Why I seem to be taking longer

I used to be very fast with art. One thing I swore (and this goes for most things I do now, whether it’s art or sewing) is to go for “quality over quantity.” I got way too burned out in the past. I also ended up with piles of paper everywhere. Many times, I just hated what I’d done. It was more of just throwing something out for the sake of having another finished piece.

Now, I like to consider pieces. I also enjoy for the first time framing them and hanging the finished drawings up. I only have so much wall space as well (and I need a new portfolio, since my old one is packed full).

Just when I felt like things were picking up with the current drawing, it slowed down again. Part of that too is because I’ve been feeling a bit blah (sometimes I go through periods where I don’t sleep well or with the hot/cold/hot/cold weather patterns and trees/grass thinking they need to produce pollen in overdrive). But also, it’s because I have one chance to finish this drawing the way I see it in my head so I can hang it up in the spot that “called” for it. My husband requested I pick something for that spot on the wall, and since we both love Thorin-in-a-cloak-in-Bree, that’s what I picked (dA sketch links here and here).

I sketched the drawing out without fretting too much, scanned and printed it so I didn’t have to ruin the blue pencils (and can in fact use them on the side as a reminder where to shade or check for missing lines). I have it transferred, along with the other drawing that needed to be layered onto a corner. Now I’m just waiting for a day I won’t be interrupted (if I’m going to go through the trouble of moving furniture around in my workspace, hauling out and setting up inks and ink washes… I want to make sure I have a full day to work on it… eyes-willing).

So now I’m contemplating what lines will be full ink, and what will be faded and washed. How much detail will I show here, how much shadow there? How will I blend the two images together so you can see them clearly enough?

And here are a few photos showing how I do some of this stuff. 🙂

I am mostly a traditional artist (although I have done computer coloring in the past), but I do love that I no longer have to go find a copy machine to darken lines or enlarge/shrink an image! Here you can see how I took the blue pencil, used Photoshop to darken the scanned color image (changing it to grayscale) and printed it out. This way, I don’t have to go over the bluelined sketch (the blue pencils are non-photo copy blue, but when you scan them in color, it picks them up juuuust enough). I do tend to draw darker to make the lines show up a little more if I know I might do this way.

Here you can see the original sketches (far left and far right), with the printed out versions I used to transfer to better paper with a lightbox. On the smaller figure, you can see that I did a rough sketch in blue pencil, then quickly finished the sketch in darker pencil to show the few lines I needed for transfer. I even printed out two smaller sizes, to see which I preferred to go into the lower right corner. My husband liked the larger of the two, and that’s what I used. The sketch on the far right was scanned in b&w, so only the pencil lines were picked up.

And here I was, getting the copies ready for transfer to Bristol. I only had the big drawing taped (I had not started transferring yet), and the smaller figure laid over the top for my husband and I to decide if we liked the size and placement. I used to work like this often, but usually my sketches were a little rougher. Sometimes barely even finished — I tend to have a heavy hand which can dig into paper. It just helped ensure my paper stayed clean and the basic lines were there for me to ink later. Since I used blue pencil and inked over those, I almost never had to erase after inking (plus, we love seeing blue lines peeking out behind crisp dark black inks).

And this is where I’m at now. I need to fix the trim on the cloak (I have the design worked out now, after squinting at some reference photos). This is a very adjusted image… scanned in color, and the hue changed to almost purple (the actual pencil lines are very light blue), and the contrast turned up. It’s actually been neat to see things like this — since a very light blue pencil sketch or drawing can be very subtle, there are times I wish I’d done things a little differently once the inks go down. Plus, it’s difficult to take photos no matter how careful you are about lighting, and the scanner doesn’t always show it either, unless you play with the finished settings.

So, since I keep having off-and-on sleepless nights and blah/groggy days (the weather has been doing the back-and-forth thing, and my husband and I randomly just wake up and wake the other up too, oops), I’ve had the drawing on pause while I consider things and work on other things I’ve been putting off. Like updating my blog. But yes, I’m still around… and if I’m not actually working on something, I’m probably doing research or prep-work for projects. 🙂

Hope you’ve all been well!

(and sorry if the image sizes are spilling out over the side-menu… I work on a very wide monitor, so sometimes it’s hard to remember which size will fit the blog, without losing detail.)

About Cynthia Griffith

I have way too many interests and hobbies, and continually cycle through them — paying attention to some, while others wait for when I can get around to them again.

My main interests are sewing and costuming (I enjoy historical clothing, such as 18th and 19th century, as well as fantasy costumes like elves and hopefully someday even dwarves), as well as getting back to art by drawing fan art of Thorin Oakenshield and Company.

My husband Christopher and I spend a lot of time together, enjoying the outdoors and shared hobbies such as juggling. This blog and website is my way to share what I’m up to with friends and family.

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One Response to Why I seem to be taking longer

  1. Fewer pieces that are well done trump quantity any day. I see many novels that are churned out in a series of several written in a year and…you can always tell. Sure, they might be fun — and there’s nothing wrong with that — but you can read things at times and think, “Man, I wonder how much better this could have been…?” Same thing with art.

    I love seeing sketches and people who crank things out, but I’ve seen plenty of artists who never seem to take the time and push themselves a little bit…at least some degree of challenge shows in a final piece.

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