A very, very happy Tuesday to you. I am happy because my exercise for the day is done and I am free now to write this blog and then I get to draw all day! I know some of you will recognise this picture because I know the fabulous Lisa Clough has drawn it, giving it her own unique twist, but I wanted to do it for two reasons. First one being that I have loved this photo ever since the moment I saw it, the colours and the composition just make me want to draw it. The second reason is that I did draw it about a year ago when I began my journey with colored pencils, and I really like the idea of comparing my progress (or not!) over the course of a year. And this is a particularly interesting piece for me to use as a comparison as this was the first piece that I completed that I really liked - liked enough to put on my wall. I am a little scared that I won't see progress, but that is the purpose of this blog for me.
The first picture shows my first day's work. Not much to show I know!
The picture below shows day 2. This is where I began to lose confidence! It happens easily to me! The background looks so pale and grainy and I am starting to feel concerned that it will not look nice and spoil the picture. It looks like scribble. I definitely started looking longingly at the back of the cupboard - the space for the artwork of no return! But I am going to give myself another day on it and see if a miracle happens!
So there you have it. My dodgy looking artwork, shared with the world! If you want to check out my completed artworks please visit my shop, link below. I hope I am not the only one who has these confidence crises'? If you are having one too, you can know that you are not alone! You will see what happened to my bee at the end of the week (and as I write, its fate is not decided!), in the meantime, happy drawing!
Well good morning a happy Tuesday to the world! And I am bouncing off the walls I have been so excited about this piece. I am loving it and all its challenges! I am enjoying creating a white animal far more than I thought I would. I am constantly amazed at how happy little things make me and quite thankful too, as there are little things every day to be happy about. Anyway, I really wanted to show you this first photo because it clearly shows what I say about white rarely being white. You can see the white of the paper on the right hand side and see just how much whiter that is than the horses head. There are actually just one or two tiny bits of the mane that I have kept very white. I have also begun to work on the muzzle and you can see now that the ear that looked so dark in my last post now needs to go a little darker.
Haaaaapppy Friday! I am so happy today, for no particular reason. But who needs a reason to feel happy? And I am so excited because I have started my new piece. The White Horse. Now I have a few secrets to share with you. I have never drawn a horse before, not ever! Well, maybe once when I was about twelve, but that is so long ago I have forgotten all about it! So, no horses. Nor have I ever drawn an all white animal! After my experience with Splodge and talking to a friend on Instagram, I thought it was time to take the white challenge head on. And just to really throw myself in at the deep end, I have never drawn anything metallic before - and this horse has gold and diamanté and a chain (which I am dreading attempting, but in a fun kind of way!). Anyway, I am telling you this so that I can't chicken out and I have to at least try and do it. No horses, no white animals, no metal.
A very, very happy Tuesday morning to the world. I love this time of day. Of course getting out of bed at 4am is not fun, but once I am up there is something so peaceful about the very early morning. I feel like I am alone with the world. We had lots of gorgeous rain over the weekend - I even managed to go for a walk in it. Which I love. Everything smells so beautiful (there is a word for that gorgeous smell, petrichor, I find that exciting, which is probably sad, but oooh! The smell of rain!). Anyway, we are back to our usual sunshine and I have begun a new project, but I really wanted to share with you some lessons I have learned. After my last post, I was going to stop and call it a day. But I can't, can I? So I decided to go back and have one more attempt. Now I am not sure how much difference you can see, but I am a lot happier with him. So there is one lesson. Don't give up! If you are not happy keep layering.
The second lesson of course, is to pick your reference photo wisely and don't be swayed by a nice pair of eyes! Really look at those photos, if there are bits that you can't make out, are you going to be able to make up the detail? Are there blurry parts that won't look good when converted to pencil? Are there bits in the photo that you are not sure what they are? Because if you are not sure what you are seeing in a photo, you definitely won't have a clue when you come to draw it? Worse still are there bits of a photo that look a bit odd? I drew some cute ducklings once, I loved them, but on the photo one little duckling appeared to have a really big foot because of the reflection of the water. Now I looked at that photo and that foot and thought it looked odd. So why did I copy the reference photo exactly? Because I thought I should! And I ended up with a drawing of a duckling with a giant foot! Now you might look at a photo and try to work it out and accept it. But you look at a piece of art and wonder why the artist didn't notice the monstrous foot? So big lesson learned there. If it looks odd in the photo - DON'T DRAW IT!
