Sketching from Reference Photos

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO250
“Reference Photo” Cedar Park, 2019

So, Inktober is happening and I have been keeping up with my digital version or the project. I did double-up on Saturday because I was too busy on Friday to draw, but other than that it’s been a successful first week.

One thing I started doing is working with reference photos, in which I basically look at the photo either in a split window on the iPad or on another monitor while I draw it. These sketches are really fun and I am learning a lot about proportion and seeing things as lines and shapes rather than people. I was actually a little worried that I’d have a lot of trouble drawing from reference photos because I got a bit frustrated when I tried that before with faces, and ended up resorting to tracing directly over the images (which looked awful anyways). So these drawings, while super-simple, are really encouraging me to do more.

Please take a look at my reference photo drawings and the time-lapse videos below, or check out my sketching Instagram account if you are interested. And there are more videos at my YouTube channel too!

“October 7, 2019 Sketch”

“October 6, 2019 Sketch”

Inktober for Me? Well, Not Quite

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO500
“iPad Drawings for Inktober” Cedar Park, 3029

Hi all! I’ve been doing quick sketches and doodles on my iPad almost every day (even if it is for just a few minutes) for a while now, but now that October has started, I thought I would give Inktober a try. I’m not going to use ink, nor follow the official prompts, but I’ll just try to do a more “complete” sketch every day. So, without further ado, here are my first two sketches:

Selecting and Adjusting

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/20 sec, ISO1600
“Drawing Pad” Cedar Park, 2019

One of the aspects of drawing on the iPad that I love is the ability to select and adjust the positioning of facial elements. It’s really difficult for me to draw it right (or even get close) the first time. So I have to move eyes, noses, and chins around till they look right. And then I’ll have to step away for a bit, or maybe even a day or two, before looking at the sketch again with fresh eyes and then see if I got it “good enough” or need to work on it some more.

It’s a process that takes a long time overall, so I have several drawings going at once. It’s all a lot of fun though, and rather than being frustrated at not being able to draw it right the first time, I get a lot of satisfaction when I realize that the drawing has gotten even just a tiny bit better. Little improvements! ☺️

I hope you had a good day!

Timelapse Mirrors My Drawings Through the Years

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I hope you bear with me while I share lots of sketching posts. I’m keeping up with my daily habits, and sketching is one of them. Tonight while was looking at the timelapse video that Procreate made, I noticed an interesting progression as I refined the drawing.

At the beginning of the video, the sketch looked like the artwork that I used to make in college and right after I graduated. I was really into Japanese ukiyo-e art at the time, so that’s where I got most of my influence. That was around 1990:

"Circa 1990"

Then I noticed the drawing went through a couple other phases, which are reflected in my more recent sketchbook drawings from a couple years ago:

"Circa 2017"

And then it progressed to the style that I have been kind of stuck at since late last year:

"Circa 2018"

Finally, we end up with today’s evolution:

"Circa 2019"

These days I am looking towards my favorite illustrators, so of course, I try to emulate them. I love Eguchi Hisashi‘s work, so I take many cues from his work. Also, Ilya Kuvshinov is awesome, and I recently discovered Aka, whose work blows me away.

As I continue to practice, I’m excited to see at what pace I can continue to improve. It’s a fun hobby, and so satisfying. And it makes me look at other illustrations and art in a different way as I try to decipher how artists draw different facial features, the color palettes they use, and the way they draw lines and blocks of solid color. It’s fascinating.

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

I Don’t Know When I’m Done with a Sketch

"iPad Sketch" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“iPad Sketch” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I’ve been using the iPad and Procreate for my sketching this past month and I love it. I can make edits easily and can pick up where I left off immediately. And that convenience means that I can make adjustments to a previous sketch at any time in the future. Not only can I do that, but I can create duplicates of the drawing and try different things. Digital drawing is so great!

But that got me wondering about when to call something “finished”. On a few of my sketches, I think I am done, so I share the image on the blog, ArtStation, Flickr, and Instagram, but later I figure out a new way to do something or notice a part of the sketch that I can do better, so I’ll go back and make the changes. I guess it’s like George Lucas going back and re-editing his Star Wars movies many years down the line.

So with the knowledge that I will most likely make changes to existing artwork, I don’t know if I can ever call a drawing “finished”.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my digital art can constantly evolve, and those moments in time when a drawing is shared are just milestones in something’s existence. So, as I improve in my drawing and become more proficient with my tools, I definitely want to re-visit my earlier sketches and make them better, and won’t feel guilty about doing that. I suppose making a snapshot of earlier “versions” is maybe something that should be more intentional. By snapshot, that could simply be exporting a jpg and saving it with a unique name.

Who knows… I may end up with several version of the same drawing, but Monet completed over 250 paintings of water lilies, so I guess it’s okay. 😄

Here’s a sketch that I worked on tonight. I’m happy how it turned out and was ready to share on Instagram, but I can see a few things I want to update or try. For instance, I’d like to see if adding a sleeve instead of her bare arm would look nice, and maybe try adjusting the position of the eyes. If you have good eyes, you might notice that the first photo in this post has some differences in the drawing as well! I took that photo thinking I was done, but then the mouth and nose looked a little too simple and primitive so I had to edit them. But anyway, here’s a snapshot of the progress:

"Sketch 2019-02-24"
“Sketch 2019-02-24”

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~