Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. ~Maya Angelou

progression of sketch from graphite to digital experiments

Maya Angelou's quotation rings true especially with regards to any interest, craft, or hobby. Most of us aren't naturally gifted with the craft that we choose. It takes patience, and time, and practice before any improvements can be seen. Do the best you can until you know better. I love that.

I already have quite a collection of sketchbooks in which I have been trying different techniques. As I look through them from time to time, I notice that I can do better than what I have done, say , a year ago.

Of course any art can be improved at any time. However, after a year has gone by, and I have been experimenting, and practising,  and following online classes, as well as having joined several online art groups, it makes sense that I can see some needed changes in my work more clearly.

Last week, I reworked a graphite sketch that was done a year ago in one of those sketchbooks.

The greatest improvement in last week's sketch I feel is in the shading. The sketch done a year ago did not have enough contrast in tones between the shaded areas and those in the light. I made a few other adjustments as well to the nose, the mouth, and to the left eye and added subtle hatching to her hat to mimic fabric which must be wool or felt.

This first sketch is the improved one.

improved graphite sketch 2016
first sketch of vintage portrait

After I completed the improvements, I set the drawing aside for a while. Then, one night, I found my stylus which I hadn't used in a while, and opened up my apps on my iPad.

Adding colour to the graphite sketch I had completed earlier was a breeze using Procreate, an app I purchased last fall. There are so many possibilities that I haven't yet explored with this amazing software. Besides adding colours, there are different brushes within a variety of categories such as inking, airbrushing, sketching, etc. that can be selected. You can see the effect of the oriental brush in the fur.  There are so many options that I am just really only using the software in a most basic way at this point.  I admit that I have a much greater admiration now for digital artists.

digitally enhanced graphite sketch

In the end, after the sketch was painted, I exported the resulting product into other apps and experimented with a variety of backgrounds, textures, lighting, etc.

This is not the first time that I use traditional art and make digital improvements and changes to it. You can view similar enhancements to my other drawings from last fall here:  "My Goodness How the Time Has Flown" and "Going Digital Without Fear".

fade out image
graphic digital reworking of sketch

I still don't know exactly where this art journey is taking me but I am having fun along the way, and I am encouraged that I can see differences between my work today and my earlier work.

I am doing the best I can until I know that I can do better. So wisely said.


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