(i think i’m still damaged from yesterday)
(what’s this? it’s apado, my weird little blog series brainchild. so far it’s succeeded in making me post once a day for the entire month of october. which has been…less than two weeks. i’ve still got a long way to go.)
(disclaimer: i’m not a professional artist. or tutor. or anything. well, i’m a professional weirdo…but just be warned.)
Making a drawing takes a lot of work.
As in, the drawing featured in this post took me at least an hour. For just this little drawing that literally takes up less space than an ice cream cake.
Honestly, I don’t know how I have the patience to sit down and draw, seeing as I usually have the attention span of a sugar-spiked monkey with ADHD. But there’s something unnerving about leaving a drawing unfinished. And there’s something fulfilling about actually finishing it.
It’s a long haul from the idea stage, but good things come to those who keep working and pouring blood, sweat, and tears down their pencils. Because who wants to just sit around waiting for good things to happen?
Let’s go through a sort-of step by step guide of the process.
I’m not going to be a Sponsored Blogger With Sponsored Supplies™ and say that you have to have a certain brand of anything to draw. That’s ridiculous. Good art supplies are nice, but they’re not everything. Use what you have and let your determination carry you the rest of the way.
(However, most of my pencils are Prismacolor and I can’t recommend them enough.)
Did someone say...lamp?
Moth memes aside, good lighting is definitely important. Even if it smells weird. Like mine. But to me, it was worth inhaling melty light bulb to be able to see what I was doing.
(This lamp is seriously whack though.)
Quick tip about lamps: if you’re right-handed, put the lamp on your left side so you don’t cast shadows onto your work. And if you’re left-handed, you’re probably used to reversing directions, so do the exact opposite of what I just said. As usual.
Having sharp pencils makes your work look better. Somehow, I missed this vital piece of information until recently. Go figure. Actually, go sharpen!
But before my pencil touches the paper, I have to narrow my ideas down to one cohesive thought. Which is honestly the hardest part of the process. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s better to do one thing well than fifty things badly.
And write down everything else I wanted to draw. And inevidably forget about all of them. It’s to soothe the anxiety.
For this drawing, I wanted to draw a character of mine that I’d roleplayed with that day and got caught daydreaming about. So with her in my mind’s eye (and everything else shoved out), I moved right into the next phase – sketches. Some artists call them “studies”.
I use my big sketchpad for this. He’s big enough to encourage me to try new things.
Don’t be afraid to find new angles. Who wants to get stuck drawing the same pose over and over again? Expand your horizons! Excite yourself!
(The more this post goes on, the more I sound like Bob Ross.)
When I’m doing studies, I draw small. Since small drawings always look amazing, it keeps me going in the stage when I’m most likely to quit.
I knew her basic character design and that I wanted her looking up, so I played around with that until I got an idea of what I wanted.
Richard Williams says that sketches are “seductive”. Meaning, they trick you into thinking they have more vivacity than they actually do. Something about line pressure and width, I think. Once stripped down, they don’t look nearly as lively as they did.
I know what he means. I almost like this little sketch better than what I came out with. Ah well.
It’s time to start sketching on my good paper! I like to use this sneaky little guy – a non-photo blue pencil. His lines won’t be picked up by scanners, so if I leave a trace of a weird-looking sketch, it won’t be there to haunt me later.
Artists have to have imagination. Because how else is this supposed to look like a nice-looking lady? Right now it’s a weird lookin’ head. With a little oval mouth.
Slowly, the details are filling in. I decided to try something new and draw a side braid from the front. Honestly, it was a lot easier than I thought. It’s…kind of like armor plating, if that doesn’t sound too weird.
After I was finished sketching out my details, I went over everything with a sharp 4B drawing pencil, just to make sure I liked the way it looked. The braid looked much better than I’d expected, and everything else was looking good, so…time for the nerve-wracking part.
I like my art to have thick lines. Maybe because I’m not so adept at shading yet. But this step always scares me because one slip of the pen and I’ve wasted all my time.
Especially with a brush tip pen like this guy. I love the lines he makes, but he gives me anxiety.
Phew. Not looking too bad. The shoulders are a bit thick, but they’ll look all right once I go back over the rest.
Which will mean more anxiety.
Thanks, Brush Pen.
Time for the fun, relaxing part – coloring! I love coloring. It doesn’t like me, but I love it.
Coloring is a really informal process of layering on a million colors all at once and working with several pencils at the same time. I can’t really say everything I did with the color, but I…made a gif so you can see the layers stack up?
Some notes on the color:
- Colors go from lightest to darkest. So, if you wanted to make green, you would put down yellow before blue. (I’m not really sure why. It’s just…what I’ve been taught.)
- In past, I’ve used my black pencil to add the few shadows I know how to add. The more I do that, the more I realize it’s wrong. Using darker tones of the same colors often leads to better shadows – especially in skin.
- I like to tint hair with my mauvey-red pencil. He gives it a really nice glow, no matter what color goes over it.
- The gold colored pencil is very easy to overuse. Just a light coat of him is enough for most things (I mean, unless you want to deck something out.)
I like to go back over the lines with my pen after I’m finished with the colored pencil, just to make them stand out a little better.
And to give myself a little more anxiety.
Add my signature, a little color in the background, and we’re done! For now. Until I get tired of looking at the one thing I missed and go back and obsess over it.
Right now, that thing is the tendril of hair on the left side of her neck.
It looks like a curly fry.
tl;dr: This was an art post with some advice but probably not nearly enough.
But honestly, all the advice in the world couldn’t get you there on it’s own. Practice and time are big keys in getting good at anything.
I think I’m going to try to fix the curly fry.
Sayonara for now,