Summer Drawing Challenge!

Gulp. I’m doing it again. Iris, my Art Muse, is going to have a fit when she hears about this. But I did warn her, way back when we completed our thirty day challenge back in the winter. This time, I’m going to up the ante, and do a drawing a day (at least) for the rest of the summer (at least until the end of August — maybe I’ll just keep going!). Sometimes they’ll be just little doodles, sometimes they’ll be character studies, sometimes comics, sometimes plein-air drawings, sometimes life drawings, sometimes little paintings. But every day I will touch some kind of an implement to paper and leave some marks — and post them here, of course! If anyone else out there is doing a summer art challenge, I’d love to hear about it — feel free to post a link in the comments if you are posting yours somewhere.

I had originally thought I would do an outdoor drawing challenge, and draw outdoors every day this summer, but realistically, I know that won’t happen. I will be doing some, but face it, I’m a fair-weather artist when it comes to plein-air! I abhor struggling with adverse weather and biting bugs. If it’s a nice day, I’ll go sit in a park or cafe and sketch, but I’m doing this for fun, and trying to draw on soggy paper, whether from raindrops or my own dripping sweat or tears of pain and frustration, doesn’t cut it for me!

So to kick off the challenge, I offer up the life drawings I did tonight. I decided to push myself by using only indelible media for my drawings, which feels to me like drawing without a net. Usually I zone in with scribbly pencil lines, and erase stuff I don’t like if it’s really way out there, and reserve ink for after I’ve established proportions and so on. This time I used only ink for the drawing part; some of the shadows were filled in with ink washes or graphite washes, and I made highlights with a new Sharpie white water-soluble paint pen I’m trying out.

We started out with one-minute gesture poses, as usual. I started using a pen with a wedge tip that I like because of its water-soluble ink, which I can touch with a brush and make washes. However, it's getting kind of old and scratchy, and I almost switched, but then I decided I liked the scratchy look and did all the sketches kind of scribbly. I was working small in an 11x14 (inches) notebook; another thing I'm disciplining myself to do is to draw smaller and smaller figures, since this is more the size I need to do when drawing comics.

We started out with ten one-minute gesture poses to warm up, as usual. I started using a pen with a wedge tip that I like because of its water-soluble ink, which I can touch with a brush and make washes. However, it’s getting kind of old and scratchy, and I almost switched, but then I decided I liked the scratchy look and did all the sketches kind of scribbly. I was working small in an 11×14 (inches) sketchbook; another thing I’m disciplining myself to do is to draw smaller and smaller figures, since this is more the size I need to do when drawing comics. I really enjoyed our model tonight; her poses were elegant yet dynamic, and she didn’t drift at all, something that is very hard to do.

This is two five minute poses. I'm still working really fast here, though I was able to use my water brush (a brush with a hollow handle that you can fill with water or ink — very handy for travel) to add some shading in the very last seconds of the two poses.

This is two five minute poses. I’m still working really fast here, though I was able to use my water brush (a brush with a hollow handle that you can fill with water or ink — very handy for travel) to add some shading in the very last seconds of the two poses.

This is a ten minute pose. I decided to be really daring, and use my Pigma Micron brush pen, and abandon sketchiness. This is something I find really hard to do; to put a clean line down right off in a realistic drawing is very difficult. I like to zone in on the line, making lots of light lines until the right one appears, then I latch onto that and darken it. This works OK, but it's time to grow a bit. Having to put the right line down the first time made me really pay attention! The white highlights are the white Sharpie paint pen I mentioned earlier; it's a medium tip one. It's not as opaque as I had hoped, but it works fine for this application. The paper is a Strathmore "Toned Tan" sketchbook.

This is a ten minute pose. I decided to be really daring, and use my Pigma Micron brush pen, and abandon sketchiness. This is something I find really hard to do; to put a clean line down right off in a realistic drawing is very difficult. I like to zone in on the line, making lots of light lines until the right one appears, then I latch onto that and darken it. This works OK, but it’s time to grow a bit. Having to put the right line down the first time made me really pay attention! The white highlights are the white Sharpie paint pen I mentioned earlier; it’s a medium tip one. It’s not as opaque as I had hoped, but it works fine for this application. The paper is a Strathmore “Toned Tan” 9×12 inch sketchbook.

