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drawing

Recourses for artists: Figure and gesture drawing tools

My ability to create any kind of art is still pretty limited. But I figured I could at least help someone else out by sharing some of the great resources I have made use of over the years. So this will be like a series of sorts.

Let’s start with a great tool for figure drawing, which is also completely free. Because its great practice if you want to improve your drawing skills. But finding either classes or models can be quite difficult, as well as expensive. Or maybe you are already taking classes but want to practice some more. Either way, an online tool is very convenient.  I will drop the link right here so I don’t forget about it.

They include tools for faces, hands and animals in addition to normal figure drawing stuff. I have been using the option for faces the most myself. There are some options to help you narrow down what you want to practice, like only sad faces or only aquatic animals for example. I haven’t used those options very much however.

What’s your favorite artist tool?

Yellow bell pepper

paprika

This is a drawing i finished some time back, while I was visiting my parents for Easter actually. But I somehow forgot to take a decent picture of it. So it had to wait until now, when I’m once again back in my home town to spend some of the summer with my family.

It´s done in colored pencil, a mix of several different brands. I had just gotten a new pencil case, one of those where every pencil goes through an elastic hoop and you then roll the whole thing up. A lot of time were spent picking just the right pencils for my travel kit, to make sure I had a good selection of colors. I also tried to avoid the shortest pencils, just to make sure they wouldn’t become unusable while I was away from home.

I started this drawing because I wanted to practice drawing yellow objects. In my somewhat humble opinion, it´s one of the hardest colors to work with, especially when working with dry mediums. Mostly since you can´t get a really dark yellow, instead you will most of the time get some shade of orange. So my biggest problem was to get all the shadows right and give the object a sense of dimension while still making it look like a yellow bell pepper, not an orange one. There was some green in there as well, that i felt helped in making everything appear less monochrome.

The reflection of the pepper on the surface it was placed on caused me some trouble as well. I didn´t get it to look as smooth as i would have liked. Reflections are now on my list of things to practice.

This was done in a sketch pad containing Fabriano academica paper with a weight of 200gsm, which I have grown quite fond of. It has a god texture, but the drawing is now a bit warped. If this is caused by the rather heavy application of waxy pencils, or if it happened at a later date due to storage or something else I unfortunately can´t tell at this point.

Do you have any color that you fins to be extra troublesome?

Flower bud

Flower bud

I haven’t been drawing a lot lately. Mostly because I’ve been very into jewellery making for a while now. But you will see more of that in a later post. Today, I wanted to show you one of the few drawings that did get finished.

This was a shorter project, drawn using a reference photo I snapped with my phone. I liked how the pink flower and green leaves looked against the brick wall.

The sketch was actually something I created a while back, but didn’t take any further at the time. I tend to have a whole bunch of sketches lying around that may or may not end up being made into a more finished artwork.

This was actually one of my first times working with colored pencil on watercolor paper. I don’t know why I never tried it before. It has a really nice texture that’s rather similar to what I normally look for in a good paper. And while I do enjoy my colored papers a whole lot, it does not always suit the subject. Especially not when you want to go for strong and clear colours.

I actually lost the reference photo I used for this about halfway through. The cause being a corrupted memory card, something I have never experienced before. But at least I learned something about the importance of backups. This led to a somewhat rushed finish for this drawing, where it didn’t end up quite the way I envisioned. But that rarely happens anyway.

What is your favourite paper? And have you ever had any incidents with memory cards or hard-drives?

Some space art

Space

 

I wanted to try something new and a video on imagine fx inspired me to try creating a space scene. Since it was my first time doing something like this, I went for a simple composition with fewer elements to be concerned about.

When I try to draw an unfamiliar subject I prefer to work digitally. That way I don’t have to worry about wasting materials and can be free to experiment. This time I worked in photoshop. My biggest problem was to get the finished picture to look like my photoshop document. It lost a lot of contrast and colour depth somehow. I most likely made a silly mistake somewhere. Do you ever have this problem?

