Back To Basics

watercolor meditation painting
Watercolor pencil. Inspired by chakras, meditation, and love for life.

When life starts to get tough, go back to the basics. Remember what you want, where you came from, and the person you worked so hard to be. If you know those things, the darkness will soon be behind you.

Where are you going? What do you want?

The road had suddenly stopped looking familiar. What once felt warm and inviting now felt cold and eerie. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been so unhappy. The sky was growing dark. I had seen that old willow tree before. Was I going in circles now?

There was a sinking feeling in my stomach as I began to panic. The more I panicked the more my heart rate sped up. The more my heart rate sped up, the more the world seemed to spiral out of control around me. The more the world seemed to spiral out of control, the more I wanted to scream and cry.

I couldn’t be going in circles! I had a clear destination in mind. I had to get there and I had to get there now. There was no time to waste and here I was in a dark wasteland.

All of a sudden I heard a laugh. Contrary to my surroundings it wasn’t an evil laugh. There was clearly humor in it. Whoever was laughing was finding this funny!

“Are you laughing at me?” I called in the direction of the laugh. A part of me wanted to strangle them; another part of me just wanted a hug.

The face of a cat, fluffy and purple appeared in the old dead tree above me.

“Who me?” the cat said, the wide smile still on its face.

“Yes you! What’s so funny?”

“A cat can’t have a good time?” it said as it stood on its head…literally it took its head off and was standing on it!

I still wanted to be annoyed but my fear was draining my will to be angry. Instead I felt tired and in need of reassurance. “I need help finding my way.”

“What are you trying to do?”

“I…” I couldn’t help but hesitate. What was I trying to do? All this time I thought I knew but when I thought about it I actually had no idea. “I’m…not sure,” I finally admitted.

“When do you need to be there?” the cat pressed on.

I looked down at my feet in shame that I didn’t know the answer to that question either. “I don’t know.”

“Where are you trying to go?”

I looked up at the cat again who was looking at me with interest. Again, I couldn’t think of an answer. “Well…I guess it really doesn’t matter as long as…”

“Then I guess it really doesn’t matter which way you go,” the cat said with a smirk.

I stared at him with a blank face for a moment waiting for him to tell me he was joking. But his smirk only widened and within a moment, he vanished.

“Wait! Don’t go!” I exclaimed desperately.

But the cat didn’t return.

My fear returned just as quickly as it vanished. I was lost out here. I thought I had such a clear cut plan about where I was going and how I was going to get there but the reality of the situation was that I truly didn’t know.

I sat down on the ground with my face in my hands as the darkness enveloped me. The cat was right. If I didn’t know where I wanted to go then what did it matter the path that I was on. All I saw ahead of me was darkness if I didn’t know where I was going.

All of a sudden it was as if the last puzzle piece had fallen into place in my mind. I remembered my goals, I remembered where I wanted to go and how I had come so far and crossed many obstacles to get to this point. I remembered why I was going and what it took for me to get there. The cat was right. It didn’t matter which way I went. But if I know where I’m going, I’ll have to take different paths to get there. It wasn’t supposed to be easy. If I persisted through the darkness, surely I would make it there eventually.

I stood up and began to run into the darkness ahead of me. I ignored the spiders and the bats and the eerie sounds of the whistling wind. My goal was at the forefront of my mind and I knew how to get there.

A light appeared in front of me. As I approached it, I began to feel all of the warmth and happiness that I had become so accustomed to. I was on the right path and I was never going to lose my way again.

Disney Characters Tim Burton Style

It’s no secret that I love Tim Burton. The art style of movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, and Edward Scissorhands, is incredible. It’s gothic and dark and beautiful all at the same time.

Every now and then I like to try my hand at experimenting with the style on different characters. A while ago I did A Series Of Unfortunate Events in Tim Burton style. This time I decided to try my hand at a few Disney Characters.

I’ve noticed a few defining characteristics of Tim Burton style: sunken in features, like the cheek bones, eye sockets, and collar bones. They’re always really pale (even though I drew mine here in black and white) like they haven’t seen the sun in years. They tend to be very thin. And they’ve got big, exaggerated eyes.

So I tried to convey that in Alice, Belle, Elsa, and Mother Gothel. I really like how they turned out. I wonder what it would be like if these movies were remade like this, dark background typical of Tim Burton movies and all.