We moved on to 20 minute poses. I really like the longer poses; it's nice to have a bit more time to fill in the details, but not so long that I can dawdle. On this one and the next one, I started out as on the last one, with my brush pen, but decided that I wanted some tonal shading. I had some Derwent water-soluble graphite pencils, so I used those and my water brush: a "light wash" pencil for the figure, and a "medium wash" for the fabric folds.

We moved on to 20 minute poses. I really like the longer poses; it’s nice to have a bit more time to fill in the details, but not so long that I can dawdle. On this one and the next one, I started out as on the last one, with my brush pen, but decided that I wanted some tonal shading. I had some Derwent water-soluble graphite pencils, so I used those and my water brush: a “light wash” pencil for the figure, and a “medium wash” for the fabric folds. (the shadow is from my head as I was taking the picture with my iPad; I didn’t have access to the scanner when I wanted to take the pictures)

A similar approach to the last one; I decided to add some background wash too. This one was actually only 15 minutes, because I had to go put the tea on and get the collection jar ready, as I was on facilitator duty. I also time the poses with a handy little kitchen timer — I'm the only one who knows how much time a pose has left, which I rather like!

A similar approach to the last one; I decided to add some background wash too. This one was actually only 15 minutes, because I had to go put the tea on and get the collection jar ready, as I was on facilitator duty. I also time the poses with a handy little kitchen timer — I’m the only one who knows how much time a pose has left, which I rather like!

When the model folded up into this position, my discipline quailed, and I went back to scribbling. I was tempted to do a pencil sketch for the proportions, because I was getting pretty tired, but I had set myself a task, and I managed to finish out the evening in ink. I switched to a .01 Pigma Micron (that's a very tiny tip) and did a lot of crosshatching. I was surprised that it didn't take as long as I thought it would, as I kept it loose and scribbly. I used the white Sharpie paint marker for the background this time, instead of the figure's highlights; I quite like the effect.

When the model folded up into this position, my discipline quailed, and I went back to scribbling. I was tempted to do a pencil sketch for the proportions, because I was getting pretty tired, but I had set myself a task, and I managed to finish out the evening in ink. I switched to a .01 Pigma Micron (that’s a very tiny tip) and did a lot of crosshatching. I was surprised that it didn’t take as long as I thought it would, as I kept it loose and scribbly. I used the white Sharpie paint marker for the background this time, instead of the figure’s highlights; I quite like the effect.

 

4 responses to “Summer Drawing Challenge!

  1. WOW – to your drawings and to your summer drawing challenge! Your drawings/ sketches are great! Regarding myself my goal is to publish something “artsy” – sketch, drawing, painting – in everyone of my blog posts. I’m still struggling with that goal, having to do art after work in my – not always – free time.

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    • Hi Ulla! Thanks! You are an inspiration to me — not only for your bright, vibrant art, but because the rare times when I have had non-art jobs, I’ve been too exhausted to do much art at all. Even when though I do art for a living now, though, I have to make sure to make some time for art-play, rather than art-work! (BTW, you’ll be interested to know that I just stocked up on coloured Prismacolor markers, due to an incredible sale at our local art supply store!)

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      • Thanks so much, Karen! And you’re an inspiration to me! All your blogposts about your comic drawings encouraged me to try something similar with the exception that I am the writer and the illustrator. The story is in German, and the whole project is at the very beginning. But without your blog I’d never done that step!

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        • Ulla, how exciting! I hope you translate it for those of us who don’t speak/read German! Are you going to blog about it? I noticed you talked about using your Tumblr for posting pictures — a lot of comic artists and book illustrators post in-progress shots of their work; since it takes so long to do one, it kind of keeps their audiences interested.

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