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Slow and steady: Weekly Art Dispatch, No. 21 🎨

17 May 2021 - Reading time: 4 minutes

It's one of those weeks without any new discoveries or breakthroughs, just steady progress and consolidating what I learned last week.

Study Art

Drawabox Lesson 5 proceeds apace.  It's a challenging lesson.  I've drawn animals using construction before, but DaB's requirements are quite strict.

The two major challenges I've been facing were (a) the strong focus on construction while ignoring gesture and movement/flow, (b) the tension between construction by observation vs. bypassing any teaching on anatomy.  I found (b) the more difficult challenge.  This kind of drawing-by-construction that DaB teaches is dependent on understanding a bit of animal anatomy, but the lesson doesn't go into this at all, nor asks the student to go look for references by themselves.  This compels the student to fall back on drawing by observation while deciphering the three-dimensionality of external form -- which is challenging in itself.

That said, this Drawabox lesson isn't a bad overview on learn how to draw animals, which can be a launching pad into other comprehensive animal drawing courses.  I'm about halfway through the lesson and learning a few things -- although most of it involves trying to keep all the drawing requirements in mind while doing the drawing.

Ferret and donkey.  Photo references were obtained from web search.

The ferret still has a long neck, but I got some feedback that I had been neglecting to draw the animal's ribcage.  I included that in the donkey drawing, and its proportions are better now.

My personal 50 Bird Challenge also continues.  I've finished Birds 1-10 in pencil, and am now on Birds 11-20 -- in fineliner pen, drawn more-or-less in an unbroken line without lifting the pen off the page.  Also another chance to practice two-value shading and blocking in shadow shapes.

Fun Art

This week's fun art was all digital art, consolidating the workflow I developed last week (in Dispatch #20).  I'm very happy with this new workflow and getting more comfortable working in it.  Now that the workflow is established, I can now tweak with the processes to make them more efficient or useful, and experiment with new brushes.  For example, I'm currently using an eraser to shade, which is definitely not ideal; so I want to try new brushes and shading methods.

I'm not quite up to working in colour yet; values and shading methods are more important things I want to focus on.  But if I can add a bit of colour here and there, I will!

Yet more Vega and Zhael, while trying to establish some simple visual themes surrounding their world/backstory.

I'm starting to get a bit tired of drawing my OCs: it's probably time to start drawing other characters, or fan art, or illustrating scenes from stories and books.  Lots of subject matter to explore!

Next week's topics: Probably more of the same: progress with Drawabox, and digital art.  I want to resume my 2-value photo studies again.

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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}