My Pencil Drawings and Doodles: Concepts and Distractions
In lectures, when I'm trying to keep my eyes open and need something to focus on, I reach for my pencil and scrap paper. When doing assignments and needing a moment to process, I doodle in the margins. When I'm trapped at a train station with nothing to do, I scribble on my readings for next week. When it's late and I don't want to go to bed just yet I pull out my sketchbook.
When an idea strikes me and I can't go paint it, I draw it as a visual note. When I'm reading a graphic novel, or reading a magazine and I see a face that captures my imagination, a really interesting hand, or I'm trying to figure out the style... I grab my pencil and use it as a reference. And sometimes, when I'm serious about a painting, I brainstorm everywhere before drawing it up in ArtRage.
My sketches are random and messy designs, delicate, crude, realistic, fantastical, distorted. Half of them are in sketchbooks the size of my hand or half that, and the other half are drawn on the backs of handouts for class, letters from the bank, journal readings for assignments and scrap paper I grabbed at work in my lunch break. Some of them will never be continued, others will appear in my paintings later. But increasingly, they're starting to be art of their own accord.
This lens was a winner in the Summer Sunshine Awards on 3rd August!
Sketches from Armageddon Convention 2011Click thumbnail to view full-size
Serval - July, 2010
A sketch of a Serval (Leptailurus serval)
Did this on my field trip - being a biological science campus the place had a lot of National Geographic magazines, and I used this beautiful photograph as a reference.
Drawn in a Moleskine, across two pages (and now I'm paranoid and have to keep a bit of paper in between which is why I don't normally draw on both sides). By my standards for realistic and detailed sketches, this is quite large! (slightly smaller than a4, or the size of two half-spread hands held side-by-side).
This is the first sketch that I've put up as a Zazzle Design.
Didn't finish all the spots because they were really boring >.> Just pencils. Also LOVE LOVE LOVE having my artist putty rubber stuff again.
Time was... dunno. An hour? Three hours? I was away a week and would do this in spare, bored, moments... You can see more of my cat paintings and drawings on my Cat Paintings lens.
A Concept of A Wing - April 2010, back of note paper
Batwings for dragons and demons, feathered wings, but a way to effectively combine the two.... I really want to use this idea. I have Plans.
Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth
Velma (Cathereine Zeta-Jones) from Chicago
Choosing the Right Pencils - My most IMPORTANT sketching tip
If I have one single most important first thing to tell anyone about drawing with pencils (apart from actually being able to draw!), that took me far too long to learn and helped me the most, it is this:
Choose The Right Pencils
- You can use one pencil or many. Each pencil has a range, so if you're going to only carry one or two around, carry one that is light enough for the initial sketches. You can fix it up later.
- Do not try and sketch with an H or an 8B. Pick a light, medium soft pencil. My favourite is F, but 2B works well, if you're lighthanded, and is a common one (I've lost my F and can only find 2Bs at the moment!)
- The paper will affect what your pencil does.
- The light hand takes practice. I'm not very good at it. I also tend to draw an excessive number of test/practice/contour lines, finding the shape of things. Combine this with a heavy, dark pencil and you have disaster. For this reason, you want to pick the lightest, most easily erased.
- You can go over the shadows later! You can make your drawing as dark as you like, if you have the patience to keep shading. A dark pencil (6B-8B) makes it quicker and can get darker, but just going over and over a drawing with a 2B or 4B can get it very dark.
- Go over the shadows later. Contrast is important!
- You cannot perfectly erase your pencils every time. Find a good eraser (the artist putties are actually amazingly good), but don't assume you can get rid of lines and shading. And DON'T dent the paper! You can't erase physical lines in the paper itself.
Rapunzel's So Mature Now - Mother Gothel from Tangled
Finger Monocle - Reference practice, April, 2010
A 2B pencil and half a page of A4 scrap paper, about 30 minutes, while bored.
