sketches

Forest Studies

In the interest of Improvement™ I’ve been warming up with little forest studies on the mornings that I’m working digitally. For one thing I was getting bored and frustrated with quick sketching human figures, and for another Wyrdhope has a lot of forest backgrounds, and I wanted to expand my mental library of woodland to make drawing them more interesting.

All of these were done in about 20-25 minutes, using my own vast library of Blurry And Poorly Lit Photographs of English Forests as reference. Some were done manually choosing colours, more were done by colour picking from the photograph. This process both gave me a bigger palette to work from in the future when painting forests, and also allowed me to focus on the act of painting, rather than agonising over getting the correct colours first.

What I’m looking for in each one is the quickest way to transfer what I see and feel from the photograph into a painting. I have a tendency, as pretty much anyone would agree, to overthink things. And painting forests is a nightmare for this – I look and can’t see the proverbial wood for the linguistical trees. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with thoughts like ‘There are how many leaves in this photo?’ and ‘I didn’t know that many shades of green and greenish brown even existed’. Doing these studies has forced me to loosen up and look for ways to speed up the process. Most of which has been getting to grips with the many brushes I have installed in photoshop that I avoid using because I have my favourites, dammit, and I like my comfort zone. But using a mix of pre-made leaf and tree brushes, alongside my faourite Kyle T Webster chunky chalk and soft watercolour, has really turned out some results I’m quite happy with.

The top four in this post are my earlier studies, the lower four more recent – the one I chose to feature is one I painted yesterday, and I think shows how much just these few minutes a day have helped me improve. Doing these has made me excited for the time when I get to paint forests again in Wyrdhope (for the unaware, the most recent pages have all been set inside, which is a nightmare and I hate it, even though it’s forcing me to get better at drawing interiors.)

So the forest warmups will continue, at least until I get bored and frustrated and switch to something else!

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Daily Doodle Challenge: March

The theme this month was Superheroes! And I made the poor life choice to decide that I wanted to do most of them in colour, so of course I didn’t have time to do every single day. I’m not super bothered by it, I got a lot of practice in on my Cintiq – which is my new adopted child, by the way. Also some of these heroes I’m keeping to use in Other Things in the future because I love them.

But, doing them in colour got me thinking, and I’m getting a little bored of just doing the same kind of doodles every single month. I want something a bit more substantial. So, from April on, I’m going to try out doing weekly illustrations in the same style as I do my doodles. This way I can just put more into what I’m making, and still do some kind of drawing every day. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, so we’ll see how it goes! I’m still going to use themes to base my illustrations around, so April’s theme is going to be Supervillains. Depending on how my sketchbooks look – usually messy and incomprehensible, so – I may still be posting sketchy things from them on the old sketchblog. We’ll see how this goes!

Daily Doodle Challenge: December

dec-1-11 dec-12-22 dec-23-31Fanart is fun and all, but original characters are where it’s at. December was Original Characters month, mostly featuring the cast of the novel series I finished drafting in November. For Fun Facts and Story Origins of any of the characters seen here, you can hit up my sketch blog. Follow me there to see January’s doodles – the theme is Monster Boys this time, if that tempts you – in semi-real time on a mostly daily basis, as well as WIP’s of other things I’m working on!

Daily Doodle Challenge: November

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Novembers Daily Doodle theme was Fanart. November was also, for those that don’t know, National Novel Writing Month, which I have entered every year since 2008 and won every year since 2008 and damned if I was going to break my streak. Therefore, I didn’t finish every doodle on my list for this month, but I’m still pretty happy with what I got done. The novel, if you were curious, ended at 81,500 words.

If you’re interested in knowing which character is which, or where someone is from, or why I chose them as my favourite to draw this month, then head over to my sketchblog, where you can read me gushing about the characters I love.

Daily Doodle Challenge: September

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All your princesses turned out to be in another castle. Septembers theme was Princesses and was really fun to do! Can you tell I like drawing girls yet? I think next year I should do more male-based challenges, to get the practice in. If you’d like to see what individual prompts inspired each drawing, check out my sketchblog on tumblr, where I post weekly round-ups, and occasionally WIP’s of other projects!

Next month’s challenge theme is Halloween!

Daily Doodle Challenge: August

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August’s doodle challenge theme was Mermaids! Main lesson learned: creatively posing mermaids is hard.

Next months theme is Princesses! For weekly updates, you can follow my sketchblog on tumblr here!

Daily Doodle Challenge: July

And despite the hectic-ness that was July, another month of doodles is done! This months theme was Girls (from the challenge list here).

July Doodles 1-12 July Doodles 12- 22 July Doodles 23 - 31

I was a bit too busy to post these regularly on my sketch blog, so apologies for that. But they’re all done, and I had a super fun time designing all these ladies. I’m especially pleased with managing to be more diverse in my characters – I think the War Girl with her sword is my favourite.

Next month I’ll try to post weekly roundups on the sketchblog again, and the theme is Mermaids.