Category Archives: Pencil Sketches

Grey Play

So last week I decided to try creating a portrait in marker from a photo of Sylvia Plath. I first went to draw it out in pencil… but then I kept going because I was enjoying it! It was done in about 1.5 hour, mostly during my lunch break at work with some detailing that evening. So here is the pencil only version:

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After I finished it, I decided to give it a go with the markers, but I still really didn’t understand the way to shade with them yet. So here is my second attempt at using the markers, using only Black, and Cool Grey’s # 3, 5 and 7 (and colorless blender), completed in roughly 30-45 minutes:

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My proportions were off because I was trying to set it up with the markers and not the pencil first. I had read that going over pencil with the markers would lock the graphite down and it would show through, but I have since figured out how to lift enough pencil to still see an outline but not be able to see it once the marker is added.

Next, I decided to try another still life from a photo, which was also a Christmas present for my partner’s mom and her boyfriend. I used the Cool Grey’s #3, #5, and #7 again, plus Neutral #2 for the background and the colorless blender:

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I like how this one came out much better, since I am starting to get how the shading works! So it is becoming more and more fun, as I get used to the process. I have also ordered some more markers from oozak.com, so I am anxiously awaiting their arrival so I can start playing with more levels of shades.

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Day 38 – An Apple

I thought I’d help myself out a little bit and try out a kind of theme for the next 26 days, by working my way through the alphabet. So here is the first, an apple (of course!):

Day 37 – Fire

I was feeling pretty emotional last night (no, I am not going to go into why, sorry), so I decided to try to draw fire. You know, cause that’s “how I felt inside”….*cue the teenage angst*. Just kidding. I’m 27 so it would have to be late-20s angst, I guess.

I wasn’t looking to draw cartoon-y flames, but actual fire. I found a photo online and gave it a shot, but… well, part of it was that I was tired and just wanted to go to bed, and part of it was that drawing fire is HARD. A lot harder than I expected. At some point I just said “ok, that’s enough” and put the pencil down, and went to sleep.

Me Kara. Me bring you fire:

Day 36 – A Microphone

One of the hardest parts of this daily challenge (and I’m sure my fellow 365ers would agree) is having to be creative every day. Normally, I would choose to do creative work only when I felt I was in an “inspired” mood – but this has forced me to come up with something whether in the mood or no.

I was thinking it might be slightly easier for those that have a theme, but then you would still have to find a fresh way to represent that theme each day, so maybe it would actually be harder? Maybe the 365 bloggers out there who have a themed approach can chime in on that one…

In any case, I think that this forced creative juicing might be one of the biggest benefits from the project as well. I would definitely like to build up my brainstorming skills. If I want to be a successful graphic designer, I will have to think of solutions in the moment, not just when I’m “in the mood.”

It’s frustrating, to be sure. But I also see the value in it. Or at least that’s what I will tell myself after I waste time struggling to find a subject, try to do it, not like it, and then start the whole process over (which is what happened last night)!

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Day 35 – A Queen

I know, you probably thought I meant a member of a royal family – and with all the recent hoopla on the other side of the pond, I don’t blame you. However, I actually mean a Queen piece, in Chess. I love chess, but I haven’t played in a while. I picked up a new strategy book recently, so I might give that read before classes start again.

Days 32, 33 & 34 (a turntable, a figure, and a face)

Hi! Due to a number of factors, I didn’t post yesterday, so today’s post includes the sketches from Friday night, last night and tonight! I was pretty tired Friday and yesterday, so they are pretty basic. For tonight’s, I tried to spend some time working with charcoal – so I worked on a portrait but looking at it now I can see some areas I should have worked on more. Unfortunately, I don’t have more time tonight, so I’ll just have to try again another night! Here they are:

Friday, Day 32 – A Turntable:

Saturday, Day 33 – A Figure:

Sunday, Day 34 – A Face:

Day 31 – A Pug

I think Pugs are so cute… their wrinkly faces are so endearing. I found his photo in a magazine ad again. I did spend a decent amount of time on him, but whether it was too complicated or I was too tired (or both), I wasn’t able to do a great job. It’s not terrible, but I wish I had been able to do a little better. That’s ok, though… onward and upward!

Day 30! – Woman, Looking Over Her Shoulder

Wow, I made it to 30 days! My first challenge to myself is accomplished! =) I decided to try something harder last night, to celebrate reaching this goal. It’s a woman I found in a magazine ad, who was looking back over her shoulder at the camera. It was in black and white, so I was able to study the shadows and lighting pretty well. Her eyes are not even… I’m finding that to be one of the harder things for me. Also, it was more difficult to do this in pencil than charcoal, but I think it worked out ok. Here she is:

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Now starts the next 30-day stretch, with the added goal of at least 15 minutes a day spent on each sketch. I am feeling pretty encouraged by getting this far and I really do look forward to the next phase!

Day 29 – Hubblebot

Ok, last night’s sketch is kind of tongue-in-cheek. It was fairly late and I was really, really stumped by what to draw. I fell back on the space theme because, well, I love it. I had been thinking about satellites and the Hubble telescope a few days before, so I did a Google image search.

I don’t know about you, but I think the Hubble telescope looks hilariously like a robot from this angle! So I drew him up, accentuated it just slightly to fit into my idea, and here he is – Hubblebot:

Day 28 – Bird

I don’t actually know what kind of bird this is (any ornithologists out there?) but I wanted to draw a bird. No real reason… maybe because the Spring has begun. Although today it doesn’t feel like it. In any case, I looked up a photo online and used it to work from. I was very tired, so it is not *great* but I still spent more time on it than I had in the earlier sketches.

I am thinking that my new goal for the next 30-day period will be a 15 minute minimum. Obviously I’ll shoot for longer, but I feel like if I force myself to get into it for at least 15 minutes, that will make it easier to keep going because (hopefully) I will get absorbed in the details by then. I don’t know if 15 minutes is enough time to make that happen, I just picked it arbitrarily, so we’ll see. I will probably increase the minimum each month, as well.