I had nothing to do, so raided my photo albums and found this one - it's of a friend, circling her eye with her thumb and fingers. The photo was so blurry and the hand looked so out of context that most people don't even recognise what the photograph is meant to be! It always amused me, that you had to know what it was to know what it was. If you know what I mean.
Earth and Sea - April 2010, planning
Reworking of this painting (the colourful one up in my profile on the top right) on the back of an assignment I was about to hand in! (Didn't get it back for a week).
Half a4 paper
Blue Eyed Girl - Reference Practice, April 2010
A model in an ad in a magazine. Had the 'Twilight' look going on - pale, Bella-ish, dark hair, very bright blue eyes (obviously edited) but it was a good photo and I had little choice of references. And her face is interesting.
A 2B pencil and A4 scrap paper.
About 30 minutes.
Captain Malcolm Reynolds, From Serenity
The Purring Tree - April 2010
A concept sketch in class - a furry tree that purs when you stroke it. The cheshire cat is part of the tree - a fruit or a knot in the branch.
You can also see the writing on the other side!
Robin Penn-Wright, as Buttercup from The Princess Bride.
Natalie Portman - Reference Practice, April 2010
Off the back of the V For Vendetta DVD (love that film, And the book).
About 30 min in an A6 sketchbook
Coloured it later with coloured pencils - you can see that version here.
Lord of the Rings Characters - Sketched Portraits in MoleskineClick thumbnail to view full-size
Gorgon Concept - Lecture Doodle, April 2010
Drawing all over the back of my note paper. Or in this case, the assignment I was due to hand in. At least the lecturers were amused (I actually thought it was my scrap paper and did what must have been a rather dramatic double take when I picked it up and checked the other side).
So yeeesss. Some kind of medusa theme, and a sword in a glass pedestal, and a whale... and a badly drawn fish, but we won't talk about that >.>
Half of an a4 piece of paper.
Kitties Chasing Flutterdragons - April 2010
Practicing cats, then adding something for them to chase. I'd just been drawing butterflies for another painting, so I redrew what I remembered of the wing pattern.
But butterflies are boring, so they're obviously little dragons. And then I decided I really liked that idea, so I added another.
Moleskine Magery - 2010
A bored magic-student girl summons a glowing light to distract her little dragon and lure him into spitting out his own little twists of flaming light.
Found this by chance in my Moleskine sketchbook. Tidied it up a little, now I have more artist putty/ PROPER rubber thing (also known as a kneading eraser) again and darkened her eyes and things and finished off little details. But not all details. I like the see-through floatiness of it, and her pose - which I think was rather hard to do,a nd get the proportions and tensions in her limbs right.
I seem to like designing clothing
Kneaded Erasers - Also necessary: a kneaded eraser or artist putty
These are the BEST possible erasers for artists. They seem to magically erase almost everything and sort of clean themselves as they go (you just have to knead it a bit).
Even better - you can shape them and put them on the end of a pencil, rub them thin to pick up tiny marks or neaten up your edges, or make hats out of them! They look and feel a lot like blu-tac, but I've tried that - it works pretty well for lifting off marks but is impossible to clean. A proper artist putty is the best investment you could make.
Also comes in hat shapes. Wizzard not provided.
Comic Book Studies - Quick Sketches of Characters I LoveClick thumbnail to view full-size
Eyehawk - Surrealism. October, 2009
First page in my new moleskine sketchbook. This was a birthday card for my sister.
Death of the Endless - May, 2010
Neil Gaiman's Death, one of the Endless, and the oldest and wisest.
Practice sketches using a comic as reference.
Birds and Fish - February 2009, reference practice and boredom
This is what I drew sitting in an office over a day or two while holidaying in the UK (was doing work experience in my uncle's fisheries office in Brixton )
So I figured it was time to practice my realism.
Half of these are copied from fish flyers and conservation leaflets around the office - the three fish across the top (eel, redfish & Chub Mackerel), the penguin, and the loggerhead turtle.