Alice In Wonderland, Tim Burton Style
Alice In Wonderland
Belle Tim Burton Style
Belle
Elsa Tim Burton Style
Elsa Tim Burton Style
Mother Gothel Tim Burton Style
Mother Gothel Tim Burton Style

Let me know in the comments what you think of these characters in Tim Burton Style and what other characters would you want to see.

Chester Bennington: Why We Can’t Ignore Mental Illness

These past few days I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the Chester Bennington’s suicide and thinking about what to say about it. It’s sad, it’s extremely unfortunate, and it’s something that we need to be talking about.

In case you don’t know, Chester Bennington is the lead singer of the band Linkin Park. If you’ve never heard of Linkin Park take a minute to listen to a few of their songs and allow them to enlighten you and make your life better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sgycukafqQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qlCC1GOwFw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVTXPUF4Oz4

I’ve been listening to Linkin Park since I was in 7th grade. The first song I heard from them was “What I’ve Done” and I’ve been hooked ever since. I didn’t believe it at first; celebrities are rumored to be dead all the time. But when numerous news outlets were saying that Chester committed suicide I knew it was real. They’ve been my favorite band ever and they’ve gotten me through so much so Chester’s death hit me hard.

When I listened to their music I felt like someone understood me, I felt like I wasn’t alone in the world. The fact that Chester had done that for me and I didn’t even know him nor had any chance of ever meeting him and he could do that to me speaks volumes about the type of person he was. The fact that I or anyone else couldn’t do that for him is painful. And this is why we need to be talking about this.

Depression is very real. I don’t care what anyone says. All the naysayers saying that Chester was a coward and selfish for committing suicide obviously haven’t been there themselves and don’t understand depression.

I’ve been depressed before, never to the point of suicide but I know people who have. It’s not a joke, this is serious. When someone tells you they’re depressed, take that seriously. Do every single thing you possibly can to help them. Don’t belittle their pain and say things like “It’s all in your head” or “Maybe you should get out of bed and you won’t be depressed.”

NO!

Depression doesn’t work that way. Often times you don’t know why you’re sad. You just are. There’s nothing you can do to help it. And people react to depression in different ways such as:

  • Withdrawing from the world and spend time alone.
  • Sleeping a lot.
  • Lashing out in attempt to push away their loved ones because they don’t want to be a burden.

Instead of attacking them or putting them down for the way they act try to:

  • Encourage them
  • Make them laugh
  • Take them out for a good time
  • Compliment them
  • Give them hugs and show them you care
  • Try to understand how they’re feeling

Kindness is so important. Even to people you don’t know. You don’t know what the person next to you on the bus or the person you pass by on the street could be going through. One action could either lead them to their breaking point or show that there is some good left in humanity.

I’ve had people tell me that my smile or my kind word has made their entire day. To make someone else feel that way is enough to make my entire day as well. It just feels good to be kind. We should all do it.

I try to be kind to everyone I meet because I know what it’s like to be in that place. I’ve had a friend commit suicide because she felt she had nothing. I wish every day that I could have been there for her in that dark moment the way she was there for me and tell her that everything will be okay. So if I can do anything to show anyone that there is someone in the world who cares about them I will.

Chester Bennington’s death was unfortunate and I deeply wish the world didn’t have to lose another beautiful soul. I wish there was some way we could save everyone from themselves. All we can do is spread kindness and support to everyone we meet and hope that we’re keeping them afloat for another day.

And for everyone who is suffering from depression, you’re not alone. So many other people feel this way. At the same time though, there is so much to live for. When you get out of that dark place and find peace within yourself it feels so good to live and enjoy life. There are always going to be dark moment, but the good in life always surpasses the bad in anything.

If no one else tells you, I want you to know that I love you. I believe in you. And I want you to live a life full of the joy and happiness you deserve.

Chester Bennington drawing
RIP Chester Bennington

I did this picture of Chester because I really do adore Linkin Park. I sat down to watch their music videos a few days ago and almost cried. I found a tribute to one of my favorites would be good for the moment, although I wish I could bring him back.

As if this weren’t emotional enough, there is a beautiful tribute to Chester on their website.