Fineliner doodle

fineliner

Most nights, I will sit in my bed and draw for a while before going to sleep. A lot of people read books in a similar manner, though if I did that I would never get any sleep.

It’s usually nothing fancy, just some doodles or sketches. But you always learn something. In this case I worked with lines and got to improve my skills with a pen along the way.

A few new pens

Around christmas, I traveled to my hometown to visit my family. Now when I´m there, I always visit the local art supply store and get something new. They might not have the best selection, but it´s owned by some very nice and knowledgeable people. This year, I got myself a sketchbook and a pack of six Faber Castell pitt artist pens in earth tones. It´s the variety that has a brush tip and I mostly intended to use them as a tool for sketching. It should be noted that the brush tip is pretty hard. It´s not like what you find on a copic marker for example, and it´s not a brush with individual hairs. So if that´s what you´re looking for this might not be for you. They looked like a nice addition to the warm and cool greys I already own.

The colors included were walnut brown, caput mortuum, raw umber, dark naples ochre, cinnamon and terracotta. All the colors have the highest of the ratings for lightfastness, wich is given on a scale from one to three where one is worst. I haven´t verified if they actually hold up to longer exposures to daylight however, since I mostly use them in a sketchbook. But I never heard a complaint about it, at least.

I included some photos to give an idea about what kind of results you can expect from this type of pen. The sketchbook used is a little bigger than A5 in size and the paper is fairly thin and smooth. The pens didn´t bleed through to the other page, which is important if you intended to use them in a sketchbook. I think they could be interesting to use on bristol board, but have yet to try that.

How do you prefer to do your sketching?

Fenix in progress

fenix

I started this drawing of a phoenix some time ago, but I´ve had some trouble finishing it. I feel like there is some more work to be done on it, especially on the background. But I´m not sure how to do it. I guess you just get stuck sometimes.

This seems to be a frequent problem for me when working digitally. Sketching is fine, and I can see some advantages over doing it traditionally. But when it comes to doing fully developed artwork I just find it very awkward and time-consuming. I guess I need some more experience to figure out how I´m supposed to be doing things. What do you think about working digitally?

Abstract landscape

Sunset

This is one of the few drawings I have finished lately. I wanted to experiment with making a more abstract version of something that would still be recognizable.

I made this using a variety of different markers, mostly promarkers and copic sketch. It´s on bristol board, wich I bought a while back because it was smooth and heavyweight. It was also recommended by a lot of people. Can´t say I`m a fan though, unfortunately. The copics looked speckled on it, and the ink kept bleeding over the edges. That´s something i have a hard time with. So I don´t think I will buy any more of it.

This time I did a sketch on a separate paper before transferring it over to the bristol board. I prefer working that way, since my sketches tend to be messy.

Picking out the colours was something I found to be difficult. It was easier for the sky, but I´m less than pleased with the ground.

I feel like I learned a lot while working with this. Both about my markers, about colour and about abstraction. There will likely be at least a few more drawings made in this style.  Do you have any ides for subjects?

 

Digital dragon

Sea dragon

I have been a bit busy with school lately, but I finally managed to finish some art. I´ve always had a love for fantasy creatures, especially dragons.

This is a drawing made using Photoshop and a tablet. I don´t tend to finish my digital drawings, so I have a ton that´s stuck at the sketching stage. But I tried out a different technique with this one, and it went a lot easier.

There are a lot of advantages to working digitally, especially since I really don´t have any decent working space at the moment. But I always found it to be a bit awkward, and my work would end up looking lifeless and stiff. Maybe it still does. I tried to be less exact this time though. Instead of doing what I usually do and work on lots of different layers on a complicated sketch where every piece is carefully painted with base colours before I move on. Here, the sketch was very rough and the shapes and details were developed along the way.

I´ve had some trouble with the contrast here, as well as deciding how light to go with the colours. Since what I see on my screen might not be what it looks like to others. I do think my screen does a decent job, but maybe it´s in need of some adjustment. What do you think?

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