2016 Finale

Well here it is, the end of a year – and what a year it has been. My new years resolution for 2016 was to start posting regularly on this blog – once a week – which, apart from the week I spent abroad, has been successfully achieved. From my own artwork to exhibitions I have visited, I have covered a broad range of creative topics, and rekindled my enjoyment of both drawing and writing.

The images above are a few of my final sketches this year. In November I decided to stop attending art group (for a number of reasons) but remained determined to produce a drawing once a week – and to prove it, there they are! As you can see, however, I have not been that adventurous, preferring to stick with monotone tonal drawings. I did, on the other hand, experiment with water-soluble graphite (pic.2), although I think I need to practice my technique a bit more.

1As well as drawing, I have spent the year colouring – books and loose sheets. I would not be surprised if I counted them up to have completed a hundred or so! I have reviewed a couple of the books I own, but you can expect more within the next year.

One of the more recent colouring sheets I enjoyed working on is this picture of candles and poinsettia. This was for a colouring competition, so I used it as an opportunity to really focus on the colours and tones I was using. I think this make the final image more affective in comparison to single block colours.


My Number One Drawing, 2016


The piece of art I am most proud of is the cyberman a drew as part of a task in the book Think. Draw. Create. On this particular page, the task was to “transform the emptiness” which I decided meant “do want you want”. I had already attempted an illustration using fine liners and pointillism, which I was pleased with, so decided to have another go.

I think this technique looks really effective, and I like how the different pen thicknesses help to create different tones. The downside to this method, however, is the length of time it takes. I produced this illustration over a couple of weeks, working for no more than half an hour at a time. It is very tiring to sit and dot the paper over and over again, and before long your wrist begins to ache.

I’m not setting a definitive resolution for 2017 – too much stress – but I hope I get the chance, and the energy, to try producing more art work in this style. I also aim to continue blogging on a weekly basis, and already have a few ideas to write about in the coming weeks.

Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog or at least taken the time to read a post once in a while. I wish you all the best for 2017.


Art Group. October 2016.

I began the month continuing with the same method of portrait drawing that I focused so much on in September. I sourced a large amount of well lit photographs online for future use, so that I have a wide range of images to draw should I need the inspiration. The three portraits completed this month are studies of a few of the photographs in that collection.

As mentioned, I began the month using pencil (usually a combination of 4B, 5B and 6B) to draw another portrait in the style that I have recently adopted. But looking at the images above, you can tell I experimented with a different medium in the latter two. I expressed in my blog post last month that I wished to try using charcoal so, after locating one of my many unused charcoal pencils, this is what I have done.

Unlike when I use pencil, I did not have a range of differing hardnesses, therefore I had to be careful when shading so that sections of the faces did not become too dark. To help prevent this, I combined pencil and charcoal together, saving the charcoal for the darker tones. I think this has worked well and I quite like the contrast the two media produce.

Eventually I would like to produce a drawing purely using charcoal. I have some thin charcoal sticks, which may be easier to handle than the thicker pencil version (although messier!).

Despite only completed three drawings (I missed a couple of sessions), I am pleased with what I have achieved. Also I learnt something this month… Beards are hard to draw!

Art Group. September 2016.


This month has been a continuation of portrait drawing. I have now drawn everyone who volunteered their photographs for me to practise from. So, thank you:
rosebutnottylerceciliasvenssonsapphicfaery and Mollie.

I have enjoyed getting back into portrait drawing and wish to continue. My only issue is that I need to use photographs to help me get the proportions correct. It is also best if the photo is well lit so that I can see the shadows clearly. The images above I have not drawn, I have shaded. I find ignoring the facial features and shading in the various shadows is as accurate and neater than say, for example, drawing a nose.

Hopefully next month I will be able to continue producing portraits, although I am aware that I should not stick to one style of drawing for too long. I tend to get stuck in a rut. One thing I would like to do differently is use charcoal instead of pencil. I have not used this medium to draw with before, and I have some charcoal pencils sitting in my cupboard crying out to be used. Now I need to be brave enough to give them a go…

Art Group. August 2016

This month I decided to do something new… or something old, actually. When I first discovered my drawing ability I started drawing or painting portraits of people. For a while it was the only art work I would produce. I eventually moved on to other things, but always fell back to using this style.

