Saturday, July 4, 2015

30 Before 30 - #16 Complete

Number 16 on my 30 Before 30 list is experiment in different mediums.  I have tried graphite, charcoal, oil, watercolor, soft pastels, markers, micron pens and colored pencils so I'm going to call this goal complete.  :D  This has been one of the most fun goals!!  I have so enjoyed exploring all of these different mediums.  I'm going to share my favorites from each category.  To see art I've posted before check out my art tag.  If you have any other suggestions for fun mediums to try, let me know.  I'm game to try anything if it isn't extremely expensive.  :)


I LOVE charcoal!  I think it is my favorite!  It's a little messy compared to graphite, but I just love it.  These are in the order that I drew them.

Using a friend's reference photo of the Tetons.

 Reference found on Google.

 Reference found on Pinterest.

  Reference found on Pinterest.

  Reference found on Pinterest.

 Reference was friend's pictures.

The last one is a drawing I did of a friend's dogs.  All of the dogs are gone now so I couldn't get new pictures.  I had to use her photos (there was a photo for each dog, they were not all in the same picture) and they were not ideal for drawing from.  It was a challenge and although my drawing isn't great I feel it truly caught the personality of each dog.  I framed it and gave it to her for her birthday.

Colored Pencil

Colored pencil is not my favorite.  It's way too tedious!!  I think with some more practice and patience I might learn to like it more as I get beyond the elementary stage.  These are my three best.

 This is tiny... not 8" by 10" lol. That's just a photo cropper around the edges.
The reference for this one was a real apple.

Reference picture was several images from Google that I borrowed aspects from.  Since it's a dragon (I LOVE dragons!) I had leeway to modify to my heart's content hehe.  It's nice to get away from realistic art sometimes.  I think this was the first time I'd ever used burnishing.

 I forget what reference I used.


Graphite is my second favorite medium (charcoal is first).  This is the one I'm most comfortable with because I've been drawing with pencil since I was a little kid.  Learning to draw with charcoal really helped me figure out the values for graphite.  I especially love it since getting my new Tombow Mono Erasers!  I love them!

 I don't remember where I got the reference for this one.  
I drew this one a year ago when I first got back into 
drawing after taking a break for years and years.

 Reference found on Google.
I loved the fine details on this one.

This is actually graphite and charcoal.  
My first attempt at mixing mediums.
Reference was found on Pinterest.

 My absolute favorite!!

This one took MONTHS to finish because I would spend a whole day working on one big cat and cub, totally burning myself out because of how tedious it was, then I would take a break (months long lol) before doing the next one.  I did the black leopard and cub today and it's not really finished, but I wanted to include it.  I still need to do some blending and I really need to fix the cub's leg, but I'll get to it eventually.  :)  Once I'm done editing all of them, I'm totally framing this and hanging it up. :D  I got all the reference pictures from Pinterest.  The layout and quote are from my own imagination.  The size is 11" by 14".


I forget what markers I used.  This is the only one I've done (I think) and it was a lot of fun.  I drew the butterfly  and flower outlines in micron pens.  You can see more about those below in the Zentangle category.  I looked through a bunch of butterflies on Pinterest, but this was mostly made just from my imagination.


I actually really enjoy oil (I wish it wasn't so expensive!).  This is probably my third favorite medium. It is a steep learning curve for me because I haven't done much in color.  Most of the art I do (graphite, charcoal, zentangle, etc.) has no color.  Learning to use color has been a huge challenge for me!  I had a lot of help from a friend on these.  It will be a while before I can do oil independently I think.

 Reference is a friend's picture.
Sorry it's tilted.

 Reference was actually from my very own photo of the lake where we used to live.  :D

 Reference was a friend's photo.  I love this one!


Learning to use a sketchbook was harder than I ever imagined!  I am such a perfectionist that I have a hard time loosening up and just sketching.  I have finally learned to just go with the flow and not overthink it.  If you're an artist and have never used a sketchbook I highly recommend getting one!  Also I am brand new at drawing humans... You can see my beginning sketches at the bottom of this picture.  Humans are hard!!  My favorite is totally the little cartoon animals.  They are so fun! I even named them hehe.  You might have to click on the image to read them.

Soft Pastel

Soft (or chalk) pastel feels a lot like charcoal, but with color (color is a challenge for me lol).  I LOVE it for sunsets, but the fruit was very difficult and I had a lot of help from my friend (when I say help I mean pointers, I did all of the actual drawing).  This is extremely messy and some are toxic to breathe so I don't think it's something I'll use a lot, but it sure is fun doing sunsets with silhouettes.

 This was my first time drawing on tinted (pink) paper!

LOVE this!  This was only the third one I ever did.  I used charcoal on the trees and branches.  This was so much fun.  I don't remember where I got the reference picture.  Probably from a Google search.

 The reference from this was an actual pear.

Let me tell you I HATE drawing fruit.... but it really is good for learning... but I hate it haha.  Also these are hard to store... using the spray fixatives is risky with pastel...  anyone have suggestions for storing or displaying these without ruining the drawing?


Watercolor is HARD!  It's probably my least favorite.  Mistakes can't be fixed like with oil, graphite and charcoal and I'm too much of a perfectionist for that!!  This is the one and only watercolor I've done haha.  I got the reference from Instagram.  I really love this style of watercolor painting, but I can't figure out what it's called...  is there a name for this style?  It's so fun.  Mine didn't turn out as three dimensional as the reference was.  There was also some color muddying... ugh.  I love pure, bright colors!  My friend helped me with this too.  She says if I stick with it I would probably love watercolor....

