A Peek Inside My Sketchbook

I guess it's an obvious sign that someone is new to blogging when it's been a month since their last post. It would seem like it's going to take some time for me to become disciplined enough to keep up with a regular schedule. Just add it to the expanding list of things I need to improve in. 

I may be falling short in the blogging department but I'm happy to say I've been pretty good at keeping up my artwork. Feel free to follow me on Instagram (@createdtocreatestudio) where I'm much better about posting my work as it's created. 

Anyway, I figured I'd give you a peek inside my sketchbook and the work I've done since my last blogpost. I've been doing some of my usual portrait sketches but I've also been playing around with some illustration ideas.

It's Been Awhile but Here I Am

Let me start this post by first wishing everyone a blessed and happy new year. 

I’m also happy to say that I’m back! 

It feels like forever since I posted but I guess in this day and age, two months away from social media is a really long time.

At the end of October I started a new job and Troy left to spend time with his dad and family in Kansas City. This left me with a lot of alone time and I felt that I needed to take a break from social media to refocus my attention in preparation for the new year. 

I experienced a lot of sudden and unforeseen life change in 2017 and I’m positive God will be doing a lot more in 2018. I have more goals set this year than I’ve ever had and a lot of it focuses on my art. I’m both excited and nervous about what this year will hold for me but I trust in God to lead me through it. I just pray I can become better at listening when He has something to say. If I had been better listener then those changes last year would not have been so sudden and unforeseen. Thank you Lord for your patience with me!

I could easily make this a long winded post but I wanted to start things out simply with a new year hello and a posting few pieces I've worked on since I last posted. I hope to have more of these soon.

Finished watercolor and gouache painting

Work in progress - Pencil Sketch

Work in progress - Pencil Sketch

And Lo, It Is Done!

This past week has been a rollercoaster of impromptu happenings, travel, and emotions.  It's been exhausting but I am very grateful to have been a part of it. I never thought I'd say that I was happy to be unemployed but if I weren't, then I would not have been able to be by my husband's side this week. 

I'll be honest though, after a week away from my paints and my favorite coffee shop, I was starting to experience some major withdrawals. It has really emphasized just how much working on my art (and drinking really good coffee) has become such a powerful form of therapy for me.  So I was beyond delighted to finally sit down today and finish the painting I had been working on. 

I think it came out satisfactory. There are some things I'd change if I could but I learned a lot in the process, which was kind of the point. Now on to the next one!

All Things Work Together

Things have been rough lately. I've had to quite my job sooner than I had planned and I'm now in search of a new job.  Money is tight and I'm trying not to replace once source of anxiety for another.    

Jesus told us in John 16: 33, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." Faith in Christ isn't a ticket to an easy life. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying to themselves. Jesus Himself faced suffering while on earth. "He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief." Isaiah 53:3. If anyone deserved a life of peace and happiness, it was Him. Instead He left the very presence of God in heaven and entered a life full of sadness, pain and suffering. How could I ever expect life to be any different for me?   

Romans 8:28 tells us, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." When I look back and see how everything has become what it is today, I see God's hand all over it and that fills me with so much comfort. Has it been hard? Yes. Has it been frustrating? Yes. Has it been painful? Yes. Has it been without purpose? No, absolutely not.

Things are hard right now and they may get harder, but I know that at some point everything will work together for my good.

I am very thankful that God gave me a skill I can focus on in times like this. Sketching and painting have been my greatest form of therapy these last 6 months and have brought me a kind of joy I haven't felt in years. I am currently working on a goal to create a large enough body of work to display in a small gallery space within the next year. So no matter how difficult life might get from here, I'm going to be steadfast in this goal. This last painting is just one small step in that direction. 

My goal started off with just me wanting to draw again. Then my goal was to get BETTER at drawing again. Then I wanted to get decent at drawing portraits, then I threw some hands in there while I was at it. Maybe an animal or two.

If anyone else is going through a troubling time (I know you're out there), set yourself a goal. No matter how small or how trivial it may seem, do it. Prove to yourself that you can and then set a bigger goal and go after it. Could you screw it up on the way? Heck yeah. You just gotta refocus and get back at it. I have a TON of sketches that are embarrassingly bad but I didn't let them stop me and eventually a good sketch popped up again. I can guarantee you that I'll produce a ton of more crummy drawings but I'll keep at it until I get to another good sketch worth displaying.  

Don't be afraid, just do it. All things will work together for your good.

Comparing the Somewhat Old to the New

I've been working on my portrait drawing skills since late March of this year. I think I've finally reached a point where I've found my style. I'm not saying I've reached the pinnacle of my talents (I am FAR from that) but I think I've found a way of drawing that feels very naturally to me and has developed over the past few months.

It's interesting to look at some of my first sketches side by side with my newer stuff. It's amazing how a little bit of practice can reawaken a skill that's been smothered under a career for a few years.

March 29, 2017

September 7, 2017

Folks, this right here is proof that if you don't exercise your talents, not only will they cease to improve but they can actually regress. Looking at that first sketch is so cringe worthy for me. After I drew it, I was so disappointed in myself because I knew I could draw better than that. I used to draw better than that. I think I threw in all the flowers just to distract anyone (including myself) from my deteriorated skills. I look at my newer sketch and I feel so much better about where I am now. It also makes me excited about where I have to go from here.  

Return to Watercolor

The first form of painting I was ever taught was watercolors by my very talented aunt. I loved how the paint flowed and the colors mixed. I've recently been trying to get back into watercolors thanks to my purchase of a Sakura Koi travel pallet.  

I'm not being sponsored but I just love this thing. It's one of the most well designed travel pallets I've come across. It's small size makes it easy to store in my artist bag along side two sketchbooks, a pencil and pen case, a compact paintbrush case, and a large set of over the ear headphones. 

Doing some paint doodles with this is what got me back into sketching in the first place. I've been focusing on the sketching part for awhile now; painting a few of them here and there, but now I feel like I should move on to drawing sketches with the intention of painting them. The first one I tried this on was in my regular sketchbook. It was okay at best but the paper just wasn't made for wet media.

So I whipped out a watercolor sketchbook I had lying around and began a sketchin'. The results were SO much better.

Ah, the colors are so smooth and vibrant! I'm definately going to keep working with this method and see where it goes.