We have to do whatever we can to save more people from feeling like suicide is the only way out. Please share this video I made last year, Destigmatizing Depression, on the stigma of depression and what we can do to dissolve it.

Also this is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Line:

1-800-273-8255

Life is beautiful and everyone deserves to live a great one.

How Tow Draw Anime Faces

I’ve always been a huge anime fan. Inuyasha, Bleach, One Piece, and Fairy Tail are just a few of the ones I watched all the time and I’ve also read plenty of manga.

Being an artist as well, I would draw anime all the time. Literally I spent a good two years of my life when I was a teenager drawing nothing but Inuyasha. It’s kind of sad.

That being said, I thought I would pass on some of my anime knowledge to the internet. These are tips I use and my style of drawing. This isn’t the only way of drawing anime, just look at any anime show, they’re all different. But this is one way to do it and it’s what I’ve learned over the years.

anime faces tutorial part 1

Step 1: The Head

This is pretty straight forward. All anime characters generally have the same head shape. I find it easier to draw them at a 3/4 angle rather than a profile or straight forward.

What you want to keep in mind is that you want to use an oval as your base shape, not circle. A circle is going to make your character look like a child and unless that’s what you’re going for stick to the oval.

Guidelines are also a big deal. It just really helps to know where you’re going to place facial features, especially if you’re doing action poses. Honestly, you should be doing guidelines for EVERYTHING you draw. It’s going to make your drawing look a lot neater in the long run.

Step 2: Face

Let’s start with eyes:

Eyes are what really makes an anime character an anime character. You can instantly tell it’s anime based on the eyes alone. Anime eyes are extremely exaggerated, the bigger the better. Drawing highlights in the eyes are going to make them look a lot more detailed too. As you can see from above, there are about a million different styles you can choose from.

anime faces tutorial part 2

Other facial features:

Noses and mouths on anime characters kind of take a backseat to the eyes. They’re there but they’re not there if that makes sense. Keep it simple. But also make your nose have some semblance of a nose. Make sure it has a bridge at least a vague shape.

Another thing to keep in mind is that ears have folds. As easy as it would be to draw a smooth ear, they just don’t look like that. Always remember the small details.

Step 3: Hair

I love anime hair. To me it’s the best part of drawing an anime character. It can be anything you want: long, short, wavy, curly, dog and cat ears sticking out, you name it.

What makes anime hair stand out is that it tends of be very angular and spikey, no matter what texture you’re drawing. Just let your hand be free and do what you want. Surprise yourself with how it ends up looking.

Step 4: Put it all together

cute naime girl

Now that you’ve learned all the steps to drawing faces, put it together into something cool!

It’s okay if it doesn’t look perfect on the first go. It takes a minute to get the hang of the anime style if you’re not extremely familiar with it. But keep practicing. Look at other artist. Read mangas and look at anime’s, where else would be a better place to learn how to draw them?

Let me know in the comments what you thought of this tutorial. And tell us all what your favorite anime is and tips for drawing it!

“My Crazy Life” Comic Series

I really enjoy looking at web comics. Chris Hallbeck, Catana, and Cassandra Calin are just a few that I love reading. One day I figured I draw and with all the weird stuff that happens to me I definitely have enough content to create a series.

And that’s how My Crazy Life came to be.

cat comic
You’d really be surprised how often she does this…

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve created a page dedicated to them. They’re stuff about my job, my boyfriend, my boyfriend’s cat, and a ton of other random things that happen to me. I’ve been drawing a lot of them and I update the page pretty regularly. I also post them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as I draw them.

Give them a read and tell me what you think of them. Also share them! I want these to be as popular as Sarah’s Scribbles.

20170518_134015
People who flirt with me at work #1

This Is What Happens When You Re-draw Old Stuff

Have you ever looked at an old drawing that you thought was the bomb.com years ago and now realize that it is actually utter crap? After a moment of being embarrassed and wondering how you could ever draw something so terrible, you decide “I can do so much better than that now!” So you decide to draw it again adding that new flavor?

I do it all the time. I feel like a really good exercise in getting better at drawing is re-drawing.

Why do I re-draw?

  1. I can see how much I’ve improved over the years
  2. I can add a new style to an old drawing that I wouldn’t have thought about before
  3. I can’t think of anything else to draw at the moment
  4. I really really hate the old drawing and feel like I somehow need to redeem myself

For this project I chose four drawings to re-draw.

