Chimpanzee Portrait

I have been wanting a sketchbook with black paper for a while.  I finally purchased one in early January along with a 3 pack of white Sakura Gelly Roll pens in white.  The pens came in 3 weights 10, 08, & 05.  The portrait below was sketched with the 05 and 10 weight pens.

The sketchbook is a Canson 7″ x 10″ (17.8 cm x 25.4 cm).  It’s 40 pages of 92 lb. (150 g) paper.  The pages are perforated so drawings can easily be removed (if worthy, haha).

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This was a fun sketch but, you have to remember to focus on sketching the highlights, instead of the shadows.  I had to constantly remind myself of this fact.  I am so used to sketching the shadows.  Starting off light and working my way into the darkest areas of the subject is my usual approach.  This sketch was the complete opposite of that usual technique, plus I was using the Gelly Pens which is a very opaque medium so I had to be very conscious of my strokes.

Still, it was a good exercise and I look forward to creating more sketches within the covers of this book.

Have a great day, Mike

Reality & Tactile Feedback

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Back to the Real Feel…

Lately, I have been spending a good amount of time creating digital sketches with my iPad.  I really like the convenience and tons of media options.

However, I was missing the sound of marks on paper, creating with real tools, and the lack of an undo button.

I haven’t created a pen & ink sketch in a while so I thought I would dust off my pens and get to sketching.  Here are the results!

Tactile Feedback Sketch

Thank for visiting, I hope everyone has a wonderful day.  Feel free to comment!

Pen & Ink Portrait of Ras

The inspiration for this portrait came from the iOS app Sktchy.  I was drawn to his overall look, the short dreadlocks, glasses, and facial hair, etc.

I tried to keep the sketch fairly loose and have fun with it.

Have a great day, Mike

Ras Sketch

This sketch was created using Micron 005, Micron Brush Pen, Gelly Roll 08, & a bit of ink wash.

Gorilla Sketch

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Back to pen & ink for this one. 

I started out sketching a Gorilla portrait, but…I’m not sure if that’s what I ended with?

I just don’t feel that I really captured the gorilla the way I intended to.  Something seems a little off to me.  Perhaps the lower portion of the face it a bit too narrow or the jawline is too square.  I’m not sure what it is…

None the less, he was fun to draw.  He kept my pen moving and my mind focused for a while.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this sketch.

Gorilla Sketch
This sketch was created using Micron 005, 08, brush pen, ink wash, Gelly Roll 08 for highlights, & just a touch of color from an orange Sharpie.

 

As always, thanks for visiting!

Mike L.

Hornet Sketch

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Another page from my sketchbook.

My sketching habit is becoming more integrated into my daily routine.  Quite often I not only sketch in the early morning hours but try to sneak a little time in the evenings as well.

Putting the pen or pencil to paper is such a therapeutic experience.  It’s so calming for me, to focus purely on the creation of a sketch.  To see a sketch take form beneath the pen is a satisfying and pure experience that serves to ground me and allow me to let go of the outside world, if only for a short period of time.  This exercise is now becoming an essential part of my day.

For this sketch, I started with a light pencil outline to get the proportions correct.  Once I was satisfied, I began laying down the ink with a Micron 005 and continued with ink until all the base linework and hatching was established.  Then I used Copic markers to add color and some amount of shadow.  Lastly, I use a white colored pencil and a white gel pen to create limited highlights.

Hornet Sketch

Thank for viewing my work!

Mike L.

Creature Sketch – Cave Troll

Cave Troll Featured Image

A little something different went into my sketchbook this week.

A creature.

This one, in particular, is based on a cave troll from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.  You can view the actual scene here if interested.

This cave troll was a blast to create.  I spent a bit more time on this than I have on some of my recent sketches and  I also used a few more tools to create this sketch.

 

Cave Troll Sketch
Tools used: Pigma Micron 005 / Pigma Brush / Sharpie King Size / Copic Sketch C1, C5, & C9 / White Gelly Roll 08

 

As always, thanks for visiting!

Mike L.

More faces from last week’s sketches

I am remaining dedicated to my daily sketching routine.  I believe I have been focusing on faces simply because it’s so easy to find reference images and the fact that it is somewhat familiar territory for me.

However, in the future, I would like to start sketching more from life.  I typically work using a reference image.  I think I need to begin sketching in nature or in public places in order to capture the environment I find myself in.

Of course, I think given my work hours and other weekday responsibilities this opportunity for Plein Air sketching would only present itself on the weekends.

I’m not making any promises I am only saying that this is something I am working towards and something that I need.

Anyway, enough rambling, time to get to the sketches!

photo jan 24, 6 47 16 am
I used a high key photo as a reference for this sketch.  The lighting, from the right, was so brilliant that it obscured all detail on the right side of the photo.

 

I decided to try a new sketching tool this past week.  I purchased a water brush and filled it with Higgins Eternal Ink.  The ink is diluted with water to create a wash.  This is a totally new tool for me.  I think my ink to water ratio may need to be adjusted to create a more diluted effect.

The sketch below is my first attempt to use the ink wash.  My original intention was to use a pen for the necessary linework only and then use the wash to convey all of the shadows.  I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to work (at least not this time).  So I began to build up the darker areas with hatching and then tried to soften those areas using the wash.  It seems to me that I went a little overboard with the inks and ended up with a sketch that is dark and splotchy.

All well, one does have to learn.

photo jan 27, 11 40 56 am

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great day!

Mike L.

Pen and Ink Portraits

A few more sketches!

