I discovered something delightful the other day whilst backing up my files. (Here’s your complementary reminder to save all your old work. Go do it now, and come back to read this.)
(Everything duplicated and safely archived?)
My art archive starts in October 2019 – I’d just recently joined Tumblr and wanted to participate in the Inktober trend I saw trending. Since I was working on Storge at the time, my bright idea was to illustrate various scenes from the story based on the daily prompts. I’d never picked up a pen for the purpose of drawing, not writing, but armed with a healthy amount of enthusiasm and a staggering amount of sheer audacity, I boldly started posting pictures of my new creations. The result was, unsurprisingly, less than spectacular, but despite the childish style, a few lovely people took the initiative to encourage me – @siarven, @abalonetea, and @inkwell-attitude were some of my first friends in the writing and artistic community, and they remain some of my best friends to this day.
I kept drawing after that, and my 2019 folder clocks in at 54 items, half of which are reference images of myself posing to figure out how to draw hands. Mostly, I used ink, pencil, and colored pencil. They are truly atrocious and so I will not inflict you with any more than this, but the experience was a solid start to learning how to draw!
This year has 217 items! Look at that huge increase in quantity! This is partially because this folder spans a whole year, rather than a few months tacked onto the end of a year. This year also saw the rise of zoom university during the first round of pandemic lockdowns, and I kept drawing as a stim to keep my hands busy during class. I started learning anatomy and character posing. Mostly I used ink, pencil, and colored pencil, and with the spike in quality, the quality and my speed dramatically improved as well.
This year became much more busy with school and work so it has a pretty significant decline in quantity to 140 items. HOWEVER, this year saw probably my largest improvement in developing my personal style. I became much more comfortable with “eyeballing” natural looking poses and conveying the right expressions.
[Image Descriptions: 5 photos in a tiled gallery.
Photo 1: Shows a pencil drawing of a humanioid bird-person mid-flight. He’s angled facing the viewer, and looks at something to his top-right with a mischevious expression. He wears a simple tunic and holds an object in his hands clasped close to the chest. His wings and tail feathers are outstretched.
Photo 2: Shows a woman from the waist up, spinning around to look at the viewer with a shocked expression. She has dark skin covered in small pockmark scars, and hair in braids that swing around her.
Photo 3: Two drawings on one page. The top right drawing shows a young girl with dark skin, freckles, and long curly hair wiping blood off her nose. She wears a simple white tang-top dress. Lower drawing shows a teenaged boy mid-run, one arm in front of him with hand oustretched, the other flung behind him. He has dark skin, freckles, short curly hair, and a determined expression. He wears a simple white tunic, grey pants, and a cloak that billows behidn him. Golden magic is thrown between his hands in an arc.
Photo 4: Shows a picture of a sketchbook page, done in pencil, against a red carpet background. The page shows a figure with a smirking jack-o-lantern head standing on a beanstalk. He wears jester’s clothing, a broken crown, and a cloak with frost curling at the edges. He carries a pail of water that sloshes over the edge and drips into ice crystals, and an axe is belted at his hip. Below him, a bridge is lit with candles, while the moon is bright in the sky above against a dark background.
Photo 5: A pencil drawing of two figures hugging. The shorter one is a woman with long blonde hair and wearing a long dress, burying her face in the chest of the taller man. He wears a tailcoat and has light hair cut around his chin, and he looks at her with a surprised expression, not quite sure what to do with his hands as he moves to hug her back.
End Image Descriptions.]
The year isn’t even finished and we’re at roughly 411 items! I learned markers! I taught myself digital art and experimented a ton with my style and rendering! I drew a whole comic! I designed stickers! My mediums have expanded into laser etching acrylic, 3D Printing, and audio editing! I embroidered a ton of patches, hand sewed a shirt, and machine sewed a cloak! I started playing with my hair and nails and makeup for the first time since I was eight and I am turning myself into the piece of art!!!
[Image Description: 14 images in a tiled gallery.