However, I soon became dissatisfied with my drawings. I put too much pressure on myself to make them perfect. I was never happy. Drawing portraits made me feel depressed. Now, after a couple of years, I had the urge to try again.

Using black and white photographs to help me, I produced a portrait every week this month. I began with celebrities, but as I am not really that interested in films, TV and media, I struggled to find suitable photographs of stars I actually knew of. Therefore I asked online for volunteers to send me their own photographs for me to draw. I thought it would be good practice for me, but also nice for “real” people to have a portrait of themselves. Two Tumblr bloggers, queen-kong and mybpdblog, kindly let me look through their photographs and select one to draw.

As always I doubted myself, thought the outcome was not good enough and let my perfectionism take over. However the feedback I got from my “models” helped me to feel proud of my work. They both loved what I had done and told me the drawings were fantastic. It was lovely to get such genuine positive feedback. Now if only I could keep this in mind next time I doubt myself…

Art Group. July 2016

This month I have experimented with a few different art styles, although you can probably still tell they are all produced by the same person. To begin with I continued using colour but soon went back to black and white pen drawings – partly to do with time scale. My “safe” method of sketching is to crosshatch, which I did on a couple of pictures, but I also tried to come out of my comfort zone by attempting something different.

Recently I have begun to find pointillism quite calming (except when my wrist begins to ache) and decided to try it out during a couple of art sessions. I also attempted to produce something slightly more abstract than my usual outcomes. I was inspired by a couple of things I saw online: e.g. lightbulbs containing misplaced objects. Using this idea (but not copying a design) I drew a bulb with a candle inside – an attempt at irony.

Those who read my blog last month will know that I was asked to submit a couple of drawings to displayed at an open event. I did this and have received many positive comments. I decided to send in my drawing of a dragonfly as well as the drawing I did of Donald Duck, which I am actually quite proud of. Not only were these displayed on the actual day, they are still up on the walls today. They were loved so much they have decided to keep them on display!

Art Group. June 2016.

Due to going on holiday, I have only attended two art sessions this month (I am aware there is one more to go), so naturally I have less artwork to show. I managed to complete two drawings per week – one colour and one black and white – and experiment with different styles.

Week One: Many people were impressed with my drawing of Disney’s Pluto; although I was not impressed with their lack of Disney knowledge – they thought it was Goofy! One lady quizzed me on the type of pencils I was using: “Are they different from normal pencils?” Apparently my ability to blend colours together is rare.

I also used art group as an opportunity to continue to draw places I saw in Austria. I happened to have a photograph on my mobile phone of the church in Igls, so based my sketch upon this.

Week Two: Again I impressed people with my colouring skills as I drew a dragonfly. I was inspired by an image on Pinterest where the artist had used splashes of paint to produce a multicoloured finish. Lacking the right materials, I had to make do with pencils. As I had a lot of time left before the end of the session, I found a photo of part of a violin and attempted to draw it. I used a range of sketching pencils to try and get the shading correct, however I think my perspective was off.

In other news, I have been personally asked to submit artwork to be displayed on 5th July at the Richmond Fellowship centre (the location of the art group). I have sent in a copy of the dragonfly above, and a scan of my drawing of Donald Duck. If I have some spare time I may produce more work specifically for this event.

Art Group. May 2016.

Since starting to work in colour I am getting a lot less done in a month. It is so time consuming… but worth it, right? I mostly worked on flowers beginning with the sunflower I had started at the end of April. I am so pleased with the way it turned out, it was definitely worth the hours it took. I then moved on to drawing a rose, which is loosely based on a tattoo design I saw on Pinterest. Again I am really pleased with the outcome and I enjoyed working on it too. However I was not the only person admiring my efforts..!

