Install Theme
illustrate life

Just taking my own advice and drawing whatever the heck I want

I lost these right after I bought them, BUT I FOUND THEM AGAIN GET EXCITED CAUSE I SURE AM

Hey. I was an art student in high school and after I graduated I never draw again. I was never as good as I wanted and in the end I gave up. I really want to start again but I just don't know where to start. I cant draw from my imagination and never really find a good way to develop that. If you can give me some tips that'll be awesome like how did you manage to not give up when you draw bad etc. thanks! x

Hey! So this is a great question. And truly, I think you’ll find very quickly that almost every artist has wanted to give it all up at some point. We are constantly striving to be just that much better, and sometimes it just feels like you’re never gonna get there. I totally understand that. So here are some things I try to keep in mind when I’m feeling stuck and unoriginal.

  • Be careful not to compare your work to other artist’s work! Your mind is unique, and therefore, with time, your style will be also. Studying particular artists, however, and imitating qualities of their work, like color choices and line weight, etc…are good ideas. Try to analyze what you like about a certain piece, and why you like it! Then practice that by making a piece or sketch that uses that quality.
  • Don’t feel like everything you make has to be a finished, polished production. This is how I used to work. I would never start anything, because I wanted it to be great, and I would try and plan every little detail. Basically, I didn’t want to bother making something if I didn’t know it would be perfect. Since then, I’ve loosened up! I told myself if an idea pops in my head, I should doodle it in my sketch book. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, or super conceptual, it can be as silly as a cat eating spaghetti. Don’t worry if it’s no good, you don’t have to show anyone. It’s for you.
  • Art is for you. So yeah, in my personal work, if I want to draw fish, and only fish, that is up to me. Try to draw enough that you start seeing themes in your work, and follow those themes!! What I’ve found is that eventually, those themes can be honed down into actual pieces, and because you did so many studies, you have something to pull from. If something resonates with you in your own work, chances are, it will resonate with someone else out there. And that’s awesome.
  • Keep an idea log! No idea is dumb. I just looked at the most recent thing I jotted down. “Wooden King Frog surveys termite kingdom”. I literally thought that after seeing a stick this morning. I might never draw that. Although I kinda want to. Sometimes I also just brainstorm off of a general theme. Example: School assignment prompt had “shoes” as a possible theme. 
         Shoes > Famous Shoes > Wizard of Oz > Ruby Slippers > Red Shoes > Pope Shoes > Pope > Anna Wintour > Pope of Fashion
    My slightly eccentric train of thought was influenced by current events involving the election of the new pope, and a fashion documentary that I had just watched where somebody commented that Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour was like the ‘Pope of Fashion’. These were just things floating around in my brain and you just gotta write them down until something clicks for you.

SO WHERE TO START??? This is a tough one. Especially when your mind’s eye has high expectations that maybe your technical skill hasn’t caught up to yet. It’s frustrating. And drawing from imagination can seem really daunting. I think something people don’t realize, is that when you’re drawing from ‘imagination’, you can still use references. Especially for things like human/animal anatomy and poses/expressions. The imaginative part comes in with your original composition, back story, color scheme, character design, content and themes…..everything. But technical things like perspective, and anatomy, don’t have to magically spring from your own mind. Eventually, by studying those things, you do get better, and it gets easier and easier to draw convincingly without references. I’m still getting there, in fact. But if you draw frogs all the time, chances are, you start remembering how they are structured, and you won’t need as much help.

Something that many people have told me helped them get re/started in their art journey, (but unfortunately I have never read) is a book called, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. That might be a good starting point!

The only other suggestion I have is to look at art. A lot of art. Tons of it. Libraries have so many books, and I surf tags on tumblr all the time. BUT! Look at it, not to compare, but to inspire. See what matters to other people. Look at all the awesome quirkiness that the human race can produce. Drool over the impossibly great hyper-realists.

You do you!

Nobody else can.

Work break

Kitty kitty

Hahah, I don’t know guys….just more pen practice

Also! In other news, my piece, Nighttime Ride, was accepted into the show I submitted it to! It runs in September, and I’ll find out the Juried results then. :D

Whiling away this rainy Sunday by re-creating my resume - this time in Adobe Illustrator!

Hello tumblr folk! Faithful followers and new alike! Today is my birthday so I hope you yourselves had a wonderful Friday!

In order to keep sharp on my digital skills in Illustrator, I realized I’m gonna have to practice them. Also, I know the basics, but I really would like to become more proficient with the program, so I’m embarking on the ambitious task of a 30 day drawing challenge! It will probably not be 30 consecutive days, but as I said, the idea is just to get practicing and more comfortable with vectors.

Day One: Yourself

This one is pretty basic…more like an OOTD than anything else! I put a little Anthropologie bag because I do work there part-time, and this is what I was wearing the other day when I finally was able to do a little shopping there for myself. :P

Hey Elisa! I really liked your artworks, you have great hands :3 Especially loved the undersea drawing that you posted few days ago, it's lovely! Which pen do you use for your works?

Asked by lioraf

Thanks so very much for your kind words! I generally use Sakura Pigma Micron pens. They also have brush and graphic pens that I like very much as well.

They are waterproof and last a fairly long amount of time. I always am having to buy more because I lose them all the time, so I also like that they are not expensive.

