Graphite Sketch: An Impossible Angle

sketch of man relaxing
© 2011 Mellanie Collins

graphite on paper, 5 x 8 inches

On the first sunny and warm day this spring,  Michael and I went to the park.  Michael basked, and I sketched.   At first I was frustrated.  I had chosen an impossible angle and as it was such a glorious, lazy, summery afternoon I just couldn’t bear to get technical and try to do a “proper drawing.”

I had to mentally thumb my nose at my inner critic as she badgered me to consider the proportions or to “slow down and try do some proper hatching for god’s sake!”  I just kept marking, smudging and scribbling on pages.  I had such a great time.

Looks like I’m finally learning to just give myself a break and enjoy myself.

It’s about time.

Every Day In May: Day 31 – It’s Over


My last entry for Every Day in May is a drawing I did of Michael relaxing in the sun wearing his favorite sunglasses.  He is wonderful about sitting for me.

Since doing this Every Day in May exercise I feel more inspired to go back to my everyday sketchbook drawing.    I got so caught up in my card trading hobby that my regular drawing practice really suffered.

But I can’t give up artist trading cards.  At last count I have 206 cards. It’s so addictive, I can’t imagine not trading.

Every Day in May: Day 15 – Drawing for Myself – WIP 2

EDIM - 15 - WIP 2
5" x 7" india ink and wash

Here’s the second day of work with this drawing I started yesterday.  I’m using india ink instead of just using the gray markers I’ve been using.   I inked the sketch with a brush instead of a pen.  Now I wish I had used a dip pen.  But there will be other opportunities.  It’s coming together.  I’ll work on it more tomorrow.

Every Day in May: Day 14 – Drawing for Myself – WIP

EDIM - 14a - WIP

Yesterday I got out my neglected watercolor moleskine book and set out to do a project just for myself.  Back in February I was looking through photos on Flickr and came across this self-portrait by Dominic Perry .  He gave me permission to use the photo as a reference.   I told him that I was primarily interested in the hair and eyes and that I would most likely change the pose.

I finally got around to working on the drawing yesterday.  I’m not sure if I want to do this as a painting, or just an ink and wash drawing.   I’m pleased with this initial rough sketch.   In the photograph the subject has, in my opinion, a rather defiant and cocky expression.   As I sketched  and kind of searched about for what I would do, I decided to try to make my character a bit world-weary and defeated.  Michael says he looks like someone who’s been waiting at the airport too long.  I suppose that I could call it  Stand-by.

I’ll see how this goes.   I’ll post my progress.  I just hope it doesn’t end up a disaster.

Every Day in May – Day 4 – Another Pug Sketch

graphite pencil
graphite pencil

I’m still doing sketches for an artist trading card for a friend of mine.   I’m working on getting just the right expression.   I’m not really a dog person, but the more I study the reference photos I was given, the more I appreciate this dog.  He’s awfully cute.  Perhaps that’s why I always spend a lot of time making sketches for cards before I do final drawings and coloring or paint.  I feel like I get some sort of connection with the subject before I let it go.  It could just be something like really loving a line under a nose, or the way a curve indents when you think it shouldn’t.

Drawing is ultimately about paying attention and being present.  When I am walking around throughout the day, I have a tendancy to rush about and only take a cursory look at things.  I notice just what I need to notice and move on.  Maybe that’s why I can be so compulsive about drawing.  It’s practically the only time I pay real attention to things and ultimately find so much appreciation for them.   Drawing grounds me like nothing else.

Every Day In May – Days 1-3

Hurray!  I’m on track for Every Day in May.  Here’s a round-up of drawings I did over the weekend.

Friday, May 1:

2.5" x 3.5" scratchboard
2.5" x 3.5" scratchboard

A friend of mine gave me some scratchboard paper cut to ATC size.  It had been sitting on my drawing desk for a few weeks and I finally just dove into it.  I’d never used the paper before,  so I had no specific tools  to work work with.  I just knew that I had to find something to scratch the ink off the paper.   I didn’t feel like going to the art supply store to find something suitable.  I knew I would end up with some expensive tool that I would only use once and then consign to my art supply graveyard.  So I found an old needle and a box cutter and set out to draw a cat.

Now this is most likely NOT how you do this, but this is how I went about it.

First I destroyed a piece of scratchboard by experimenting with my tools.  I realized that the tip of the blade on my knife  made a very fine line  and that I could go about making the same strokes that I made when using a pen.

After that I grabbed another card and drew a rough sketch in pencil on the surface of the scratchboard.  I then just worked my way around the sketch, just as if I were using a fine point pen.  It’s a bit messy, but I not bad for a first effort.  Just a bit of fun and it was nice to try something new.

If you are interested in how you are supposed to work in scratchboard, check out this tutorial. I found it a great overview explaining the materials and tools you need.

Saturday, May 2

 2.5" x 3.5"  white colored pencil on black paper
2.5" x 3.5" white colored pencil on black paper

I’m making cards for a swap with a Black and White theme,  so I made this card.  I skipped the scratchboard and just did a drawing with white colored pencil on black paper.

Sunday, May 3

2.5" x 3.5" graphite pencil
2.5" x 3.5" graphite pencil

Here are some sketches I did Sunday for a card I’m making for a personal trade.   My partner collects cards featuring her pug and she sent me some pictures to work from.   I’m having fun with my sketches.  Now I must work on the final card.  I’ll be posting it here when it’s done.

Well, so far so good.  Now what to do for Monday’s drawing?