Despite being called an “Art Group” many of the attendees are there for social interaction rather than to work on their art skills. As a result not everyone is confident in their drawing ability, however my drawing of a rose inspired a woman, Mary, to have a go herself. She was very proud of her pencil drawing, but she wanted to add colour and shading in the exact way I had done. Instead of risking it going wrong, Mary insisted that I colour it in for her! So I did… (see 4th image above)

So what with colouring and doing other people’s artwork I did not get much of an opportunity to complete as many drawings as I usually do in a month. As I was aware of the time it takes to fully finish a coloured image, I decided in the last session of the month to retreat back to a style of sketching that I have not used much for a few years. Flicking through a travel magazine, I chose a couple of photographs to draw from of buildings and attempted to produce detailed sketchings of them.

I am not so happy with my ink sketches as I believe I could do so much better, but this was good practice for next week, which I am spending in Austria. I want to sketch as much as I can, especially the Tyrollean buildings. Drawing on location means I will need to sketch quickly on the spot, therefore the results may be a bit rough. I could sit for hours and draw, but I want to do so many other things whilst on holiday!

Art Group. April 2016

Last month I set myself a goal to draw from photographs whilst at Art Group. Oops, I forgot! But I have made a big step forward in developing my drawing skills. As you can see from the examples above, three out of five of my completed work contains colour! In the past I have relied on the use of shading with either a granite pencil or a fine tipped pen to make my outcomes three dimensional. This time I decided to use colour pencil to achieve the same result.

I bought myself a set of colouring pencils that contained several shades of each colour so that I could experiment with shading and gradients. One person asked me how I learnt to colour in like this, but the truth is I did not learn, I worked it out using logic and my knowledge of shading techniques. Instead of colouring in the bananas in one shade of yellow, which seems the obvious thing to do, I used two yellow pencils AND a black, brown and green pencil. By doing this I was able to add shadow and make the image more realistic.

The downside to producing art work like this is it is time consuming! I am used to drawing two to three images per session, whereas sometimes I only managed to complete half a drawing. On the other hand, I am pleased with my outcomes, so the hours I spend drawing and colouring are worth it, right?

Current work in progress:

Art Group. March 2016

This month I feel like I have made a little progress with my drawing ability through attending my Art Group. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am still practising by drawing from other people’s artwork, however I challenged myself, on a whim, to draw from a photograph. Twice!

Although the art group lacks resources, they did have an out of date calendar full of wildlife photographs.Whilst idly flicking through it I came across an image of a herd of donkeys, where one was gazing sweetly into the camera. All of a sudden I had an urge to draw that particular donkey, positively thinking to myself “I can do this” rather than my usual “I’m not good enough.” It is this drawing that I am most proud of this month.

The second drawing I produced by studying a photograph is the one of an elephant. I have drawn these creatures before but always using other artwork as a guide. Using photographs as inspiration gave me the chance to work out for myself how to visually represent parts of the animal and work out where the shading needed to be, without influence from other artists.

By proving to myself that I can draw with photographic references, I am beginning to feel more confident in my drawing ability. I CAN draw rather than merely copy. I am beginning to believe that most people can produce art, it is their inability to trust themselves that prevents them.

My goal for next month is to continue to draw from photographs and boost my confidence. Eventually I hope I will be able to start drawing from life.

Art Group. February 2016

This month I tried a few different drawing subjects at Art Group: people, animals and still life. As I am only using these sessions to practice my drawing skills, I am still copying from other images I have found online. Having said that, these are not exact replicas – my own developing style comes into play and I omit or add certain details.

The animals – an elephant and a bear – were only quick sketches and I am not sure that I have got the proportions correct. Someone at the art group offered to photocopy the elephant so that I could experiment with colouring it in. I rejected this at the time, but this is an idea I could take up in the future. Maybe with a drawing I am happier with.

The drawing I am most pleased with is the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter franchise. I copied this from an image I found on Pinterest. Whilst I was drawing I could tell that my version was not accurate in comparison to the original. The eyes and mouth are a lot higher on the picture I was copying from. I thought I had ruined the whole drawing, but once I looked at it separately from the printout, I saw that it still looked like hat from the films. I got a lot of comments from some of the other group attendees, including one I was probably not meant to hear: “she’s so good isn’t she?”

After looking at examples of my art work, someone told me my drawings deserve to be in a museum. She then proceeded to show me examples of Rembrandt’s paintings saying that I should attempt something like that. A bit too ambitious, maybe!