So a while back I decided I was going to get back in the swing of drawing in my sketch book . . . . then I started painting.  Well I’m making the same declaration now, but I just finished out my last sketchbook.   I usually go through a sketchbook a year, but with college and grown up life I got bogged down. So finishing this book is pretty exciting for me.

I will spare you the epic saga of “the dearth of sketchbooks in Washington DC”, but I had to forgo my usual Strathmore in favor of a Canson book, and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I’m not so satisfied.  The paper bleeds through a little more easily and is way too creme for my liking, but I no longer do finished projects in my sketchbook so hopefully it’s not that bad.  My sense of order and organization won’t let me half complete it and buy a new Strathmore though.  I will consider purchasing some of my other papers that I’m satisfied with in other brands now though, to see if I was just complacent with bad quality.

Back on topic though! So I decided to pick up doodling again so I can get back to where I was and hopefully mini comics once I’m more comfortable.

The other day I sat down to tackle my age old nemesis: children. I’m not sure why I struggle to see it, but I always have trouble figuring out what makes their little bodies different from short grown ups (besides the obvious puberty differences).  Sitting down to look at drawing skeletons and some such I decided to try it out with big heads and large rib cages. My results are okay, considering my study was only a few minutes and 3-4 images. (how I graduated school I have no idea either)


So I have no idea who’s style I’ve adopted to try to make her look more childish, it feels a little ATLAB. I think her knees are in the wrong spot, but I don’t care because she actually looks like a child.  I’m not sure what age I was trying to make her either, but she looks older than I intended.  But she doesn’t look like a tiny flat chested woman, so I’m satisfied for now.

I can’t remember what this character’s full name is.  Maribelle maybe? Doesn’t matter, she’s Maisie Rainer.  Little wild haired offspring of my Inquisitor and Blackwall from Dragon Age Inquisition. I’m one of those people when I play a game, and I’m not even sorry.  I have her cute little backstory all fraught with Grey Warden’s fertility issues and how that leads Blackwall to be the most helicopter parent ever all written out–but that’s not my point here.

Point.  Drawing.  I’m doing it.

Look at maisie.

Isn’t she cute and not a freaky small adult.

I want to draw a family portrait now.

BUT in addition to drawing I picked back up my markers and attempted to learn how to use them properly.  I’ll do a post about my beginner mistakes with Copic markers, and in a few months I’ll do another one with how I was wrong in that post too and how much I learned. . . and again a year after that.

But I have my smattering of markers I’ve been practicing with and learning how to make better line art.  My line art’s not up to par yet, but I ordered an inexpensive brush pen that might help me visualize my line weights better.  I hate inking a brush.  I struggle keeping enough ink to get me through a line.  Perhaps with a reservoir I’ll get past that hurtle.  If not, I’ll either set it aside and accidentally figure it out in 2 years, or my sisters will sneak into my studio, borrow my supplies and surpass me on the cheap.

So Sitting down I doodled a little portrait. Easy peasy, simple and quick.


(See what I was saying?! Look at that yellow paper. I want off white, not 1990’s computer casing beige.)

I decided to start inking with a smaller pen and building up the line weight more gradually.  So I quickly traced what I had and was left with the most wimpy little bla lines ever.

Okay time to add variety (it is the spice of life right?)


I’m still struggling with how I want to draw eyes, but the lines look much more like what I’m used to now.  I think I like inking with the thinner pen, despite it being slower.

So it’s time to delve into uncharted water: coloring a face with copic markers.  Usually I use pencil, and shade minimally, since I’m a heathen who avoids references I struggle with shadows. (Yeah, I have to fix that too.  Thinking of sitting in a room and having my sister move a light around my head so I have a familiar reference to build from.)  Markers have very little forgiveness, and scared the crap out of me the first time I used them.  I CAN’T WORK THIS FAST. I panicked.

I have gotten a little more comfortable since then, and am trying out working from lightest to darkest, vice versa, and odd other combos.  I’m used to slowly building up colour with pencils.

Drawing is like competitive swimming though.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 am, you’re barely dressed, and it’s cold; you dive in that water and swim 200m.


So apparently I picked a light source on the left? Should have thought about that first.  Whoops. but It started out okay, then my pink marker that I’d just refilled decided to vomit up excess ink.  No one warned me of this in any of the “how to refill your marker” tutorials.  They all said “if you just keep adding till it drips out the other point I think that’s wasteful”. Well, in the interest of ignorance, I decided to try the wasteful way.  It dripped a couple times and I thought I was good. NOPE. It needed one good shake, just like my fountain pens.

Doesn’t matter, damage has been done.  So I desperately tried to cover up the giant pink blob on her face by going darker with the skin. Hasta La Vista White chick, you’re a dark Latina now.


So she’s not actually that dark, though you’ll notice how poorly she blends.  Yeah, more on that in my “What the fuck were you thinking” post about starting with Copics.  You can’t just look at the caps in the individual marker bin and pick a few that you think look like they’ll blend well.  That’s not how this works. I have like 4 different brown colour families that skip from intensity 2 to 8 with no in-betweens.

I finally managed to get that brushed look I wanted in photoshop though!  I’m just . .  . not in photoshop.

Alright so here’s my ACTUAL nemesis.  HAIR.

For whatever reason Hair is like the Naraku to my Inuyasha.  It’s always there.  It’s unavoidable.  It’s the underlying cause behind every single minor villian and it takes like 300 episodes and 16 movies to get over it, and I’m pretty sure he still didn’t die.  But I gave up on that series somewhere midway through Kaguya’s plot? I’m not sure.  It’s been like 10 years.

I will not give up on hair though. (or maybe I’ll just start drawing exclusively male air nomads)


It started promising, then I got too confident and tried to fix it with my gelly roll.  One day the hair will be what everyone thinks made the piece.  One day.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my first attempt to really use my markers.  I’ve ordered a few more (despite the apparent Copic famine we’re in at the moment) just to flesh out a few key colours with a dark, medium, and light option.  Once they’re in I’ll probably make a n00b friendly video on what I learned about selecting colours and what people who are used to the materials already seem to forget to address that would have been useful for me.

oh! also! before I forget!


I actually first tried out a portrait in grey scale (and of course I have a  light tone neutral grey and a medium tone cool grey because I didn’t know how to shop).  Let me say, I usually HATE working in grey scale, but I love doing it with the markers. I’m not sure why it’s such a different feeling, but taking away colour is actually freeing for me in this medium.

I actually first discovered this fact when I was adding some dimension to a picture for a friend, but I didn’t use it on such a simple image until now.

practice, practice, practice right?




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