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Quarterly Art Dispatch: digital art & shading projects in Q2, 2021. 🎨

6 July 2021 - Reading time: 6 minutes

July is here, so it's time to look back on Q2, 2021, and reflect on how I fared with art. Keeping a quarterly reflection is one of my Big Art Goals for this year. Check out my review of Q1 (Jan - March).

But first - a website update!

My website, Great Sky River.net, has been substantially updated with new art. I've also restructured the pages, split the art gallery into categories, and added new artwork everywhere. Check it out!

(For the curious: I'm still using Bludit as the CMS, and edited one of the default themes to suit my website's purposes. It's working so far, with some idiosyncrasies.)


A look back at Q2 (April - June)

Q2 was packed with learning experiences. In April, I went "cold turkey" into learning digital art. May was something of a frustrating month: I hit some obstacles in digital art, and floundered around a bit looking for a solution to that, as well as a balance between digital and trad art. In June I was quite exhausted by all things digital, and returned to traditional art to learn some new techniques in shading and values.

All throughout, I did all kinds of projects: more concept design for my four original characters (continuation of work in March), 2-value studies on landscapes in digital, and a series of videogame fanart to practice shading in pencil. It was an eventful quarter full of learning, breakthroughs, and challenges everywhere!


Digital art

Digital drawings and paintings I finished this quarter. Painting is relatively straightforward (more straightforward than I expected), but drawing is another matter entirely!


Traditional art (pencil drawings)

Pencil illustrations:

I put pencil drawing on the backburner for most of April and May to learn digital art. But I resumed it in June, when I was learning shading and values.

I also started an art challenge of drawing 50 birds however I wanted. I've drawn 32 birds so far.


Things I learned

I made progress on Drawabox -- started and finished Lesson 5, and started 250 Cylinders Challenge. If I maintain this pace of study, I'm set to finish the whole Drawabox curriculum by the end of this year.

I also did a slow walk through the "Shading Fundamentals" unit of The Art & Science of Drawing course. Repeating the exercises as daily, regular "drills" helped me develop the muscle memory required for consistent shading. It has already transformed my pencil art, and is probably the most important drawing method I'll learn this year.

A sample of exercises/homework:

Apart from these "formal studies", I also did a lot of 2-value and 3-value studies on digital, to train myself to think about shape appeal and value hierarchy.


The Art Life, and what's next

Looking back, Q2 was saturated with new experiences and challenges -- to the point of oversaturation. In Q1, I was able to maintain a pace of creating 1-2 pencil illustrations a week. Learning digital art threw me off that regular pace for a while, and going "cold turkey" in April/May left me quite mentally exhausted. This exhaustion was why I went on hiatus in June from this Art Dispatch newsletter, completely paused digital art, and went back to something familiar in pencil art and shading.

And there lies a deeper challenge... what I will focus on. I'm very glad I jumped into learning digital art like I did, but further learning is going to be a long-term commitment. I want to learn more digital art, and continue to make traditional drawings, but I haven't yet found a sustainable way to do both simultaneously -- if doing both is at all possible in my RL circumstances.


Unlike the first Quarterly Review, I don't have any clear ideas of what art projects to pursue next, digital or traditional. But now, the start of July, is a good time to look back at all the activity and learning of Q2, and mull over my short- and long-term goals.

So that's what I'll do! Maybe I'll have a clearer idea by the next Weekly Dispatch. We shall find out what Q3 holds...


Thanks for reading this Quarterly 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.

I may occasionally blog about writing other creative projects; book and video game reviews; and real life stuff.

Email me at: vega{at}greatskyriver.net