Autumn Leaves and Graphite Pencils

In which I draw a few trees and play with graphite pencils.

I finished reading Denis John-Naylor’s Drawing Trees book back in August, and so I spent my last few studies concentrating on the lessons from the book. Mostly good practices on keeping your drawing surface clean by using a scrap piece of paper under your drawing hand (and lift, don’t slide!), observing light and shadow, and general fundamentals.

I enjoyed using watercolor paper for the two drawings of trees – it creates a nice texture that simulates the variety of leaf shapes. Of course it also means it smudges way easier on the paper – even while taking photos of the drawings, I found the graphite rubbing off on the background paper after getting all over my fingertips. And I was even trying to be careful. At least I had the kneaded eraser right there to clean it up, mostly.

I’m also rather proud that I sharpened a ton of my pencils with a craft knife and finally got the hang of it without breaking the led like All. The. Time. I even got a case to hold them in, so that hopefully they are more portable (because a super sharp pencil is still so fragile, grrr).

The oak leaf, I practiced using an embossing tool to create the white lines of the veins – embossing into the paper and the shading on top of it. I really enjoyed the simple, quick effect.

I tried a new lighting set up for taking photos – with two LED lights and my camera on a cantilevered tripod. The exposure was way off unfortunately – I’m still learning how to use my DSLR and I sorely need some more practice at it. At this point, I’m thinking of just taking photos of random things weekly, just to get myself used to the machine. At least I was able to…mostly?…fix the levels in Photoshop. Good enough for here and Instagram, I say!

With autumn literally around the corner (in say 5 hours, what with the autumn equinox and all), I am feeling the weird press of time, where I get all melancholy, thinking of wasted time and upset with myself for not giving more of myself to art and drawing. I get so easily pulled in other directions, but they are often good ones: my career as a web designer, quality time going out with my boyfriend, time with family and friends, belly dance class, house keeping, and reading good books. I don’t know where to fit in drawing more, let alone reading more art books or watching more art videos, or (gasp!) making my own videos and such. It’s so frustrating, the pressures we put on ourselves that then creates resistance and blocks on our creativity. I don’t really know what the answer is, but I do want to take that pressure off and remember the joy I receive from making art and sharing it online.

I’ve started writing morning pages again (taken from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) and I do feel like that daily introspection helps me to “get out of my own way” so to speak – to realize how I might be blocking my own energy. I want to be mindful of how I spend my energy and time in a positive way, rather than in an overly self-critical way.

We shall see whether I succeed :/

Anyway, I’m currently syncing some music to my Cayin N3 DAP (bought to replace my old, old iPod classic, which sadly cannot hold a power charge. Not to mention I happily ditched iTunes – finally – and switched to Dopamine audio player.) Multitasking as I blog, wheee!! ^_~

Finishing that because I miss having my music at work and on the bus; as useful as Spotify playlists can be, they just can’t compare to my own carefully built music collection and old playlists *_*. After that I’ve got to put away the clean laundry from earlier today, make some lunch for tomorrow… trying really hard to get to bed by 10:30, so that I can wake up at 5:30 and feel mostly awake… Ah Sunday nights! Seriously, I just need a time turner!

*skips off*