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List of Monthly Drawing Challenges for WHOLE Year

After totally missing out on Inktober recently, I decided to seek out some other monthly challenges. Why shouldn't we have some set cha...

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sketch Diary: TBT - Mermaid hair in a frame


Taking me back! I still get good feels from looking at this piece and remembering how cool I felt while painting it. They sketch alone, I thought, was pretty awesome for my skills at the time and then the actual execution of the colors was quite exhilarating. I think this was 2010 or there abouts. Maybe a good one to hold onto for an OC. I'm so bad at creating original characters... correction, I make them all the time but I very quickly move on to the next one. I should commit to one, at least.

So this was one of my 'just starting out' watercolor pieces. I had (and still have...) no clue what I was doing. I was just putting brush to paper and seeing what happened. Man... it's really making me miss doing watercolors. Just one more reason to get my craft/art/sewing/book/misc room cleaned up so I can get pack into these things again. I certainly don't have to have my art table to paint but it sure makes things easier and more enticing. It's almost there! Just a couple more big projects to finish and it'll be ready for war.

With love - M

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sketch Diary: Portrait of a girl in my mind


What does it mean to be an artist? I feel like I got the sensation of it when sketching this girl. I was doing all the things: using my imagination, drawing out in the open (where could watch if they wanted), feeling at peace, and allowing the flow of the sketch to happen instead of forcing it. This all works together in me to create this feeling of accomplishment. Not because of the final outcome (the sketch itself) but because of how I got there. The experience of drawing the sketch was fulfilling. I think that's what in artist is: someone who is fulfilled by the act of the craft they are practicing.

With love - M

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sketch Diary: Lips and floating heads


As an art student, I got really drilled about making sure I stayed away from just drawing floating heads. I had a pretty cool illustration professor (looking at you Mr. Rea) who had us keep a real sketch book for class. We had to draw A LOT. More than I was used to, for sure, at the time. I think we had to draw a sketch a day and each week we'd have to hand over our sketch books to be checked as part of our overall grade for the class. He rarely critiqued the sketch books heavily, that wasn't the point of them, but he did have a particular grudge against floating heads. It's a common issue with many artists - incomplete drawings.

Thanks to his light pushing to stop doing that, I started to finish the sketches as much as I could. Heads always had at least shoulders attached to it, backgrounds started to happen, though very primitive and simple. One of my dreams has always been to illustrate for books. But I know that's not going to happen without at least a basic understanding of backgrounds and landscapes. So whenever you see a sketch of mine that has a background of some kind, get excited with me because it's a big deal!

Note: it is ABSOLUTELY ok to have sketches like the one above. That's why it's a sketch. If you want to just draw eyes or lips or hands or whatever from here till the end of time, have at it! Just remember your teachers want you to grow and try different things so they're going to pressure you to constantly step outside of your comfort zone in your creations. Don't be upset at them, that's their job. Your job is to learn from them and decide for yourself what practices you want to keep or discard. There are bad teachers out there so don't take it all as gospel. Use your head.

With love - M

Friday, March 25, 2016

Sketch Diary: Figure practice


Being in a more corporate setting at work, I don't usually have time to sketch. I usually have, you know, work to do. But sometimes we have meetings or the work is slow in getting to my department (production and design) so we get moments of pause. These figures were done during one such meeting. Don't worry, the meeting didn't really hold useful information for me. The other folks there were very irritated that we were forced to be there at all and when it ran late, folks started leaving lol. I mean, I don't blame them, time is precious.

Anyway, this. I need to do more of this. Quick, rough ideas. Then when I find something I like, I can sit down and rebuild it, develop it further. Instead of getting hung up on an ok sketch and working it through for an hour and then getting frustrated because it's not going where I thought it was going because really, it wasn't a great sketch to begin with. And that's ok. When sketching more frequently, it's easier to hold onto only the ones that move me and just thank the others for the service they provided... and let them go.

With love - M

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sketch Diary: TBT - Cassie in soft pastels


Whoa 2008? Taking me back. I remember seeing one or two episodes of Skins and immediately falling in love with Cassie's face. Those teeth are just the CUTEST. I don't know how much justice I'm doing her here... but I still love this sketch. It's quite large, maybe 18 by 24 inches or something crazy. I was really into drawing on big sheets of paper at the time. I was also still in love with my pastels. Ah soft pastels. So messy but so pretty. I should do a re-do and see if I still got the skillz.