The birds are all from my own photographs - I had my camera with me and just referred to the screen. Little Egret I happened across in Kingsteignton, a canada goose swimming (I like that one) and Gulls and a turnstone from around the Brixham quay.
The barn owl was a stuffed one from the Cardiff museum :D
The Sand Tiger Shark head, the Bream, and the spidercrab are from photos of a trip to the Plymouth Aquarium. As was the dolphin - except that was a model.
Horse was photographed up in Bristol.
The boy is my youngest cousin, also from a photo.
The landscape is from this photograph of Dartmoor
More CloseupsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Fisheater - Sketch of a fisheater...October, 2009
Drew this on the back of one of my thesis surveys, during the four hours of presentations on marine reserves (Some of them were actually quite interesting. But I DID have paper in front of me!).
So yes, a fish hunter, with little teeth and scribbly fishies and vague water droplets and pebbly scales.... the problem with this picture is the 'crop' - the actual dragon keeps going, and I know exactly how big the wings are, where the legs, are, but of course, they can't be drawn in here without creating a contorted monster ...
You can see more of my dragon artwork on this lens.
Marine - An Earlier Seadragon, July 2009
And here we have a dragonish sort of creature, with filament gills, and fish-eating-fangs. An earlier version of the Piscivorous Dragon. Concept and under-the-sea practice. With sharks, in the square sketchbook.
Doctor Who? - Practicing. October, 2009
Ref'd from a Doctor Who book I grabbed from the children's section downstairs during a lunch break. Pencil in moleskine; not shaded etc because I'll probably colour it.One day... maybe...
I do intend to colour it, and it's composed with that in mind - it's also a bit of a mix between my 'natural' method of heavy shading etc which is impossible to colour over, and trying to make a clean, easily erased, lineartish drawing.
Pencil Drawing Techniques - Learn how to sketch properly
I actually hate 'studying' how to draw, but despite myself, I've picked up tips over the years. I try and take one thing away from everything I read or look at.
Still, I do feel a little like kicking myself when I look through books like these and see all the things it took me ages to figure out for myself!
Buffy - April 2010
Sketch of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) off the back of one of the DVDs.
Fae - Pre-painting sketch, August, 2009
A Fae warrior, riding her rat-steed. Rats make very good mounts for trees, as they're very agile and have tails that can wrap around everything.
Julia Deans - Reference practice, April 2010
The subject is Julia Deans, from the new Zealand band Fur Patrol - the original photo had amazing red hair, which caught my eye. Anyway, practice, and I only had one pencil, and no proper rubber (I made do with a sort of white bluetac - works well, except you can't undirty it).
Hair practice and faces, really... could improve, but not too bad. Also the original photograph. was quite odd looking too
In a tiny A6 sketchbook, referenced from a little music handout/events article thing. Took almost exactly one hour.
Music from Fur Patrol
Swallow on the Rocks - Reference practice, October 2009
A little swallow from a trip up to Goat Island marine reserve. We went out on the glass bottom boat and I photographed it sitting on the cliff on the island.
Moleskine, prismacolors, and graphite pencil for the rocks.
Dark Moth Lady - Doodles, March 2010
Doodling while taking notes in a lecture, drawings with a ballpoint pen.
Mermaids and Cat-Dragons - Random doodling in lecture, April 2010
Doodles in class over the back of my scrap paper. A spiky mermaid, a face I erased and redrew six times, and a dragon curled up like a cat. Cats and dragons have a lot in common. (I ran out of room to do the wings properly, but the perspective was interesting to attempt).
Figure Studies: Feet and Form - June 2010
These are obviously just a lot of little studies from photographs - the top right hand sketch became this quick painting:
The TwoShield Army - Visual notetaking, November 2009
Giles and Saffron - 8th August, 2010
Bored at my parent's house, so I decided to practice some more drawing. Was putting together a page of my Buffy pictures and realised I needed to draw Giles.
