Sketchbook Thread of Sirielle


Just dropped by to say this is a great thread! love all the paintings… i don’t know much about painting but i have tried doing some… i like the colors you have used for your paintings and i admire fantasy works a lot


Thank you, namnocilis!

Final final, I left the hand, but fixed the collar bone and made sure the snow falls better:

Now I can go away from home for a few days :slight_smile:


It’s been a while since August, when I finished the man in snow and got stuck on the other WIP (well I finally turned the wild elf into grey scale, haven’t done anything else though). Not much happened since then:

It supposed to be face of the man in snow, but someone else got into my mind while painting.

A vampire for PixelBrush quick pix.

But recently I reminded myself about old idea for illustration I’ve had, so I grabbed pencil, some pens and moved it a bit forward in planing:

  • initial sketch from July 2007 (a “note” to remember the scene)

  • present ideas on thumbnails, I like the bottom right one best

  • clothes ideas for characters

(colour variants coloured and corrected in PC)

People marching through ice field (ice straits). It can’t really be fashion fair, also I want to keep it toned down, but still I could make up something more than just a hood and blanket. Need and want to sketch more of it. Chances are I’ll continue this one next year or so :wink:

On a side note I can’t stand pencil alone, looks lacking contrast to me, so I have to ran with ball pen or pens over it.


Hi Sirielle :slight_smile:

You know I was reading a bit in your sketchbook and something occured to me:
Your biggest problem is not composition nor color nor value nor anatomy as you think. Surely they are extremely important and every self respecting artist will strive to improve all of these things for the rest of his/her life.

I know exactly what you go through because I am a bit of a perfectionist myself, and many times it has kept me from calling something finished, being unable to let go.

What will really help you is to learn to see every painting, drawing or sketch you make as an exercise, nothing more. A step upward on the infinite stairs to heaven, if you like. Think about it. Surely you will think now that this is contradictory to artistic perseption, but it works great if you give every sketch, every doodle, every painting your very best and put your whole heart to it… until at some point you say: DONE! when you evaluate your work afterwards, think about the things that can be improved and the things that worked out well. Take those things with you on your next exercise.

Also, you need to draw from reference. Perhaps it seems boring to you now (although I personally think that you avoid it because you fear to fail at sketching things, which is perfectly normal), but you will learn how to really see by doing such studies. Pick out any master painter from the present or the past, and you will find out that they did many many studies.

The way I see it is that every person, tree, cloud, flower, car, house, street, table, etc is a tool.

A tool I can use to get better and faster, in combination with my pencil, pen or stylus or whatever medium is at hand. Don’t spend too much time on each sketch (max 1hr or 90min if you want to practice shading). You should try to keep an average of 30 sec to 10mn max per sketch. Often, when drawing from real life situations you will find 2 minutes is extremely long for a person to keep a pose. They look around, move their arms, switch the supporting leg when standing, turn around, etc…
In general, it’s better to combine lots and lots of quick studies with a few longer studies.

A couple of posts ago (on aug 7th to be specific) you mentioned that you would like to draw on a daily basis, but you just don’t. Any particular reason? How did that drawing group go btw? A sketching group is AWESOME! It’s like going to drawing class, only in a different environment, and with different models :slight_smile:

But even if you don’t have a sketching group, there are still many things around you that can be studied -at any time of the day. I often look at the clouds when I’m driving home from work for example, and every time I wish I had a laptop and a cintiq so I could stop the car and start painting them. Then again, I’d have to do many explanations of being late everywhere I go LOL.

Anyway, I hope I was able to motivate you to pick up that pencil, leave those fears of failing, and start sketching the world around you. And yes, I garantuee you that most of the stuff you draw the first weeks (or even months in my case) will disappoint you. But be persistent! When I have a rought time studying I always remember Anand’s signature that said “Talent is cheap, dedication is priceless”!

The stuff you paint is beautiful.
The stuff you will study will make it so much better and it will make you more complete as an artist.
Put everything you have in every sketch, but letting go and moving on to the next “exercise” at the right time will make you feel FREE


Thank you so much Johan :slight_smile:

You are right in everything what you said, including the fear to fail, also at sketching from life. Plus something you said in your thread - fear of leaving (and showing) imperfections. I used to post drawings, but I after time I feel urge to delete everything (sketches, not portfolio images). I’m still learning to let pieces go, treat them as exercise and paint a new those failed ones, not repaint them. Good thing is I see it now and understand it, only the urge to fix haven’t disappeared. And I still got problem with the redhaired “elf” fella. I should let it go but after the crit I got I feel like a cheater and coward not fixing it. People put effort to give me advice, I should at least try.

