A digital painting of a woman relaxing on a lounge chair on an apartment balcony, in soft pastel colors. She is holding a cup of coffee and smiling.
Digital Painting

Cozy Morning Coffee

Long time no blog. >_>*** The push and pull of inspiration versus procrastination. Whee!

I’ve been making art (I even went to a drawing workshop, yay!), but I haven’t felt particularly inspired to write about the process. It’s been such a stop/start process, that I don’t feel like I’m improving the way or speed that I want. But let’s rip the bandage off quickly and just start blogging again! That’s the only way I’ve found to heal from procrastination: self-forgiveness and getting back to work.

This digital painting was finished back at the end of April (4/23/2023), and I’ve been sitting on drafting a post to go along with it since then. I have two more other posts in draft with thumbnails/cropped photos all ready to go, too. One of them is the second “In Between” series, where I want to show the sketches/rough work between pieces, but that means a lot of photos and/or scanning sketchbook pages from 12/21/2023 through 04/28/2023. Ugh, such a long time. I seem to find the time for little sketchbook studies or doodles here and there, but anything finished is months apart >_<.

Still, let’s focus on the positive for now and rally motivation! This digital painting was fun to work on: very low stress, easy going. I wanted something that would motivate me to become a morning person (hah!), but also just something that would help me work through a drawing process for something beyond a sketchbook doodle.

A digital painting of a woman relaxing on a lounge chair on an apartment balcony. There are many plants in planters around her and on the wall. She is holding a cup of coffee, her eyes are closed in a relaxed emotion, and the sun in rising on the city high rise buildings in the background. The paintings style is heavier ink contour lines and a soft cell shading.

I was hoping to do something fairly quickly, without being too perfection-isty. It was a-OK if it looked amateurish or not in the style I ultimately want to draw in, etc. Again, it was more about practicing the general steps I want to take more often, and follow a process.

  1. Daydreaming: I imagined what an extra cozy place would feel like to me. I enjoy living in a house, but sometimes I miss the feeling of being on an apartment balcony, higher up in a city. Right away I knew I wanted it to be some sort of lounge chair on a tiny apartment balcony.
  2. Sketching thumbnails: I did quick, small thumbnails on scrap paper to decide what I wanted to draw and figure out the general composition (I didn’t think to keep these scraps… I put them in the recycle bin ^_^**).
  3. Gathering reference: I went on Pinterest and general Google image search looking for the ways people decorate balconies and backyard patios for inspiration. I wanted lots of plants and for the space to feel decorated. For the pose of the woman, I used a reference from Jessica Truscott’s “Casual Basics Model Pose Reference Pack“.
  4. Making a rough under sketch: I sketched the first pass of the drawing on white copy paper with a couple mechanical pencil and an HB pencil.
  5. Inking line art with light box: I actually used this light box I got back in…2010? It’s pretty clunky, and there are better LED ones for sale now, but it worked well enough to finish the line art.
  6. Scanning the line art with my Epson Perfection V600 scanner.
  7. Cleaning up line art in Photoshop, as shown in the left below.
  8. Filling the various shapes with value scale planning, with each shape/subject being it’s own layer (i.e. “left plant” “books” etc.). This did two things: start the cell shading look I wanted, help plan the light source, and work on creating focal points with contrast.
  9. Using pixel lock on each layer and changing their colors to be the base color I wanted to use, rather than gray-scale.
  10. Shading and finishing! And adjusting color decisions a long the way. Sign in the corner and add a small water mark. I’m always second-guessing signing with <3 Muse rather than “Elizabeth Richardson”, but meh – it’s what I want to do, so I’m continuing to go with my instincts.
Two work in progress stages of the Cozy Morning Coffee digital painting. The first stage shows scanned ink lines on a white background. The second stage shows each area filed in with a gray scale value to establish tone.
A work in progress screen shot of a digital painting in Adobe Photoshop. It shows flat color areas filled in in the painting, and the layers palette to the right.

And that’s the thinking behind this piece from *cough* 84 days ago *cough*.

Now to go make blue berry pancakes for brunch. Then put some chicken wire around the raised bed of our blueberry bushes, since a cotton tail bunny keeps trying to make her nest in there (even though it’s quite the jump to get inside it!). Not exactly ideal for blueberry gathering, and also I’d be worried the babies and the bunny would get entangled in the bird netting situation that’s staked over the bushes. Though part of me just wants to let the Robins eat the blueberries and the bunnies live in the bed, but even so – how would I water the bushes without washing them out? Always torn between the order of gardening and the call of wild chaos.

Time to go make the most of my Sunday!

‘Til next time.

Listening to: "another good mood lofi. // ⟦ upbeat lofi ⟧ // hip hop radio [study relax vibe]" by ephemeral7778 on YouTube
Current mood: optimistic

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