Collage of sketchbook pages showing various drawings of clouds, mostly in bright and light blues, some that are gray and violet. They are simple studies of small cloud shapes. Text on the collage states: Calming Cloud Drawings in Colored Pencil & Marker
Drawing,  Sketchbooks

Calming Cloud Drawings in Colored Pencil & Marker

More small studies, similar to my lace ones that I recently posted. This time the focus was clouds and thinking of them more as three dimensional forms rather than flat. These studies were fun and quick, and a nice way to start December. I’ve tried to approach these as: OK what’s the simplest, easiest and fun version of the subject I’m studying – even if it’s a doodle on scrap notebook paper – and how can I refine and push that version to something else? Hopefully this approach challenges me while still allowing me to maintain a non-judgemental view of my skill as an artist overall.

I started with a scrap piece of task paper and drew super simple hills and clouds. I went for a child-like, almost Mario-hill-esque shape, then made it a little more natural. The clouds themselves were white gel pen added after. The nice thing about drawing on lined paper is that it already feels so doodle-y and relaxed: like this isn’t going to be some finished portfolio piece, it has a bunch of lines behind it, so just have fun!

Then I drew with blue fineline felt marker (seen on the top of right side page below) , and doodled my default idea of just a cloud – no reference and not really trying to make it “good” or 3D. From there, I pushed the clouds to try to be a little more dimensional. Introducing colored pencil gave me more range of tones and blending, so I could add some soft shadows.

Photo of an open sketchbook spread. On the left page is ballpoint and gel pen doodles of hilly landscapes. On the right side are blue marker drawings of white puffy clouds.
Sketchbook spread of small cloud studies from December 2024. Done in Fineliner marker, Tombow brush marker, Sailor Shikiori marker, and Prismacolor pencils.

After doodling out some of these default ideas of how to draw clouds, I found a nice YouTube tutorial by Aimian Art to follow along to. This time the drawings were done in Copic & Ohuhu markers, with fine liner outlines. I really liked Aimian‘s marker tutorial – I want to watch more regarding landscapes, water, trees and urban sketching: they all look so pretty!

This approach helped me break out of my habitual approach to clouds and try something different. I’m not entirely satisfied with how they turned out, because I still need practice blending markers better. Especially when I branched out to Tombow markers and other felt tip water-based markers. Water-based markers means finding colors and tones already very close to each other, since they dry out much too fast to actually blend drastically different colors together. Copics are a little more forgiving in that regard, if you add enough layers.

I was also reaching for very saturated colors, when I’d rather keep it toned down more and have lighter, pastel colors. Lesson to swatch colors more slowly and intentionally. When I swatch now I’m kind of like, whelp I already uncapped this marker and yep that is indeed too saturated, but let’s GOOOO. 😅 And I use it anyway. So, not, uh, entirely the purpose of swatching colors, is it?

Photo of a sketchbook page with cloud studies, following instructions for a YouTube tutorial by Aimain Art. The cloud and hilly landscape was copied after the tutorial.
Sketchbook page following a YouTube tutorial by Aimian Art
More simple cloud studies, foloowing
Simple cloud studies following a YouTube tutorial by Aimian Art.
Using Copic and Ohuhu markers, as well as Sakura Pigma Micron fine liners.
Photo of a sketchbook page showing simple cloud shapes in marker and ink.
Clouds drawing with Tombow dual brush markers, felt tip markers, and a little watercolor. Lined with Sakura Pigma Micron fineliner pen.

I enjoy fun little studies that are relatively easy to pick up and put back down, if I’ve got other life stuff going on. Which I did. Ugh December 2023, good bye. Next up, I’ve got some Procreate cloud studies I did last week. And I was able to pick out some new brush sets to download, so I’ve been having fun using those to practice drawing drills in Procreate. ^_^

I’m still not feeling great, but at least I have kept with the Datura January Dreams workouts. I’m so motivated to get a little patch/badge of accomplishment. Clearly not being in Girl Scouts and getting to collect patches has left me with envy, haha. I want to sew the Datura patch on my pencil bag so badly T_T. 24 more days to go, since I still need to work out tonight. And I’m balancing belly dance practice with drywall joint taping, wheeee!

While honestly spending like a lot of time (like until 2am Saturday, hahaha, oh no what have I done) this weekend reading romance/isekai comics on the Manta and Tapas apps. Priorities, okay!

‘Til next time

Listening to: Therru's Song (From "Tales from Earthsea - Studio Ghibli")[Piano Version, Streaming Music Studios
Current mood: sick

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