Adapting My Style

The oldest one was the Cruella De Ville one  which is from 2009. I saw that and I hated it so much! Sure I loved it in 2009 because “The DeVil Wears Prada” is clever. But I don’t know what I was thinking with her face and God knows why I made her dress like that. I’m very into drawing fashion poses these days so instead of her being a frumpy mess, she’s now a sexy model that fits my current style.

New techniques

One thing you realize when going through old stuff to re-draw, is what you used to draw back then. And I’ll admit I had a hard time figuring out what to draw because from about 2011 to 2014, 90 percent of my stuff was Inuyasha! A lot of them were actually good, like this one up here from about 2012. But there was no detail, no highlights or shadows or anything like that. I actually like the old one, but I absolutely love the new one because of the detail I’ve learned to draw. Same for the Mulan one, although I can’t really say I love the old one all that much.

Re-Re-Drawing

The Michael Jackson one is interesting. I had an idea to draw from his music video for “Stranger In Moscow” quite a long time ago and as you can see from the first one that’s from about 2013, it’s not very good. So I did it again a year later and I still wasn’t very satisfied with it. Of course I had to do it again and while I think it’s light years better than the other two, I still don’t know if I’m 100% sold on it. I guess it’s going to be one of those things that I’ll do over and over again. Stay tuned for years from now when I blog about the hundredth time I’ve drawn that one!

So what’s the point of re-drawing?

Is your work going to be perfect when you re-draw? Absolutely not! More than likely, you’ll look at it years from now and you’ll feel the same way you did about the old drawing and decide that you need to re-draw it again.

Sometimes we feel like we’re getting stagnant in our drawing. We’re not sure if we’re getting any better. No matter how many times you re-draw one drawing over the years, re-drawing is a great way to boost your confidence and just have fun.

 

 

To The Person Who Says Art Is A Useless Career

How many times have you heard this, “Doing art for the rest of your life is useless”, “Art isn’t a real career”, or “You’ll never make money as an artist”?

Too many times artists (Or any creative career paths really. I’ve heard these plenty of times as a journalism/creative writing major) art told that their craft is useless and that nothing will ever come from it in life and they should just quit right now and do something that will actually “make them money.” And it can be disheartening that society has so little faith in what you love yet chooses to put so much stock in those who take the math and science route.

Well for everyone who says that art and any other fine arts career is useless, I think I speak for all of us artistic, creative souls out there when I say that I disagree with you, and here’s why.

  1. There are many artists out there who make a very decent living.
cindy sherman photography
Cindy Sherman – “Untitled Film Still #58”

Whoever says you can’t make any money as an artist is extremely uninformed. Complex lists the top 15 Richest Living Artists In The World including German artist George Baselitz, photographer Cindy Sherman, and sculptor Anthony Gormley to name a few. These people’s net worth Is in the millions. There are plenty of incredible artists who aren’t millionaire’s but live very comfortably. Juan Da Corte has built up a big following on Youtube with his art. Michelle Phan is a Youtube makeup artist but built off of her love of art by creating a successful webcomic called Helios Femina. Through lots of hard work and dedication to your craft, any artist can become highly successful.

  1. Life isn’t all about money

my goal is to create a life I don't need a vacation from

Of course, you need to make money to live well. But honestly, life isn’t all about money. For those who manage to make it big with six figure jobs, that’s great. In reality most people don’t and they realize that. Life isn’t all about making money for some people. An artist sets out to do what they love because they’re proud of it and want to share it with the world. When they see one of those articles on Business Insider or Forbes describing the highest paying jobs and art isn’t in the same stratosphere, they don’t feel bad. They don’t care if they aren’t bringing in a gigantic paycheck, or even if they have to take another job in some cases. They’re passionate about what they do. Isn’t that enough?

  1. You know those comics, movies, clothes, etc, that you like? Those were made by artists!

Michelle Tanner

You know those Marvel Comics you read? An artist drew them. Those clothes you like to wear? An artist designed them. That new movie that just came out with the cool special effects? An artist made that. So many things we enjoy were created by artists who were dedicated to what they do and made an effort to make a living off of it and share it with the world. So the next time you tell an artist their work is useless, just remember that you wouldn’t have half the things you like if it weren’t for the artist who made it.

