Savina's Sketchbook: UPDATED 10/20

  • @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!

  • SVS OG

    @amberwingart Wow! - These are beautiful! - Love the pose and expression of the rabbit! so glad you are back.

  • @smceccarelli Yikes! 10 years?? I don't even want to think of that possibility - 8 months felt like an eternity! I haven't heard of Don Daily, but I'll look him up. You know what's funny is that I actually don't especially enjoy drawing rabbits, I just find them easy to draw. I actually really love drawing coyotes and bears, but they're very difficult for me to draw. I need to get back to practicing them. I've never been especially good at sketching but man alive, dusting off this rustiness from lack of practice is both fun and frustrating at the same time! Lol

  • @Kevin-Longueil Thank you so much! That's so awesome to hear from someone of your skill level. That rabbit is my first attempt at breaking out of my "environment fear" :).

  • I love your art. Great poses, expression, etc. I am very impressed with everything...

  • @smceccarelli Me too, same ten years.

  • @Russ-Van-Dine Thank you so much! Now I just have to kick the procrastination habit! lol

  • love the detail and characters

  • Your work is so beautiful and detailed - I used to love these kind of illustrations when I was a child, and I still do 🙂 Looking forward to seeing more 🙂

  • @Naroth-Kean Thank you so much! Hearing this positive feedback is making me feel so much better - I've felt like my work looks like a beginner's. I still think it looks amateurish, but these comments have really helped boost my morale. 🙂

  • @Camomilla Thank you so much! My favorite art when I was a kid were the fairytale illustrations in old books...I used to LOVE books from the 20s-50s that had illustrations in them - I'd sit and stare at them for hours, sometimes. So when I started drawing, I think that detailed look sort of naturally came out. I love the details! Thank you again for the great comment. 🙂

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