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My Sketchbook

Okay. So you know those weight-loss websites where the overweight person posts pictures of themselves every day so you can see their progress?  Some of these folks, especially the lucky, focused, wise ones, actually become slender and muscular, which is badass (no matter how any-size-positive you are).  I plan to do something similar.

I have determined for myself a mission, and that mission is to LEARN HOW TO DRAW.

I’m starting with people figures, but I’m totally interested in learning about structures, angles, perspectives, and shading, and colors, and all of the entire nine yards.  I want a baker’s dozen of nine yards.

And like any person with a new hobby AND a Barnes and Noble gift card, I bought a book to help me.  It’s called Drawing For The Absolute Beginner: A clear and easy guide to successful drawing.  It’s by Mark and Mary Willenbrink.  Well, Mark and Mary–you’re ON.  I’m an absolute beginner (that’s me!), and I’ve decided that by “successful drawing”, you  mean the kind where I make millions of dollars for casually drawing on a napkin at Denny’s.

I’ll be drawing on my computer using different pieces of software and techniques, and I’ll be drawing on newsprint and drawing paper as well.  My darling Juanster gifted me with a variety pack of artist’s pencils, so I’ll be drawing in a ton of different mediums and experimenting with all sorts of stuff.

The chapter I read today talked about drawing guidelines to establish proportions in the body and the face, so I drew a woman.

Not just any woman.  I made her blonde and gave her a nice rack so I would appeal to my woman-loving readership:

A blonde woman stands against a purple backdrop, arms outstretched.

Pretty soon, this page will be like those weight-loss picture galleries.  Only instead of watching my waist whittle and my arms grow rock hard and supple, you’ll be watching my drawing slowly, slowly, slowly improve.  One day I’ll have graduated from awkward looking woman-people to magnificent vistas with stuff like fog and dragons in them.

It’ll be GLORIOUS.

Keep checking back to see what I get up to in here.


Oooh, ooh! I got up to something!

A grandmother performs yoga under a purple sky.


An old woman sits with her legs to her chest.

A skyscraper at night.

Baseball man is baseball manny.

A red headed girl. Charlie Brown, come and get her.


This is a green and orange doodle.

Here I tried out that technique where you draw a picture upside down; this was a whole new experience, I tell you what.

Bad ass elephant has a trunk that is larger than yours.

Here’s another picture that I drew upside down:

A valley; a river winds through it.

A figure skater grasps onto the blade of her skate.

Kitty flies!

Kitty flies!


A blonde woman.


Baaaaby gorilla.


A girl sends a bird to the city below.


A man leaps into the rapids, away from a menacing lion.


A victorious gladiator stomps upon his opponent.


Happy Valentine’s Day! Here, have an orphaned child by lamplight:

Where would you go with a pet robot?


A mermaid smokes a cigarette.


A little girl cautiously regards a camel.


A mermaid sits at a bar.


A man lies under a bridge.

A young woman holds a monkey in an underground chamber.


An angel on a motorcycle pauses to look at a beam of light.


A woman gazes into a beam of light in an old corridor.




Four red horses.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Bing permalink
    January 23, 2011 1:05 am

    It will be glorious indeed. I know some people who have improved their drawings this way. It helps to get away from drawing from ‘your head’ and drawing from observation as well, like arranging a still life…or making your friends stand still for an hour in the most uncomfortable pose possible.

    • January 23, 2011 7:45 am

      Aieeeeee! My squeeing fangirl heart! Hello! Hello!

      I so agree with the last part. Yesterday I drew a banker’s lamp and a coffee mug. On paper. But the other day I asked the Juanster to sit still for thirty minutes while I took a wild hack at his face, so I’m definitely working that angle too.

  2. January 23, 2011 9:08 am

    I admire your courage and fortitude. Keep up the good work.

  3. tortilla permalink
    January 28, 2011 4:28 pm

    May I inquire as to the inspiration for this most sacred of missions?