  1. Honestly, life would be really boring without artists

Create

Think about it. Artists are some of the coolest people in the world. We all know that eccentric person who’s always drawing something. Or the person who will take any project and make it more interesting just by being creative. Life can’t be all about math and science. The world needs creative people to make it more interesting.

So to all the artists out there, next time someone tells you your art is pointless remind them of these things and that at least you’re passionate about what you do. All of your hard work is admirable and very much needed in the world.

5 Ways To Improve Your Art Skills

Art is an ongoing learning process. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, there is always something new to learn and a way to improve your skills whether you’ve been doing this for years or you’re just starting out. As someone who has been an artist for nearly her entire 21 years of life, here are some ways I’ve found very useful in improving my art along with some books, tutorials, and artists I follow.

Doodle…A LOT

Doodling is a sure fire way to get practice anywhere and everywhere. I’ve been known to spend entire class periods in school drawing. I have notebooks that are filled with more drawings than notes. I would draw on my mom’s grocery lists. I would even draw on my own pants! Draw something from a simple flower and sun to a detailed portrait of your favorite singer. Doodle on anything and everything.

Read!

I will never discount the importance of reading art books. I got my first one when I was probably 5 or 6, it was a Powerpuff Girls drawing book. I’ve studied plenty of them since then and to this day I read whatever I can get my hands on. Whatever you’re interested in, like animals, anime, realism, pick up a book on it. Even things you’re not interested in, read about those too! You’d be surprised what you can learn from them.

I always credit this book with teaching me how to draw at an early age.

lt drawing

Here’s a page out of one of my favorite books Shojo Fashion: Manga Art School

20170521_163201

The Big book of Realistic Drawing Secrets by Carrie Stuart Parks and Rick Parks goes really in depth.

20170521_163132

Not even just books, check out some online tutorials as well. I look up tutorials on EVERYTHING. Charcoal, painting, anime, cartoon characters, you name it. I can’t even begin to tell you how helpful I’ve found these. Here are a few that I’ve used in the past and found extremely helpful:

  1. Acrylic Painting
  2. Charcoal
  3. Anime Hair
  4. Watercolor Pencil

Observe The World Around You

The world around you is the most realistic  it gets. Use it! Do some people watching, observe facial expressions, shadows, highlights, fashion, and body language. Take a look at building angles and perspective. Go out and draw what you see. Use your friends and family as a reference. I did a more detailed blog post about this topic a while ago.

Learn From The Pros

Michael Jackson once said “Learn from the greats and become greater.” Never overlook what you can learn from people who are already masters at their craft. Over the years I’ve followed plenty of people who have inspired me and helped me learn even more. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Renu Sharma 
  2. Lena Danya
  3. Hayden Williams
  4. Chuck Jones
  5. Benoit Corti

Just Do It

just do it

My biggest tip is to just do it. It doesn’t matter how bad you think you are, you’ll never know until you just sit down, take a deep breath, and try it. There have been so many drawings that I was actually scared to do because I didn’t think I was good enough and I didn’t think it would turn out even half way decent. But I did it and I was pleasantly surprised. Just do it, put yourself out there, and put away all of your insecurities and inhibitions. You’ll never know until you try.

Hopefully these tips are helpful to you. What are some tips you have for improving your art?

Warrior II – Sponge Painting Tutorial

Warrior II Yoga

Warrior II is my favorite yoga pose. It just feels so powerful to me. It’s my favorite part of a yoga class, it makes me feel like I’m setting out to conquer the world.

That’s what I tried to portray with this painting here. The power, the ambition, the drive to conquer everything. I wasn’t going to put the “Live Strong” on the mat at first but it goes with it so well. With the background the idea was looking towards the light: the positivity, the means of power. Away from the darkness.

Speaking of the background, that was the main thing about this painting. I read in an art book a while ago about sponge painting. It’s just a way to get a different texture. I’m all for trying new things so I decided to go for it.

I just used a regular kitchen sponge, nothing fancy.

kitchen sponge

To get the ombre effect I started with a dark purple and continuously got lighter and lighter. The main thing was to make sure the colors faded into each other so there wouldn’t be any harsh lines.

Here’s a quick video of how I did it.