The last thing I have learned from this picture is that sometimes things look better from a distance. This picture whilst not being my favourite close up has turned out to be my favourite picture when put on a wall. It looks gorgeous. Unfortunately, I can't demonstrate that for you via a screen. I am looking at him now with his nice black mat surrounding him and he looks so good. And of course, from a distance is how we normally view a picture. So as with many things in life, instead of stepping in too close and viewing all the tiny imperfections, we need to stand back and see the whole picture.
Splodge is available to buy now in my shop as prints, phone cases, gorgeous tote bags and more. Link below.
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Hello and a very happy Friday to the world. I had really not intended to blog today, but as you know if you read my previous post I have been having issues with poor Splodge. So I thought I would like to tell you about it, because, hey! not enough artists discuss the fact that sometimes things don't quite work out as we want them to. I should have heeded my own lesson from the leopard. I guess I like to learn the hard way. I like detail and my reference photo was missing loads of detail and I am no good at making it up. So why did I still go with it? Because I liked his beautiful eyes. But they are not compensating for what I cannot see, all the lovely fur texture and the colors that I know should be in there. I am looking at my work and thinking, 'ugh!'. The eyes are good, although they still need more work. The rest I am working and working and I feel no happier. But I am telling you this because I want to say to everyone, we all have bad days, we all learn lessons the hard way sometimes. I know I will never get this picture as I want it to be. Am I going to bin it? No! I am going to finish it and teach myself to be far more choosy about my reference photos in future. Just because I like one aspect of a photo does not make it a good reference photo, not for my style of work anyway.
I have done another day's work on him since the shot above. The reason for this blog is to share my learning journey, so you get the bad as well as the good. This photo is actually three days of work. The strange thing is, this picture looks much better from a distance. I keep walking past and thinking, actually, it is not so bad. Then I take a closer look and go, 'blah!'. Worse still I don't know how to fix it! I will one day, but too late for little Splodge. So I suppose I am saying, it is okay. It is part of the journey. Dust myself off and move on! I hope whatever you are working on is going well for you....but if not, finish it and learn your lesson! And have a wonderful weekend wherever you are.
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Hello and the happiest of Thursday's to the world. Sometimes you just feel good! Today I feel really good! Never mind that it is 4am, I have a mug of wonderful, strong black coffee and once the exercise etc. is out of the way, a day to spend drawing. I have wanted to draw Splodge for a very long time. He has the most amazing eyes which I really hope I can capture. But I also know he will be a challenge, he is a black and white cat, and in the reference photo both the black and white parts show very little detail. If I did not love his eyes so much I would never have used this photo. But his eyes are like luminous, green marbles with that wonderful cat intensity, and I am a sucker for eyes. Interestingly, to me anyway, one eye is much darker and greener than the other.... dilemma created. Do I make them as they are? Or do I make them the same? I often have this debate. We take photos as truth without question (although we really shouldn't these days), but in art often what would be accepted without question in a photo can appear to be a mistake. If I show the difference in the eyes will it look like I just couldn't match them? I have started work on them as you can see below. At the minute I am leaving them different, although I think the difference is quite subtle in this shot.
Doesn't it look messy too? I have to be really honest with you, at this point I felt a kind of artistic panic hit me. I was not - still am not certain - that I can make this photo look good. I find my confidence is very easily shaken. I began working some of the black fur around the eyes to see if it made me feel better. It made me feel worse! There is no detail in the photo and I feel out of my depth. I nearly binned the piece. I am actually one day behind on my blog, so you will see tomorrow what happened next. Whether he will be finished or not is still it certain, but I think I wanted to share this with you because it is so easy to see what others do and think it is easy for them, or that it always goes well for them, but in reality I think we all have pieces that don't go as we want them to. We need to remember that people only tend to share what they are happy with and the pieces that didn't go so well are put out of sight somewhere to be forgotten about, even by them! I am sure even the great masters must have had a piece or two stuffed behind a cupboard somewhere! So if things go wrong now and again for me as a mere mortal , and new to this stuff as well, it is hardly surprising!
