Monday, April 17, 2017

Drawing Diary for March

This month I have more than just a couple of paintings to share with you.  I actually was able to get back to doing some drawing and sketching.

To help myself reenter into the swing of drawing, I went ahead and took up a doodle challenge that Sea Lemon posted to her YouTube channel. The challenge was to do a doodle on each day of the month of one of the prompts she gave.  If you are interested in looking at the doodle challenge you may find her video about it here.  Instead of printing off her provided calendar I decided to measure one out for the month of March in my sketchbook.  My sketchbook measures about 7" x 10" so I had to use a page spread which actually made it annoying.

As you can see I didn't spend a whole lot of time on the doodles.  I didn't even care to color them.  For whatever reason I actually found the doodle challenge to be incredibly annoying.  So about a week or more before the month ended I just sat down and finished off the challenge to get it out of the way.  I was going to be stubborn and finish it even though I wasn't enjoying the doodles.  I think if I try another one of her doodle challenges I'll just print out the provided calendar so I'm not fighting the spine of the book.

I follow a lot of horse pages on Facebook (yeah big surprise there) and end up saving different photos that either show a horse in a more unique pose or ones that catch my eye due to how beautiful the horse looks.  I dug out one such photo and decided I would try to draw Cocoa in the pose.  This is something I've done before and was fairly successful at, however, this time I met with less success.

Cocoa was never quite that fat...okay maybe I shouldn't say never because he was extremely fat when I first brought him home but never since was he that fat.  My husband always thought he looked like a barrel on legs and said that this drawing reminded him of that.  I did at least have some fun drawing it and I really enjoyed drawing the mane and adding in the tail.

Following that not quite as successful rendition as I had wanted, I decided to try and draw him grazing.  I found a picture of horses grazing on the internet and started to have at.  I again wasn't too impressed with my result.

Since I wasn't overly happy with how the proportions were turning out I decided to do a blind cross contour of the image next.  Blind cross contour is simply drawing the outline of an object or subject without looking. It's something I was introduced to by my art teacher in high school and I got really familiar with it due to the drawing professor at university.  My professor actually inspired me to fall in love with this style of drawing and my class sketchbook showed the results of it.  It's great for training your eye and learning how to empty your head from all the stray thoughts so you can really focus.  I still love this drawing technique and often do it when I'm either having issues with a drawing or use it as a way to study the subject before I start.

There were two horses in the image I was working from so I decided to go ahead and do both horses with the blind cross contour.  I am never upset with my results when I do this drawing technique because how can you be when you aren't even looking in the first place? However with practice you will find that your drawing resembles yours subject more closely which means you're learning how to see.

Once I was done with the blind cross contour I gave another stab at drawing freehand.  Blegh... I think I am more pleased with the blind drawing than I am with my second attempt at actually trying.

Even with all of my  measuring using a sighting stick, which is really just a very thin dowel rod cut down, I still couldn't get the neck long enough or maybe the legs are too long.  It is a better attempt than my first though so the blind cross contour helped some at least.  I'll also admit that I've spent more time drawing horses' heads and necks and not so much of the full body.  Thus I have some learning to do and if there's one thing I have learned with art it's that it takes a lot of practice and you'll have more bad drawings than good.

The practicing I did in the above pieces seemed to pay off with a conté crayon drawing that I made.  I also did a blog post that included the process of making this drawing called Playing with Conté Crayons.

I drew this from a picture I took last February of Cocoa and while it isn't perfect, I don't care.  I had fun making the drawing and currently that means more to me than having a master piece.  I am also pleased to have something that I can consider finished versus in progress or on the 'just a doodle' side.

The next drawing is also done with conté crayons, only using a different technique. I first learned of this way of using them from Ravanel's Drawing Diary: February where she introduced me to Tara Leaver's video about how to make a simplified abstract painting.  I rather enjoyed watching the process so I thought that I'd give it a try.

I feel like I met with mixed results.  Part of it may be that I used water color paper.  The paper I have has some texture to it and the pigments of the crayons got caught in all of the valleys.  This didn't meet with quite the result that I was wanting but it was fun to try anyway.

Since I already had this simple composition made up, I decided to take it and draw it again on some water color paper so I could play with water color.  I do miss painting to an extent and thus I want to find another kind that is enjoyable.  Since water color is something I've always been interested in trying more of, I have made up my mind to jump in and start playing with it.  I'm not expecting stellar results.

And it's a good thing too! This is definitely no where near my skill level with oils. The one question I have to keep asking myself, "Did I have fun making it?" "Yes, yes I did."  Currently that is enough for me or at least that is what I'm telling myself.  After being so serious with art for so long  it's actually difficult to loosen up, play, and be ok with the results.  Thus I actually signed up for Tara Leaver's Arnotes (which I can't find a link to at the moment) to have some guidance with playing.

The last piece that I have to share was playing of a different kind.  This time I used letters and had fun decorating them and coloring them.  The reason was so I had a title image for my first post of the month Goals for April.

For the color I used these pencils that my mother-in-law gave me many years ago.  They have multiple colors in the 'lead' so which way you rotate the pencil determines what color is rubbed off on the paper.

Lettering is something I can have a hard time being really creative with thus it's something I want to do some more of to play with it.  I am quite enthralled with beautiful lettering and calligraphy.  Taking time to play with it helps me understand and appreciate the time that can go into making it look so elegant.

That's it for my creative endeavors in March.  I hope you enjoyed seeing some other examples of what I like to mess around with.  Even though none of these drawings/paintings are of great quality I still enjoyed making them and I think it's good share the not so successful along with the successful so it helps others see even those of us with many years of practice under our belts still have our struggles.


  1. The drawing of the 'fat horse' is actually my favourite out of all of these! It's just drawn so incredibly well and I love the pose. It may not be a good Cocoa, but sometimes drawings end up different from than you imagine, but are still an artistic success. I didn't know Cocoa, so I just see a beautiful, chubby, spirited horse. :)

    The abstractified one is also interesting. I agree with you that it doesn't spread very well on paper with a lot of structure. If you have paper with a smooth surface, the result would be very different! You could always try that someday. Another thing that I liked doing was not filling up the entire paper with crayon (at least initially), so you get a sort of watercolor-like effect with varying colour intensities.

    And I actually do like your watercolour tree, so I'm not sure why you dislike it so much!

    As for drawing challenges, I don't usually participate in those, because it can feel forced. I rather draw each day, but a subject that I feel enthusiastic about. I did like Kay's Botanical challenge because I do love drawing plants, so then it was fun. If it would've been a horse drawing challenge, it may have worked out better for you!

    As always, really cool to see what you've been working on. :)

    1. I have to agree with you, the drawing of the 'fat' horse is my favorite too. Thank you for sharing what you see. It's always neat to know how others view the art!

      I may have to play with the abstractified again. I agree that I should've left more open space to see what might happen. I will definitely use a different paper too. That way I can see if the results turn out better (I really like yours).

      I felt like the water color was running away with me. I am used to having a lot of control of the paint. So it's something to get used to. :)

      I only have one more drawing of Kay's Botanical Challenge left. Finally! So I will be posting my results in the next week or so... I think I really just hit the doodle challenge at the wrong time for me. I do want to expand what I can draw so I see those as a good exercise. I am learning I like drawing leaves.

      Thank you!

    2. I never finished the Botanical challenge, even though I did really enjoy it. Guess I have work to do! :D