A creative exercise I really enjoy is drawing a bunch of random shapes on a sketchbook page until they fill the whole page up and then trying to “see” a character in each of those shapes. Fill out each shape with whatever your brain comes up with, don’t try to make sense of any of it, just draw.
Just a couple a quick sketches in my pocket sketchbook today. I was listening to some Irish music and it made me reminisce for the summer I spent there for school. I was also the best man at a wedding in the far west of Ireland in a small town named Glencolumbkille. A more picturesque Irish village there was not. Here’s a couple of quick scene sketches of the town.
We’re back from our honeymoon at Disney World and boy am I ready to jump back into drawing. Being around an entire empire built on art and story was pretty inspiring, as long as you keep a firm grip on your wallet.
Our favorite experience was far and away the Haunted Mansion. Can’t get enough of it. We even rode it on Halloween night where they had some “live” ghosts on the front lawn interacting with the crowd, it was hilarious.
Jacque had the bright idea for me to do a drawing with the hitchhiking ghosts and so here’s what I came up with a to celebrate our nuptials.
I was so inspired by all the artistry that I have some Disney art books coming in the mail. I can’t wait to dive into them.
Until the next time...hurry back!
I watched 1922 on Netflix recently which is a movie based on a novella by Stephen King. I’ve been slow to dive deeply into King’s library, but every time I do I find more to enjoy and 1922 wasn’t any different. It was a brilliantly done horror film. Thomas Jane plays the main character in it and he was transformed to say the least, hardly recognizable at all.
The story is set in what is probably the period of American history that fascinates me the most; the time between World War I and World War II. The Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, the New Deal, every bit about that era interests me and the backdrop of 1922 was enthralling in it’s authenticity.
I did some sketches of different scenes and promotional shots for the movie I thought I’d share. I’ve been slacking on my sketchbook lately, but it was fun to have a subject to play with.
The soundtrack was also particularly well done. It really made a rural Nebraska feel like a place with something ominous lurking behind every idyllic scene. The album cover kind of puzzles me because most of the movie takes place on a farm it’s a picture of an old tree. I don’t get it. You can listen to it on Spotify below…
I've been trying to practice more portrait sketching from reference photos. Some of the most interesting and poignant portraits to me have always been the ones taken from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.
Here are a few portraits and the original reference photos.
I'm still working on a good method of doing these. I think it helps to start very loose and draw with the artist's grip on the pencil to start before getting very detailed. In a lot of ways, portraits can seem to have more life in them WITHOUT a lot of detail. I'm going for the general feeling rather than an exact replica.
It seems like Instagram is really obsessed with photo-realistic art lately, maybe because of the skill involved to do it. I don't know.
I personally find those pieces to be rather lifeless as the artist seems to put nothing of themselves into it, instead relying on a 1 to 1 recreation of the original. I think it's important to interpret what you see and that's what gives the drawing it's uniqueness that only you as the artist could provide.
Part of my routine of drawing in my doodlebook is on every fifth page I draw with my non-dominant hand, which is my left. When I first came across this idea in Stefan Baumann's video, "Doodle Your Way to Being a Great Artist," I was skeptical, but intrigued. I've enjoyed the challenge of it and as I've finished this doodlebook I thought I would share my results with everyone.
Remember, with the doodlebook, the idea is not to draw big elaborate sketches, just to doodle throughout your day, while you're at work or on the phone or at a restaurant. I feel like it has really helped me work drawing more into my daily routine then just trying to do some solid periods of time at the end of the day.
For those interested, I used a Strathmore 400 Series Visual Drawing Journal, 5.5"x8".
Last weekend my better half Jacque and I went to the Chattanooga Zoo for the afternoon. I brought my iPad with me to do some creature sketches. They had many fuzzy and delightful wild animals.
Doing some sketching at the zoo was really fun. I highly recommend you guys go to your local zoo and sketch some wildlife in real life. I also name all of the animals in my head. So do that too.
An idea from a video by artist and leather vest aficionado Stefan Baumann about keeping a "doodlebook" really hit home with me. It's a simple enough concept: keep a small sketchbook with you at all times and "doodle" in it without really focusing on it.
Here's the video:
It seems almost too simple to be valuable. But what Stefan said here was really important, about not being precious with your sketchbooks, roughing them up even, and people getting too caught up with the words "sketches" and "drawings", so much so that those materials end up sitting unused on a shelf because we're so concerned what we might put in them won't be masterpieces.
When you just look at as a "doodlebook", you don't get so caught up in second-guessing what your put in it, you just do. You don't really even need to show them to anyone because this is just for you, but I took some pics of my current doodlebook...
The other concept Stefan suggests is every five pages, use your non-dominant hand, seen above in the bottom right image. This has been REALLY challenging and an interesting exercise to stretch your abilities and ways you look at your art.
Having a doodlebook with me has helped me open my big sketchbooks that I've had for a long time and just start working in them instead of over-thinking and then paralysis setting in.
It's a tool that I think is definitely worth your time.
I also think it could valuable in the same way for writers. I recently suggested to my better half that she start carrying around a small notebook to write random thoughts and ideas down in throughout the day. It's only been a couple days, but she feels like it's helping get her creative juices flowing again.
I've been wanting to redraw some previous sketches for a while to see what how my skills have improved. Here's the first one of those, some Moai from Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
Here's the same scene drawn in Procreate.
I put the comparison up on social media and one of the things people said was they liked the first version as much or better. I guess that's nice, but that's more of a stylistic critique.
For me, I'm very happy with the second one because I feel like there's a much better grasp of depth and perspective and I've been able to add some painting knowledge to my list of skills. I would also consider it a complete illustration where the picture plane is totally complete whereas the first version was really a rough sketch where I stopped at the limits of my skill.
What do you guys think?