Back in school, I learned that fascinating mnemonic in biology, MR NIGER D, (Movement, Respiration, Nutrition, Irritability, Growth, Excretion, Reproduction, and Death) that depicts the unique characteristics of living things. Growing up and being handed presents containing both the bliss and vicissitudes of life, I realized more traits exist (e.g., tiredness), and here’s why.
Athletes can feel weary with that over 25-mile marathon, the excruciating 90 minutes of football, or that intense tennis match that’s decided on a tie-breaker. However, tiredness can transcend the realms of the physical into the depths of our mindscape.
A few students are tired of studying during the day while having to work endless night shifts to make ends meet or pay their tuition. There is the mental fatigue that accompanies the tiring psychometrics and assessments a recent graduate must surpass to land that first skilled job. Some people are exhausted from burning the midnight candle to chase that elusive success, while others who are keen to burn the candle are tired of seeking ways to purchase the match that sets it aflame, as the cost of living blows off the roof. Sighs!
Yes, it’s true life sometimes neglects the bed of roses on which our desires lay by handing us jagged knives and bayonets to fight her unending battles, and that in itself makes one fed up with existence. However, the conscientious are tired of how these battles are fought with the handed weaponry, as knives are no longer used to dice the fruits of our labour but to cut corners and stab the backs that feed us.
Where do we go from here? That’s a question I’m tired of pondering over. Thus, I decided to portray my feelings with graphite pencils on Bristol vellum. I am satisfied with my portrayal of this yawning child, particularly after a long while of drawing, which I could blame on a little emotional exasperation, hence my extended break.
I hope moving forward, I’d have the vigor to carry on my artistic journey to keep creating content for you, my supportive reader. Thanks for sticking around, and until next time, Ciao!
Watching my sister come of age is one of the most joyous things that have ever happened to me, especially as her birthday marks a year further in my artistic journey. I vividly remember my first drawing of her four years ago, which was largely without form due to the absence of shading in my drawings.
Within that four-year frame, my drawings have noticeably improved, and I owe that to YouTube realism tutorials from the likes of Silvie Mahdal, Kristen Patridge and so many more graphite and crayon experts who, through their works, inspired me to keep drawing and subsequently improve. I’d also owe the improvement to the spurring support from you, my WordPress family, and also my sister, whose existence and annual voyages around the sun, have fueled the artistic flame further.
I chose this grimacing picture of her for my recent study, as I continue to explore the world of emotive portraiture, and I must say, I’ve picked quite a few souvenirs from my expedition, including this one, and I hope my future collections only get better from this point.
So, without further ado, I’d like to wish my sister a wonderful birthday, with hopes of umpteen more blissful ones to come.
When a child is born, we see that sweetness, cuteness, adorability, and particularly, that shimmering innocence, gushing off their aura; however, where does this innocence go as they come of age?
One could argue that a child’s innocence suffocates in the chokehold that peer pressure has on our schools and society. Another could argue that a child’s innocence dissipates in a disjointed family, where one parent’s state of mind is in Tokyo, and the other’s is in Kyoto, and well, it can be hard to refute this since charity, they say, begins at home.
Furthermore, others think it’s just “normal” for innocency to reduce as a child gets older, but statisticians beg to differ. For those fond of mathematics and statistics, you’d remember the Gaussian curves or “normal” curves that tend to start at a point, peak at the middle, and then regress towards the end. Well, comparing this to innocence and our lifespan, I feel our naivety is at its peak when we are children, but this reduces as our brain develops and learns more about the world from childhood to adulthood. However, as we age gracefully towards our seventies and eighties, we see our innocence tends to peak again, thence, completing the inversely normal curve, or should I say an “abnormal” curve, lol. Now, this is just my fun observation which can be true for most, but definitely not all.