Image 1: A pencil drawing of a young girl with dark skin and long curly hair wearing a white tang top dress. Her eyes are completely black, and she has a shadowy halo behind her. She appears angry and focused. / Image 2: A photo of me sitting next to a river wearing a white billowy pirate shirt. I’m turned away from the camera so you cannot see my face, but I have dark hair in a french braid and wear a hoop earring. It’s a cloudy day. / Image 3: A blue pen doodle in my school notes on lined paper of a woman in profile. She has curly blonde hair that tumbles around her shoulders and has a sad distressed expression. Her freckles are stars. / Image 4: A photo of my hand holding a large clear knife cut from acrylic against the backdrop of the laser cutter I used to make it.
Image 5: A photo of my hand holding a sticker from my shop, titled “A Well Armed Author.” It depicts a white saber against a dark blue background full of stars. Black ink swirls with a magic golden glow burst from the bottom of the sticker and swirl around the sword to form a fountain tip pen at the point. The shop is blurry in the background, and my thumbnail had chipped black polish. / Image 6: A photo of a red articulated 3D printed velociraptor sitting on my open notebook. It is slumped backwards and resting on its tail as if tired.
Image 7: A marker drawing of a teenage boy with dark skin and dark curly hair cut around his chin. He smiles and holds up his arms, casting a spell. Shreds of white and golden glowing magic swirl around his open hands. / Image 8: A mirror selfie showing off my patch jacket, holding my phone in front of my face. The jacket is a dark grey-green. On there shoulder there is a homemade Bridge Four patch from the Stormlight Archive – a white and blue geometric design. There is also a karate patch showing the US and Japanese flags. Over the heart is a heart-shaped patch with The Amazing Devil band logo – a stylized abbreviation of the band name. Over the other lapel is another karate patch showing a fist in white and red. On my hip is an oval shaped patch that reads “Crafty Bitch” with various art supplies. Over each pocket is embroidered flowers and mushrooms, with added plastic foliage stitched on. / Image 9: A photo of me wearing a white shirt and twirling in my black cloak. I’m standing against a stone wall in the woods, and grinning. I have tan skin, brown hair cut in a bob, and I’m smiling.
Image 10: A digital painting of a man in armour with a billowing red cape, facing left and shown in profile. He holds out an arm towards the viewer, holding a curved sword. The background is dark blue. He has an angry determined expression and blood streaks off his blade. / Image 11: A digital painting of a woman with pale skin and a short curly bob knitting. The fabric hanging from her needles is transluscent and shows stars caught between the threads. The fabric and the needles are bloodstained and she has a wicked smile, being lit from behind by white light. Text reads “The Edge of Infinity” in white letters over the fabric.
Image 13: A digital painting of a girl from behind wearing a dark green coat looking out over a mountain range in the distance. She’s surrounded by trees and the whole painting is done in shades of greens and blues. / Image 14: A digital painting of a teenaged girl looking distraught. She has olive skin and freckles, and muddied brown hair being whipped by the wind. She wears an orange wrap with green borders and a yellow undershirt, and clasps her hands to her chest. Blood and shadow swirl around her head. Black and white lineart overlap the watercolor texture. / Image 15: A digital painting of a young woman sliding down a roof in an acrobatic pose. She’s wearing a sports bra, baggy pants, and wrapped boots, and wears her hair in a high pony tail that’s messy and coming loose. She has black geometric tatoos on her face and wrists. The entire paining is done in shades of red, pink, and purple.
End Image Description]
I hope that watching this progression serves as some small inspiration for any other discouraged artists. Never stop making stuff.
Future you will thank you.
Thanks for reading! I want this blog to be more than me shouting into the void. If I can use this platform to help boost other creators, I’d love to see your work too. If you want to have your recommendations and/or your own writing featured in a Resource Rec post, or if you want to collaborate with me, you can leave a comment below for both, or contact me on either tumblr or IG! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip or buying stickers on my Kofi. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!