  4. February 7, 2011 6:58 am

    I thought you said you were a beginner!! wait.. I Know you said that! That *pointing at pictures above* does not look like beginner material. No need to tell you that they’re impressive, but it Must be stated that I absolutely love what you’re doing with the stick you and the stick you’s eyes 🙂 UBER AWESOME.

    • February 7, 2011 7:29 am

      Thanks for this! It feels lovely to get positive feedback. *hugs* I’ve been working hard on this–lately I’ve been reading a book called “Perspective Without Pain” by Phil Metzger that’s been a big help. I have three more books on the way from Amazon, and I’m all squeeful over them.

  5. February 9, 2011 7:37 pm

    Awesome!! I am speechless!

  6. dhaami permalink
    February 14, 2011 11:47 am

    Whoa! That blew me away.. I had seen the first couple and you claimed you were dabbling. And then you turn around and become this pro with mind-blowing creativity… Love the color study. Would you mind sharing what tools you use for the sketches?

    • February 14, 2011 11:52 am

      Thanks Dhaami! I’m using GIMP and Irfanview to draw these things; they work fine, but I’m thinking of investing in real drawing software.

  7. February 14, 2011 1:41 pm


    these are AMAZING.

    nicely done!

  8. February 14, 2011 2:59 pm

    These are amazing. I don’t know why I didn’t see your Sketchbook before this.

    A few years ago I set out to learn how to draw. You are MUCH more successful at it than I was. I did manage to crank out a few cartoon animals at the time, but once I could get out and about again (I was recovering from a severe back injury), I went right back to the camera and learning to draw got put on the back burner again.

    • February 15, 2011 8:50 am

      OMG, back injuries suck so hard. I’ve had some truly nasty spans of weeks with my back; living life at elbow height and never, ever, bending over or leaning in. Lots of getting stuck on couches and on the floor. You totally have my sympathy. What’d you do to your back?

  9. February 15, 2011 12:04 am

    The rope-swinging cat is my favorite.

    Great job on these! You’re getting better by the day! Keep it up!

  10. February 15, 2011 3:47 am

    Oooh I’ve got GIMP but I tend to swear a lot at it. Keep GOING !!!!!!!!

  11. Emily permalink
    February 16, 2011 11:21 am

    Oh my God. Seriously. Maybe I should look into getting you to give *me* drawing lessons…

  12. Asylum Escapee #03951-104 permalink
    February 17, 2011 1:07 pm

    Beginner, my foot!

    I’m a terrible drawer. In fact, I can’t draw a straight line even with the help of a ruler. *Ahem* Anywho, these are great! I especially enjoyed the “flying kitty.” I really like the oil art too. But, your stick-person approach to your blog leaves me in stitches! I think my favorite thus far is “DO YOU SPARKLE, MOTHERFUCKER?” I couldn’t breath for laughing so hard. 🙂

    You = Brilliance!

  13. February 19, 2011 10:06 am


    You got this far in a couple of weeks??? I feel I have had the sand grains of art brilliance kicked in my face lol

    Top notch work, I envy you your talent.

  14. February 26, 2011 9:54 am

    Oh. My. Goodness.
    Your style is amazing. Kind of popartee but different at the same time. I love your style!
    Thank you for sharing!

    • February 26, 2011 6:54 pm

      Thank you so much! My first response is “Style? I have a style?” but my second response is “RAD! I have a style!” 😉

  15. March 6, 2011 4:56 am

    I LIIIIKE!!!! You are amazing and your pictures are amazingly entertaining! I love your blog, keep it up! 😀

  16. angstycrayon permalink
    March 18, 2011 2:43 pm

    Amazing drawings! I thought you were a beginner? I gave up on drawing because I sucked so much it made me angry.

  17. March 24, 2011 7:48 am

    WOW!!! Change your name to Just Magnificent!!! So this is what you been up to. AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!

  18. Jaan Pehchaan permalink
    March 29, 2011 7:56 pm

    Unbelievable Magnificent Minimalist! You threw us all off by that “I am a beginner” statement and the first few pictures. You gave yourself away after the cat.


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