progress bar · Rambles

And now, some art.

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For some reason they seem to have mistaken my notebook for my breakfast.

When I have time next weekend I’m going to put a handful of these on my actual progress page, but for now I just want to give rundown for where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I hope to go in the next while. This post took multiple days to make because I had to heavily edit a lot of my sketches that I made in the last year – I kinda doodled them in the notebook where I took notes for the training for my current job (I’m cheap, ok? I don’t like buying notebooks when there’s still perfectly good corners to doodle in).  I had to blur and crop out a lot of stuff so that it didn’t take away from the actual art, and that took a surprisingly long amount of time. So that’s why there was no post for a couple days and also why this post might look kind of cruddy. Then I had the worst time just getting the pictures to upload. Like I said before, I’m no professional. I wouldn’t mind becoming one but I know I’m no where near that yet and may never be, and that’s ok. I just want to make nice things, and this is my steps towards being able to do that.

While we go through this, please keep in mind that cheap comment above. I either use what I have available or what I can get easily and cheaply (for example – my pens are from the Dollar Store, my notebooks were acquired during training at work, I use every last scrap of available space within those notebooks, and my pastels are a set I’ve had since high school). The most money I’ve spent on art supplies in the last seven years is the $70 I just spent on my new Wacom Intuos. We’ll get to that later on.

Also, I don’t know if it’s necessary at this point, but let this serve as your spoiler warning, especially for Steven Universe. If you somehow don’t already know what great secrets that show holds I recommend not spoiling yourself on my crappy art. At least spoil yourself on good fanart if you must be spoiled, but preferably just go and watch the whole thing. It’ll only take you a day or two if you binge it since every episode is just 11 minutes long and it will be so worth it to watch the show unspoiled. I wish I could have, but Tumblr had other plans for me.


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Drawn on April 11th, shaded on April 12th, 2017.

So I can’t go back to my old sketch books to show you the travesties they contain. I say travesties since when I look at professional artists, I’d say my high school was about where their middle school was. Seriously, when they share their ‘bad kid art’ it looks like the kind of art tv execs have made for the kids on their shows. That stuff is never bad. They’re trying to be ‘bad’ but it’s never actually bad.

Outside the sketch books though, I did make some art that I’m rather proud of. I only have two pieces in my own home right now. My mom kept the rest as all super loving, proud moms do.  Though she wouldn’t keep the one that we made together. I mean, we didn’t paint it together. We both painted the same painting at one of those ‘Wine and Canvass’ type events. Or ‘Paint and Spirits’ or whatever your local one is. I bet there’s one near you if you look. Its a place where you drink wine while you and a party of other people all paint the same picture together. We did it with the realtor who helped her find her house (along with several other ladies who had also acquired their happy homes with this same realtor). It was a really fun experience, though I wasn’t too excited with the end result:

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Painted in 2014

I have it hanging up on my wall because otherwise the wall would be bare, and over time I must admit it has grown on me, though my regrets are still very much there. Like the green in the horizon and the extra black loopies above the trees themselves, and making the loopies that were supposed to be autumn leaves as black as I did. Basically I wish it was just a bit brighter. BUT we live and learn.

Ok so lets take a trip back real quick to the art I am proud of: My pastels from high school. Both chalk and oil, though the chalk won more ribbons. Despite that I most definitely prefer my oil pastel piece more:

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2010. Maybe the end of 2009, I don’t remember.
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I definitely made this in 2010. It was one of my very last high school projects, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks this is my favorite thing I’ve ever made.

I feel more affiliated with the ballerina baby. I pulled that art from deep within my soul. I also designed it on my own. The chalk was basically pulled right from a picture I found on Google, though made to look a bit rainier. My little dreamer, though – sure I used references for the shapes and color schemes but I made that on my own. I created that.

When I got my own apartment and hung it up, I thought “Hey I really liked pastels. Maybe I should try to get into that again!” And, well, this happened:

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August, 2016.
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August, 2016. Credit: My Little Pony – Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?

Now I know they aren’t bad, per say. But trying to just jump back into pastels after a seven year absence really made me appreciate having had my teacher beside me to give me tips rather than just floundering through a bunch of YouTube videos. Not that they aren’t great – but they aren’t there with me to see what I’m doing as I’m doing it and directly tell me where it’s going wrong and how to make it better. Ok, well, lesson learned. And also I cut out the six other really creepy looking pastel things I tried to make, so be grateful I just gave you the good one out of the batch.

