I did a pencil drawing for my sister’s Christmas gift. It’s a drawing of her daughter Charlie Angel & her dog Angel. Yes, my sister LOVES this dog so much that she gave her name to her daughter. And Charlie is my dad and grandpap’s name. So she put these 2 beloved names together for her daughter. And no, I don’t think it occurred to her that it sounds like Charlie’s Angels, but that’s ok! It’s a cool name.
Rough pencil sketch
Working SMRT (left to right) so as not to smear pencil!
Anyway, she had not so subtly dropped the hint that she wanted a pencil drawing of her daughter for some time. She envisioned a black and white picture with faint, rosy cheeks. She had it all planned out in her head, I just had to do all the work! Naturally I put it off as long as I could. One, I don’t have much time to draw these days. Two, I hadn’t done a traditional drawing in so long that I was fearful I’d forgotten how to draw! Three, we were binging our way through 5 seasons of Person of Interest (aka being lazy).
I’m NOT drawing EVERY hair!
While I still do plenty of drawing, most of it is created digitally in Illustrator. I’ll do a rough pencil sketch, scan it in for reference, then create art on top of it using a mouse. A whaaaa? Yeah, I traded in a pencil for a mouse many years ago. At first it seemed ridiculous and awkward. Then I got used to it. Now it seems odd to swap a mouse for a pencil to draw. I don’t know how many digital artists use a mouse instead of a stylus. I would think a stylus would make it much quicker to finish a drawing. Surely it would feel more natural to draw with a pen shaped gadget than a mouse, right? I’d love to hear from any artists who use a stylus… do you like it, could you ever switch back, what are the downsides?
This turned into a mixed medium drawing with graphite, colored pencils, and watercolor.
Back in my school days, I only drew portraits and pictures of animals. I was mostly drawing portraits of studs like Abe Lincoln and Clint Eastwood. Didn’t I know who Tom Hardy was back then (Jason is rolling his eyes as he reads this)?!?!?
I drew “Blondie” in high school for my Dad’s Father’s Day present. He has the original framed and hanging in his living room with our family photos. Yeah, that’s awesome.
I don’t know if there’s something wrong with Abe’s left eye or if there’s just something wrong with my drawing. I did this charcoal drawing when I was a freshman in high school. It won first place in the art show. It also won the “messiest drawing I’ve ever done” award.
Anyway, most of my drawings were simple graphite or charcoal images. So it’s not like I didn’t have experience with this medium. For pity’s sake, pencil is the first tool for most artists (after crayons of course). Yet after all these years of not using a pencil for a finished piece of art, I was starting to shudder. Anxiety set in. Procrastination became an issue. Holy smokies, this was supposed to be a Christmas present! Get to work you lazy bum!!!!
So I did. About 5 days before Christmas. And guess what? IT WAS HARD!!! You hear people say “It’s like riding a bike” with the understanding that you never forget how to do that. And that’s true. You don’t forget. But you certainly get rusty and slow.
The finished drawing took about 2 days. It’s not perfect, but the likeness is spot on and my sister will like it (I think). If she doesn’t like it, I’m sure she’ll request a new drawing. That’s kinda what people do when they know you can draw! “Hey, I know you can draw, so can you draw me a ….”
Things I learned from doing my first pencil drawing (in about 10 years).
- I shouldn’t have let my sister dictate how I did the drawing. So she wanted a pencil drawing, so what! If it was up to me, I would do colored pencil or an oil painting instead. That would have be more in my comfort zone.
- I think I hate pencils. There’s something very permanent about them. Sure, it’s not permanent like ink. But there’s no Command-Z either. No, an eraser doesn’t work the same as a digital undo.
- Kids are HARD to draw. You can’t put too many smile lines or wrinkles by the eyes. Otherwise, you have a kid that looks like an old person with stunted growth issues.
- Hair is FUN to draw! But wait, do I have to draw every strand?!?! 1990 Alison would have. 2016 Alison did NOT.
- How realistic does it need to be? My niece has a tiny bit of a uni-brow. It’s adorable. But maybe she won’t think so when she’s 13. To draw the unibrow or not to draw the unibrow? I never thought I’d have to ask myself that question. (Note, I drew a faint unibrow, it’s hardly noticeable).
- I got distracted easily. I did the drawing during my online shop’s busiest time of the year. BAD idea! So I kept walking away to check on orders. I miss the days of old when I would sit at my drawing table until 3 in the morning DRAWING! No distractions. No “work” to do. Just a hobby. Just for fun. Just to get better.
New Year’s Resolution? I’ve never made one. But if I did, I would probably say I’ll draw more! Have any of you guys ever made resolutions to draw more during the new year? If so, did you actually draw more? We’d love to hear your comments below!