Category: Sketching Blog

Pet Portraits: How to Pose Pets for Hand-Drawn Portraits

This video tutorial shows you how to pose pets for photos artists can use as reference material for portraits. Posing is easy, and taking photos with your cell phone is easier! No need to straighten the house or find an idyllic site for the photo shoot, either.

I hope you found this tutorial to be helpful!

 

Author:

This video tutorial was written and produced by Karen Little and was published on July 31, 2020.

The video, hosted on YouTube, is free for inclusion on non-commercial websites (or other media) with permission and attributes to Littleviews.com.

All other material on Littleviews and Sketch-Views (with noted exceptions) is copyrighted on the date of publication or as noted in credits.

Questions? Ask Karen Little at Karen@littleviews.com.

Support Our Mission:

Products sold on Sketch-Views.com contain images exclusively created for Sketch-Views gift products by designer, Karen Little. Revenues support Littleviews’ mission to provide drawing tips and events.

 

Action Sketching: How to develop your unique artistic style

There are several skills you need to master when seeking to develop your own style. The first is actually drawing “the thing,” whatever it is you want to focus on. The next is determining what tools and medium to use. And the third, how to use them. This article focuses on how to use your tools in order to develop your own style.

Developing Your Style

It is important to be aware of numerous artistic styles and try many of them yourself in order to find the one you like best. While you can do this by drawing many pictures, testing techniques as you go, it is more efficient to try different styles on a single subject so you can more easily compare them and determine which ones you enjoy the most.

To get started, very lightly sketch a subject of your choice. Next, scan or photograph the sketch, then print numerous copies. Below is an example of a very light pencil sketch based on a photo I took of a Shotgun House in New Orleans.

With prints now at hand, finish each one in a different style, such as by cross-hatching, shading, pen work, or even coloring.

The following provides brief examples on how to proceed.  The first, partially finished example was done with a micro Uni-Ball pen followed by a print partially finished using a BIC mechanical pencil.

Depending on the paper you use, you can also explore watercolors, acrylics, and even alcohol-based colored markers.

Develop ideas by studying other people’s drawings, then practice using their techniques. By trying numerous techniques on a single subject, you’ll identify which ones you more passionately like doing.

Paper:

The paper you choose is important. Paper with “tooth” is the best to use with a pencil, even inexpensive, mechanical pencils like BICs. The reason is that by repeatedly lightly rubbing over the same area leaves layers of graphite behind, thus developing increasingly dark shades. This cannot be done easily on printer paper, consequently, lines made on printer paper all appear gray, no matter how hard you press or many cross-hatchings you employ.

To save money, practice sketching on printer paper. As you explore new techniques, however, invest in papers more suitable to the tools you prefer using.

Multi-media paper can be used for pencil, pen, and some paints, but it doesn’t come in standard printer paper sizes. To easily solve the problem of transferring your basic sketch to it, without having to consult your printer’s measurement table, tape the multi-media sheet to printer paper, then hand-feed the “set” through your printer, making sure the tape is smoothly pressed down.

Links:

There are several online tutorials classified by medium (such as ink or pencil), technique (cross-hatching or shading), paint (watercolor or markers), and even “mixed medium” that combines many things.

Author:

This article was written by Karen Little as part of an ongoing series of blogs on Action Sketching. Published on Littleviews.com. March 23, 2020.

Reproduction of this article is free to non-commercial websites (or other media) with permission and attributes to Littleviews.com and the article’s author.

All other material on Littleviews (with noted exceptions) is copyrighted on the date of publication or as noted in credits.

Questions? Ask Karen Little at Karen@littleviews.com.

Support Our Mission:

Products sold on Sketch-Views.com contain images exclusively created for Sketch-Views gift products by designer, Karen Little. Revenues support Littleviews’ mission to provide drawing tips and events.

Action Sketching: Changing the perspective of your human subject

Many of us can get good views of sports, but the perspective on how we see the players might not be the way we want to sketch them.

