Bleeding Ink & Negative Space

Male Portrait 060519 Featured Image

Pen & Ink Style with Procreate?

I’ve been wanting to explore the inking brushes in Procreate, in particular, I have been wanting to create a drawing with the Ink Bleed Brush.

I have seen others use the Ink Bleed Brush within Procreate to create some very cool art.  I have been wanting to create a pen & ink portrait in Procreate for a while now, so, I decided to give it a go with my latest sketch.

I received positive feedback with my last sketch where I tried to keep the style loose and minimal.  I enjoyed sketching in that loose style and I also really enjoyed the process of determining what areas to include or exclude within the drawing.  So I knew that I wanted to repeat that style with this sketch as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment!

Male Portrait 060519

Thanks for visiting – Mike

Trying to let go and just have fun

Keeping it quick & loose

This sketch was inspired by a Lee Jeffries portrait.  I am a big fan of his work.  I find his images so raw and powerful.  I just can’t resist sketching them!

The goal with this sketch was just to keep it simple, try to capture the main features of the subject, and most of all keep the sketch loose.

I think I came closer with this one than I have with my previous attempts.

I believe trying to work a little quicker and more loosely will help me to produce more work, which equals more enjoyment.  I am trying to teach myself to let go a bit.

I am still in the mindset that I need to keep my sketches neat and each one should be as good or better than the previous work.  I am now beginning to see that this mindset can do more harm than good.

By thinking that each work should be as good as the previous works you put unnecessary pressure on yourself to produce quality work.  This self-imposed pressure leads to a decrease in enjoyment.  Sometimes you may completely psych yourself out to the point that you don’t even attempt a sketch because your worried your quality will suffer.

This is certainly not the way to maintain confidence, grow as an artist, or ensure that sketching remains an enjoyable activity.

I plan to produce more work like this, sketches that are loose and free.

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Thanks for visiting – Mike

Tarana, Inspiration via Sktchy

Thank you, Tarana for the inspiration.

This is Tarana,  I found her inspiration photo on the app Sktchy.  Her unique look and bold ear jewelry caught my eye.

This sketch was created in Procreate.  I’m really enjoying sketching digitally, but, I’m going to have to force myself to put it down and spend some time with my traditional sketchbook and pencils.

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The image below actually shows the completed sketch.  I brought forward the blue undersketch and added blue highlights to her face.  I am not sure if I like this version or the plain version above best, so I thought I would post both.

What about you, which do you prefer?

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Thanks for visiting – Mike

Back to Basics…

Just keeping it simple

Just a fairly quick portrait I did a few nights ago.  For this one I went back to one of my smaller sketchbooks, this sketch is on 5.5″ x 8″ dotted paper.   The medium is graphite with just a touch of white gel pen to bring out the highlights on the glasses.

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Thanks for viewing, I hope everyone has a creative day!

More Procreate!

Another Lee Jeffries inspired portrait

Continuing with the theme of my last portrait, here is another portrait featuring hands on the subject’s face.

This was drawn in Procreate and is based in a photograph by Lee Jeffries.  I took a slightly different approach to the finished portrait this time by adding a touch of color.

I always start each Procreate piece with an undersketch.  If I’m drawing a portrait that will be on a mid-tone or dark background I will usually create my undersketch with white lines.  Then I can adjust the transparency of the undersketch layer so that the lines become faint, this becomes a guide while creating the main sketch.  I took the same approach with this piece but, once the main sketch was complete I decided to bring the undersketch layer to the top and adjust the transparency once again for some visual interest.   This effect is mainly apparent on the fingers.  I liked the way that it loosened up the final presentation.

I hope everyone has a great Monday!  Thanks for visiting – Mike

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I Can See You…

I can see you featured image

Something a little different…

This is a little different I guess, at least it’s not a full portrait.

This sketch is based on a reference photo I found online.  I liked how the hand partially obstructed the face, the dark shadows added even more depth and mystery.

I may continue with this theme and produce a series of sketches featuring hands and faces.  I like the emotive quality.

