Savina's Sketchbook: UPDATED 10/20

  • Hey everyone! I originally posted this in the wrong area, so I'm reposting it here. I'd love to hear your thoughts or suggestions on things I can do to improve. Please don't hold back - I learn most from critiques, so I really value them.

    When I first joined last week, it was suggested that I start a sketchbook here. I'm just getting around to it now.

    Anyway, I'll be posting here at least every week...I'm a member of a FB weekly illustration challenge, so I'll be posting those here. I'm really hoping to improve my drawing & composition skills through a combination of this site and doing a weekly illustration sketch.

    This top one is this week's illustration sketch wip that I just started. The prompt was "Warm.":

    WARM WIP small.jpg

    And this was my painting for the illustration group for the prompt "Monster" Dec, 2015:


    May, 2015
    THE SINGING LESSON small.jpg

    Oct, 2015

    April, 2014
    The-Mouse-Wizard SMALL.jpg

    This is a wip that I don't know if I'll ever finish because I didn't plan the composition before starting it:


    Nov, 2014
    The-Chapeau SMALL.jpg

    Sept, 2015
    A study of an owl as I'm learning to use my newly chosen medium (pastel pencils):
    SEBASTIAN small.jpg

    Dec, 2014

    Jan, 2015
    Hummingbird study in graphite:


  • love your style!

  • @Naroth-Kean Thank you! It's funny to hear that, since I don't know if I've got a style yet, lol.

  • These are very nice really like the detail on the pencil work.

  • I love your work, very whimsical with great textures. It reminds me of Omar Rayyan's art.

  • @Stephanie-Hider Thank you!

  • @Damien-Rambacher What an awesome compliment - thank you! I just found Omar Rayyan's work about 6 months ago and he's quickly become a favorite. I'd say he, Gary Lippincott, Chris Dunn & Adonna Khare are some of my biggest influences.

  • Here's one I forgot to add that I did last year as a commission.


    And here's one I just finished that I'm really unhappy with. It taught me a lot about the need for planning a composition beforehand, though...Yeesh!

    special delivery small.png

  • Hey everyone - I just finished this little 4"x6" practice piece for the prompt, "Gone Fishing." (I usually work a lot bigger but thought I'd try small so I didn't focus so much on the details). I'm trying to practice doing environments, which is excruciatingly hard for me. I didn't worry about the composition on this one, although I did try to keep the rule of thirds in mind... This is week one: I'm going to try to do a drawing or detailed sketch a week. As always, input is appreciated & welcomed! (Fyi: I'm awful at drawing humanoids because I typically draw only non-human animals).


  • Pro SVS OG

    Your pencil sketches are beautiful, especially your fur!

  • @amberwingart said:
    I'm trying to practice doing environments, which is excruciatingly hard for me. I didn't worry about the composition on this one, although I did try to keep the rule of thirds in mind... This is week one: I'm going to try to do a drawing or detailed sketch a week. As always, input is appreciated & welcomed!

    Amber: see if this trick helps...

    IF working digitally:

    1. Draw a full background, fully lit, with NO figures, just the environment. A true landscape... but keep in your head that you're one of those time lapse camera boxes photographing wild life. The camera is hidden in one of those boxes as not to disturb the animals, but it's on always recording, that's you. See the scene from all angles, see it from all times of day. The animals come and go, but you are only recording where they come to water or feed or gather. Not them.

    Show us what that looks like in your head.

    1. Now after that one is finished. TURN OFF the Environment layer now, and draw on white.

    On a new layer draw your normal animal that captures your attention. Why do they come here? Is this home or just a spot they love? And why if either? Try to put that thought into your animal's perspective. Also do they see YOU? Do they know you've been watching, cause the camera is fairly silent, but these are animals right? They have great hearing.

    So if they know, do they or don't they care...

    1. Lastly the thing to think of is, how much should your animal fill the space, so TURN ON the environment now. How much do you need them to be the focus? 75% or more, or 50 % or less. This will help you find that balance to them and the environment you drew first.

