so they’re different and unique. Why can’t we start off different and unique and go from there?
Obviously I’m frustrated. I have dozens of art books lining my shelves and very few of them encourage the artist to find their own voice, make things their own way, and use the guides as a jumping off point. No wonder so many beginning artists, both children and adults alike, are frustrated from day one.
All this to say, If you’re picking up a drawing pencil for the first time since elementary school, you can’t compare yourself and your work to professional artists who’ve trained for decades. This is something I’m still coming to terms with too. I see incredible works of art and want to make something JUST LIKE THAT but my brain and my hands don’t cooperate. Because I’m not there yet. YET. But I will be. With time and with practice.
Today’s draw is a little cartoon dog that popped into my brain outta nowhere. Maybe it’s a relic from my 8 year old mind.
4/2: Day 12
I’ve always had an incredibly hard time drawing trees. I can easily draw many things found in nature but trees have always confounded me. They’re so simple yet so complex, and you can capture them with just a few lines, but only if you put them in just the right places.
Today I decided to do some free form tree doodles to get a little practice. I went straight for the pen with this doodle, I didn’t want to get caught up in trying to make every tree perfect, just to make as many different kinds as I could.
It was fun and I feel like I learned a lot but still have so very far to go.
4/3: Day 13
Today’s draw is a little mushroom creature. I started making these guys out of clay last summer, and created a whole pile of them but never got around to firing or glazing them. I still want to but I haven’t been in the ceramics studio for 9 months. I drew this little guy with pencil then used colored pencils to shade him in.
4/4: Day 14
A quick little chicken sketch today. Drawing chickens is comforting and easy for me, which is what I needed today. I’m extremely tired and really just needed easy to start my day.
All told this week was pretty tough to get through. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to make these drawings amazing and put ALL the effort into them and definitely missed a few days when life got busy with funerals and baby showers. I’m still working on making this a habit, and it will take time, and I’m also going to have to find ways to fit it into my life even when it’s busy.