days may have crumbled, with the night star ushering defeats past to light, but with that mustard seed of faith, sown in love’s heavenly blue battlefield, we shall rise forth, to mirthful morning glories.
A very wonderful New year to you and yours I pray, with all yearned goals coming to pass🙏🥳. As always, do remain blessed.
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 of finding 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 color,
and through her monochromatic lens, I’d be deemed shady.
I’m frightened my trust for humanity 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.
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!
…as the jagged talons of religious conflict ripped through earth’s coat of many colors, she struggled for what to believe in, thus condemning her ways to the eerie bliss of karma and the beguiling warmth of morality. Alas, she decided to pen an open letter to the world, pronouncing her new-found faith.
As the nothingness of the blank pages and her steel blue eyes embarked on a cold staring contest, imaginary quills swiveling between thoughts began etching words on her mindscape saying:
Like always, I came across my recent portrait study on Pinterest, all monochromatic, and the wisest option was to approach this drawing using graphite pencils on a vellum surface. What particular piqued my interest in this study was my long-dreaded fear of going too dark in shading and drawing drops of water. I found this crying child or Ninõ (as dubbed by Pedro Luis Raota, the actual photographer, in 1970) encapsulating all I have always feared in drawing; thus, I decided to take on the challenge.
Initially, things went smooth, but I had not even gotten to the teardrops and my 8B pencils were already toast because of the number of dark areas I had to cover; however, I had to improvise with my other pencil grades.
Although likeness suffered a bit, one key takeaway from the drawing was that the bigger the size, the better the details you capture in your portraits, so these enabled shading the teardrops fairly easy.
Overall, I was somewhat pleased with the drawing, if, for anything, its successful completion and I look forward to taking on more expressive portraits before the year runs out.
Lastly, do imbibe this quatrain I wrote as inspired by the drawing, and take it with you as you enjoy your lovely days ahead. Cheers!
So, the Fourth was just with us just the other day (04/05) only for us to celebrate cartoonists the next day (05/05); How sketchy!
Nonetheless, cartoons have been a part of the building blocks of most humans from childhood through adolescence, and as a matter of fact, there are adults who still get engrossed with Rick & Morty or even The Simpsons just for that extra taste of mirth. This highlights the importance of these character creations in our lives and hence, the need to celebrate the cartoonists behind them. But how do we go about honoring these cartoonists? It is easy. If you have had cartoon characters whom you have always adored, this is your chance to share them with the world (could be sketches or comic strips), whilst giving a shout out to the creators (Bonus points if you are the cartoonist behind the characters shared).
For me, characters I absolutely loved growing up were actually Pinky and the Brain created by Tom Ruegger and also Steven Spielberg.
Famous from the Animaniacs, one of my favorite takeaways from the show was the satire and clever wordplays Pinky always blurts when Brain asks, “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”. Those were so good, I had to create my own Pinky moments.
Another pinky moment goes like this:
Brain: Pinky! Are you pondering what I’m pondering?
Pinky: I think so undertaker Brain, but if Chris and the mum attended the funeral, why all these flowers (Chrysanthemum)?
Other cartoons I grew fond of and also had sketches of include NickToon characters such as the wefie of the Spongebob crew and also Darcy from “Bunsen is a Beast”.
Lest I forget, many posthumous thanks to Joseph Barbera and William Hanna for their evergreen creation of Tom and Jerry; that cartoon never gets old.
So, what cartoon characters or comic strips have you liked, and what were your favorite takeaways from them?
The poem very much typified my emotional state at the time and how I held all kinds of feelings bottled up, searching for meaning and answers in our nature. However, interest from a few persons piqued gradually and my world began to morph artistically. With the gradual growth of the blog, I have been able to find my channel of catharsis with some areas botched in shades of gray, and others smeared in resplendent hues. As such, many thanks to you all who have literally given me a thousand reasons to be grateful for the interest, love and support rendered towards the achievement of this milestone.
As always, it will remain a tremendous pleasure to keep putting smiles on your faces through my works as you have done so effortlessly on mine. Cheers to our next artistic adventure, and a thousand hugs and kisses to each and every one of you. Happy blogging.
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 her world spun still, dreamy days flew by, and the Earth slowly grew giddy.
With defenses now laying bare, space-grey goblins came scything down her core, and every milky taste she once had of her galaxy became a forlorn memory.
Darkness crescendoed and, alas, from her seven siblings, she became estranged.
However, there lived a being; a bright beaming being, who always stood firm by her, and ran circles around her adversities, thence, illuminating her dimming mien, and after three sixty six days of twirling and courtship, a new child is born.
A Happy New year to you, and may all your wishes yearned come true🥳🙏.
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).
