WIP Wednesday #8: Sketches & Art Chats

Sharing some sketches and some art chats today. My latest sketchbook stuff has been a mix of fanart, portrait doodles, and some more rough sketches for things here for the blog. I got a lot of icons drawn up for my new 5 Fandom Friday & Currently headers, and I’ve got a few other blog related things up my sleeve as well that will show up soon!

Black Panther WIP Wednesday #8 sketches
New fanart! Black Panther WIP.

Lately, I’m feeling a lack of direction with my art. I love drawing portraits. I really do. And I love making fanart. But I want to do more. Mainly, I want to be able to create original art, without having to work from a direct reference. AndΒ  I’ve been having trouble leaping over the mental hurdle of self confidence when it comes to that.

Give me a reference and I’m good to go. Honestly, it often feels effortless to capture a face in a quick sketch. Drawing portraits is one of those rare activities that causes me to lose time; I can draw for hours and feel like no time has passed at all. And I can often capture an expression in just a few minutes, like the image below which was about a ten minute sketch.

portrait sketch WIP Wednesday #8 sketches
Ref via @bleeblu on Instagram

But when it comes to sitting down to draw things without a reference, I freeze. I sketch a few lines, erase, and repeat. I get discouraged. And I realize it’s counter productive. Obviously, I can’t improve if I’m not doing it! But I struggle to sit down and put effort into something that I normally find comfort and confidence in, and feel nothing but self doubt and discomfort.

So I’m taking baby steps. Using multiple references to help me draw without just recreating one direct image. That’s what I did for this Winter Soldier drawing – I pulled up multiple pictures of Bucky Barnes, Winter Solider,Β  and also specifically his arm, and then sketched out my own image using them as guides. The final result doesn’t look a ton like Sebastian Stan, but it definitely is Winter Soldier and that was the point! I’m pleased with it.

Winter soldier WIP Wednesday #8 sketches

I did the same thing for this next quick sketch. I’ve been watching a lot of ‘get ready with me’ type make-up vids on YouTube lately, so I took a few screencaps on my phone, had them all up, and used them as a guide to sketch out this piece. Even though it’s kind of an odd angle, I really like it and may turn it into a finished piece at some point!

getting a face on WIP Wednesday #8 sketches

Sometimes I forget that I don’t have to share all (or any!) art that I make online if I don’t want to. Being heavily involved with internet life and social media sometimes brings with it the feelings of I have to share everything and it’s just not true. It’s a lot easier to draw sketches, even if you think they’re terrible, when you remember no one has to has to see them. It’s something I need to keep in mind when I work on overcoming the mental hurdles that cause me to hold back, make excuses, and not practice more. I definitely want my art to grow and expand, and sometimes it can be hard to get out of my own way.

Even if you’re not an artist, what do you do to overcome mental hurdles that stand in your way?

  • B.

    I can’t wait to see your Black Panther when he’s finished and your Winter Soldier looks great! I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned just doing it. I honestly think that’s the best way to get over a mental wall. Or even just taking a break from it altogether!

    • Kay

      I definitely think dive in and do it is the solution here, brain be damned! And thank you!

  • there’s a huge discussion on art vs. reference.
    it’s hard to let your guard down to create, especially breaking out of your comfort zone. that’s why it’s always good to support other artists and follow art hashtags to try and be inspired to draw new things.
    your winter soldier looks exactly like bucky to me. the piece doesn’t need to have exact realism for someone to know that it’s sebastian!

    • Kay

      Thanks Liana! I definitely need to just suck it up and draw more, without direct references. Sometimes I’m quite good at getting my brain to STFU, sometimes not so much. And yes, following other artists and whatnot is amazing…I love my art instagram feed so much. It’s just full of freaking amazing inspiration.

  • Danielle Knapp

    I sometimes freeze when I think of creating something on my own without a reference, but just diving in and going for it and trying not to overthink if it’s going to look good or not always helps :p Love your Bucky!

