Twelve Sketches and Tutorials From 2016

Reading, drawing, painting, photographing, writing, exercising, gaming–which of these past times do I do? When? How often? How long? It’s always a tough decision, but sometimes I get drawing and painting in, and for the sake of visual cataloging, here are twelve examples showing where I’m at skill-wise at the end of 2016.

Background note: I was an excellent artist for my age as an elementary school student but as I got older I got too restless to commit to drawing, a restlessness that continued and whittled until summer 2015. I caved and started sketching once in a while. Later in the year I aggregated some student grade materials (many media) and started following tutorials and the occasional independent project. I still have a long way to go, but I love the learning process.

Under the Canopy Sketch
As the written date shows, this is how crude I was when I first started drawing again–roughly about where I left off as a kid (lucky me–no backtracking). However, I don’t think as a kid I would have tried to draw a tree canopy directly above me and include some distance perspective.
Abstract Nature Sketch
Early 2016 and like in 2015 I was trying nature abstracts before knowing how to properly execute them. I would love to redo this drawing, maybe digitally or with paint. Two moons, day colors in the earth, and night colors in the canopy with a hint of an ethereal being. Curves. I love curve patterns.
Facial Feature Sketches
I supposed that my first tutorials needed to be drawing people, and I especially sucked at faces. Tutorials definitely helped! And I used hotel stationery from 10 years ago when I visited Montreal. Fascinating city.
Tabby Portrait Sketch
I had an urge to depict one of my cats in the way she perches by a vertical board of the TV cabinet. I even forced myself to work fast (I tend to be an extremely slow drawer and I’m trying to loosen my copy-it-exactly-as-seen tendency).
First Charcoal Sketch
My first experience with charcoal. I’m fascinated with the texture and feel of charcoal: soft yet heavy. The image is from a tutorial in Gabriel Martin Roig’s Practical Course in Drawing and Painting: Step-by-Step Techniques, Advice, and Practical Exercises.
Tulip Tutorial
This is the only palatable example of my young relationship with watercolors. I don’t remember what I thought of them as a kid–certainly not the lovely texture of heavier paints (I have no idea what kind I used as a kid, but I would paint just to experience the feel of the brush sweeping smooth paint. Vibrant colors were a bonus.) Anyway, I find that my favorite nature portraits are done in watercolor, so I’m inclined to conquer this medium. The image is from a tutorial in Gabriel Martin Roig’s Practical Course in Drawing and Painting: Step-by-Step Techniques, Advice, and Practical Exercises.
Iris Tutorial
Iris portrait tutorial from one of my favorite art books, Ann Swan’s Botanical Portraits with Colored Pencil. She recommended high-quality materials, of course, but I did what I could and learned exactly why student grade materials don’t work. They don’t layer, they don’t hold a point, and the cheap paper won’t hold layers of pigment either. But I made a respectable effort.
Calla Lilly Tutorial
Calla lilies from a tutorial in Ann Swan’s Botanical Portraits with Colored Pencil. Through the cheap, ancient paper (it’s in a sketchbook from maybe 15 years ago) you can see my oil pastel tutorial result.
Nature and Sketch Techniques
I need to return to Claudia Nice’s Painting Nature in Pen and Ink with Watercolor because I didn’t get around to the watercolor i.e. time-investment section of the book (most of the book). But if you’re going to go over the basic sketching techniques, you may as well draw woodpeckers, cherries, and rocks.
Teardrop Camping in Colored Pencil
A birthday present for my dad. It makes the backdrop of his new shadow box. We’ve always dreamed of getting a teardrop trailer and touring nature parks and historical sites. We’ll pretend he could take his cat and enjoy the wild, serene air.
Cherry Tree in Marker
One of my favorite Facebookers is The Latest Kate. She does chronic illness inspiration-themed quotes with cutesy, colorful illustrations. She reminds me of Lisa Frank a little. I’m no good at more playful art, so I thought her work would make a good influence. However, in this case, I used cheap markers and she used a computer.
Hummingbird Drawing
A work in progress from the other day. I’ll add a layer of colored pencil. The circle was meant to help me visualize how to position the hummingbird, but then I decided to incorporate the circle.

That’s basically 2016 artistically for me. I’m trying to get into a more regular habit and improve faster. It’ll be interesting to see what I produce in 2017.


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