I’ve been trying different ways to schedule my day so that I can do more of the things I enjoy. Finding time for sketching and doing just about any other project that takes concentration and time has been a bit of a bitch, but I think I’m onto something now. I haven’t been able to create every single day like I’d like to, but I’m doing more than I have done in a while and more consistently. I’m going to count that as a win.
To start I’ve been sketching more. I don’t know what finally clicked for me, but the stress of staring at the blank page lifted. I’ve been able to enjoy just doodling with no real pressure to make sure it’s right. Videos from the FSketcher YouTube and Patreon pages really helped me get back into the mental groove too. The creator behind them, Aliya, has a very thoughtful approach to color rendering. She explains what and why she’s doing what she’s doing in a way I can understand and really appreciate.
From there I went back to my favorite illustration guide books Fashion Illustration Inspiration and Technique by Anna Kiper; and Fashion Illustration Techniques by Zeshu Takamurato study color and composition. I don’t know if I’ve made much progress yet (I haven’t executed a full drawing in color yet) but I feel like the way I see things and my perspective overall has shifted. As I said, I’m not sure what clicked, I just know I feel different when I sit down and start sketching.
The Right Tools For The Job
One thing I do know for sure that will help with color rendering is having the right tools for the job. I’ve been flustered with having to make do with things that almost sorta kinda work and ultimately being dissatisfied with the end result. So I put in an order for fineliners of different colors and some metallic ink pens too. I also ordered a replacement holder for my retractable erasers and 4H mechanical pencil lead. While I wait for those to come in I’ve been having fun with my alcohol markers. I’ve avoided sketching with them because I never feel like I have much control. Also, alcohol markers be expensive.
Practice Makes Improved
The FSketcher tutorials helped me see best practices for their use; truly a guide I never got in school. The markers I use are Shin Han Touch Twin Marker, set 60A. They aren’t as pricey as the world renowned Copic brand, though I have a handful of those. I’ve owned them for just over a decade and have barely used them. Even so only one marker was dried out in the set. I sat and made a color chart of them and the other marker brands I happen to have. With new understanding of how the pigments and colors work with alcohol, I came to appreciate how everything mixes together. I especially adore the selection of grey markers. A light bulb really went off for me with this video about rendering satins.
I realized through play and observation with the markers that one of the reasons why I didn’t get the results I wanted out of previous attempts was that I’ve been using rough marker paper. There’s nothing wrong with rough marker paper, it certainly has its use, but it is not ideal for the crisp looking renderings I want to emulate. After I use up what I currently have, I’ll place an order for smooth paper.
Setting More Goals
My goal right now is to feel confident and competent with my fashion illustrations and fashion related still lifes. I did a sketch for Valentine’s Day of things I wanted to make but didn’t have the time or resources to pull off. I haven’t rendered it yet because I want to have the right supplies. Once I have them I’ll try to see if I can come close to my vision. I was so pleased with the initial sketch. It pretty much flowed out of me and onto the paper with very little trouble. I’m not mad at what end up on the paper. Even if the coloring doesn’t go the way I’d like I got some practice in and that’s the whole point.
Eventually, I’d like to work my way up to sketching more days than not even if it’s just for fifteen or twenty minutes. I just know the more frequently I practice the easier things will come and the more enjoyment I can get out of it. Once my supplies get here I’ll be illustrating my birthday gown (it still isn’t sewn yet) but I think that exercise will jump start my mojo in time to complete the dress by next weekend.