Drawing for 27 July, 2020

July 28, 2020

I got ambitious and tried to draw people from TV series and movies I’d been watching. First up, Malia Baker as Mary Anne Spier from The Babysitters Club, which works very well to calm you down in the middle of a pandemic. This is what I used as a reference image:

(from The Mary Sue. They’re not letting me embed it, so I reuploaded to aadisht.net)

I’m foiled by eyes again! And I’m not sure that her neck is all that long. But I’m roughly satisfied, and feel that I’m at least on the path to getting better at eyes.

Drawings for 26 July, 2020

July 26, 2020

It’s Sunday! I’ve completely given up on any plans of getting weekend chores done, and instead I decided to spend my time drawing an extra photo today.

The first photo I did was:

Havikarend / Bonelli's eagle / Aigle de Bonelli

And this is what I made:


It isn’t perfect, but after a week of being absolutely frustrated at getting things so wrong, I’ve finally made a drawing where I’m more pleased with what I’ve got right than upset at what I got wrong.

Looking at it now, I do seem to have made her body larger than the head demands, but not appallingly so. I tried to get the feathers defined – I don’t think I’ve done it perfectly, and I think there’s a technique to it that I haven’t figured out yet – but I’m still pleased with what I did manage.

The poor eagle seems to have an eyebrow rather than an eye ridge – that’s what I’m most unhappy about. On the other hand, that might make this work as a comic rather than as a reproduction.

Next up, I tried a still life:

Coreography ...... ( EXPLORE )

And… I think my skills went back to the poor level that had me so unhappy all this week:


Everything’s off in proportions and placement, the tomatoes aren’t recognisable as tomatoes, and the only thing I’m happy with in the whole drawing is the effort I put into showing the layers in the garlic and the onions.

On a personal level, I’m glad I spent time on drawing this morning, though, instead of just sketching as quickly as I could before starting chores or the work day. And maybe having a day where I do one drawing that comes out well and one drawing that comes out badly is the right balance between keeping my confidence up but also keeping me practicing things that are beyond my comfort level.

Drawing for 25 July, 2020

July 26, 2020

I wanted to do a street scene; and also to become ambitious and draw all the elements instead of only the people or things in the foreground. I found this one:

Lionnel Messi Debunked

This is what I did:


I’m deeply frustrated with this – the car is completely off, and doing the storefronts in a rush has made the barely noticeable. Both the people are stick figures more than detailed drawings, and I just wasn’t able to show the chairs as three dimensional objects properly.

This is one of the drawings which has made me feel that I’ve worsened over the past week instead of improving.

Drawing for 23 July, 2020

July 26, 2020

On the 23rd, I decided to get back to portraits. And in Flickr explore, this portrait was especially captivating:


This is what I made of it:


I think I got the shape and proprtions of the head right, and I enjoyed shading the denim jacket – but that’s possibly the best thing I can say about it. Just a week of practicing less than earlier has pushed my skills back to the poor level they were at the beginning of July. I’ve ended up changing the model’s smile, which looks so heartfelt and happy in the original photo, to a suspicious side glance.

Trying to make sense of what I did wrong, I think I’ve got the eyes in a straight line, which I used to struggle with earlier. I tried really hard to get the depth across with shading. So the main problem is with the smile and my shaping and proportions in the lower half of the face; or, possibly, there are very tiny details in the eyes that have to be done right before the drawing looks realistic.

It also feels worse to draw a person wrong than a building wrong or an animal wrong; because bad skills can so easily be taken for a deliberate caricature or insult.


Drawing for 22 July, 2020

July 26, 2020

Aware of my difficulties with perspective and architectural drawings, I wanted to get back to practicing those as soon as possible. This photo was the right combination of beautiful, challenging, and not too challenging:

From the Vaults-82

I didn’t even want to attempt the gorgeous clouds and sunlight, but just to get the building right – for now. Unfortunately…


I don’t know what I did that made my drawing so flat. Getting depth right when there isn’t a lot of depth to work with is frustratingly hard.

I think this past week has pushed me to think that while practice is important, I now really need to get back to watching lessons before going further, or I’ll remain stuck.


Drawing for 19 July, 2020

July 26, 2020

The past week or so has left me with very little time to draw, or draw well, for personal reasons that I’m quite delighted about. Where drawing was concerned, my goal these past few days has been to draw anything at all, and not be too hung up about drawing it completely or well.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been drawing them well for the most part. But here come the drawings anyway.

On 19 July, I decided to draw this photo of capuchin monkeys:

Kapuzineraffen unterwegs.

And I made this:


I got proportions off again, and by the time I finished the monkey on the right, there was no way to fit the monkey on the left on the same page in the same proportion as he (she?) was in the original photo. And I also had a chore to run, so I let the drawing be with just one monkey instead of erasing and starting over.

What I’m unhappy with: not being able to complete and not getting proportions and composition right. I think the monkey’s left arm is also out of proportion.

What I’m happy with: shading, and being able to show depth between the arms and the torso.

Drawings for 18 July, 2020

July 18, 2020

Today’s Flickr Explore was amazing – or I felt especially inspired, and there were six photos that I was tempted to draw. I finally did only two, chickening out on one architectural shot, and getting frustrated with a photo of a cat when I started out, and wanting to draw something quickly rather than get bogged down with erasing or drawing. Both today’s drawings are portraits of people.

