A college of pencil drawings, with pencils and erasers on a table in the background. On top are two color photos of my gray cat Kimmie.

Continuing to Create

It’s been a rough summer, and I’m happy for the turning of the wheel, and the gentler energy of fall. Last night Ricky and I had a little backyard fire, with the full moon overhead and the sound of crickets carrying across the cool air. And now, with the weekend almost over, I’m pausing to post here. I’m so tired of these gaps in my creative journey – but perhaps in a strange way they are building my artistic character, unique to my path?

But first, the sad news – and trigger warning to just this paragraph, for loss of a pet. My beloved Kimmie, the gray cat in the featured image collage above, passed away about a week after my previous blog post, at the end of July 2023. She was 19 years old and very sick with kidney disease. She was so well loved by Ricky and I, and I have so many treasured memories of her, at multiple apartments and even before I moved in with Ricky. She and I lived together 12 of those years, and I’m so grateful she was my kitty. I’m glad she was able to share a couple years with us in this house, too. Blessed be little cat <3

For artistic endeavors, I very recently started working through the Proko Drawing Basics Course, which I purchased at the end of June/early July this year.

The first project was simply warming up and drawing anything, to get a bit of a feel for drawing with a pencil and letting the marks sometimes feel awkward.

A photo of an open sketchbook, with pencils and erasers scattered above. On the sketchbook pages are scribbles and doodles, some of which look like feathers.
Art course assignment – Proko Drawing Basics: Get Your Tools, completed September 25, 2023

The first actual project was simplifying – either a pear or a portrait (or you could use your own reference). I actually already had purchased the Graphite Studio portrait from their reference photo pack on ArtStation; it was funny to be like “Woah, I recognize that model”, hahah. (Honestly, I have probably collected too many reference packs at this point 😅. I also find making collections on Pexels oddly soothing.)

A drawing of a pear, with simplified hard edges and shapes. A value scale is drawn to the right.
Art course assignment – Proko Drawing Basics: Simplify Pear from Observation, completed September 26, 2023

I felt like the values could have been rendered a little smoother, so I made a sheet of practice value swatches, with different pencils. I felt way more comfortable building up darker shades with an HB or 2B.

Using anything like 3B or higher, I felt clumsier — I think I just haven’t used those types of hardness as much?

A drawing showing multiple sets of value scales, with five values each. The sets are labeled with the pencil used, such as a Halloween pencil, a Lisa Frank pencil, an HB pencil, 2b, etc.
Value scale practice sheet, September 28th 2023

While the little swatches above helped me identify what pencils felt more comfortable, it didn’t really help with the ability to shade larger areas with a smooth tone. So I dove into the ‘level 2’ version of the project, with the portrait study. I was pleased with how it came out after, but now that I’ve watched Stan Prokopenko’s demo and critique videos on the project, I realized a lot I would like to simplify further. The critique videos were longer and so helpful – definitely made it worth the cost of the course! I also purchased the figure drawing basics course back and the end of June. Once I’m done with both, I want to buy the other figure drawing courses for sure.

A photo of a sketchbook page, showing a simplified portrait of a young man. The planes are drawn with straight, hard edges.
Art course assignment – Proko Drawing Basics: Simplify Portrait from Observation, completed September 29, 2023

I also finished my sketchbook number 7, but I haven’t taken photos yet 😅. And I recently started on sketchbook number 8, too.

I do hope to post more in here, even if life is messy and sad and chaotic, and there are many things outside my control. I wish good health and happiness to anyone reading this <3

‘Til next time, and may art be a comfort to you.

Listening to: The Violet Flame, Jeff Victor
Current mood: thoughtful

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