I picked up my old sketchbook tonight and started doing some new sketches in it. It's a sketchbook that my brother gave me back in 2014 as a gift and I have used it off and on since then. It's funny to see how my inspirations and style has shifted in the past 4 years. I used to draw really fast, which appears much more sketchy than my current sketches. I also used to draw from my imagination a lot.
My current sketches are all from life and the world around me. I still draw pretty quickly, but it's not as wild as my style back in 2014. It's an interesting comparison and it brought back a lot of memories. I have some old notes in there also, some made me sad and some made me smile. I'll start using this sketchbook more often and I used it tonight to draw small portrait sketches of my family.
Sometimes a painting doesn't work out no matter how hard you try; I recently had this happen to me for a watercolor commission that I just finished. I was working on the first version of the watercolor and I was almost done... But then I looked at it and immediately knew it wasn't good. I've had this happen many many times, but it's always important to realize when you should fish and when you should cut bait!
1. As yourself: How far along am I? Is it almost finished? If you're almost finished, then there might not be much hope, but don't give up too easily. If you just started, then keep working and see how you feel when you push through the difficulties.
2. As yourself: Do I feel like I could do better if I redo it? This is a tricky question because I honestly feel like I could always do better, but the point of this question is to realize when you can do better and when you should just be satisfied with what you have.
3. Show the artwork to your friends and family. This is a tip that I learned really from reading the autobiography of the artist Norman Rockwell. Rockwell used to show his paintings to everyone to get opinions...even his mailman!
4. Sleep on it! I don't literally mean sleep on your artwork, but I mean get a good night's sleep and look at it again in the morning. Sometimes you'll feel better the next day and you'll have a better perspective when you leave it be.
5. Never be afraid to redo something. I know that sometimes a painting or drawing can feel like it took years to do (and sometimes they actually do!). But it's important to remember that it's never too late to do it over again. Stay strong and keep drawing and painting!
If you find yourself unhappy with your artwork, here are some questions to ask yourself and some tips that I hope you'll find useful:
I love illustrations just as much as I love traditional painting. My illustrations are really influenced by the watercolor manga of Hayao Miyazaki, who's also one of my favorite artists. This illustration is about my pet hamster, named Bougie, who I imagined having his own hotel called "Casa De Bougie". It's fun to draw these little illustrations because it makes me flex a different creative muscle. I also love having my drawings show a narrative because I love writing stories also.
If anyone is wondering about the shower part of the illustration: Bougie goes under his water bottle and rubs his head on the spout when he's cleaning himself, so it's like he's taking a little shower. Hamsters are also nocturnal, which explains the first panel of the illustration. They also love broccoli!