Updated: Sep 28, 2019
I've never considered myself an artist even though I do many artsy things *like make shirts.* ? That sounds quite silly now that I've put it that way. I suppose a lack of formal education or training in art is why I feel that I have no claim to the "artist" title. In my mind, art has always been defined as drawing. I know this is incorrect and there are tons of forms of art, but that's just always what stuck in my brain. Art = Drawing. While I'm not terrible at drawing, I'm also not great. I can't draw people or animals or anything else that is lifelike. Everything is pretty two-dimensional.
While working on a special Phile Tribe button (can't reveal since it hasn't been received yet!) it occurred to me that it would be easier to make multiple buttons if my design was digital rather than drawn in ink on paper. Instead of drawing individual buttons, I could print multiple buttons. This prompted me to look into what materials are needed to make digital art. Since I already owned an iPad, the apple pencil looked to be my best option. Only $99 and works with the Procreate app ($9.99). Imagine my disappointment when the pencil arrived and I realized that my excellent condition, never fails, barely used iPad was too old for this fancy pencil. Luckily, my always sweet and supportive wife offered to buy me a new iPad as an early birthday present.
With my fancy new digital art materials in hand, I attempted to draw Gunung, one of our adopted orangutans.
*cringe* This prompted me to look up drawing tips/techniques/lessons online. I came across this medium article from Max Deutsch. In his "month to master" project, he attempted to master photorealistic drawing in one month. He paid for an online class (way out of my budget) and his progress was amazing. Just by reading his article, I was able to learn about drawing techniques that inspired me to begin my own drawing project.
The New and Improved Gunung drawing just from reading Max's article.
Now, I'm a realistic person. I do not expect to master the art of drawing people in just one month. I don't want to draw for a month and then quit. Amy Jo suggested a 52-week drawing project so that's what I'm doing, with modifications.
My goal was to draw a photorealistic portrait for the 2021 Gillian Anderson Fan Art Calendar. After these first two weeks, I've already altered my goal a bit. I just want to submit a piece that I am proud of, not necessarily photorealistic. After just two weeks of practice, I'm already feeling that I want to find my own style. So, instead of constantly practicing photorealism, I'm going to start with what I'm decent at (sketching) and build from there.
I also decided that, realistically, I was more likely to stick with this if I gave myself enough time to draw each picture. So instead of one picture every week, I'm going with one every two weeks. I'm a busy woman. However, these first two weeks I've been pumped about the project and have been drawing every free moment I get! The iPad and apple pencil are FUUUNNNN.
Since Gillian is my most effective motivator, she's also the subject of each drawing challenge. This is my tentative list, subject to change.
Week 1-2: Black and white close-up of face at an angle
Week 3-4: Black and white close-up of face at opposite angle
Week 5-6: Black and white close-up of face straight on
Week 7-8: Black and white close-up of face with a silly expression (the emoji face!)
Week 9-10: Black and white of face and shoulders
Week 11-12: Black and white of face including hands
Week 13-14: Black and white of face and upper half of body
Week 15-16: Black and white of whole body in a dress
Week 17-18: Black and white of whole body (the PETA ad)
Week 19-20: Color close up of face at an angle
Week 21-22: Color close up of face with silly expression (IG can I be a dog again?)
Week 23-24: Color of face and shoulders
Week 25-26: Color of upper half of body
Week 27-28: Color of whole body in a dress
Week 29-30: Color of whole body (one of the first GAWinser collection photos)
Week 31-32: 1st GAWinser collection with background
Week 33-34: 2nd GAWinser collection with background
Week 35-36: Black and white of Scully with background
Week 37-38: Color of Scully with background
Week 39-40: Black and white of Blanche with background
Week 41-42: Color of Blanche with background
Week 43-44: Black and white Stella with background
Week 45-46: Color of Stella with background
Week 47-48: Black and white of Jean with background
Week 49-50: Color of Jean with background
Week 51-52: ??? Submission for fan art calendar
For my first picture, I crowd-sourced Twitter for ideas. They did not disappoint. I have my first three pictures chosen now.
I wasted no time and finished this in two days. *facepalm*
I'll let you guess which is the original pic. ;-)
It's not bad for my first attempt. I don't hate it but I don't love it either. The eyes are weird. Proportions are hard. It's also difficult having to learn how to operate Procreate at the same time. I know that I will improve with practice. I just have to be patient, which is not my best virtue.
Since I finished so quickly, and I'm still in love with the iPad/pencil/Procreate, I continued doodling. These are some sketches of Gillian in her new clothing collection. I *really* like the look of a sketch with watercolor behind it. I'll probably practice this style much more. Again, faces are still hard.
I practiced a bit with shading using the dogs' treat jar. I played around with the airbrushes on a pic of Mulder and Scully (bonus points if you know what this is from). Tried a close-up of Gillian's face in color. I like this version much more than the black and white. The eye is muuuuch better. I drew Gillian in Amy Jo style, but I used the actual pic and traced over it for the outlines. It was still a fun practice and was a huge improvement over the one of myself that I'm not even going to share. On my last night of Week 1-2, I made a quick little baby Neil to practice fur texture. The slightly cross-eyed look is legitimately what his eyes did in the original picture and he's CUTE AS HECK.
Even though I'm still busy, busy, busy, I try to draw for 30 minutes to an hour every night before bed. It's my favorite time of the day. :)