Blog post thumbnail showing a collage of five drawings of my original character Ariennha. They are quick sketches showing an elven woman with curly red hair.
Drawing,  Inspiration,  Life Musings,  Sketchbooks

Sketchbook Share: Ariennha

Last post, I mentioned a series of OC sketchbook pages I filled, starting with Reiellasara and now moving on to Ariennha. Ariennha is a character very close to my heart, even if I haven’t drawn her much – I’ve spent many an hour daydreaming stories and world building in my mind over the years. She’s definitely got Mary Sue energy, but I honestly do not care, I love the character.

But why haven’t I made very much art of those daydreams? The trick to getting those ideas down as drawings is to just Nike-style “Do It”.

This is just a small beginning, but lately I have felt so much more unstuck.

Seriously though, just making the art and especially posting it can feel so daunting. I don’t particularly like where my skill level is at, and so I feel more than a bit cringe-y sharing my art. A couple things have helped me accept and push through that art block.

One is: really getting better at acknowledging my feelings. When I think about it, there is just a little bit of awkwardness. Not so much that I can’t live with it, work past it, and post my art anyway. I can accept the awkward feeling: it doesn’t crush me.

Because, I have a whole lot of other feelings when I draw and blog: I feel grateful that I make time to draw, that I’ve saved up money over the years for art supplies, and that I’m making anything at all. I feel proud that I honor the types of hobbies and passions I care about.

And most of all – I just purely enjoy the process: my heart sings blending markers, or arcing a line of ink on the page, or hearing the pencil scrape across paper. I love carrying around a sketchbook, and deciding what to pack in a little drawing pouch. All of that far outweighs the little bit of shy awkwardness of sharing my rough art.

Secondly, this recent YouTube video was quite inspiring: “You’ll never be a good enough artist.” by Thought Slime (which I found after watching a bunch of other videos their horror movie channel Scardey Cats).

Seriously, it’s a great 28 minute video. The main inspiration I brought away from it is: don’t just keep ideas in your mind, waiting until you’re “good enough” to express them. Just make art. Obviously an almost 30 minute video goes into a lot more depth, but just make your art. Get it out of your mind and onto the page. Even amateur, rough art has it’s own charms.

So here is my OC:

A Copic marker drawing of my original character Ariennha, an elven woman with curly red hair and violet eyes. She is wearing multiple necklaces and a gray green tank top.
A drawing of my OC Ariennha, created in Copic fine liner and markers. I drew it on simple copy paper and then double-sided taped it into my sketchbook.

Like my OC Reiellasara drawing from my last post, I filled a page with rough portrait doodles. I think my favorite is the top right one – the expression is just perfectly unimpressed and bored.

A series of eight quick sketches showing an elven woman with curly red hair. Only the hair is colored in. The rest of the line art is purple under sketches and black fine liner.
A sketchbook page of quick sketches, done with Copic fine liner and a red orange Copic marker. The under sketch was a purple fine tip marker (I don’t remember the brand ^_^*)

I can see so many flaws with these two sketchbook pages above, but that’s a good thing. I can pick up on things I want to improve. Like yesterday I sketched three quick studies of the way the neck bends, because I feel so stuck just drawing heads without a body.

A sketchbook page with art clips holding the page down. At the top of the page are two pastel sunset cloud drawings. Below to the left is a rough sketch of a figure holding a sword, and to the right are three studies of a woman from shoulders up.
A sketchbook page from mid December 2023

Those sketches in purple Col-Erase pencil above were based on a few photos from a Howard Lyon reference photo art pack (“Chelsea Dynamic” – note photos are NSFW), which I bought on Art Station. The figure on the left was based on a stock photo from the Medieval Warrior Reference Pack by Jessica Truscott, also on Art Station.

I am really trying to balance study pieces with original art. But also not over think my approach – if I have an idea to work on, even if it’s not a 100% polished idea or serving some purpose, I have been trying to act on my motivations. It’s so easy to sit down and plan what to draw, then instead become de-motivated from a mental tangle of self criticism and second guessing. Instead I’m trying to find the fun and puzzle in the process. Making it about play and joy instead.

December has been a rough month, with loved ones going through health challenges. Normally I’m irritated by the hectic energy of the holidays, but this year, I’m feeling grateful for the season – shopping, picking out gifts, getting holiday cards in the mail. (one of these days I’ll get my act together to send my own cards, ^_^*). Being thankful for friends and family.

And I’m learning to be grateful that I’m still making some time to draw and paint. To enjoy holding a colored pencil in my hand, slowly blending soft colors together. Whether it be little cloud studies, or gesture sketches, or a contour drawing of a bell pepper, I can more clearly feel how art making gives me a more centered presence.

‘Til next time.

Listening to: Fires at Midnight, Blackmore's Night
Current mood: hopeful

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