Work was extra challenging in January, but I caught a few moments on the weekends to do several drawings on tan paper.
I like to work on a tan sketchbook in January – although I was too busy with nieces and our weekly zoom coaching sessions to do the full Tanuary challenge on social media. We had a lot of fun, even so.
I challenged the kids to use different surfaces, including cardboard pieces and talked about charcoal, pencil, crayon, pen etc. It was good drawing practice for all involved.
At the end of 2020 one of my final projects of the year was to create the 2021 family calendar. This one absolutely annihilated me. It is a tribute to the first sibling we have lost in my family.
I printed off the normal 8 for siblings and Mom, but I also printed off 5 for my brother Aaron’s children. Then every month I write each of them about the stories that are held in the photos of their Daddy and his childhood. It has been a hard year, but I will not regret that I did this.
- Printed double-sided on 13×19 matte photo paper
- This is year 16 of creating these and it will probably be my final. At this point, we can start reusing some of those I made before.
I continued to do some art after the first of the year because my nieces were begging me to continue teaching and coaching them, but I lost my spark for a number of months and am just beginning to get it back. So expect some fun posts as I catch up on what I have been doing.
This was a week of working on tones (no details) and looking at how the eyes are made, reflections, cast shadows etc.
I chose one of our local squirrels to be the subject – a little hazelnut thief. I am a sucker for them every time, though. They run around trying to bury huge walnuts in our lawn. So funny!
I find that I need more practice finding the structure and geometric shapes – then examining all the shading and light source. This has been more of a cerebral exercise than I am used to.
I need to do more of this. Nothing wrong with picking up the pen or paints and having at it, but stopping to think about the details and remembering why things look the way they do is a good practice. This has been an excellent course.
NewcastleX: NHI101xDrawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101 – EDX Link
A study in my various pencils – this is a common thing to do to get comfortable with the tools for the current project.
The Natural History Illustration course has been fun and a lot of learning is happening. Some of the homework included unfinished sketches demonstrating the learning techniques.
First activity was to work with natural items, breaking them down into geometric shapes, working their curves, etc. and this shell really showed me how rusty I am.
We then did field sketches of birds. Some people really finished them out. I need to spend time doing more of that, but part of my problem in the field is thinking things have to be perfect. I am working to let go of that and just get it down on paper first. Also, this was sketch paper and I knew better than to try watercolors, but did it anyway. It is a learning and reminding process.
I learned about studying flowers and how to turn them into geometric shapes (not pictured), measure, and make notations. This lesson was interesting, but I found it a bit too detailed for me. I love seeing these types of illustrations. I hate doing them.
This was about learning how to quickly capture form and essence of mammals. Now we are getting into my “love”.
We studied skeletal structure, which I actually found quite fascinating. I used one of our raccoons who was trying to get to our bird feeder as my model and tried 3 different gesture drawings for each pose. This lesson was real helpful and I enjoyed it immensely. I may be studying skeletal structures a bit more!
The preliminary blocking activities were very helpful. I normally jump right to this type of gesture drawing above, but doing the 2 preliminary gestures made doing this one so much easier and correct. That was an interesting ah-ha for me!
This was a practice on how to block off parts of birds using circles, ovals, and geometric shapes – which is difficult for me to do. We also looked at how their skeletal structure is made.
I am going to have to practice this a lot more and, for once, I am excited about practicing!
A commission for a graphite drawing of an office building as a gift for the owner turned into a watercolor, which they chose.
First I figured out which vantage point to take with this long, low building. Then I mocked up the basic lines to make sure I was good with that decision. Next, the pencil drawing. I am not a fan of my pencil work. So on to ink and watercolor, urban sketch style. I was happy and so were they.
Thanks, Moser team, for pushing me into doing some urban work in the middle of my oil and Christmas season. Fun!
For the word, Precious, I had to do my newest nephew, Isaac. However, I am not confident with portraits, so I worked him up in graphite pencil first. Then inked it. I plan to keep working on more portraiture, because it is such a challenge with great reward when you get it right.
Flowing is in process. Cruel was next. I did a fast sketch just for fun and have no intention of reworking it. I did not like this prompt until I thought of how cruel it is when birding to discover a wonderful one was behind you the whole time. In this case, a Sandhill Crane. I shared a throwback to last year to show I really can draw these birds. Cartoon style is still a struggle for me.
I skipped Whale and went straight to Guarded. This was a very technical drawing, so I sketched it first, then inked it.
We ended on clock, which did not inspire me, so I skipped it. I am batting a low average this Inktober. 5 last week and 4 this week. We will see if we can’t beef that up next week.
In Week 2 I began to feel glimmers of my inner artist really showing up for the party. Above was my interpretation of Star, which was a breakthrough concept piece for me, since I was illustrating a Native American legend.
If you break a cottonwood tree small branch at the circular growth line, and it is not too green or not too dry, you will find a star.
Image from: My Wishing Rock blog
The Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes believe this is where stars are born and the wind sends them up into the sky. I love this and that is where my concept piece was born.
Another legend says this is where stars hide during the day. The Lakota use the cottonwood in their Sundance ceremony as the tree of life because of this. — reference: Mom off Track blog
The idea of the three trees is taken from three of the cottonwoods I grew up with along the drive to our barn (and I used a reference photo to capture some of the branch placement.) I have a strong affinity for these trees because the sound of their leaves in the wind winds through every childhood memory of outdoor play like a ribbon through my hair. The sound transports me every time, and now I have another reason to love these trees.
The above image was my favorite for this week. I was trying new things – this was my niece having a hard time of it when she found her daddy’s jeans hanging on the line. It is one of my favorite moments. Faces and emotions are not easy to capture. I vow to work this next year to do better with them.