Nonetheless, this thought on a child’s innocence fascinated and spurred me to make this portrait in color pencil, and to be honest, I truly enjoyed it after making most of my previous drawings in graphite. I cannot say if my subsequent drawings will be in color, but I can only relish the unpredictability of my artistic journey.
It is Mothering Sunday! A day to acknowledge and honor the adorable ladies who bore and aided our passage to Earth. However, mothers should not be limited to women who bear children and aid in procreation, as many who proved infertile have nurtured, fostered, and raised children who have been seemingly abandoned by their so-called procreators. These, I liken to the sweet roses of love everblooming in a desolated land of hate, thus, earning their right to be called mothers.
In my little way of honoring mothers, I peeked through Pinterest to find reference photos depicting motherhood and ended up with my recent portrait study. I found it captivating and challenging as it is my first portrait with two faces, albeit completed with graphite pencils on a 9 by 12 inch Bristol vellum paper (small surface given reference photo). In my After Dark post, I highlighted the importance of shading drawings of big sizes, as this captures more details in your drawings, thus, providing more accuracy in drawings. However, my recent study was mainly for illustration purposes and I was okay with how it turned out in the end.
Without further ado, I wish a happy Mothering Sunday to all the moms, with hopes you continue to be that undying source of love to your offspring, family, and the world in general. Do stay blessed.
What do you see when you close your eyes? Yep! You read that right. What do you see when you close your eyes? For lovers, the astral plane becomes the thin veil between reality and that fervent french kiss. For poets, words become ventriloquists, breathing life into the inanimate, whilst the living become statues of its awe. For cheerful givers, they see blooms of happiness sprouting from seeds sown in the needy’s bosom, and for non-givers, well, they see nothing, for they had already turned the blind eye, lol. Anyways, the answer to this question still saunters back and forth on the bridge between reality and our fantasies.
Fascinated by this question and the portrait reference (by Sandra Parreno photography , whose character seems torn between the 2D and 3D verse), I decided to make this my first drawing of the year 2022.
Looking back at my drawings in 2021, I noticed significant improvements from 2020, particularly in maintaining shading segue, to add more depth to realism; however one crucial drawback still exists: portrait likeness.
Achieving portrait likeness will be the key area I’d work on this year as I try to build on more emotive drawings from years past, and judging from my recent portrait, I see good signs in shading, particularly as the paper used was a bit low grade (still on my media exploration quest); However, the rooms for improvement in portrait likeness ultimately need inhabiting.
Please, feel free to reach out if you’re interested in learning some of my portrayed techniques, and I’d also appreciate every critical input on my works. Thank you.
It’s Halloween season again, and it’s time to unleash the spookiest of costumes for tricking and treating. This time, however, I resorted to commemorating Halloween using graphite pencils and poetry. Weird?
The portrait study this time is a screaming Simon Pegg found on Pinterest.
Graphite pencils were chosen this time as it’s much easier to work with one color (greyscale) compared to the abundance of hues in colored pencils. Moreover, working with graphite pencils gives more freedom to explore one’s range of drawing techniques without fear of making mistakes. This is particularly useful when those learned and perfected techniques are subsequently implemented in color pencil drawing.
Enjoyed creating this drawing (particularly the wrinkles); so much that I was inspired to write a free verse that centers on fear. Hope you like it.
I tremble not at the sight of scornful scorpions and creeping creatures,
nor do I quiver in the face of vast chasms spewing fire and brimstone;
I fear not the traversal of the deathly Elm street,
riddled with ghostly apparitions and prancing monsters,
for in the ambiance of neon-lit jack o’ lanterns,
the incandescence of His word further belights my path;
I’m scared I’d find solace in the dark,
for the light keeps revealing my tears to sneering seagulls;
I dread that at Love’s feet layeth humanity’s jigsaw puzzle,
but pride keeps bloating my piece,
so much, I no longer fit;
I’m afraid that for my good deeds
Mother Nature bestows a priceless invisible garment,
but never gets to see its beguiling beauty on me;
I’m petrified that the world has lost all sense of colour,
and through her monochromatic lens, I’d be deemed shady.
