A collage of sketchbook drawings of women with wavy and curly hair, and two digital paintings of the same character with long wavy, purple hair. The text Practicing in Between is on top of the collage.
Digital Painting,  Drawing,  Figure Drawing,  Illustration Series: In Between,  Sketchbooks

Practicing in Between (Part 1 & 2)

Winter’s begun and the longest night is here. I’m ready for fresh starts, a new year, and lengthening daylight slowly inching back towards spring. I’ve been practicing art quite a bit, and am so close to filling two sketchbooks: a multimedia one and a smaller drawing one (hopefully a sketchbook share video is coming in the near future 🤞). Today I have 25 sketchbook pages to share in this post (!!!). And I came up with the idea for an ongoing series that I’ve just begun, with a new original character!

A woman with long, purple, wavy hair which is braided and in a half bun. She wears a flowing purple dress with white and pink ribbons. Her head is in profile view and she is smirking over her shoulder.
Part 1
A simple yellow background
A digital painting of my original character Ianthenna. A woman with pale skin, purple curly hair in a braid and half bun, and green eyes. She is wearing a pink evening dress with lace and ribbon details, and she is holding a candle stick while walking in a dark hallway.
Part 2
A candle appears!

I’m calling it “In Between” and thinking of it as kind of a web comic. Each image is a part of a series featuring the character above, an OC I’m developing called Ianthenna (aka Ian, she/they). They are wandering around a kind of liminal space akin to the “backrooms” creepy pasta mythology, but not quite – more like a combination of fantasy dreamscapes, meditative visualization, and strange liminal spaces. And the character will slightly shift in design between each piece. I’m excited to illustrate her journeys. (I didn’t even realize their design is similar to the last sketch I posted in February, so perhaps that’s a bit of precursor?).

In between the two illustrations above, I sketched a lot of various practice pieces, mostly concentrating on a specific aspect I wanted to improve, rather than trying to make multiple finished characters. That’s the main purpose of the series – between each wandering illustration, having practiced multiple pieces to show a shift in skill level, style, etc.

This approach made finishing multiple sketchbook spreads much easier and less intimidating. Especially when juggling work, dance class, and house renovation projects.

I started with focusing on improving basic head shapes and trying to visualize the 3D planes better – starting with a tutorial from Proko that I found on Tumblr (and I also set up a side blog on Tumblr to collect reblogs of tutorials and inspiration!). From there, I moved on to wavy/curly hair and torso form studies.

The only tutorial series I was studying, besides aforementioned Proko one, was a couple hair tutorials on Pinterest, plus the earliest manga tutorial I ever bookmarked, from back in my high school days (i.e. 2002/2003!), by Julie Dillon at Manga University, lol. The bookmark I have is from the Wayback Machine, since the site no longer hosts the tutorials.

I was also watching a lot of sketchbook share videos on YouTube. There wasn’t any art books I read during the time span of these sketches, though I now have a few queued up to work on before ep 3.

All of the pages below were created between 11/28/22 and 12/20/22. ^_^

I’m also quite pleased with my new purple desk mat, which makes for a nice photo background.

Now to brace for the Midwest blizzard arriving tonight. I’m not looking forward to clearing snow off our sidewalks in the morning, considering it’s also going to be super, very, no-fun cold.

I’m hoping to get some sketching done over the weekend, as well as reading. And I signed up for 21 Draw subscription, so I’m planning to work through some courses there. I bought an iPad Pro back in October (**big happy dance!!!**), and there seem to be a lot of Procreate tutorials on 21 Draw ^_^.

Now for a bit of the “And That’s Why We Drink” podcast — I’ve been giving myself the chills with listening to the creepy paranormal and true crime stories while I sketch and paint. I love the chaos energy of Em and Christine too! 😀 I only recently discovered their podcast in the last month, so I have a lot of past episodes to catch up on.

‘Til next time!

Listening to: Theme From Twin Peaks
Current mood: cold

I'm an illustrator and web developer honing my skills and learning all I can about drawing, painting, and storytelling through visual art.