Photo of an open sketchbook, showing a page of gestural ink sketches of a woman with long, wavy, purple hair. On the opposite page is a Copic marker drawing of the same character facing forward; she is wearing jeweled earrings and a necklace. Below that are sketches of little sections of lace designs and a dressing gown design.
Drawing,  Figure Drawing,  Sketchbooks

Sketchbook Share: Ianthenna

This is the third of my November OC sketchbook spreads, featuring Ianthenna, from my In Between series (which… I have not forgotten about, I swear). I still struggle with a consistent look for my characters, where the features are specific and stylized enough. For practicing quick portraits, though, I consider this page a success. Because this character is often wearing fancy dressing gowns and pajama type outfits (living in a type of dream plane of existence), I also wanted to practice frilly lace collars and cuffs, as that’s what I envision them wearing most of the time.

A sketchbook page of multiple portraits of the same character, with long wavy hair. The sketches are in black ink, with light green under sketches. Only the hair is colored in with marker, with a light purple-blue shade. To the left of the sketchbook is a Copic Multiliner 0.1 pen and a blue mechanical pencil.
Ianthenna quick sketches in Copic multiliner and marker.

I watched a couple videos yesterday on lightning artwork (“How to photograph your art” by Sketchbook Skool and “How to take PERFECT photos of your ART for Instagram and social media” by Margot Hallac), and tried applying some techniques to taking these photos. That meant making the switch to using natural sunlight on my lunch break, and having a white foam core board to bounce the light back and soften any shadows.

I’m much happier with these photos than the ones from my last post, where I used a desk lamp and ring light late at night: not an ideal set up by any stretch. I’m also working against the fact that this bound book resists laying flat. The binder clips kind of helped, but I’d like to try the trick (shown in the first video link above) of using a pane of glass to flatten an open sketchbook.

A sketchbook page with a stylized character with purple wavy hair, wearing a lace collared dress, gemstone earrings, and a green ribbon choker necklace with a light green gem.
Ianthenna sketchbook spread, in Copic marker and fine liner.

For both sketches above, I worked on copy paper that I taped into my sketchbook, since I didn’t want the marker to bleed through. And even though I love the look of sketchbook spreads, I really prefer working on loose paper I can spin around on my drawing board – not only easier to maneuver the page, but I also tend to have better posture compared to a bound sketchbook.

I’m very happy with the lace doodles: They were so relaxing to work on! I was looking at references of different lace designs on Pinterest, and then combining them to make patterns. These are the kinds of studies that are perfect for after work. Being a developer in my day job, I often don’t want to spend more time looking at a screen, so having traditional mediums to draw and paint with is such a nice brain break.

Alas, I also love working on my blog and digital painting – it’s just finding the energy to work more at a computer and not feel too burned out or sedentary. It also means I usually don’t feel motivated to play video games after work, since it’s more screen time. Which I realize is not a terrible problem to have in the grand scheme of things. 🥲 It just means my hobbies end up being different: more time for traditional art, dance, gardening, house repair projects – things that get me moving and being engaged in my physical space.

And on that note, I’d like to get some dance practice in tonight, before hopefully working on more sketches of lace.

‘Til next time.

Listening to: Go - Extended Mix, The Chemical Brothers
Current mood: energetic

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