Live Más

Acrylic; 14” x 17”

My final submission for Gallery Twenty-Two’s upcoming show, ‘Tacos vs. Hotdogs’

Hey! I really like your Nighttime Ride! I am just getting into inking and grey washes… do you have any more intermediate pix of your work, or tips on washes and layers w india ink??? thanks! - jumjumcomics

So I’m more than happy to provide more pictures of the process, and share what I can about lineart and ink washes. I’m by no means an expert, and I learn more about it every new project, but here are some techniques I’ve gathered so far.

So these are the materials I used, and just use in general, hahah.

  • Dr. Martin’s Bombay Black India Ink
  • Micron Pens (01, 03, 05)
  • Brushes (2 round, ???, 10 round,)
  • Mechanical Pencils…Erasers…..The normal stufz
  • Canson Colorline Paper in cream

I start out like anybody else with a sketch. For the center figure, I already knew that I wanted his clothes to be black, and in a certain style, so I went ahead and shaded some spots in with the pencil ahead of time. You really wanna keep your graphite lines light, um I guess it depends on the paper, but this stupid paper hung on to the lines with a death grip. So I either had to draw with a feather touch, or just be real sure of the lines I put down (that never happens).

I’m sure some people can just jump in there with a brush and get inking, but I like to outline with my microns and then fill in the black parts, and then add the washes. I’m working to get my hand steady enough to line things with a brush (probably need a smaller one) but for now I like the microns, even though there is less line weight variety available from a pen. They’re nice though because they are waterproof, and don’t bleed. However, I have used a pen in the past that bled, and actually it wasn’t too bad! It added extra ink to the washes I put down after and it worked for that particular piece, but generally I like to be more in control of the ink.

So I get down to work outlining all the creatures and coral, adding things here and there to keep the composition balanced, and soon enough its time to start painting in the ink layers.

To get different shades and values of grey with ink, you’re going to have to water it down from straight black. I used a paper palette (which I love using because it is disposable) but you could use any sort of palette, be it plastic or porcelain.. Just realize that the india ink will be pretty permanent afterwards. I used the brush to add a swipe of black ink to the paper, then dip the brush in a cup of water nearby to add water, mixing it with the ink strip until it’s the shade of grey I want. It’s just like paint, you can add more ink or more water whenever you want to get the results you want. For brushes, I like the round tip because they can be thick, but the tip gets down small enough to be perfect for little details as well. I use cheapy brushes because I am afraid to invest in better ones until I can learn to not leave them in the water, and how to take care of them properly……’Cause I ruin a lot of brushes…

So I carefully begin painting in between the lines to add value to the coral, and other creatures. This is where I wish I had more inbetween shots to show you guys, but basically, if you’re unsure of how dark you wanna go, start out light, just to get the hang of things, but don’t be afraid to put some darkness in there. Just go over your layers several times if need be; I do! I wasn’t using watercolor paper, but the ink behaves in a similar way to watercolor paints. You can work dry, or you can wet the paper for a more even approach.

Getting your washes smooth and even is probably one of the more difficult parts of ink. You have to work pretty fast, because it dries quickly, and trying to match up another layer to one that is dried is really hard, and really doesn’t work because the ink will layer on top of itself and you’ll get a seam. So like, for the whale, I had some pretty big washes planned. I used a bigger brush, and using the inky water in the cup I laid down a really light wash in all the places I wanted the ink to flow, and made sure it was pretty wet. Then I dipped the brush straight back into the ink and just laid out a think black stroke near the head of the whale. The ink will immediately begin to flow out where the paper is already wet, creating that ombre effect ( just like watercolors). The you can control that effect by dipping your brush back into the water cup and then diluting or saturating the ombre here and there with varying levels of water and ink.

I did essentially the same thing with the background, except instead of such a dramatic gradient, I just laid down a wet area and then immediately set to spreading a light grey wash over it, using water to keep the tone even. You wait for that to dry, then start the next layer the same way.

With ink, it’s good to have an idea ahead of time of what you wanna do, so you can work quickly with such a fast drying permanent material. But! Don’t be afraid to go with the flow and keep things loose. I don’t plan out every single detail cause sometimes you gotta trust your eye and hands to make the right choices in the moment. And obviously that gets better with time and practice!

Experiment! With paper, brushes, adding color! Something I learned this time, is that the paper I used (Canson Colorline) will buckle after a while just because of all the water I added to it. It’s pretty thick paper, so it’s not a big deal. I chose that paper because I liked the color of it, I thought it would look ‘older’, but I realize now that I could have bought Illustration Board in white, and then tinted it with watercolor to be more yellowed. So I will try that next time!

Feeling like complete crap due to a debilitating cold D:

But! This weekend was real good to me anyways. I got to work, finished two pieces for galleries, and spent way too money at Anthropologie on pretty things.

I’m currently attempting to pump myself up with spotify playlists to clean my house, but somehow I am on tumblr instead….?

Anywho, my birthday is also comin’ up (friday) so I guess the coming days can’t be too bad! (despite the plague that afflicts me)

Quickie color and lettering comp for another upcoming show exploring the deeply controversial theme, ‘Tacos vs. Hotdogs’.

While I have eaten at Taco Bell a total of once during my presence here on earth, I will always side with food of the latino variety.

Deadline is monday, so I’m about to PAINT THIS BOOGER FOR REALSIES NOW

Nighttime Ride

India Ink, 19” x 25”

Finito! All done, dried and photo submission has been sent to a nearby art gallery; hopefully to be accepted into the show!

I’m really missing the big scanners at school right about now, ‘cause I am needing a better way to photograph and document.

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