For the past few months since my last update about my journey in bettering my illustrating skills, I’ve been incredibly busy. Because March was busy and April was spent focusing solely on reading in my spare time, my sketching every day streak I had going dwindled to a few times a week. And, I’m behind on doing a full color illustration a week—by like ten. But! That’s okay! During the month of May, I’m going to be focusing on hand-lettering (another one of my goals for the year, I’ll also have a full post about this after the month is over) and in June, I’ll be focusing more time on illustrating specifically. Instead of trying to do all of it all the time, I’m going to work on one more heavily than the other in certain months, which is why I have very few works in this post. But still, I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made these last few months despite not being able to put the time I want into it.
I definitely have a tendency to draw exclusively people, so in June, my hope is to illustrate more animals and objects. And, all of the self-portraits of myself seem to have much larger heads than they should—I don’t know if I’m just bad at proportions or my brain just knows I have a large head and is making fun of me. I think that I’m starting to develop a style, at least somewhat of one, which is great. The floating heads all together with names are characters from one of my book, a little series of sketches that have been so fun to do! Anyway, my skills are improving, I’m still learning a lot, and most importantly, I’m enjoying the process!
Since late last year, I’ve been working on my illustration skills by trying to sketch everyday for about a half hour, as well as working on different projects more often, when I can. So far during the first month and a half of the year, I haven’t really been able to sketch every single day—but I’ve been sketching as often as possible—probably a few days of the week. Because I hadn’t done any art for a while during design school, it took a while to relearn how to do the basics. I can definitely see the difference and improvements since starting again, even if they are slight.
Right now, I’m just drawing, sketching, whatever I feel like to sort of feel a groove, find a style. I’m looking at a lot of other illustrators and work for inspiration, feeling things out. Here’s a few examples of sketches and illustrations I’ve been done over the last few months—some are just quick doodles, some took a little more time. Some more cartoonish, some more life-like and shaded (and obviously, some are better than others, especially from the start of all this to now). And apparently, I tend to draw girls almost exclusively.
I’m really excited to be doing art again, learning and growing. My goal has always been to get better at illustration in order to be able to incorporate it into my design work and be able to do more. And just being better at illustration in general, having another outlet and getting back to what I fell in love with as a kid.
While studying design, I haven’t really done much drawing or sketching for fun like I used to. I was never great at it, always disappointed in my sketches (with a few triumphs that I could brag about, even though I see them and think “yikes…that’s not as great as I thought it was in high school…”) But I loved it a lot. I loved sketching and doodling and drawing little characters. I didn’t do it often enough to get better at it, always choosing painting in art class over drawing, but in high school, I thought about going into illustration before I eventually chose graphic design.
Over the last few years, I’ve heard other designers say that they can’t draw to save their life or they’re terrible—and so I sort of gave up drawing, too busy working on design, thinking “well, if they can’t, I don’t need to draw well.” But recently I’ve been inspired by illustrators on Instagram and YouTube, and I realized that being good at both can only be a plus. So I’ve been wanting to work on my illustration skills for a while—and for the last few weeks, I’ve been sketching and doodling for a half hour every day. And I’m really enjoying it.
This particular one didn’t make me want to throw it across the room, so I thought I’d share it as the start of a progress. It’s not great, but not as bad as my first few days starting this new journey (seriously, at one point I said aloud, “I think I forgot how to use my hand to draw things”). Eventually I’d like to experiment with using watercolor paints and do full on pieces, but for now, I’m going to try to sketch (nearly) every day in my little sketchbook and get the basics down, find my style. I’ll be hoping to buy some markers (I have my eyes on Copic Ciao brush-tip markers) and do some color work, too. I don’t know! It’s all knew (and old) and exciting.
I will for sure be updating my progress, starting with this sketch and updating in the next few weeks with work that will be much better (hopefully). I’m slowly improving—and I’m falling in love all over again.