This is the first:

make a change

And this is what I did:


Hmmm. I’ve made his face more square than long. And I’ve messed up the eyes a little, which is a problem I thought I’d overcome. But apart from that, nothing much. I tried to draw the folds of the kurta, and I don’t know if the way I’ve done it is the best – but I wouldn’t even have been trying last week.

Outlines in 2H, turban shading in 2B, facial hair in HB, and I tried HB shading to replicate the shadow on the left side of the face.

I wish I could do the background shades in some way.

Next up, there was this:


Almost everything is blurry, so this isn’t the sort of photo I’m used to reproducing. Would it be the same as any other portrait, or would there be problems I couldn’t anticipate? Well…


I think what’s thrown me off isn’t so much the blurriness or sharpness, as having to draw a face that’s turned and not looking right ahead. The photo subject’s eyes seem quizzical – and mine seem like they’re out of a horror movie.

I tried to go quick and dirty replicating the pattern of the shirt, and am now wondering if I should have just drawn the crosses (birds?) painstakingly after all.

My attempt to show the blurry lights in the ceiling is disastrous, I fear.

But I suppose a bigger challenge in portraits was important to keep me from getting overconfident.

Drawing for 17 July, 2020

July 17, 2020

I wanted to get back to the challenge of drawing people.

And in today’s Flickr explore, I saw an interesting-ish portrait. And when I clicked through, I found that the photographer specialises in portraits, and I found another portrait she’d done that I decided I wanted to try and draw. This one:


Having to draw the arms up is something I’ve never done before, so this was going to be a challenge. Only trees in the background, and no other people to draw, meant that it wasn’t going to be a painful challenge. This is what I did:


Self-criticism first: I’ve made my usual mistake of drawing foreground larger than background – here, it means that even after controlling for perspective, I may have made the poor model bulkier on her left side than the right side. I’ve also made her face much puffier than in the original.

Bright sides: I think this is the best I’ve done yet on getting eyes the right size and in line with each other. I also tried to draw an outline as it genuinely was, and not do, e.g the whole body, the whole face, and the whole shirt and then get frustrated and realise that I had to erase lines. (I did erase lines, to be clear – but then I drew them back in in different places. This wasn’t me erasing things that shouldn’t have been there at all.)

Notes: almost the whole drawing is done with a 2H, and even shading is done with a 2H. The hair, and the shadow on the left hand side, are done with 2B. I ended up not using an HB pencil at all in this one.


Drawing for 15 July, 2020

July 15, 2020

This morning, Flickr explore was full of wildlife photography, and short on street photography. So I decided to do something new: an insect. This one:

Soldier Beetle

Since it was my first time doing an insect, I was more worried about doing it at all then about doing it right. This is what I came up with:


I have the beetle’s head in line with its body more than the downturned position that the photo has; and using a 2H pencil as shading to represent the red head hasn’t worked out that well – it’s looking a little ghostly and faded. But overall, I’m pretty pleased at having done it reasonably well and in a short time.

Looking at it closer now, there are subtleties to the beetle’s head that I left out of my drawing – something to pay attention to the next time I do an insect.

Drawings for 14 July, 2020

July 14, 2020

I missed drawing on Monday as well, though that was less about laziness and more about a really weird schedule.

But I already knew what I wanted to draw on Monday, so I did two drawings today: what I’d planned for Monday, and what I found today.

Monday’s drawing was a face, because I was feeling up for a challenge. There was this amazing monochrome portrait on the Flickr explore page:

Darwin, Australia

And this is how I copied it:


The proportions are a little off – and I’m especially exasperated about the lips, though I think that is a problem of shading more than proportion. But as usual, I seem to do worse with the area between the nose and mouth, and better with the eyes. I think these are my best eyes since I started.

I think this leaves the subject looking much younger than in the photo – I tried to get the crows-feet around the eyes, but I think there’s an impact of the white hair in the photo that I can’t duplicate at my current level of skill.

I’ve now been trying a 2B pencil to do areas which are completely shadowed, and I’m not sure it’s working that well. But I don’t even know if the solution is to go back to HB or to pick an even blacker pencil.

Next up, a quick sketch for Tuesday. I tried to draw a photo of a castle through an arched gate, but got it badly wrong right at the beginning. And I was in a rush to shower and start the day, so rather than spend an unpredictable amount of time getting it right, I decided to do an easier photo, and found this:

Utrecht Centraal 2020

Ooh, this had to be simple, right? Just draw a curve and then draw parallel lines? Well… see for yourself:


I did the curve, I did the parallel lines (with a ruler, at that), but I didn’t get the parallel shadows on the blinds exactly right. I winged it on the shadow the window frames/ structures were casting, though, and I’m pretty happy with that.

I left the man in as simple straight lines as possible instead of trying to get into the details of the face. I feel it’s better this way.

But it’s fascinating to practice these sorts of regular and repeating things; and see and draw for myself how things get stretched out or twisted closer and further away from the camera.

(Ignore the 12/7 in the corner, I wrote the date wrong for some reason.)