I’m frightened my trust for humankind has eloped with the wind,
for her cold shoulder has turned my heart to ice,
and in her spiky grasps, it shatters to bits;
I’m affrighted life may morph into the desiccated woods
with us, each tree,
and my voice, endlessly drowning in its psithurism;
But most of all,
I’m scared I show no fear,
for fear is a rampaging hound preying on feeble minds,
and strong, I must appear.
So, what are you most scared of? Feel free to share your thoughts.
Happy Halloween by the way, with hopes November brings good tidings. Do stay blessed.
The reference this time was particularly inspired by my choice of coloured pencils, which was predominantly dark-toned black widow pencil set, hence my drawing of the character, Yelena Belova (portrayed by Florence Pugh), from the Black Widow movie.
I have had this pencil set a while now, but it was majorly used to underpin my prevalent Arteza coloured pencils in colour drawing, so I decided to make an exception this time with role reversals.
Three particular pencil shades were used for skin tones including Leather, Suede and Olive brown, whilst both Midnight and Greyhorn variants were used for her gear. Arteza’s Pink macaroon, however, was used for blending the skin out, albeit not hundred percent achieved. This was subject to my carefulness with the sketchbook paper, as the burnishing technique can be somewhat hostile and aggressive on drawing papers.
Nonetheless, these pencil sets have proved to be a great combo in colour pencil realism for me, and I’d keep using them, for now, to see how I improve off them.
I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I enjoyed creating it, and, do have a blessed week ahead. Ciao!
It’s that time of the year again, when my baby sister celebrates her birthday, consequently signaling one more progressive year in my artistic journey. At this point, she knows she has become my most used muse, but one thing she does not know is what reference picture I will choose of her, or which medium I’d portray her in (colored pencil or graphite). This has always made her birthday expectations somewhat of a surprise.
This time, however, I chose a tricky reference picture; one that she discarded at the time due to poor photo lighting. I chose this because it presented various challenging features including: • portrayal of light and shadows • achieving depth in drawing braids, • realistic body features (hands and foot) • cloth form and likeness.
I am happy with the performance in some of these areas and how it turned out generally, particularly as she was carved from another page on my sketchbook. More importantly, I am glad she loved it bearing in mind she once disliked the original photo; So, I’d like to use this opportunity to wish her a very happy birthday with many more years, hoping I’d capture her alluring moods in the years to come.
By the way, if you have any questions concerning improvements in portrait realism or realism in general, I’d be more than willing to help. Conversely, I’d appreciate critical inputs on some flaws that could help me improve as well. For now, however, do have splendid days ahead. Ciao!
Still on expressive portrait drawings, I stumbled on this monochromatic reference photo on Pinterest (as ever), and after finding it captivating, I decided to give it a try with my graphite pencils.
After some digging, I discovered that the photo is indeed a self-portrait of Cristina Otero, a young Spanish photographer, who captured this using the front camera of a Huawei P10 smartphone, of which she dubbed a Soul Portrait, hence the title of this blogpost in Spanish.
This time, however, I opted for my normal 80-paged Arteza drawing book to recreate this photo, rather than the much smoother Bristol vellum surface paper, as I seek to complete the sketchbook soon enough, amidst hectic school and work schedules.
The drawing came out coarser, as expected, because the drawing pad has got more tooth than vellum surfaces. It is evident from the original photo that I still struggle a bit with portrait likeness, probably due to the inaccuracy of my grids, which needs to be improved, thus, giving me room for progression in portrait realism.
In all, the drawing seemed satisfactory for me, if for anything, the depth of realism on the hand figure, and judging from this, there will be more graphite and colored pencils drawings emanating from this drawing pad, hopefully with better results. Fingers crossed!