The medium is graphite, powdered charcoal, & white pencil on toned tan paper.

Thanks for visiting, have a wonderful day! – Mike

I can see you

Procreate Portrait of Mr. Pegg

I’m really starting to get comfortable with Procreate…

This is Simon Pegg, English actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer.  I came across a wonderful photo of him that I found intriguing.  I decided to create his portrait digitally using Procreate. I apologize but I do not know the name of the photographer.  So I am unable to provide photo credit.

Currently, I am alternating between traditional and digital means of sketching.  The overall feel of digital sketching is very different.  There is no permanence to any line or mark you make.  If you don’t like the results you can simply hit the undo button.  This is wonderful for experimentation but I think it can become a crutch quickly.

I believe I must continue to sketch traditionally in order to keep my skill level sharp.  I think it is beneficial to the artist to work with a medium where there is some amount of permanence to each stroke made.  Sure, you can always erase a pencil mark but if that mark is in an area of shading you can also destroy the good marks.  So you have to be adaptive and that’s were finesse and technique come into play.  The permanence forces one to deal with what is on the page.

I plan to continue with both forms of creation.  I find both forms of creating extremely enjoyable and relaxing.

This sketch was created in Procreate, using the 6B pencil brush.

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Thank for stopping by, I hope you have a great week – Mike

Imitation = Flattery, Right?

Drawn to Unique People…

Whenever I go looking for an interesting face to draw, I seem to gravitate towards those individuals who exist on the outskirts of society.  I prefer to draw an individual whose face is unique, tells a story, or gives an indication of the life lived.

This portrait, like all my works, is based on a reference image.  The original photographer is Lee Jeffries.  He and his work are well known, Mr. Jeffries is a street photographer based in the UK.  I found one of his images on Pinterest and couldn’t resist the urge to draw a portrait based on his photo.

The medium is graphite, powdered charcoal, & white pencil on toned tan paper.

Thanks for visiting, have a wonderful day! – Mike

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More Fun with Procreate

Jonathon Featured Image

and what fun it is…

This is Jonathon, he is another face from my Sktchy Queue.

Jonothan has been in my queue for a very long time.  He’s been waiting on me to purchase some black paper so I can create a proper sketch of this wonderful inspiration photo.  I still haven’t purchased any black paper…but, if I sketch him digitally, I don’t have to.

I’ve been itching to create another digital portrait so, I thought this would be a great opportunity to capitalize on the ability to choose the background and media color.

This sketch was created in Procreate using the 6B pencil brush.  I kept this sketch simple, more keeping with my usual style.

Digital Sketch Jonathon

Thank for stopping by, I hope you have a great week – Mike

Whitling down the Sktchy Queue

One down,  lots more to go…

I am slowly working my way through my saved Sktchy references.  This particular reference has been in my queue for an extremely long time.  I’m glad I finally got around to creating this portrait.

I think she has a unique look.  I liked the messy hair and the contrast of light and shadow.  This one was a blast to create and actually went fairly quickly.

Medium is graphite, powdered charcoal, & white ink on toned tan paper.

Thanks for visiting, have a wonderful day! – Mike

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Lost in Thought

More Sktchy Inspired Goodness

Good morning, today’s post is a graphite portrait of a gentleman that I found on Sktchy.  I have had this guy in my queue of saved inspiration photos for a few months so, I finally got around to sketching his portrait.

I intentionally used cross-hatching to indicate areas of shadow with minimal use of a white colored pencil to bring out the brightest highlights.  I used powdered charcoal to create the background.  This portrait is on Strathmore Toned Tan paper.

Thanks for visiting, have a wonderful day! – Mike

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Got that loose style? Not yet, but I’m working on it

Vera Sketch Featured Image

feeling like an old dog trying to learn a new trick

I admit it, I’m envious of artists that are able to create expressive works of art.  The type of art that convinces the viewer that the lines, shapes, & colors just bled straight out of the artist soul and onto the canvas.

Now, I realize, from the artist point of view, that just doesn’t happen.  It takes a lot of time and work to develop the required skills.  I am trying to get there.  Half the battle for me is just letting go and allowing myself to relax and go with the flow.

