Monthly Archives: December 2013

Creative Habit: Best Work

Here’s a quick review of (what I thought was) my best work from these four weeks!

Week 2


For this one, I’m actually thrilled with the atmosphere I captured in this and this is one of my better value scales for sure. It’s got a soft look to it–I tend to go very sharp with my digital paintings because my general traditional medium of choice are graphite and colored pencil. I remember wanting do do all of these tightly rendered leaves and plants. I started to and then realized how distracting that would be. I think that keeping them blurry and placing them where I did helped draw the viewer’s eye around the composition. Also–the reversal effect of a light and dark plant. I wish I could have figured out a better texture for the ground so that the back ground’s blurriness could send it back farther, but it’s not too bad!

Week 3


This was a close second. For this piece I definitely could have incorporated darker values in the water a well as a reflection, but overall I’m happy with the pose and proportions of the wolf. I also like the texture I captured in the fur as well as the way I completed the face. I think the only complaint I have about this one is that the limbs and face look a little flat. I needed to find a way to contour shade them so that they successfully look like cylindrical objects rather than cut paper, but I remember really enjoying the process of this piece as well as the final result.

Week 4


This one might be the least favorite of my best. I’m not particularly happy with my rendering of the snow, but I appreciate the value scale I used as well as the background simplicity. Normally I respect back ground with more detail, but I think for this piece it might take away from the strong silhouette of the wolf’s action. I do like the effect I did around the wolf’s feet as the snow kicks up in a powdery fashion. I originally tried using the dissolve tool, but that got a little too close to drawings of snowmen I did in Microsoft paint when I was 5 years old. There’s a quick touch of the dissolve brush setting–nothing more. Snow just might be a thing I’ll need to study in the future! It’s a bizarre surface to render.

I really feel that I’ve improved greatly in the realm of digital painting. I chose to go black and white with these to not overwhelm myself, but to get some good practice pieces in. I think that next time I do a digital painting habit it will be in color–probably limited palates at first and then a larger range. Baby steps!

I can’t wait to do another habit soon. Stay tuned!

Take Care and Happy Holidays!



Creative Habit: Week 4 (Final)

After much delay and a crazy week, I bring you to the conclusion of my four week creative habit!

The beginning of the week consisted of digital sketches of wolves from photographs and videos. They were quick and rough. I included a couple of cubs in this group as well!



I proceeded to do some longer, traditional sketches. A couple of these were drawn from photos I took about 4 year ago of wolves at the Hershey Park Zoo. I had almost forgotten about them, but I’m glad I found them. It makes me a bit uncomfortable to draw from photographs I didn’t take (unless I’m taking small aspects from several photos. Maybe that was instilled with me in high school by my art teacher. Either way, it was a relief to have my own sources to work from and I was much happier with the results of these drawings.


I decided to develop one of the sketches I did in this series to a short 1 hour speed painting. This is the first development For the final I took the second wolf out since his proportions were a bit wonky. I gave it a wide canvas for a sort of cinematic look.



I then did a longer piece which took me about two hours time.



Overall I learned a lot about my own abilities as well a creating for the sake of creating. I often go into things with a grand idea or expectation about how I want the end result to be. Honestly, it’s been the biggest enemy of my ability to produce work. I have countless, unfinished digital drawings and paintings in my computer. They depress me every time I see them. I had such big hopes and vision and then nothing was doing it justice. What I instead need to do is go “Hey, I’m gonna do a 2 hour self portrait.” That’s it. That’s all. Not, “I’m going to do a self portrait featuring symbolism of feminist struggle and it will make people cry with it supreme beauty.” Sure, that piece might come some day, but for god’s sake I’d go days without drawing and honestly, I feel that no one in this school (especially me) knows my artistic abilities because I think I have nothing to show for myself because the pieces don’t reflect my perfect vision of them–and I’m right. What I need to do, however, i loosen the hell up and toss those illusions of grandeur in the cupboard for another time.  What I need is practice. What I need is to get all of the bad work out of me. I need humility and critique and to keep pushing myself to create, create, create! This destructive cycle of constantly disappointing myself for no reason is making me crazy and quite frankly, it made me not want to create almost at all this semester. It was a struggle of epic, frustrating proportions.

Then along came a little project called the Creative Habit; and I finally feel like I can breath a little again. Little by little I have to keep making. It’s the only way I’m going to learn. I want to thank my instructors and peers for their encouragement throughout my process. I’d also like the thank myself for following through. It may sound silly, but I don’t remember the last time I thanked myself for anything.

Hope to share more creative habits with you all in the future, but it’s almost time for the holidays and to eat some better meals then Cheez-Its and ramen.

Next I’ll be posting and reflecting on my improvement and best work!


Creative Habit: Week 3

I started off this week’s sketches by drawing from live streams of wolf facilities that I found on the internet. The first sketches are terribly rough because the subjects were moving….a lot.




Then, things got better when I discovered that I could take screen captures on the mac I was using at the time (command+shift+3!) and they would automatically save to the desktop! Okay, I’m nerding out pretty hard here, but sometimes macs are like magic to me. By capturing the screen it was like taking photos if I’d been there physically. That made it a lot easier to draw their poses. The wolves were adorable and very active Tuesday morning. A group of them would run and play, one carried a large deer leg in its jaws while a crow eagerly bounced behind it, trying to get a piece. There was a couple of wolves that would take turns looking particularly majestic and important while posing on top of  a rock. It was a joy to watch these animals. I’m so glad live streams like this are available.

By the way, here’s a link to that particular couple of streams

One is partially visible at night, but it’s best to catch these in the daylight.




Here are a few of the week’s digital sketches. Each of these digital value studies were between 15-30 minutes long. They may be quick and rough, but they’re great warm ups for the week’s final painting.  I really feel that I’ve improved a lot in these first several weeks. I’ve gained a lot more confidence in the digital media, which has been much needed and long overdue. I can’t wait to do all sorts of digital paintings over the winter break. Feeling limited and unable to express yourself through mediums you desperately love is very difficult.


This is my final piece for the week. I gave myself two hours for it. This time I tried to experiment with flat brushes to add a variation in texture. I could use some suggestions when it comes to simulating the look of water, but I’m pretty happy with the wolf. His anatomy is working well in this and I’m happy with the result of the flat brushes, it adds interest to the fur.

Well, until next week!


Creative Habit: Week 3 (Wolf Walking animation)

As a variation on my daily sketches, I made a quick animation of a wolf’s walk cycle. I figured it would be a good opportunity to not only sketch, but to do a quick locomotion study.