Indoor volleyball, for example, often causes a problem for illustrators because the view of players is from a balcony looking down, rather than seeing players straight on.

Reference photo of a woman serving a volleyball from Pixabay.com

In the example above, the volleyball server is seen from a balcony, with the focus on her right shoulder. If you wanted to illustrate aspects of this game, you might prefer action references from photos taken on the floor.

To correct reference shots from the wrong angle, or try to imagine a specific moment from a different view, use a fully-jointed mannequin to depict what you would like to see.

In the photo example below, I set up a mannequin to duplicate the stance of the server. Next, I took multiple photos of the mannequin from straight-on, turning it for each shot.

Three poses of a mannequin that references a volleyball serve

In the following example, I chose the third pose for my quick sketch as it was the direct opposite of the first.

Sketch by Karen Little showing how to see a reference image from a different stance

Could you have used your imagination to sketch a pose directly opposite of the photo reference? Possibly, but for most people, that would be difficult, especially leg placement and body bend.

Working with a Mannequin:

Fully-jointed mannequins are delicate and fall apart easily. To guard against that:

  • Loosen joints before bending by heating them with a hair dryer.
  • When joints become too loose, tighten them with a tiny screwdriver, like the type used to tighten eyeglass stem joints.
  • If joints cannot be tightened (or parts are falling off), reattach them using standard modeling clay.

Links:

Author:

This article was written by Karen Little as part of an ongoing series of blogs on Action Sketching. Published on Littleviews.com. March 12, 2020.

Reproduction of this article is free to non-commercial websites (or other media) with permission and attributes to Littleviews.com and the article’s author.

All other material on Littleviews (with noted exceptions) is copyrighted on the date of publication or as noted in credits.

Questions? Ask Karen Little at Karen@littleviews.com.

Support Our Mission:

Products sold on Sketch-Views.com contain images exclusively created for Sketch-Views gift products by designer, Karen Little. Revenues support Littleviews’ mission to provide drawing tips and events.

Cartoon Sketching: How to develop your imagination by finding eyeballs

If you have trouble stimulating your imagination, I recommend that you take online classes from Carla Sonheim and her select group of instructors.

While new classes are regularly announced on her website, Carla Sonheim Presents, if you are short of time (or money), just invest in her book, Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals.

Book cover of "Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals" by Carla SonheimWhile she teaches multi-media drawing and painting, your main takeaway from this book is learning how to see (and therefore “draw”) imaginary animals that you see almost everywhere you look. The trick is to identify a pair of eyes, then let your imagination see the critter who owns them.

Look anywhere – on walls, floors, tree trunks, stone ledges, and more – to find eyeballs. Start sketching on the spot, or take photos and sketch when you get home.

The examples that follow show you how to proceed. For immediate practice, find eyeballs and even related noses and eyebrows on cliff faces in the Hudson River Palisades.

Hudson River Palisades cliffs, photos by Karen Little

Here are a few examples of what I saw during a January 2018 stroll. Rough sketches can fill notebooks as well as inspire characters for books and illustrations.

painting of rock spirits by Karen Little 2018

A leaf spirit by Karen Little 2018

A bush spirit by Karen Little 2018Ever wonder how tribes across the globe came up with their symbolism? Just look into ponds of swirling water and imaginary critters emerge. It is up to you to give them life.

water spirits by Karen Little 2018

Links:

Author:

This article was written by Karen Little as part of an ongoing series of blogs on Cartoon Sketching. Published on Littleviews.com. March 8, 2020.

Reproduction of this article is free with permission and attributes to Littleviews.com and the article’s author.

All material on Littleviews (with noted exceptions) is copyrighted on the date of publication.

Questions? Ask Karen Little at Karen@littleviews.com.

Support:

Our mission is to help people learn how to sketch, love what they do, and share their sketches with others. It is supported by our gift center on Sketch-Views.com, with products like the one you see at the bottom of this page.

The cartoon on this cup is based on “eyeballs” Karen spotted looking out from a Hudson River Palisades cliff.