In coloured portrait realism, one common misconception amongst budding artists is that the more expensive the pencils used, the better the artworks. Well, that may be true in some cases, especially in the grip of professionals; however, for beginners, several factors come to play like patience, tone/depth understanding and also the art of gradations. The truth is, every artist has that wand of a pencil that seem to bend to his/her will and create magical art pieces. I mean, I’ve seen excellent artworks completed with Crayola pencils that could rival those completed with Caran D’ache luminance pencils; hence, it’s not just a matter of the pencils, but, the dexterity of the artist. However, I’ve been exploring mediums lately to find suitable colour pencil sets for portraits. On my quest, I eventually crossed paths with this Black Widow colour pencils, which I used to portray the innocence of this child. Initially, I had a creepy feeling towards the pencil set, considering its name, but I gradually grew fond of it (nothing to worry about for arachnophobes). I particularly liked the dark skin tone variant, as it provided lots of vibrant colours to layer and blend. The pencils generally proved promising and have been included in my list of dependable pencils for portrait drawing. Are there any other pencils you know of that is not part of the mainstream media and has presented excellent results for you? Do let me know and who knows, it could be my one and only.
It’s been exactly three years now I rekindled my old flame for drawing, and since then, I made it a tradition to have a drawing of my baby sister for her birthday. In that time, I’ve had four drawings of her, which I like to see as a present to her and also as some sort of annual progress in my artistic journey.
This particular drawing is portrayed as the remake of a graphite sketch I had of her in 2019. I particularly enjoyed this drawing as working in coloured pencils seemed to prove a challenge at the early stages (especially with the skin tones), but ultimately, turned out okay. After sketching my first colour pencil portrait not too long ago, I had serious doubts I’d be able to replicate the levels attained in the drawing, but having this recent portrait of my sister has really served as a confidence booster to take on other challenging art studies with coloured pencils.
So for this and many more glorious reasons, Happy birthday Ugochi. Stay gold!
Inspired by my last post, I decided to make my first portrait sketch in coloured pencils after dabbling in graphite pencils for a while now; and I must say, it felt good; even though it took quite some time to complete than those previously sketched with graphite pencils.
Given the unlimited shades of hue, sketching in coloured pencils could prove daunting when one tries to blend several colours, just to match the right skin tones, capture the golden mesh of a lass’s tress or portray the azure eyes of an adorable child; and if the artist isn’t ready for PATIENCE 101, he or she could easily be dispirited. But, I’m glad that wasn’t the case here, and also happy to see the drawing to its reasonable completion.
With this, I’m ready to introduce the newest member of the dry media family (Coloured Pencils), hoping she, alongside graphite pencils will be my knights in shining armor when new shading challenges come forth, particularly in these troubling days that needs a lot to keep sane.
In realism, particularly pencil shading, I’ve come to realize that a careful choice of materials really play a crucial role in finished artworks. Back when I started drawing, I solely used printing papers and HB pencils, which definitely aren’t the worst media any budding artist could begin with. Truth is, the sketches seemed appealing at the time, until questions on depth, contrast and longevity arose. As first steps to tackling these questions, I purchased a STÆDTLER graphite pencil set to deal with the issue of tones and depth, hence achieving more realism; and an acid-free Strathmore Sketchbook to make the drawings last longer on paper without smudging or fading away. This actually made the drawings improve a bit, but it just didn’t feel right to stop exploring other art materials.
After watching a couple online drawing tutorials, I came to know about this Bristol vellum surface sketchbook and how finished drawings looked breathtaking on them, so, I decided to get one for myself. While making this baby drawing on the recently acquired sketchbook, I felt jealous of the camaraderie between the tip of the graphite pencil and the surface of the paper. Each stroke of the pencil glided effortlessly on the paper like a graceful geisha skiing on winter ice. I was also happy with how the paper could capture the contrast the pencils were willing to offer. The drawing ultimately proved to be one enjoyable art piece for me, and I can’t wait to see how other dry media including charcoal and coloured pencils would fare on this sketchbook. Fingers crossed.
My recent reference for portrait sketching is a lady who has proved that no one is ever too young to attain the greatest heights of success, thus, making her a source of inspiration to teenagers all over the world.
For the upcoming 62nd Grammy Awards ceremony slated for the 26th of January, 2020, she has bagged an impressive haul of six nominations, including the big four categories (Album, Record, Song and Best New Artist of the year), making her the youngest person in history to do so in the same year. She may as well be the youngest to win them all at once, who knows??
She, for me, has been the best prodigy to break out in the music industry since Lorde, not just for reanimating the sleeping ears of goth pop fans around the world, but for the impact she imparts with her music.
So, without much fuss, here’s my somewhat botchy sketch of the 21st century born, Billie Eilish.
So it’s Christmas, yay! A season where the atmosphere brims with joy and the love is so palpable. As it would be, this day happens to celebrate the birth of some special people including baby Jesus and guess who, (whispers) my brother.
