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Weekly Art Dispatch, No. 7 🎨

24 January 2021 - Reading time: 7 minutes

An announcement! My Weekly Art Dispatch can now be read in newsletter form.  You can subscribe here with your email address, and receive issues in your inbox once a week.

For now, the newsletter version is identical to the blog posts, and you'll only receive the Dispatch, once a week.  If you want to follow my blog in general, here is the RSS feed.  Both are linked in the blog sidebar.

These are early days in my art journey, and I'm using this weekly newsletter to stay accountable to my art process. I'd be honoured and thrilled if you'd join me in this quest to learn how to draw and cultivate an artistic life.

The Art Life

Last week's "mind games" (issue #6) are well and truly settled.  I was able to channel all that dissatisfaction into practicing the techniques I was most weak at.  And I'm pleased with this week's results!  So that was a lesson learnt.

Of the new art supplies showcased in issue #6, I've started using the Reeves-branded sketchpad.  I'm no sketchpaper expert, I noticed it receives graphite more readily than my previous Strathcore sketchbook, so pencilmarks can get darker than what I'm accustomed to, and it's less forgiving to accidental smudges.  I'm also getting used to how it handles thick, dark layers of graphite.  Indeed, sketchpaper can be as important as -- perhaps more than -- the pencils you use, because it influences the kinds of marks you get.

Speaking of pencils, I've been sharpening mine with a blade for some time already, and the new sandpaper I bought takes sharpness of tip/smoothness of sides to a new level!

A set of sharpened pencils, plus scalpel blade and sandpaper.

I use 2H, F, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B Staedtler pencils.

Study Art

Of the flaws in last week's fanart of the character Tassyn, her face was the biggest one.  I had plenty of references for her (screenshots and videos made in the videogame), but couldn't get her facial structure correct.  Then again, I hadn't practised drawing heads since my refresher on the Loomis technique in December (issue #2).  So it was time to do some photo studies.

Drawing studies of human heads

Photo references from this gallery.

I was partway through "Introduction to Shading" module in The Art and Science of Drawing, but paused it to work on head studies.  So I have to finish it this week -- and keep on drawing heads!

Fun Art

I met my goal of producing two works this week.  Well -- a page of character head studies isn't technically a "completed work", but I'll count it!

Pencil drawings

Anthem fanart, all the way down -- a bunch for my character, plus a couple NPCs.

Pencil drawing

I think a big challenge for novice artists is how to consistently draw a certain face/character from different angles, so I'm quite pleased with how this character turned out.  The Loomis technique is helping me understand facial structure and maintain consistency across different angles.

This week's big illustration is the second in my "fanart illustration series" for Anthem.  This is Haluk, a Freelancer who pilots a javelin (mecha or Iron Man suit).

Pencil illustration of Haluk, Freelancer in the Anthem video game.

The goal here was to practice cast shadows: apply what little I've learned so far from the "Introduction to Shading" course to my drawings, and generally train myself to pay more attention to value in my drawings, since that's an integral part of composing good art and photography.  (Ctrl+Paint has a good intro video to light and value.)

I don't have much experience in evaluating the value of an image, but when I squint at my two illustrations side by side, the values in Tassyn's image (left below) don't look so well-balanced to me, while Haluk's image (right below) looks better.

Comparison of my drawings of Tassyn (left) and Haluk (right).

"Introduction to Shading" has helped me a lot already, but I want to learn more about value -- not to mention figure out the correct tools/pencils to use to get a good value gradient across a whole drawing.

Animation of drawing process

And the process animation.  I've enjoyed making these - do you find them interesting?

Next week's topics: My ongoing quest to finish another two pieces of art while continuing my Anthem fanart illustration series.  And, perhaps, a word about an interesting drawing opportunity that crossed my radar...

Thanks for following my art adventures every week, and I hope you subscribe to the Dispatch or keep visiting my blog!

Written by Emera on 3 February 2021
Vega, it's so thrilling to see how far your understanding of the volumes of facial structure has progressed! Congrats! I'm especially keen, in the Anthem spread, of the shot of the open-mouthed person seen from 3/4 view & below. Very lively and engaging. It's so so good that you're starting to think of designing in terms of value. I only started doing that seriously last year, and it's been so transformative but challenging. I agree that the illustration of Tassyn could use more variation in value to be even more engaging on top of the expressive character pose (lmk if you're interested in a quick paintover?), while the one of Haluk has very inviting depth & mood to it.

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