The very happiest of weekends to everyone. The heat is incredible here in sunny California with a forecast for 106f (41c) on Wednesday, so l am more than happy to be tucked away with my pencils in my art room, which whilst not cool, does at least not feel like l am being slow roasted. You know it is going to be hot when you leave for your morning walk before 7am and the lizards are already out sunning themselves on the pavement, the sun burns your back and you drink half a flask of water before you have gone 200 yards!
After the struggle that was the Eagle Owl, l am now suffering from post traumatic owl disorder. So please be lenient with me when l tell you that l have gone for a cuteness overload!
l am still not ready for dark colours even after finishing my little butterfly, so pretty colors and cute little creatures it is. I love mice anyway. I know that you won't be surprised to learn that. The pest control man who came cold calling certainly was! I told him that they were very good for the compost and acted like giant worms. He tried several more animals and insects. 'What about spiders?', he asked. 'It is good to have spiders,' l told him (to be certain it is best not to accidentally put your hand in a Black Widow, but that is why l wear gloves in the garden). Eventually he looked at me wearily and said, 'are there any animals that you don't like?'. I told him quite truthfully that there weren't really. Even the little rattlesnake that made its way into the house was captured and returned to the nearby hills. So yes, l love mice. And really who couldn't love a cute little dormouse peeking through some flowers? I know, l know it is very pretty and frivolous, but l feel in need of that just now!
So here you have the first progress shot which is actually several days work. I had just had such a lot of fun getting out all the colours and drawing something so much easier.
I actually can't believe quite how long this took, but it took me a whole day to work his little face! That was after the eyes were done! I had to work out how to get the veins in the ears, l know most people would leave them out, but l couldn't....and anyway l never get to use my pink pencils and here was the perfect opportunity. I am actually pretty happy with how they turned out.
l just have more flowers to add and a decision about whether to color the background or not. I have a feeling l will have to, as my work never feels finished unless l do. I am back to enjoying my artwork, which is really what it should be about. Have an amazing weekend whatever you are up to and l definitely wish you all very happy drawing!
A very happy Sunday to everyone. I hope that you have had an amazing weekend. I have been drawing like crazy. I have a new project started which l am dying to share with you, but first l have to share this little butterfly.
After struggling with the last Eagle Owl, l felt that l needed a little fun and colour and certainly something a little easier. I know l have said so often that drawing should be fun and enjoyable and that if you are not enjoying it, put it down, do something else and come back to it. I should have taken my own advice! It is certainly the advice that lots of lovely Instagram friends gave to me.
l do not know if it was because l struggled so much with that piece, but l really had a confidence crisis in my ability .... it is still a bit wobbly. I was surprised when l mentioned it in my Instagram post just how many of us go through those feelings of not being good enough. It is hard to look at your own work as others do. You see every detail that you are not happy with, everything you wish that you could have done better. We are far more harsh with ourselves than with others.
So l want to remind everyone (and especially myself) that this is all about learning. We will all improve if we just keep practising. There is a very fine balance between seeing where we would like to improve and beating ourselves up because we do not improve fast enough. Seeing where we could improve is a good thing, after all if we think we can't improve, we certainly won't. And absolutely everyone can improve, even the best in the world. But we can tip too far into negative thinking and lose our joy in what we are doing.
What l really wanted to say to everyone today is to just enjoy what you are drawing, find satisfaction in seeing how you have progressed and see what you would like to improve as a motivating force.
I certainly found that my joy came back with this butterfly. The bright colors and fine detail picked me up from my gloom, and whilst l still can't say that my drawing is as good as l would like it to be, l can say that l see it getting better and l am loving it again and that is really what matters.
So to all of you out there struggling with not feeling good enough, just get your pencils out and draw what you love and the improvement will come. Happy drawing to you all.
Happy Friday to everyone! It is a beautiful day, l saw a family of quail on my morning walk, with so many young l couldn't count them all which made me very happy, as a neighbours cat ate our quail family and l do miss them. I hope we have them back in our garden one day soon. They are birds with amazing personalities. I love birds which is perhaps why there is so much bird art on my website!
I am also very, very happy that l have finished this piece. It is not that l don't love it, but seeing what l am drawing has been so hard. My reference photo was not clear when l enlarged it to the size l was working in and l have had to concentrate so hard to try and understand what l was seeing. Especially with the tree bark.
The good thing that l have discovered though, is that when you have drawn something a few times you begin to understand what you are seeing. This is the third Eagle Owl l have drawn and although l could not see the feathers very clearly when l enlarged the picture l found that l now know what the feathers should look like and how they fall, which made understanding the photo so much easier.
So many times l just wanted to stop working on this piece, and regular readers will know that is not like me at all. Normally l rush through all the chores so l can get in my art room and draw. This time everything in the world became so fascinating! Anything was better than going to draw. Suddenly the fridge was in desperate need of a clean, l never knew l loved mopping floors so much and the cupboard l have been meaning to tidy for the last six months suddenly became urgent!
