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How to fight a sheep (plus birds and household objects): Weekly Art Dispatch No. 28 🎨

22 August 2021 - Reading time: 7 minutes

Life got quite busy over the last fortnight, and by the time I got around to writing last week's Dispatch, it was halfway through this week. So you get a bumper two-week progress report this time!  And I drew a lot of things: household objects, birds, and a monstrous ram.

Study art (Drawabox)

I'm almost finished with Drawabox Lesson 6 (Applying Construction to Everyday Objects).

I have a mostly-latent love of math and geometry, so this lesson has been surprisingly engaging. I really enjoyed the problem-solving process: measuring proportions of objects, creating orthographic views, and "transferring" those ortho views to a 3D construction -- so much that it's easy to treat these drawings as pure math problems and forget that I'm meant to be learning art technique from this. In this case, what I think I'm learning is how to solve art problems: applying spatial understanding to drawing objects in perspective, and how to simplify complexity.

It's still fun to test my geometry and draftsmanship skills though! One more piece of homework left to do of this Lesson.

Some everyday objects used for this lesson: computer mouse, single hole puncher.

Personal Work

I went through a rough patch last week IRL. These kinds of RL shakeups impact my art by throwing me off focus: I start multiple projects, but get restless very quickly, and don't follow through on them. (I've recently learned to use this lack of focus and follow-through as a diagnostic to identify if I'm struggling somewhere in mood/circumstance/life.)

But I revived toward the end of last week and put my mind to finishing what I started. And it feels good to finish artwork!

So, the unfinished projects that got cleared this fortnight...

How to Fight a Sheep

Last week I tackled a drawing prompt that an art friend on Discord gave to me: Draw one of your characters fighting seriously (with a serious expression) against a sheep."

Drawing prompts are surprisingly good ways to get art inspiration! I immediately came up with a couple of art ideas: a dramatic one and a humorous one. I decided to do both.

The dramatic version -- where Zhael squares off against a monstrous ram...

And the humorous version -- where she gets a surprise...

The design and drawing process:

I was getting visuals the moment I read the drawing prompt, so the first thing I did was get the ideas out of my head, and make thumbnail sketches of both dramatic and humorous versions.

I wasn't convinced by the "story" behind this initial humorous version. On the other hand, the dramatic version engaged my imagination more, so I chose to draw it.

After thumbnailing, it was time to find visual references and ideas. References I used: bighorn sheep (this video was a great watch!), HEMA sword fighting, and a bunch of human figure pose/perspective photos.

Meanwhile, my ideas for the humorous version continued to develop, and it eventually became a "sequel" to the current drawing. By the time I finished the dramatic version, I already settled on a comic form and had the full storyboard in my head.

Thumbnail for the comic:

I've storyboarded comics before for my own amusement, but this is the first time I've taken a comic from storyboard to a finished comic. I sure learned a lot about how to draw sequential art quickly and consistently (the comic took about 4 hours to finish). Doing this little comic was pretty fun: let's see if I have another chance to make another one!

Yet More Birds

This week, I made more progress on the 50 Bird Challenge. Earlier I'd received feedback to try using a hard-edged brush for painting instead of a soft edge. For the falcon, I experimented with a number of brushes before discovering one I liked ("Gouache", a default brush in Clip Studio Paint). The kookaburras were painted almost entirely with this brush.

I'll keep painting Birds 41-50 digitally, and experiment more with brushes and painting methods.

Birds 38-40: falcon (left), and a kookaburra pair (right).
Photo reference: Bird Life Photography & personal photos.

Next week's topics: I plan to finish Drawabox Lesson 6 by next Dispatch. I'm itching to get back to personal art, including Anthem fanart, so expect less study and more personal work in the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading this week's edition of the Art Dispatch! 🎨

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I'm Vega.

Welcome to my blog.

My Weekly Art Dispatch🎨 is posted every weekend (usually on Sunday) to this blog and email newsletter.

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Email me at: vega{at}