Anyway, today is a new day and I have fresh eyes to assess what I am doing. Enjoy your Thursday wherever you are. And don't let the things that don't quite go as you wanted, artistically or otherwise, knock your confidence. Happy drawing!
Well, a happy, happy wet and rainy Monday morning to the world! More rain! Yippee! We only have a half of a storage barrel left to fill and we will have filled everything we have. And very grateful our little garden will be when the temperatures are on the wrong side of 100f later in the year. Today I get to start a new project and you get to see the final work in progress shot of the Secretary Bird. He has been a long time in the making, he has also been quite a challenge to me with all the different feather textures, especially the head feathers which were quite different to anything that I have worked before.
So, that is all for me this morning. I am so excited to be starting a new project, which will be Splodge the cat, you know, because he has great eyes. It always seems to come back to the eyes for me and you will start to notice I tend to alternate feathers and fur. It keeps my interest levels high, as does changing the colors I work with. Have a wonderful Monday wherever you are. I am off to get soaked filling rain barrels before starting my gorgeous cat with the most amazing green eyes. Hopefully there will be something worth showing you in the morning!
I can't believe I am saying that... Part 6! I KNEW this was an eight day project when I began, so I shouldn't really be surprised, but I am! Welcome to the weekend! It's Friday! I should hopefully be finishing this bird today. I hope I am not boring you all to death with my slow progress, but that is also one of the things that I really would like to get across, it is a sloooow medium. When I show you a day's work, it really is just that, a full day of work, not a couple of hours in the evening. When I say it requires patience, I mean it. And there is really not much that you can do to speed up the process unless you want to go down the mixed media route - airbrushing, under painting, gel pens, Copic markers etc. But the slowness is something that I have also learned to love. I have never been a very patient person and I am certainly learning patience. And while I know some people get tempted to rush parts when it is so slow, I find it has a reverse effect on me. I know a piece is going to take many days and if I have already put in several days work I would not want to ruin all that effort and have wasted all that time by trying to take some silly short cut. Knowing the investment in time pushes me to try and do my absolute best over every square inch of paper. And that in turn results in improvement in my work. I want to look at each piece and be able to say that it is better than my last. Comparing ourselves with others is futile, but we can compare ourselves as we are now, with what we were, and that is a great motivator, wherever we are on our artistic journey.
The latest shot above shows how work has begun properly on the feathers of the body. These feathers are beautiful, all different and moving in various ways and I am trying really hard to capture that. The background is still being darkened and there are now five different shades of green in it. I am still working on the beak and areas around the eye. There are so many different textures to the feathers on this bird, some look almost spiky, others, particularly the ones I have not even begun yet on the body are very soft and downy looking, so lots to try and get right!
I am off to exercise before I begin another day of work - it is too much pleasure to be called work really. Have the best of Friday's and a fantastic weekend.
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Good morning world. A very happy Tuesday to you. This project is going to be a long one I can tell! Progress is slow and it is a large piece. 15x10 inches. I would never recommend anyone start with colored pencil on a piece this size. It does make it easier to get the detail, but it is daunting even when you are used to working in colored pencil and the slowness of the medium. I actually find blogging and taking the daily photo helpful, because to me it seems that I am getting nowhere! But then when I take the photo and compare it to the previous day I can see that I have accomplished quite a bit .... in coloured pencil terms that is!
One of the things I have found with drawing (and life in general really) is that it is easy to get discouraged when you compare your work to someone else's. I have had to learn to change the way that I think. Always in life there will be someone that is better at something than you are. That does not make what you have done bad. I was really apprehensive about showing my artwork to the world. I kept thinking, but I am not as good as....... (Endless list of artists here!). But the truth is that we all have to start somewhere. Those artists that I love, well, they have been doing it for many, many years, often with the advantages of great teachers or universities. So, I have come to realise that it us a journey. One that I will continue to make progress along for as long as I continue to draw. And rather than be discouraged by another's brilliant work, I try to think, if I keep practising, then one day I will be able to do that. And that is true, because drawing is a skill, not a god given gift. It is just practise. So now I look at those pieces and ask, 'what can I learn from this! What do I like better about what they have done than what I would have done? Have they captured the light better? Is there more contrast? Are the colours stronger/brighter/more subtle? Is it the composition? Can I improve my work by studying theirs?'
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