My focus has shifted yet again. I put aside the Jet Dancer game for a while because I felt the urge to pick up some traditional art approaches again.

Drawing with pencil and paper is my foundation, and I was missing it. While a lot of my old supplies remained intact, I found a lot of things missing, so I went on a small buying spree. I purchased new pencils, inking pens, heavy card stock paper, some lighter printer paper for practicing, and even some Bristol board and sketchbooks. Not only that, I grabbed some cheap markers as well…I’m not well-funded enough to invest in Copics or any of the other big names, but I bought enough stuff that I should be able to regain a comfort level with drawing traditionally.

Just some of the stuff I bought.

Since I don’t have a scanner and I’m hardly a photographer, most of the images I share here will be smartphone photos.

As ever though, I have a tendency to throw money at the problem, and all the tools I gathered didn’t do anything to assuage the fear I felt of trying to produce art traditionally. Despite doing it quite often in the past, it has been literal years since I drew a full illustration on paper, so I am still using training wheels, as it were. I decided the best thing to do would be to print digital sketches and draw over them using a light table. It’s a totally legitimate approach as long as the end result is decent, right…?

So far, I’m not exactly happy with what I’ve made, but I feel like progress is brewing. Of course, I focused on drawing my random pinup girls for a start, but one of the issues of working ‘randomly’ is the lack of a roadmap. Unlike digital art, which makes experimentation easy, one has to make decisions early on when working on paper, even after following a digital sketch. The main issue: color. If I were doing fan art or one of my own original characters, I would have made better choices. But the one time I tried to color something with markers, it…didn’t go well.

I colored directly over a printout with this one–the drawing is digital.

Putting aside the markers for a moment, I decided to try inking a drawing that was well-received digitally in the past, a drawing that I call Veil Girl because I’m so imaginative. What most people didn’t see until now was the fact that Veil Girl was originally an NSFW illustration (so, warning…) I was going to publish two versions, one dressed, one explicit, but I ultimately focused on the dressed version. Well, I decided to apply ink to the original.

Pen placement to protect the innocent and sensitive.

My inking is fairly messy and unrefined, and I’m not super comfortable with it. I had the same feeling when I went over this unnamed illustration of a nude girl in a giant mushroom forest (side note: really need to work on how I draw faces).

I like everything about this except the face. Too bad that’s real ink…

Then I tried again with an image straight from a reference. I did a quick digital sketch, printed it out and drew most of the details with pencil, letting my imagination drive things. Unfortunately, my imagination wasn’t really in the mood so I left this one unfinished for now.

No plan here. The perils of randomness…

I feel decent about my latest try. It started as a full digital doodle but I decided to use it as a base for a pencil drawing, eschewing both marker and ink for the time being. I worked on it while watching movies and I think it turned out reasonably well.

Finally something I didn’t totally hate…

But to be honest, I recognize that the problem is less about how I’m drawing and more about what I’m drawing. I’m not doing anything as interesting (to myself) as I once was. I need to shift my focus back to things with depth. My goal is to produce art that people might actually want to buy, but as of now I’ve only been successful making money from services (commissions) and a scant few book and product sales. If I’m going to be able to sell artwork, I need to refine and improve my approaches. Better anatomy, perspective, compositions…I need to evolve more as an artist.

My current goal is to find a way to grow, to become successful at my craft. Barring that, I suppose I can always get back to work on my game…but that’s not making any money either.

Anyway, thanks for reading. See you next time.