LOVE this style, but it's so hard!!  At least the dorsal fin looks 3D.


I LOVE Zentangle!!  If you've never heard of it, click here for an explanation.  It's a lot of fun to just zone out and draw these.  I use micron pens for drawing (no erasing!) and graphite for shading.  I sometimes find images for the main design (i.e. butterfly), but the patterns are all from my imagination (I mean how I used them was from my imagination.. I learned the actual patterns from here).  I think one reason I enjoy this so much is because there is no right or wrong way and you don't have to be constantly checking a reference picture so it's really relaxing.  Some people find it too tedious, but I thrive on it.  Love it!

 I used a reference picture for the birds and limb, but I added a bird, drew the leaves, did all of the pattern and did the word from my own imagination. This was one of my favorite.  A lot of fun.

 Jackal!!  Reference was my own photo.

 This is a mech I drew for my hubby.  It's from the game Mechwarrior Online.

 A rabbit I drew for my mom.  Sorry it's blurry.  
I gave it to her so I couldn't take another picture.

 Siberian Husky in memory of Storm.  
That's my wedding favor crystal rose sitting beside it.

 It says Tangent.  I did this one completely from my own imagination with no reference picture.

I found the tiger on Google, but the rest was from my imagination.
This was my very first Zentangle lol.  I don't start off easy hehe.
The background was done with color pencil.

For people not familiar with art I want to mention that I mostly draw from reference pictures.  I don't enter art shows so it's okay that I'm not using my own photos (I hope the people who took them don't mind being my inspiration...).  Learning to draw purely from imagination is VERY difficult (for most people, especially me), but someday I do plan to be able to draw without reference pictures.  I may not be able to for the realistic art, but illustration would be a lot of fun. I've always wanted to be able to illustrate my own novels.  That's a future goal.  Maybe it can go on my 40 Before 40 list!  :)

Now for anyone interested in the process of drawing, I want to share some pictures.  I almost always take pictures of the process of my drawings.  The pictures are awful, cell phone pictures, but they are good enough to show you the process.  I would love to do those speed drawing videos like you can find on YouTube (if you haven't yet you really should watch them... so cool!!  Here's one of my favorites (in oil and acrylic) if you want to see it (link), but that's just too much work haha, so I'll stick to photos.

This is my Marlin charcoal drawing.

 Start out by laying down the background.

 Draw out the outline. As you can see there's lots of erasing 
and redrawing to get the proportion right in this stage.

 Start drawing in the picture.

 I tend to focus on the darkest darks starting out.

 Drawing in more details.

 Getting close, just have to finish the belly.

 This is the stage I am so bad about stopping on...

 ... but with a little more work...

 ... darkening the darks and using the eraser (your best friend) for highlights...

 ...oh and bubbles, lots of bubbles... get a really awesome final drawings.  It's all in the details! 
I took this picture today so the lighting is better hehe. 

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my artwork.  I've had so much fun over the last year learning to use all of these mediums.  Every single new medium I used taught me techniques that improved my graphite drawings.  I feel like every time I pick up a pencil/pen/brush I learn something new.  Nothing would make me happier than sitting around creating art all day (well with breaks for riding horses hehe).  Too bad about that thing called a job lol.

P.S.  Happy Fourth of July!!!!


  1. These are so beautiful! Wonderful!


  2. Great work! I forwarded the information about Zentangle to my daughter. It looks a lot like the doodles she used to do. Her pictures were a mixture of medias and reminded me of a patchwork quilt with various fabrics.

    1. It is a lot like doodling! I think that's where it originated and then someone gave it a fancy name hehe. I hope she enjoys it. The site with the patterns was really helpful for giving me ideas. :)

  3. Ok, thank you so much for "liking" us on Google, b/c it means I got to find this post!! You make me want to get my old pencils out right now! I'm a total art snob (blame my mother & aunt - latter is here,, she has mad skillz, sigh), so I love stumbling on new talent -- and I see a lot of a talent, especially in the colour work. Your oils are GORGEOUS, I only did a few of those & maybe 3 or 4 watercolours (REALLY. FREAKING. HARD. for control freaks, heh) & colour is definitely not my natural forte. You -- yessssss. All of your mountain work feels very much to me like the Sierra in CA when I was a kid!

    Love the cats & fox puppy too, and the swordfish, oh heck who am I kidding, I enjoy them all. You also inspire me to go pick up my sketchbook, although I never really formally called it that, I guess that's what it is. I see shadows & shapes best, so I like charcoal pencil best. Most of my stuff, though, is from maybe early-mid 90s when my mom took me to art lessons after school to a small town nearby in N. KY with an elderly German woman who was amazing & hilarious. Ok, I totally want to write a post about this now, LOL!!

    I stumbled around on DeviantArt a little while ago & about lost myself in an art viewing love-gasm, ROFL, I have to not go there so I don't lose a whole day staring at things! I do allow myself to collect some works on Pinterest, though, there're some beautiful things on there. I don't know that I've ever uploaded any of my own art?

    Thank you, I think this made my day!!!

    1. Thank you for this comment! You totally just made my day!! :D I would love to see some of your art if you want to share.

      I don't think color is really my forte either. It's so hard because I'm so used to drawing in charcoal and graphite, but I'm going to stick with it and see if I can keep going and getting more confident with it. I love to be able to mix things up a little with color.

      I forgot about DeviantArt.... I've been trying to put off joining, because I know I could lose whole days on that site too!! I seriously might have to join though... :D

      Thanks again for the comment!!


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