But if l know one thing about myself, l am stubborn, and l made myself get in that room and draw, because l knew l would always feel l had let myself down if l didn't finish this piece and finish it well. Something in me will not let me rush. Perhaps it is knowing that every time l see the picture afterwards l would regret rushing it.
l think if l could say to anyone learning to draw one thing, it would have to be, take your time, don't rush. I have had to learn to be very patient, which does not come naturally to me. But l have learned this, the more time you take, the better the drawing, whether that is taking the time to look longer at your reference photo, taking the time to add more layers, taking the time to just look at your work and see what is needed or taking the time to finish it properly. I have never, ever regretted taking that extra time, but l have in the past very much regretted it when l didn't take it. So those are my wise words for today! Take your time. Happy drawing!
Hello Instagram friends, colored pencil artists and random Google surfers, a very happy Friday to you all. The sun is shining here (when isn't it?), my chores, exercise, wheat grinding (by hand) and ice cream making are all done for the day and l am about to spend the day working on an Eagle Owl's face. But to tell you the truth, l am skiving and writing this blog instead because l am seriously struggling. Both my patience and my eyesight are being tested to the limit. I am having to strain my eyes sooo hard to pick out all the details on the bark and the feathers. My eyesight is not the best and my powers of observation can be worse. This is how bad it can be, recently l was using a tooth pick that kept breaking. I said to my husband, 'these tooth picks are not very good, they keep breaking,', he said, 'that's because it is not a tooth pick you are using, it's a noodle!'. In fairness to me, it was a very thin buckwheat soba noodle that looked for all the world like a tooth pick except for the pointy end. (In case you are ever in need of a tooth pick, l would not recommend noodles as substitutes. They don't work very well. But you get the point, l don't see that well).
The temptation to put this piece behind the cupboard of no return is great. The only thing stopping me is that l love the reference photo and have a kind of grim determination not to be beaten. But it is taking a very long time. I did however take photos as l drew these eyes and l have added a step by step tutorial of how to draw owl eyes to my tips page, so l will add the link at the end of this post.
ln the shot below you can see that the eyes are nearly complete and this is the stage that my tutorial takes you to. I can't really take later shots because the things that l do after this are so minute and random.
I always do the eyes first because to me they are the most important feature and l like to work on them every day. I might add more colours, or marks or definition. You can see in the shot below that l have begun to add the tree bark and it is this that is really straining my eyes. The reference photo is not ever so sharp here and l have to spend ages looking and trying to work out what is going on, and for a girl that can't tell the difference between a noodle and a tooth pick that can be quite a challenge!
Anyway l know l have been slacking for long enough this morning, l would much rather talk to you, but l need to get going if l am to complete this piece anywhere near to schedule. Yes, l set schedules because that keeps me focused. I know this piece will be at least a day over. Two if l carry on talking! Have a wonderful weekend, happy drawing to you all.
A very happy, very hot (here at least) weekend to everyone. I have hidden myself away in my art room all week where the air is just a few degrees cooler. And l have thoroughly enjoyed drawing this little chimp. As you know not only had l never drawn a monkey before, but l had not drawn hands or skin either and l have really loved the challenge of doing something new. Working out how to do things is always fun.
In the shot you see below l have added the other eye and worked on the wrinkles in the skin. Getting the skin tone was interesting and l surprised myself with some of the colours that l ended up using. A lot of cadmium yellow. I seem to use that color a lot. I wonder if everyone has certain colors that seem to turn up in every picture?
With the upper part of the face complete it was time to move on to the nose and lips. I love the way this chimp is squishing his nose, and all the freckles in his skin. The challenge with the lips was to get the right colour. My trusty Magic Pallette came in handy here. It told me that l needed to use a purple and (you will not be surprised) cadmium yellow. I was really surprised at this, but tested it on a scrap piece of paper and as if by magic, lip color appeared. I love that little guide. Being me there are lots more colours in those lips, but that gave me a really good start.
For a while now l have wanted to do a 'how to' series for the tips page. I have been wondering how to find the time and more importantly the enthusiasm to work little sample pieces to demonstrate techniques, when it occurred to me that l could just take pictures of pieces that l am actually working on. I can be a bit slow sometimes. So l am really pleased to tell you that l have done my first page in the series. How to draw chimp fur. It is a little step by step guide showing how l worked the fur on this chimp. I will pop the link at the bottom of the page.
Prints etc. of the chimp are available now in my shop and the link is at the bottom of the page for that too.
We are off to see the absolutely amazing March Fourth brass band tomorrow, like no brass band you have ever heard. They put on an awesome show. I hope you too have an amazing weekend and as always happy drawing to you.
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