Two months gone now, and the gliding thoughts of how to go about realism and portraiture in 2021 still seeks the right perch. Most of it has been down to busy school/work schedules, but I realized that no schedule can ever be too busy to have a decent artwork, hence my recent drawing.
My portrait reference study is no other than the Emmy award winner (the youngest if I might add) for her role as a troubled teen in the somewhat brilliant HBO series, Euphoria. She also stars as a trapezist in The Greatest Showman, and as MJ (Michelle Jones) in SpiderMan: Homecoming, Far from home and No Way Home, where the latter is still in the works. Ladies and gents, Zendaya Maree Coleman needs no further introduction.
What particularly influenced my choice of reference is not just because of her delectable roles in movies (Malcolm and Marie for starters), but also the profoundness of her skin colour. As soon as I beheld her picture on Pinterest, I realized it has been a while I drew in coloured pencils, so I decided to take up this portrait study. Who says inspiration does not trump busy schedules?
First, I decided to try out the blending of the coloured pencils on the coarser side of the Bristol vellum paper, as I did with graphite pencils for my Freckled Smile work, and I must say, coloured pencils feel a lot smoother on this coarse side of the paper when compared to graphite pencils. Building layers of colours also seemed effortless, but it was accompanied by a cuddly drawback; more drawing time. However, having used the coarse side of vellum papers for both graphite and coloured pencils, the coarse side feels more suited for coloured pencil artworks, while the smooth side seems best for graphite pencils, at least in my case, with favourable results.
For the rest of the artistic journey this year, I’d build on these media exploration outcomes whilst working on achieving portrait likeness for different facial expressions (with interludes of other studies) using dry media. Garnering inspiration from sources like Pinterest, it’d be amazing hopefully. Fingers crossed.
As a developing artist in portraiture, I have always wondered what an ideal and challenging reference portrait would entail. Could it be an elderly face where the mien is calm as the sea, and its wrinkles are like estuaries of flowing grace, or could it be the face of an adorable child with dimples that could entomb and smother likes of the Great Depression? The truth is, nothing is ever ideal, but my recent reference portrait is just as close as one can get. The partial eye squints, subtle wrinkles, freckles, dimples, smile connecting bulging cheeks, and pigtails, capture what I believe would be an artist’s dream in terms of realism studies, and trust me, it didn’t disappoint in difficulty given the challenging circumstances.
For this drawing, I had to make use of graphite pencils and Bristol vellum paper, as I did for my Bristol Baby sketch, but this was with a telling twist. I came across several YouTube tutorials that suggested that the back of a Bristol vellum paper is the most ideal for drawings as it is coarser and has more tooth which any preferred medium would love to cling onto, so, I decided to give this a try. However, this proved frustrating early on as it required lots of graphite layers to fill the coarse regions of the paper, and therefore translated to more hours of drawing compared to my Bristol Baby sketch. Hopes and smiles I had of drawing this portrait had become spotted, hence the figurative name of this blog post. It ultimately turned out to be the test of my patience levels in art, and you should have witnessed the sigh of relief I gave off when I completed the drawing; Phew! I was pleased with the final portrait at long last, and to be honest, I could not care less about how tedious the means to the drawing was, as long as it is justified in the end.
Notwithstanding though, feel free to use this surface for your artworks, and do let me know of your experiences.
Inspired by a lot of talented artists lately, I finally decided to have my first animal study (a very brief break from portraiture), and it’s no other than my favorite poetic bird; Macaws, particularly, the Scarlet Macaw. If you’re conversant with my works, you’d discover I’ve used her reference in some poems of mine including The Spree, The Parade and most recently in The Beauts, and these I really enjoyed writing.
What I particularly love about this bird is how her plumage exudes different colours, so much that one could sense rainbows getting jealous. Sadly though, blending these colors could actually prove difficult as colour segue could take time to be properly administered on the sketch.
However, I’m okay with how this drawing turned out and I look forward to hearing your favourite bird and how it rivals a Macaw’s beauty (Still undisputed though).