Last year I did more drawing on Procreate than I ever have before. For the first time, I started feeling comfortable in the app. I still have a lot to learn though. Learning to draw digitally is really like learning a new medium altogether.
This is my first finished artwork of the year and I did it on Procreate. I just upgraded my iPad to a newer and bigger type and of course, I wanted to make a picture on Procreate immediately after setting it up. This is based on a photo I took of the lake the morning after a big storm (the only one we have had so far this winter). I also got some new brushes and I was trying them out here. In this painting, I was using brushes meant to simulate fountain pens, alcohol markers and oil paint with a dry brush.
I am always looking for brushes that would most closely approximate my own drawing style with ink and watercolor. In this case, I deviated from my normal style, but I had a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more experimenting this year and building up my confidence and competence in Procreate.
I don’t have enough time in the day to do all the art that I want to get done. I also have been working in my studio for my full time job (because it’s warmer) and then staying in that very same room during the evening to do my artwork. That has led me to have this weird, closed in feeling at times. I can’t wait until it warms up outside and we are in that sweet spot where you don’t have to run the heat or the air conditioner. I will feel more comfortable working in other areas of my house and I can reserve my studio for my art activities.
I’ve been doing a lot of drawing on my iPad, using Procreate, and also editing photos in Affinity Photo on my iPad. I figured out how to remove the backgrounds from my drawings, which I had a good method for in Photoshop, but I wasn’t sure how this new program would work. My process is not the most efficient, but I enjoy it and the results have come out to my liking. Even on the days that I am not drawing new artwork, I have been working on my art in one form or another. Not a day goes by that I haven’t been working on something.
This is my first proper painting of the year, called Clean Morning. I took the reference photo about a year ago, the morning after a late February or March snowstorm. This watercolor does not contain any pen and ink, but uses a sketchy style pencil drawing for the trees (I used a BIC disposable mechanical pencil). What attracted me to this scene was the dramatic light shining through the trees and the long shadows cast over the snow. It was really a perfect snowy atmosphere that morning, and I took a number of interesting photos on that occasion that I have in my reference file.
February can be a rough month for me, mostly because I am so sick and tired of winter and its unpleasantness, such as driving in snow. On the other hand, I think winter is a visually beautiful season and I do love the way snow transforms the world outside. I love looking out of the window and seeing the snow pile up, while being cozy in my house and not having to be anywhere all day. I was recently gifted some absolutely wonderful wool socks and I really enjoy wearing them while relaxing at home. They found their way into my sketchbook, of course.
I found myself inspired by this instagram photo by Michael Nobbs, who is based in Wales. He allowed me to use it as a reference and I came up with the above pen and ink and watercolor piece. I usually only work from my own photos, but in this case, I didn’t mind and I enjoyed myself in the process. Taking my time on the drawing was a nice distraction from school and everything else going on in my own world, as well as the bigger world.
Recently I got the chance to work on some album artwork for my good friend Robert Louis. He just released his brand new collection of instrumental jazzy Christmas songs, A Robert Louis Christmas. I’ve been playing it in the background and wishing for the semester break.
This was a fun and challenging painting to make with all the architecture, snow and monochromatic values. I love winter scenes!
Even though it was a mild winter, I really feel like spring has arrived because I have been getting outside to sketch in the garden and down by the lake. Last spring and summer I stayed inside most of the time to study, but I want to try to get outside much more this year.
It felt nice to finally have a snowy day. In a way I am relieved because I think I was uneasy about the abnormally warm weather. It is not that I don’t like the warmth, I just enjoy all the seasons in their own way and I didn’t like feeling like we skipped over one of them. Looking over my sketch afterwards, I realized that I should have drawn it in black ink on pure white paper because it would have captured the light and contrast in the atmosphere.
This year, it does not feel like a normal winter. It is mid January and we are just starting to get some of the expected winter weather, but we haven’t yet had a proper blizzard. I miss it in a way. Even without the massive piles of snow on the ground, I still find winter beautiful. There is a crispness in the air and a whiteness of the light that I really enjoy. Here is a recent drawing from my sketchbook–thanks for taking a look.
The blizzard we had yesterday turned out to be a blessing in disguise, an extra day off work and time to spend inking and watercoloring. I made the picture below, plus got a good chunk done on something else which is in progress. I had fun experimenting with the circular format (4 inch diameter) and now my little card is on its way in the mail as an after Christmas thank you note.