Of course, I only had scrap paper, and then I had to find a pencil, and then they were all blunt, and then I finally sharpened it and found a rubber... and then with these scrappy leftovers I draw something I LIKE and want to keep. Typical - and how most of the sketches on this page originated!
The man (top two) is Anthony Stewart Head - left is him as Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and right I think is just a generic celebrity shot. The woman is Christina Hendricks, who played Saffron in Firefly.
Concept sketches, March 2010
Ballpoint sketches in my notes - these are experimental Pteropod mermaid designs (and a leopard seal girl).
Pteropods are gorgeous fragile little seacreatures with little butterfly wings.
More Little Sketchbook Sketches - Filling time and pages in lectures: May 2010Click thumbnail to view full-size
Flower Nymph - Random drawing, September, 2009
Square sketchbooks are fun, you can compose pictures in any direction. This was an attempt to draw a girl as part of a plant. Her fingers are roots, her skin the petals, her hair the stamens...
A little sketch to capture an idea for a painting.
Sharks - Practicing, September 2009
Practicing the big scary fishies and mermaids. Square sketchbook.
Magazine Sketch - 1st August, 2010
Just a quick sketch of a woman in a magazine advertisement.
Serpent of V - June 2010
Sketched in the back of a customer service handout book (had a session for work - the best part was half of us spontananeously acting out the beginning of Black Books with the Little Book of Calm and Dylan Moran :D )
And one of the people I work with, who is rather awesome and has a Sense of Humour that I approve of thought it was one of the sea serpents from Castle Age, cause we'd just killed one of those together. So to speak >.>
A4, less than ten minutes.
My Art Sites, Shops and Online Galleries
- Flynn-the-cat on deviantART
My DeviantART Gallery.
- FlynntheCat's Profile | RedGage
FlynntheCat's profile where you can view all the blogs, videos, photos, documents, and links created by FlynntheCat on RedGage
- Flynn the Cat's Fantasy Art Store on Zazzle
My Zazzle Store - you can buy posters, postcards, mugs, t-shirts and other oddities here with my artwork on. One day I will be an artist who actually earns money from their work!
- Flynn_the_Cat's Art: where to find me (Squidoo Lens)
Welcome to my Profile lens. This page lists all my art sites, blogs and shops, as well as my other lenses created to date - for my own convenience and for anyone who wants to contact me. See my fantasy art, my nature paintings and my photography. Get
- My Squidoo Gallery: An overview of my paintings & art lenses
This lens attempts to pull together my various art lenses, by giving you a thumbnail overview of the contents of each art-based lens (dragons, mermaids, cats, and whatever else I make in future...). I've also added a few other bits and pieces, that I
Lord of the Facebook Comic Strips (practice sketches) - Quick sketches to illustrate the 'Lord of the Facebook' parodiesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Gimli Studies - 1st August 2010
Original Pieces of Scrap Paper - Sketches All In A MuddleClick thumbnail to view full-size
Ball Jointed Doll - October 2010
This BJD, Ophelia, was at the Auckland Armageddon convention, and I was bored and so I drew her. And yes, the proportions really are that unrealistic.
Tree Frog: No Fairies in the Jungle
Felicia Day - 7th November, 2010
Drider - November 2010
Pencil on scrap paper.
Woman-Headed Spider - November 2010
Narwhal and Ghost Cats
Random Gun Concept - November 2010
Two characters from FFTactics for a friend.
A4 pencil sketches from photos.
Gold & Grey Slave Leia - October 2010
Impact - November 2010
Practicing, possible comic panel one day...
The Art of Pencil Drawing - A more advanced pencil drawing book by Gene Franks
Simple, step-by-step illustrations show how to create beautiful pencil compositions--from still life and landscapes to animals and people.
Guestbook Artwork by Flynn_the_Cat