With love - M

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

You can draw, I promise... also Graham Shaw says so


If you aren't a big fan of TED talks, that's totally fine, but if you're a fan of drawing, learning, or gaining new perspectives then give this video a shot. It's interactive so have paper and pen ready.

When I came across this video, I was looking for other artists to watch for speed painting and drawing tips and tricks, etc. I was in a bit of a rut (this happens with some regularity) and in order to recharge my creative juices, I have a long list of things I can do. 

If I'm restless physically, I might dance or sing or go for a walk at a park. If I'm tired and downtrodden, I might watch a good movie with lots of color and vibrancy (literally or figuratively). If I'm sitting there staring at my sketchpad and the inspiration just won't come, I turn to videos like the one above as if it were a giant bowl of fiber that I needed to consume in order to unblock my creative tubes (haha imagery). My point is, I don't have a single cure-all for my creativity droughts.

You may have noticed that I've been trying to be a bit more regular with my sketching. I tend to post in week long chunks on this blog but in person, I've been actually getting closer and closer to my goal of 'a sketch a day'. This isn't a 'creativity binge' or anything like that. My goal is not to sketch every day for a month or a year and then stop or slow down. This is simply a life goal. I enjoy drawing. It brings me peace. Why then shouldn't I at least attempt to experience it every single day?

The real reason I want to share this video, however, is because I want the world to know that everyone is creative. Everyone can draw, everyone can dance, everyone can sing. These are not special talents given by the grace of God or whomever to a select few people. Yes, not everyone can be a master painter but just like there's only one Michelangelo, there's only one you. You are the same as everyone else in the sense that you also possess that creative fire but you are also unique in that your fire is yours alone. A master artist is simply someone who's taken the time and energy to hone their craft. 

It just makes my heart hurt to have people look at my art and say something like "Wow that's so cool!" followed immediately by "I could never do that..." as if they think they're complementing me further with that second comment when in fact they're merely debasing themselves for no one's benefit. You can love an artists work while still loving yourself and your own accomplishments. 

Story time: I was babysitting a 5 year old once that understood this concept wholly and completely. We were drawing together with crayons (dragons if I remember correctly) and when we were done, we showed each other our drawings. She loved my dragon, especially the pretty scales, she said. She showed me hers and of course I said it was very nice, that I enjoyed the vibrant colors and so on, and because I took her seriously, she beamed and seemed to love the drawing even more. To be clear, she loved that drawing before I said anything. She didn't need my approval to love that dragon she had just created. It was her creation and perhaps for that reason alone, it was worth cherishing. 

But as an art teacher (in that moment, that's absolutely the role I or any other parent takes on when spending time with their kids, you're their teacher) I had to make a decision to critique her drawing or to praise it (or both). I decided to praise it alone that time because I had not real criticism to offer that I thought would benefit her that time. Other times, I offered advice with my praise and sometimes she took my advice and sometimes she didn't. She liked it just the way it was and that, for me, was the most wonderful part. We should all strive to grow as individuals but it's ok to stand by yourself, your creations, your achievements and say I'm proud of it as it stands. Of course, you can still value the criticism being offered, that person obviously cares about you in some way otherwise they wouldn't waste their time saying anything at all. 

Whoa long post today. Anyway, you do you. And be open to trying new things or new ways of doing old things. You never know how much it could help you grow until you try it. 

See below for my results from the video. The real results are still echoing every time I put pen to paper. 


With love - M

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sketch Diary: The awkward dancer


Welp... I told myself I was going to post every sketch... Guh. Here's a great example of a sketch that I used to just hide away in a cabinet or maybe even thrown away because it just didn't turn out well. I don't usually have big plans when I start sketching, I like to just let it take me wherever. But I think I was fighting with myself in this one. I wanted to do something particular and my subconscious just didn't agree.

With love - M

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sketch Diary: An almost covered beauty


I sketched this right after watching a special video about how everyone can draw. I just kept the pen in my hand after the practice doodles and did another quick sketch while the feeling of it was still in my mind. I'm not particularly in love with this sketch but I do admire the fact that it's in pen only, no pencil so no erasing. All the 'happy little accidents', as Bob Ross says, are there for all to see.

Over that last couple years I've definitely gotten in to the habit of erasing less but when it's in pen there's a whole other level of permanence happening that can be very freeing. What's there is there and all I can do is keep moving forward with the drawing or stop. There's no going back. Much like life, eh?

With love - M