Instead of doubling down and trying harder, I admit I got disheartened. I know, art isn’t easy. You don’t just pick up a pencil and make amazing art. Not the first time at least. It takes work and practice and, well, I was in a down spiral at the time so this was just making me worse. Now that we’re on the other side of winter I’m ready to give it another try, so stay tuned and we’ll see what happens.


Now for the notebook sketch dump I promised:

These were all drawn at various times, just for fun. Some I’m more proud of than others. I’m kind of scared of my first Ruby up there. She looks ready to eat someone. Actually I still really struggle with Ruby and I’m not sure why. Sapphire usually turns out better. Not always, but usually. I also drew all of these with no references since we aren’t allowed to use our computers for non-work related things at work (and I draw these during down times between calls). Between work days I’ll look at pictures and try to memorize the parts I got wrong – it’s been a process but I’ve been getting better. For example here’s a set of MLP pictures I drew in October (2016):

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Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, and Spike – drawn with absolutely no references.
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Twilight and Discord, drawn after the previous when I’d had a chance to check on the way they looked. I still managed to draw Discord completely backwards (parts of him are backwards, parts are completely wrong, and I totally forgot he actually had ears when drawing this so I forced one in). Please lets not get into the shading issues. I’m working on that.
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Drawn after having had some time to actually study almost all the main characters (minus Starlight, but I keep accidentally drawing ponies that look like her anyway). Bonus points if you can identify everyone correctly.

Sometime around December I stopped drawing as much. Like in the entire month of December I think I only made those blue shade-practice stones from the collage above. But then in a fit of boredom I remembered that there was this cartoon I’d been meaning to watch but had never gotten around to. A lovely little known work called Steven this-is-the-best-cartoon-ever Universe. So I gave drawing another try. As you can see from the collage above, it wasn’t so great at first. But I think it’s come a long way – and it’s definitely giving me hope. Just take a look at this progression:

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Sapphire looks alright but…Ruby, Ruby my dear are you dead inside? (In case it’s hard to tell, in this little strip Ruby was about to carry Sapphire over a river, but Sapphire got the bright idea to just fly over it instead since, y’know, she can do that.)
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This was literally almost the very next day from the previous one. It took a few days to complete but I was also trying really really really hard with it. Basically I realized that Ruby likely had to have met Sapphire before they arrived on Earth since they were her guards, so they probably traveled with her. And Ruby so had a crush on Sapphire long before they fell in love. So I decided to make a little fan sketchy I’m calling ‘the very first time Ruby and Sapphire really noticed each other.’ I used Holly Blue because the Steven Bomb had just happened and even if it wasn’t the Holly from that episode I could easily see a Holly watching over to make sure the Rubies didn’t do something stupid around the Grand Clarity.

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This was the start of a new notebook. I had a spare from training that I made sure to keep away with nothing in it because I knew this day was coming. The day when I would just give up all pretenses of using it for work purposes. I really feel like a lot of shots look like characters are about to start eating other characters (especially Rose – girl I am so sorry for what I did to your face). This is actually a concept I want to return to. Garnet’s first days as a Crystal Gem, and Ruby and Sapphire learning about each other and who they are together. Based on the episode with Jamie, as well as Pearl and Amethyst’s statements that fusion isn’t easy (which Garnet, of course, said that it was for her), I get the impression that they weren’t the flawlessly cool Garnet we all love today. They had to get there, and that took practice. Just like me eventually drawing a sane looking Ruby will come, someday, with practice.
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Oh hey look, a sane looking Ruby! For a little while. It is so much easier to draw her when she’s sad for some reason. This was a concept inspired by a much much much better artist about what if they were poofed and Ruby had to wait on Sapphire. Mine’s just a quiet Steven comforting Ruby as they watch the sun set and wait.
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So the good Ruby didn’t last very long, and I failed immensely at drawing the emotion of Ruby and Sapphire reaching out for the kid they love the most – but it did lead to a Garnet that I am really proud of. I am so happy with how she turned out that, in case you didn’t notice, I made this my featured picture for this post. This is where I am at right now. I finished this last Wednesday. (And I’m already deep back in trying to draw another comic…which there are some clear improvements and also clear failures, but that’s nothing new.)

I’m going to take my wins where I get them. Just looking at the drawings I’ve been making since September I can see vast improvements. Yes there’s a long way to go but I’m getting better. And I’m also looking at getting into digital art, so definitely stay tuned for that!

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