I defected – Prismacolors. About 2 hours.

Small size:

Small size

Full size:

Poppy with blending

The leaf isn’t really drawn in front of the poppy so the overlap is not right. Simply need to draw one in front of the other.

More self

9B. About thirty minutes. Need to do same but with FEWER LINES YOU IDIOT. I was going to rehabilitate the eyes-on-two-levels issue but figured what the hell.

Self portrait 6

Self portrait one: Fat Simian Gary

About ten minutes. This is the baseline sketch on which all other self-portraits shall improve.

Fat Simian Gary

I know, I know. It’s crap. But it’s little more than a quick concept sketch to start getting an idea of what I want to do – so keep your pants on.


No grid. No initial graphite sketch. No large sections blocked out – it was all done one little area at a time.

About 2.5 hours using Derwent Coloursofts. The scan saturated the colors – the original is nowhere near as polyester in appearance.


Here’s the same sketch, this time with 300 (versus 60 or so), and unsharp mask off.

Beetle scan with unsharp mask-off

I can’t see any damn difference.

This time set at 96dpi, and scanned in for a target of 4″ x 6″ (usually I scan it at original). Auto levels used in Photoshop as per usual:

Beetle small scan

4800dpi at 4″ x 6″. Took a couple of minutes to scan.

Beetle 3 small scan @ 4800dpi


Several hours. I made numerous technical mistakes with the colored pencils (Derwent Coloursofts) and, of course, did it on Strathmore Drawing paper, 80lb, medium, which is bloody terrible for use with coloured pencils (it has great tooth, but is too coarsely grained).

Blue and brown frog

No grid – this was drawn freehand. Nostril is in the wrong location, and the snout is too long. Shadows came up really dark – too dark. (For the shadows I used a blend of dark green, purple, red, and orange.)

Arse end of a grasshopper

The amateur entomologist who posted his photo on Flickr noted the following characteristics about this creature:

What: A grasshopper
Where: On a leaf

Thank you, sir. HB and cheap paper. About 45 minutes.

The arse of a grasshopper

And no – I’m not making it up. That’s what its tail looks like…

Hold on. I just got thinking about what exactly this must be. Grasshoppers don’t have tails… So, after a little research my guess is that it’s his aedeagus – or to put it another way, his penis.

Eye sketches

Next go. I ignored the tutorial this time, which is why it’s better than yesterday. (It is a different eye.)

I also learned from my mistakes – I didn’t attempt to draw the highlight like a little square, thus avoiding what a currently unknown but rather opinionated Art Critic described as, “A window into the soul.”

Small eye

Here’s the big version – closer to actual size.

Eye sketch

Most egregious mistakes were, of course, the last elements drawn: Shadow on the eyeball above the iris, and shadow above the eye.

I didn’t follow a tutorial. Took about 45 minutes.

The Frog Project II: Complete

Couple more hours work and ta-da: The Final Frog. Actual size 8″x10″. I did not erase the grid lines before the final darkening of the colours – I guess I’ll remember next time.

Final frog

And here he is, super small size. Which was part of the reason for doing this drawing – do it large, then scale it down to see how it looks small. So, here’s how he looks:

Frog small

The Frog Project I: Work in Progress

Work in progress. You can just make out the grid. Prismacolour. On drawing stock. Outlined using coloured pencils, then the lighter yellows and greens were blocked in. Then the cream colour (his lips, mostly). Then darker greens. Then black. About two hours to get this far. Close to actual size.

Frog - Work in Progress

Poison dart frog

Derwent Coloursoft pencils. About two hours. Grid drawn from a photo reference. Scanned at 48-bit. No level adjustments in Photoshop.

Dendrobates azureus

Posion dart frog

Here is the same with a background. Shadows are – I now see – not finished. Oops.

Frog 2

Sleeping dog

An accidental sketch – saw the photo and started to rough it out, then 45 minutes later I found I was done. Gorgeous photo on Flickr. He’s a rusty red color, with a touch of black around his lips.

Sleeping dog

The scan was 48-bit color, with the image subsequently converted to grayscale in Photoshop, which got rid of the “blueness” of the original RGB scan while retaining the fidelity.