After drawing my sister a few months ago, I had to make a promise of sketching him before his birthday; I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a pencil depiction of someone celebrated by the whole world.
I’m very happy to have finished this sketch before the year runs out, as it means I’ve completed the sketches of the best things that happened to me this decade.
So with this, I’d like to say happy birthday brother and a Merry Christmas to everyone!
Here’s a sketch of this cute baby I came across while scrolling through Pinterest just the other day.
Immediately I saw her, I began to imagine the quirky world babies immerse themselves in. A world where tantrums aren’t ignored but cared for. A world where one could wear a smile for days and not think much about its laundry. A world where everyone’s so eager to hear the first words of your story. A world where there’s no deriding of one’s incessant mistakes but always a helping hand. Simply put, a world without worries; at least I think.
What most will give to be in this version of the world every moment.
Inktober has turned out to be a fun-filled movement every artist would love to be part of, and because of this, I’ll be responding to a prompt or two before it finally draws the curtain in the coming days, starting with this.
Without further ado, here’s my little sketch depicting two famous best buddies embarking on one of their silly joyrides.
Pennywise is back!! The ever eerie clown from the movie IT, adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same title, just released its Chapter Two (Its third cinema adaptation) some days back and it promises to be one to send shivers down enthused audiences’ spines.
Before its 2017 release (IT: Chapter one), I had seen a lot of horror movies, so much that the horror genre of movies actually became my favorite due to its unwavering thrills and sometimes, gore, but I hadn’t quite seen one which centered on a terrifying clown preying on the fears of little children. I very well enjoyed the movie, so well that I became enamored with clowns (Coulrophobes will find this strange) and made my very first attempt at Pennywise sketching.
The role Pennywise plays in IT can also be related to pencil artistry. Pennywise can be seen as that aura of darkness smeared in graphite, while the little children can be viewed as budding artists. As budding artists, we’re scared of delving darker in any of our drawings with the thought that we may end up ruining our art piece, so, we instead, use light shades on our sketches, just to be on a safer side.
The use of dark shades and shadows with a mixture of good highlighting and mid-tones, tend to give form and depth to drawings, hence, making them pop out of our canvasses. This is one fear I’m still particularly struggling to overcome in pencil realism, but we all know what happens to Pennywise at the end of the story.
So, without further ado, here’s my recent attempt of the ominous clown, Pennywise. You’ll float too🎈.
Over the course of last fourteen months , I’ve had three drawings of my baby sister, who, by the way, happens to celebrate her birthday today. Woo hoo!
With her beguiling smile, charm and a little bit of petulance, she was able to lure me into this recent drawing of her, which I very much enjoyed to say the least. She has also been one of my dynamic references who I can actually attribute her real time growth to my artistic growth, so, I can’t thank her enough.
After attempts one and two, I’m quite tempted to say that “the third time’s the charm”, but looking back at it, I can only be amazed at the progress from each of them, hoping for more development in the coming years.
Here’s my recent attempt on El (Millie Bobby Brown) from the Netflix original series, Stranger Things.
Upon the completion of this drawing, I conceived some thoughts on artistry, particularly pencil drawing:
•I’d like to think drawing as the portal between two worlds: our world and oblivion, where the artist is its gatekeeper and his/her media, the keys.
•I’d like to think artists as those who not only possess the deftness of visualization, but also the ability to percept ultrasonic screeches from entities stuck and forgotten within the walls of blank canvases, waiting to be let out. Strange.
•I’d also like to think a pencil artist as a “compassionate sorcerer” who with the subtle strokes of his/her wand and the seething darkness spewing from its tip, conjures up his/her deepest epiphanies from a clean slate. Dark magic, huh.
•I’d finally like to think that just like alpha numerics, drawing should be learned and not necessarily inherent, thus, all humans are artists, making us gods of some sort from the aforementioned thoughts. Hence, before that bob start clanking repeatedly on our aluminium coated mindscapes, yelling, “I’m not talented, so I can’t draw; or I’ll never reach the levels of elite artists”, remember that not all Greek gods reside at the summit of Mount Olympus, not even the nine Muses; but we budding artists can only strive to get there.
After my camaraderie with HB pencils, I decided to get a graphite pencil set ranging from hard to soft grades (2H – 8B) in order for me to plumb the depths of sketching and shading. To be honest, having a wide range of pencil grades to choose from, seem to ease the attainment of value and depth in portrait drawings.
So without further ado, here’s my recent stop, Jenny, on my progressive artistic journey.
Last year, the world witnessed some wonderful animated movies including Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, Isle of Dogs, The Incredibles 2, Smallfoot, The Grinch, Mirai and the likes, but, one that particularly stood out for me was Ralph Breaks the Internet. The way its plot relayed the real world social media to an in-game fantasy sphere was second to none.
So, here’s my portrayal of its protagonists (Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz) in HB.