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

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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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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Going Digital?

Thoughts on something new and exciting!

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough for my employer to provide me with a new iPad and Apple Pencil.  I call already see the benefits of such a device in the workplace, but, I had to ask myself, why place limitations?  These newly acquired accouterments of the modern age can be beneficial in my creative life as well!

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the app Procreate.  So, I gladly forked over my $9.99 to give this a try.  I figured at such a cheap price (less than most sketchbooks) why not give it a shot.

I experimented with it over the weekend and I must say, the experience is quite natural.  Of course, with it being a new tool, I may have gone overboard a little experimenting with the different brushes and abilities.

I’m looking forward to adding this new medium into my regular weekly sketch practice.  In no way do I plan to abandon real mark making on paper.  But, I must say I can see this being extremely convenient and so unlimited in what you can create.  The base version comes with a multitude of tools that mimic several mediums.  Which, may lead to more creative works!

I created the sketch below using a reference image that I admittedly imported into Procreate and traced the primary facial features.  I wanted to get a feel for the application before trying to establish facial features by eye.  So, I may have cheated a bit on this one, but, just keep it between us, Thanks.

Photo Apr 21, 8 39 23 AM

Thanks for visiting, have a wonderful day! – Mike

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

One Eyed Zombie

Zombie Featured Image

It’s getting a little creepy around here

I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I get it.  But, sometimes I just need a break from the norm and want to draw something that’s a little on the creepy side.

It’s funny, I’m not a horror fan, I don’t like horror movies or mindless gore.  But, occasionally I just want to draw something like this, maybe I’m just weird.

This was sketched over the weekend, I used a photo of a clay model that I found on Pinterest as a reference.  Unfortunately, I didn’t save the pin and now I am unable to find it to give credit to the original artist.  I do apologize.

2H, HB, & 4B pencils were used to create this sketch.

Zombie Sketch

Have a nice day!

Mike L.

Daily Sketching Update

I’m continuing to sketch each morning…and sometimes evenings too!

I am thankful that I have pickup up my pens and pencils and began making marks again.  There is something about this nearly meditative activity that I find so relaxing.  Once I get into the “flow state” time seems to pass unnoticed, my mind releases any retained stress and I focus solely on the subject.

This past week I was introduced to the work of Ahmed Aldoori.  He is the artist behind the 100 Heads Challenge.  This is a challenge to draw 100 heads in 10 days.  I’m not participating in the challenge, but, researching the challenge led me to his Pinterest where he has a board of reference images dedicated to the challenge.  The selected images are wonderful references and I would recommend any of my readers to check it out if they are interested.

The sketch below is from one of his reference images, I will definitely be doing more!

This sketch was created using 2H, HB, 4B, Tombow Mono Zero eraser, & kneaded eraser.

Graphite Portrait Sketch

Thanks for visiting!

Mike L.

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

Gorilla Featured Image

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.

Stong and Proud

Lion Sketch Featured Image

I’m continuing to sketch daily, my mornings this past week were spent working on this lion portrait.

I used a reference photo from Pixabay, I was drawn to the confidence and strength that could be sensed in this lion’s gaze.  I began with a light pencil underdrawing and then continued to develop this sketch using pencils.

I have noticed that my choice of media tends to fluctuate between graphite and ink.  Currently, I seem to be in a graphite mood.  Sometimes I just simply enjoy the additional tones that can be achieved with graphite vs. ink.

Truthfully, I don’t know if my next sketch will be with graphite or ink.  I usually don’t decide until after to underdrawing is complete whether I will switch over to ink pens or continue using pencils.  It’s just whatever strikes me at the time.

This sketch was created using 2H, 4B, 6B, & a Tombow Mono Zero Eraser.

Lyon Sketch

Of all animals, the outward form of the Lion is the most striking ; his look is bold and confident; his gait proud; and his voice terrible ; and from his great strength and agility, is usually styled the king of beasts.

WILLIAM PINNOCK

Thanks for visiting!

Mike L.