Song’s sketchbook – Visiting Student Day

Song’s sketchbook – Visiting Student Day

Song was a student in my class a couple of years ago. She visited my my class recently and lucky us, she brought her sketchbook.

I remember back in the day when Song was a student in my class she was a little lost. She was completely unsure of herself. Her confidence was just not there.

However she perservered and her skill set began to grow. Her confidence also started to grow. It’s really amazing to see her progress. She always had a natural talent within her, it just needed some nurturing to allow it to flourish.

We all periodically lose our confidence when it comes to creating our own artwork. The key is to keep creating. Never stop learning new techniques, never stop taking classes.

Yes you want to be aware of the talent around you. Yes you want to have role models too. But there comes a time when you just have to put your head down, cut away all of the noise and get to drawing. Get to working on you.

That’s just want Song did and I’m happy to say that she chose me to be her thesis instructor. It should be a wild ride and I’m totally ready to help in any way I can.



Take a look at Song’s Instagram.

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Alice’s Two Mini Sketchbooks

Alice’s Two Mini Sketchbooks

Okay you have definitely got to check out Alice’s two mini sketchbooks. All the way from Shanghai Alice can draw with the best of them. I knew from way back in September of 2017 that Alice had a lot of natural raw talent.

Her life drawing is super bold. Her life drawings are big and they have a ton of gesture. I really like how Alice adapts to different drawing environments. Her life drawings are really expressive. She draws mainly with her arm in class, not her fingers.

However in her tiny sketchbooks she is able to draw in such a loose way using just her fingers.

Arms, hands and fingers, you want to use them all when you draw. Always mix up what you are drawing on, just like Alice. In class she draws on a big 18 x 24 pad. However like she said in the video she is really comfortable drawing in a tiny 6″ x 6″ sketchbook. I love that sort of variety.

Be aware of how you draw. Draw only with your fingers and your drawings can look stiff. You want to be conscious of how you draw on a regular basis. When you start to move your arm you bring a loose gestural feeling into your drawings.

Alice is really progressing in class. The sketchbook that she is currently working on is amazing. I hope to film that one in a few weeks.

Thanks for watching. Alice thanks for sharing your sketchbooks!



Follow Alice on Instagram.

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Rough Sketches – Working Out The Details

Rough Sketches – Working Out The Details

Okay so you’ve taken the time to find some really good background reference. What next? Well it’s time to crank out some rough sketches.

When working with an Art Director on an illustration project it’s appropriate to provide them with at least three rough sketches. It helps to get a dialogue going concerning the details of the scene. This in turn will help when working with a model during the photoshoot.

The model you are photographing for your illustration project will really appreciate seeing a rough sketch. It will most definitely help them visualize how they should be acting out the pose.

Working on rough sketches is a great time to plan and think. You can certainly use a multitude of techniques when composing your scene. I like using a grid, I also like to use big compositional shapes. Compositional shapes are big areas of light and shade.

You can also use compositional shapes to help organize very complicated areas of your image. Grouping things or people together in similar values is a great way to think about compositional shapes.

There should be a method to the madness of creating quality illustrations time and time again.

So far my method is inspiration, thumbnail sketches, background reference and now rough sketches.



Remember every artist’s process should be unique and different. There is no one size fits all to process. The point of this Illustration Process course at Drawing Tutorials Online is to get you thinking about how you go about creating images.

Are you flying by the seat of your pants? If so you need to start thinking about a process that gets you consistently good results. The main difference between a professional artist and an amateur is consistency.

That’s why I’ve created this course for you. I want you to understand and master your personal process for creating great art.

Thanks for watching.


Background Reference – Setting The Scene

Background Reference – Setting The Scene

Okay so you have completed your thumbnail sketches, now what? You most likely have some real questions like, how is my background going to look? What time of day does my scene take place? I’m really not sure how to draw that tree in the background.

That’s where this lesson comes into play. Finding background reference helps you to figure out all of the nitty gritty details in your scene. It helps to take the guess work out of your image making process. Even if you work only from your imagination I encourage you to use background reference.

It’s not about copying pictures exactly. It’s about filling in empty gaps. These gaps of uncertainty usually lead to an inconsistent image making process.

In the illustration I am creating over at Drawing Tutorials Online I stress to members the importance of background reference. For myself I’ve always looked for background reference right after I finished my thumbnail sketches.

Background reference enabled me to visualize my figure within a scene. It helped me to visualize my entire illustration.

It was also a huge part of my creative process. I really enjoyed going out into the field to photograph my own reference. When that was not possible I usually looked to the stock photography sites.

In the case of this illustration I used istockphoto to purchase the rights to use a photographers image. It really did save me a lot of time. Plus I do not live out west so I couldn’t possibly have photographed for the scene.



If you would like to gain access to our full Illustration Process course today take a peek our our subscription options.

Thanks so much for reading!


Helen’s Sketchbook – 70’s Character – Marker – Gesture

Helen’s Sketchbook – 70’s Character – Marker – Gesture

Helen sketchbook is pretty amazing. Helen is a super quiet student who arrives to class each week ready to draw. She methodically creates very beautiful drawings time and time again. Her life drawings and sketchbook drawings are both quintessential Helen.

Lot’s of bold shapes combined with strong line. Looking through Helen’s sketchbook was a great experience. I absolutely love the twists and turns her sketchbook took me through. I trust it will take you for a twisty ride as well.

The character design towards the end of the sketchbook is pretty unique. I really loved all of the intricate details, diverse shapes and interesting costume design.

Something tells me Helen is going to move onto a great career in the arts. She has a wonderful sense of design and creativity unique to Helen.



To see more of Helen’s artwork visit

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