I’ve been keeping a journal for about 3 years now. Why do I keep a journal? It feel relieving to just let whatever you have on your mind and just put it on paper and leave it there. Not only do I just write, but also doodle, draw and watercolor when I have nothing to write. What do I use for my journal? I don’t use a regular notebook that most of us used to keep notes in school. For my journal in 2018, I used a general sketchbook that I found I my local hobby lobby store that was within my tight budget. It a hard cover and at least able to handle light watercolor washes.
Well I haven’t blog about my progress in drawing lately. It been 4 years since I started drawing again. It funny looking at my first sketchbook and seeing all the portrait drawings I did and compare it to the ones I’ve done lately. You can actually see the progress and the more likeness to the actually person. Am still trying to improve in my shading and trying to draw different portrait angels. There are still area I haven’t experimented in such as drawing white hair or facial hair. Drawing people of darker skin color and faces of older people that have much more facial details.
All of my drawings are were done awhile sitting on the floor. I don’t have desk in my room and don’t like being in area where people are passing by. Plus I do a lot of my drawing at night when everyone else in the house is asleep.
When I first started drawing 4 years ago.
Drawings I did just a month or so ago.
Observe, I do this a lot. No matter where am at, I just like watching what around me. It even more interesting when you are out in public and just observing people. The most common thing I’ll see are people glue to their cell phone. Looking down at their screen and not even being aware of their surroundings. The most recent thing I’ve notice about people are what they wear in public. I really believe that some females leave their home without looking in the mirror. Am all for dressing comfortably in hot weather, but you should make sure your not showing to much. Especially if you are going to the gym.
You can also record what you observe either by writing or like me and others through photography or drawing. I recently started doing urban sketching. Taking a sketchbook with me and just pick a spot in the downtown area and draw what I see. You can do this when visiting your favorite coffee shop.
Inktober came and went. With so much on my mind, I was only able to get half way. This year I decide to challenge myself a little bit more. Instead of using your regular ink pen/markers, I decided to use a dip pen and the Higgin black magic ink. I also used a old sketchbook I had laying around my room. Haven’t used it since high school and I didn’t have money to buy a sketchbook that didn’t bleed when using ink. The paper did hold up except when there was to much ink on the nib and drip on the paper.
Drawing in ink is intimidating because you have to know what you are going to do. Are you going to draw a straight line, a circle or maybe a curve? If you aren’t certain you can’t afford to miss up cause can’t erase it, you can keep going or start over on another page.
Three years ago I decided to re-learn how to draw. Just needed another hobby to keep me busy. It had been a long time since I’ve done anything art related. High school art class was the last time I actually drew something. So I went Michaels and brought a sketch pad along with some pencils. I had decided I would just start drawing portraits since it what I still remember from high school art class.
I began drawing some popular people, first by drawing a egg like shape, then dividing it. One for the eyes, then where the nose would be and where the mouth would be. Of course my drawing were not perfect at all nor did they resemble the person I was trying to draw. At the end I just kept drawing, having done one or two good portraits drawings.
Then I started to branch out into watercolor and drawing other thing then portrait. Left my sketch pad sitting there, as I tried other sketchbooks that were smaller and I could take with me where ever I go. I didn’t give up on drawing portraits. Still drew them, but now added some color to them. Just last month with money was getting tighter and couldn’t go buy another sketchbook so I return to that unfinished sketchpad I left sitting in my room. I thought to myself what to draw. I look through some of my first portrait drawings and decided to re-draw them. I wanted to see how much have I improve in 3 years or haven’t improved at all.
*NOTE* Left 2014 drawing Right 2017 drawing /// Sorry for the poor images.
I’ve decided to explore the world of urban sketching. Urban Sketching is drawing from direct observation whether it be outdoors or indoors. You can do this at your current location where you live or if you are traveling. Seeing Peoples sketches on instagram it looks very interesting to try. I haven’t done that many sketches, but so far I’ve like what I have done with some of the challenges am facing. One of those challenges is being able to fit what am sketching on a small piece of paper. Should I sketch it horizontal or vertical on the paper? Also trying to get as much detail into the sketch, and then painting it with watercolors. My other challenge is quickly drawing people who may be in the area and are constantly in motion. Hopefully something I can semi-master quickly, but in the mean time I just take a photo and use that as a reference to sketch people in.
World Watercolor Month has come to an end. This year I completed 19 painting out of 31 which is less then what I did last year. It always fun and a challenge to participate in World Watercolor month. The challenge to paint something each day and to use that creativity side of our brain that most of us don’t use. The fun part is just having fun doing it. No need to stress whether your watercolor painting sucks. Just enjoy what you are doing and maybe laugh that your art work looks like a 6 years old art work or that you may have some hidden talent.
I’ve recently filled up my 3rd journal. Its filled with written journal entries along with watercolor portrait paintings and other things. For this journal I used the portrait travel journal that I brought at Hobby Lobby. Its a perfect size journal that you can take with you every where you go. Compared to my second journal a strathmore mixed media which is about the same size, this portrait travel journal was much easier to keep open as I work in it. I was hoping to to use my dip ink fountain pen, but it bleed through the paper. Using regular pen was okay. The paper did hold up when I use watercolor. Sometimes after watercolor dried the colors would sometime stain the paper next to it. The same thing would happen when I drew something using the Faber castell artist pen.
Am not the artistic one in my family and just like anyone who starts a new hobby, they are going to suck at it at first. That just the way it is. I’ve been drawing now for two years and within that time frame I’ve add watercolors and even started journaling. For most of us it hard to know how to start off or from keeping our self from not getting discourage that our artistic abilities suck. Let me give you a few tips that can help you along your journey.
First tip, start off simple and keep it basic. Don’t go challenging yourself to do something that is beyond your skill level. That will only discourage you. If you must, look up tutorials online on how to draw or paint something. I do that a lot just to see if there an easier why to draw things.
Second tip, you are going to make mistakes, but those mistake will help you get better.
Third tip, it okay if you want to try other things. I first started off drawing, but felt I just need to try something new, so I did watercoloring. Now I go back and forth, drawing one day and then watercoloring another or both. That one thing I like about art, there are so many different area you can experiment with.
Fourth tip, practice, practice. As they say practice make perfect. That one of the most important thing I want to stress the most. You must practice if you want to get better. I try to at least draw something every day. You can participate in one of those online challenge where they suggest different prompts for a month to draw or paint.
Fifth tip, if at some point you get discourage, take a deep breath and walk away from what you are doing. Take a day or two off if needed. Learning any new skill can be discouraging if we feel we are not improving or not seeing the results we want. Once you feel you have recovered, resume what you were doing or discard, and try something else.
I don’t consider myself a great artist nor do I think my art work is top-level, but do know that every day I see improvement. A lot of these basic tips you can apply to other areas outside of art. Maybe learning how to swim or dance. You have to start off simple and keep it basic. Then as you learn from your mistake you will get better and see improvement, not making those same mistake again. But to get better you must practice and practice in order to challenge yourself to do something with much more difficulty.
Don’t forget, have fun with it.