    • Kay

      Overthinking, yes! That is such a good point, something I’ll keep in mind. Getting stuck on making things ‘perfect’ is definitely an inspiration killer. And thank you! He was a lot of fun to draw!

  • That Winter Soldier is amazing! πŸ˜€

    • Kay

      Thanks Pepi!!

  • Love them all, but especially that last sketch! So fun and different<3 And I have a hard time overcoming my mental hurdles too. Usually if I feel like I'm really struggling with something like that, I'll take a step back and give myself time to think on it. Or I'll ask the hubby for encouragement, that helps most of the time too!

    • Kay

      Thank you Ashlee! I feel like that last one is a bit weird and different, but I really like it too! Asking the hubby is definitely a great solution; he’s always the best cheerleader, and often helps me tell my anxiety to STFU haha.

  • gamerwife

    As a recovering perfectionist I definitely know the feeling of wanting to give up if something doesn’t work out exactly the way I want it to on the first try. As a kid things came to me very easily, so having to work at something sometimes feels like I’m already failing. Sadly this attitude has probably kept me from doing things I would enjoy, which is why it is something I’m working on as a nearly 40 year old woman.

    • Kay

      Well, as an almost 30 year old woman, I’m right there with you. I think if it were a completely new activity, the struggle wouldn’t bother me. But art is something that I’m used to providing my comfort and relaxation, so when it becomes so filled with struggle I just shy away completely from doing it. Here’s to us both working on letting go a little and improving!

  • Hi Kay!

    Thanks for sharing, I’m happy to see you openly talking about how internet visibility affects your artwork. I also struggle with what to put out to the internet and often my work does get affected by this kind of fear that everyone is going to judge me poorly. It’s hard enough as an artist to have confidence,with constant doubt on the horizon from internal thoughts to external ones, brought on by the sheer amount of amazingly talented artists out there. Like: how can I compete with so and so, my work is crap and blah it goes on.

    What I have learned to do, is not to judge myself based on comparisons with other artists. We all have our own strengths and do what’s meaningful to ourselves.
    In the end it’s what is most important to you and to hold yourself to
    your own standards, not everyone else’s. Once I embraced that I was a macabre
    type artist, my work flourished because I no longer was focusing on what the
    world expected or liked but did what was important to me. Since then my mental
    blocks have been less and I have really started to enjoy making art again.

    • Kay

      Thanks so much Jessica! You made great points. Yes, comparison can definitely be such a killer. I try not to, but I definitely have days where I see work that is miles ahead of my own from a 17 year old and get so discouraged.

      I completely agree that finding your ‘type’ of art can be so helpful (like you how do macabre work) – I think I’m still on that path of discovery. Honestly, I don’t really know WHAT I want from art, other than I like making it, and can’t imagine not making it. It’s definitely something I’m working on, and something I’ll be putting more time into come September once my daughter starts school and I can focus on art full time. For now, I just need to remind myself that it’s a process, and that if I don’t want to share it, that’s fine too.

  • I love seeing all your art! I follow a lot of awesome artists and designers on instagram and sometimes it makes me feel like there is no point in sharing my work since most of it pales in comparison, but then I have to remember that if I’m happy with it, then it’s worth sharing! I mean, even if I don’t think I’m great, someone else might think I’m the best ever. I think we always are our hardest critics.

    • Kay

      Thanks! And that is definitely true, good point! It can get so hard not to compare, especially since I too follow a ton of amazing artists on Insta. I love sharing work I’m proud of, but I definitely want to push myself and try more new things, even if it means I’m not super comfortable with the end result. Which I can always keep to myself. πŸ˜€

  • I was never good at drawing without a reference, I needed to see a picture too. I don’t draw very much anymore but I would love to get back into it. I agree that we don’t have to share everything! I used to feel like I had to post every single day on Instagram and felt “bad” when I didn’t but now I just post whenever I feel like it or actually have something interesting to share lol

    • Kay

      Same! Sometimes I go a week without sharing, sometimes I share many times a day. Totally depends on the day! And I am all for people getting back into art – you should totally start drawing again! πŸ˜€