The portraits below were sketched this past weekend.  You will find that these are not as carefully drawn as some of my previous work.  Truth is, all 3 were rushed just a bit.  I’m not sure why I think it may be somewhat due to being created on a weekend and being outside of my usual early morning zen routine.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter.  When I decided to start sketching again I promised myself that I would not overvalue my sketchbook.  I’ll allow myself the freedom to create as I see fit in the moment, and that is exactly what I am doing.  So some of my sketches may turn out a bit rough and some may be wonderful.  I think it is all part of the creative process.

Giving yourself the freedom to experiment, the freedom to create a mess, I think this will lead to greater creativity and skill.

photo jan 21, 8 42 55 pm
Once I had finished with the ink work it felt like this sketch needed a little punch of color.  A blue highlighter provided just enough color.

 

photo jan 21, 8 43 29 pm
It may be hard to see, but, I continued the blue theme here as well by using a blue highlighter on the eyes.

 

photo jan 21, 8 54 41 pm
A little blue hair and lips never hurt, Right?

 

Thanks for visiting.

Mike L.

Pen and Ink Pine Comb Sketch

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This is another drawing from my morning sketch practice.  This time I chose to create a sketch of a pine comb using a photo reference.

Pine comb sketch

I am certainly enjoying my new found dedication to sketching.  It is amazing how much calmer and focused my mornings are now that I have began sketching again.

Once I am awake, showered, and dressed I take a seat at my drawing table with a fresh cup of coffee next to me.  I open Pandora and select my favorite classical station, then turn the volume down so it is just loud enough to provide some low background music.  I then pick up my pen and sketch for 30-40 mins.  The act of “no pressure” casual sketching relaxes me and calms my mood.  This seems to set the tone for the remainder of the morning and gets me off to a good start.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mike L.

PS, I managed to squeeze in a bit of photography during an ice storm this past weekend.  I hope to publish those photos in a day or two.

Asian Inspired Dragon

Another page from my sketchbook.  This sketch was completed over 3 different sessions of around 45 minutes each.  Since this is in my sketchbook, I just dove right in with ink, no pencil under-drawing.

This sketch was based on a photo of a statue, so it comes off a bit cold.  I still need to work on loosening up a bit, but I think that will come in time.

All in all, this was a good exercise for me…a little different than my usual sketches.

Dragon - Sketch

 

Dedicated to Daily Sketching

One of my goals for 2019 is to sketch each day.  So far, I have been choosing to sketch in the early morning hours prior to leaving for work.  This seems to work well with my natural ebb & flow of energy.  My mind is the sharpest and most focused during the morning hours.

My weekdays are full of both professional and family responsibilities, so free time can be limited.  However, I am dedicated to making sketching a normal part of my daily routine.

I started taking drawing seriously in the fall of 2016 and continued to draw all of 2017.  However, I moved away from drawing in 2018 to pursue other interest and looking back on it I feel that it was a poor decision.

In the past I have treated my sketchbooks as though they were precious items that can only contain “good” drawings.  I am realizing that this leads to a fear of experimentation.  This year I intend to make a habit of being free within my sketchbook.  Free to experiment, free to make mistakes, this will ultimately lead to growth in my drawing abilities and creativity.

So in 2019 expect to see more drawings and sketches on this blog.  Today, I am sharing a couple of pages from my sketchbook / journal that I carry with me daily.

Both pages below contain pen and ink eye studies.

photo jan 11, 8 37 55 pm

photo jan 11, 8 38 05 pm

Thanks for visiting,

Mike L.

Ale’s Portrait

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This is Ale, I found inspiration for this portrait on Sktchy.  This sketch was created using Micron pens, Copic markers, and white colored pencil on toned paper.  The bulk of the work was done with Micron pens.  I used Copic markers for the background, hat, and shadow on his neck and clothing.  A white colored pencil was used on the highlighted areas of his face and clothing.

I was drawn to his photo because of the dramatic lighting and strong contrasting shadows.  There are a few elements within the sketch that I am not completely satisfied with but I like to challenge myself and I think a person grows when they attempt things that may be slightly beyond their skill level.  You have to keep trying to improve.

I think I will put my pens away for a short time and pick up my pencils again.  I am missing the subtle tones and transitions that can be achieved with graphite.  I may bounce back and forth between the two mediums for a while.  I don’t want to loose the ink skills I gained by participating in Inktober.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and I hope you like this sketch.

Sktchy-Ale-Portrait

 

 

Sktchy Portrait #3

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I’m still enjoying this app,  below is my latest sketch.  I was a touch disappointed with this one.  Something seems off but I can’t quite figure out what.  Perhaps it was rushed a bit.  I think the hair and the beard should have been rendered with more care.

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This time I thought I would also provide a photo of the graphite under-drawing that I typically produce for an ink portrait.  For this particular sketch I did get a bit carried away with the under-drawing and produced more of a finished sketch than I typically would.  For this piece I almost prefer the graphite version over the ink.  My usual process is to do a fairly detailed graphite sketch including the shading and then ink over the top of it.

You will notice in the sketch below that I have not placed any shading within the iris of the eyes.  This sketch was created using an 0.5mm mechanical pencil.

Sktchy-sketch-03-Graphite_Under_Drawing

I’m curious to know what you guys think.  Which do you prefer, the finished ink sketch or the rougher graphite sketch?  Please let me know in the comments.

Portrait Sketch (via Sktchy)

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So a few days ago I posted a portrait sketch and wrote about the app Sktchy.  I am still enjoy the app and I am beginning to build up a collection of inspiration photos in my queue.  Below is my latest sketch (via Sktchy).

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I’ve got to say this guy was a blast to draw.  The facial expression was too good to pass up.  I struggled a bit with the beard, and there’s a lot of it!  I nearly ruined the sketch with a miserable attempt to add his hair to the sketch.  In the end I had no choice but to cover it up with black ink but, I think the sketch still works.