Perhaps it’s just me, but, I think some of my work comes across a little rigid.  I really work at trying to produce the most realistic drawings that my current skill set will allow.  Sometimes that hyper-focused, narrow-minded, mindset can take over and crush any creative expression that may be lying just below the surface, waiting to spring forth.

So, for the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to loosen up, and to be honest, it’s freakishly difficult.  I will work towards rendering a realistic drawing.  I will get certain areas rendered to a level that is acceptable to me.  Then I think “Ok, that’s great, now what?”  Then comes the hard part.  Trying to figure out how to blend or fade the realistic portions into a loose, seemingly unplanned, somewhat chaotic background.  That’s when I become really unsure of myself and how to proceed.

But, I am working on it.  I seem to feel a little freer each time I attempt this. I think if I continue in this direction I will eventually discover a more confident and expressive artist.  Which, of course, is the goal.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling words.  Now, I will get on with showing you my latest portrait.


This is Vera, from Sktchy

I have been moving back towards toned paper lately, so, I was searching for a reference image with a lot of strong contrast. I like using toned paper so I can bring out the highlights, as well as, the shadows.

This image on Sktchy checked all the boxes. The image had a strong amount of contrast and harsh lighting.

I focused most of my effort on her face and hand and then let the drawing become more sketch-like as I worked my way out.

I used a charcoal pencil and brush applied charcoal powder for the background. I think there may be too much contrast between charcoal and graphite. In the future, I may try to stay with graphite for the background.

I have also been considering other mediums altogether but, really haven’t zeroed in on anything yet.

As always, a sincere thank you for viewing my work, I hope you have a great day. – Mike

Trying to loosen up

William Featured Image

Experimentation…

This is William, I found him on Sktchy.

With this sketch, I simply wanted to loosen up a bit, not be so rigid, and try to let myself go and have a little fun with the sketch.  I’m not sure that I achieved the look I wanted, but, any attempt is better than no attempt at all.

I really want to get to the point where I am able to convey movement and energy within a sketch.  I am trying to work towards a more interpretive result rather than a strict attempt to copy only what the eye physically sees.  I want to be able to produce art that  conveys artistic expression as well.

So, please bear with me…I may experience some growing pains along the way, but, it should be fun!

This sketch was created on 9″x12″ Strathmore Toned Tan paper using 2H, HB, 6B, white colored pencil, Tombow Mono Zero Eraser.

William Sketch

Thanks for viewing my work, I hope you have a great day! – Mike

Laughter or Anquish?

Old Man Sketch Featured Image

It’s supposed to be laughter…

I feel that I missed fully coveying this gentleman’s laughter.  Somehow I have rendered him somewhere between laughter and anguish.  The reference photo clearly conveys laughter, so, I do apologize for failing to convey this gentleman’s full emotion.

None the less, this was a fun sketch.  The photo reference I used is by photographer Mary Isabelle.  More of her fantastic work can be found on her 500px profile page.

Old Man Sketch

Thanks for visiting, have a wonderful day – Mike

Why So Serious?

Joker Featured Image

I’m Just Joking Around

So, I have seen a lot of really impressive art based on Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker character from Batman in the 2008 movie The Dark Knight.  Mr. Legder’s portrayal of the Joker is considered one of the best performances of his unfortunately short career.

I decided to give the character a go myself.  I used a still image taken from the movie as a reference.

I created this sketch in my Strathmore Toned Tan Sketchbook (5.5″ x 8.5″), using 2H, HB, 6H, Charcoal Powder, Tombow Mono Zero Eraser, & a white colored pencil.

Something I’ve been trying lately for large areas of shading is charcoal powder.  I create the powder by rubbing a soft piece of vine charcoal on sandpaper.  This produces a fine powder, I then use a cosmetic brush to spread the powder onto the paper and gradually rub the powder into the paper.  This produces a consistent tone with soft edges.   This method may be fairly common, but, it’s new to me.

Joker Sketch

Thanks for visiting – Mike