    RESIZE them to fit what makes you comfortable for the whole scene.

    Traditionally -

    Step 1) draw your environment as before. NO ANIMALS.
    Step 2) draw your animal as normal NO BACK GROUND.
    Step 3) On tracing paper, trace your animal, smudge the back with pencil.

    Place the animal onto the environment drawing and draw over your tracing again, to place the animal in. Remove the tracing paper, fill in your pencils as normal.

    But the tracing paper will allow you to see how much of your animal should be in the environment, you can't resize the way you would digitally, so you'll have to make do with placing them left or right more, or down and up more. But it should essentially fulfill the same goal.

    This is a lesson I would give to starting students with the design problems you were facing.

    They could as a second try, do a smaller animal they know can fit anywhere in the environment, trace that on to the tracing paper/smudged pencil, and have better luck with their composition than a full page drawing of the animal.

    I hope this helps. It's to help you think in 2 different ways, and then together. This can be done in any environment, a full room, without people, and then with... you get the idea.

    If the student is not so good in drawing environments, you have to visually give them the reason for drawing them, to make it somehow interesting. In the case of a room, I would make you think of yourself as a hidden baby monitor, designed to watch the kid AND the babysitter. See if she's doing her job... lol

    Okies off to have breaky, enjoy your day!


  • Forgot to add, in the digital version of your animal, you will have to draw the outline as a complete shape, then fill it with white, so the background doesn't show through...

    Traditionally, you will have to partially erase the environment to fill in your animal's final position, and making them more opaque will make them seem as they were part of the original composition. But don't draw your environment thinking you will do this step after... you have to draw the environment as a complete piece by itself.

    If you're unhappy touching a finished drawing. Xerox it at Staples, and retrace it, adding your animal in on the 3rd step, but you will be drawing both of them in over again, if you chose this method.

    lol as usual, the SVS IMF team will disavow any knowledge of your involvement, this message will self destruct in 5.... 4... 3...

  • Nice detail 🙂 That pastel pencil barn owl is great.

  • @lmrush Thank you! Graphite is my original medium, so it's where I'm the most comfortable, but pastel pencil is where my heart is, so I'm trying to improve my skills there. It's really tough moving between mediums!

  • @Bobby-Aquitania Thank you so much for the exercise - I'll give that a try! I only work in traditional mediums, but I'm thinking of investing in a new iPad for sketching purposes if the pen nib ends up being good for drawing on the version coming out... I've hesitated doing anything digitally because I don't want to get used to being able to resize and such and then get frustrated when I can't do that in my traditional mediums...

  • @Steff Thank you! I really liked the way that guy turned out, but unfortunately I hadn't planned out the composition before starting it (it was just supposed to be a practice piece), so I think it looks really beginner-ish. 😕 C'es la vie.

  • Pro SVS OG

    Your pastels are beautiful as well

  • @lmrush thanks so much! 🙂

  • Hey everyone, I'm JUST pulling out of the longest slump I've been in since I started drawing in 2011. My slump lasted about 8 months and it's been torture. 😞 Jake gave me some really great exercises here that helped me a lot and finally pulled me out of it. So I'm now getting back to sketching. Here are my 1st three character sketches:

    Sept. 4th:


    Sept. 6th:


    Sept. 9th (this sketch is inspired by an Ed Org piece):


    I'm very frustrated that my drawing skills have really become rusty and so much time was wasted, but II'm just going to have to work 3 times as hard now that I'm getting back in the swing.

  • Pro SVS OG

    I "slumped" for more than 10 years (from around 2000 to 2011), so I can only congratulate you for getting back swiftly and finding renewed energy! Your work looks great, it reminds a bit of Don Daily. Do you know the story "The Velveteen Rabbit?". It seems you love doing rabbits, and I think the story is in the public domain, so you could think of doing illustrations for it. The "rustiness" will go away fast. Looking forward to seeing your next pieces!

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