Persistence, you are so right about it and Anand’s signature is true - talent is just a start, will do nothing without practice. A side not - I am sure that most of people would draw nice if they never gave it up, as all the kids can draw in first years of school. John Howe said once that we are loosing ability to draw because we stop doing it early and only practice writing and do it a lot, which involves different type of focus (detail vs global). If all of us practised drawing as much as writing, we would not only draw better, but also had better planning skills and look at world differently :slight_smile:

My problem is the lack of systematics in drawing reflects my life. I never went to the drawing classes so far, although e-mailed them and got invitation for a free lesson. And I will not get there tomorrow for it’s already after 6 AM and I haven’t gone to bed yet. If I don’t change the way I live and think of myself drawings will be missing, incomplete and wonky. In the end what we draw/the way we draw reflects us, no matter what we would say against it. On the other hand changing drawing habits should reflect on life, too :slight_smile:

What is surprising to me those pencil sketches I did were pretty fast, I do it longer on computer - a trap of fixing forever and being lazy because everything can be moved etc. On paper plan must be better from the start. Still I expected to get much worse results than I did. Of course I had to fix them at least with ballpen :wink: But my sketch from life was a crap compared with what I expected from myself, so yes, I should prepare to see a lot of crappy sketches. Plan for later today - do some life studies on paper, I’ll try :slight_smile:

Thank you again for all the thoughts and inspirations!

A few images. The sketch was quick, I just discovered textures on paper in Art Rage and sketched “whatever” to test it. Then a trap - I liked the sketch, so decided to ink it and colour in Painter. There are still anatomical problems, but I had fun making it:

Sketch in Art Rage.

Digital ink in Painter, I 'fixed" it on the tests below, but it looks better here.


Watercolour layer in Painter. Crazy colours, too dark shading, lost light source and fun.

I tried to repaint it with airbrushes to fix what I noticed. Still not enough, but this poor guy will stay this way. I started it thinking “exercise” and that’s what it is.


It’s a real pleasure to read your last post
Your’re on the right track for sure!


It didn’t work as I planned, I tried to sketch my cats who moved too much, got to sketch more before I scan those.

Here is an apple from memory for Epilogue sketch challenge #1:

I need to make a few more - now from reference. I even bought an apple for that (I can’t eat them, so didn’t have any at home).

And here is something I wanted to draw - a harp player. I wanted him to play but so far he is rather stiff, I used as ref Justmeina stock (sketched him on another layer then sketched harp player over it):

I guess I’ll make him playing it the next time. All references I’ve found are taken from a different angle and with women. Maybe I’ll find a better pose after a meal :wink:
Harp needs shaping either, but body bothers me most.


I had to make strings on a test drawing to notice how stupid the above idea of holding harp is :lol:

In a meantime completing my apples set for the Weekly Sketchbook Challenge #1: Apple - drawings from life:

This was tough. I couldn’t make colours right and it still doesn’t much reference colours.



A quick exercise for the harp image (referenced from dani_stock at dA):


You are doing some wonderful analysis of your works - I see big improvements from page 1 to now! Keep up the good work. Keep up the awesome work!



Thank you Gordon!

Yesterday’s exercise with constructing female head from Loomis:

and Morgaine Le Fay sketch:

I messed something with her arms, like I messed sides while flipping image horizontally. Will fix it later.
She should have been done yesterday, but I browsed for reference and ended up watching too many faces, clothes, Celts and myths sites and in the end totally accidentally John Howe forums. Internet.


I thought I’ll finish her fast, but time is too busy now, I guess I’ll get back to her after Christmas. I’m not sure if this face will stay, I’m still looking for Morgana’s face, but I find the present one interesting so here it is, still in WIP stage, to be shaped more:


I know exactly what you mean about losing track of time when browsing the internet.
I was at deviantart downloading stock images from Marcus J. Ranum. This man has a huge pile of wonderful stock images, I just couldn’t resist to add them to my reference database. Think I only dl half of them but it took me a while to say the least. I think it’s a good investment though because I use them often.

It’s one thing I try to do regularly:
let my image organisor software (ACDSee) create me a random slideshow with the timer set at 3 or 5 minutes per image and do some gesture sketching…


Good tip, I’ll try it. In a mean time my cats provided way too fast changing reference :wink:

Good stock gallery. Following Mercuralis advice I’ve made a collection with stock accounts in my favs folder at dA, so I usually fav 1-2 images of a nice collection/series. Still when I get lost in collecting references it takes ages… and then I even have no time to look at these. So I stopped to full view them when saving to HDD, only use it as ref for the future. Then again I rather base on my memory or favs than HDD, because I collected too many images on my disk to find quickly some images, even with folders done by theme and/or artist. Crazy! I need to review it one day and delete a lot of stuff I would not save now but I thought it was fabulous a few years ago. Everything is changing.

But I finally got Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth and - after quick browsing - I must say it rocks. Also I ordered with it Fantasy Art Workshop and Forging Dragons by John Howe and will not hasitate to use them ;D With time, that is.

Enough of talking. I’ve had no time to work on any of my WIPs, but I have finally managed to do a few pencil sketches :smiley: Cats and glasses/cups done from life, faces done while looking at a movie with Jean Reno and Gérard Depardieu (a movie on TV, I didn’t still/stop it). I tried to catch some characteristics of the actor’s faces not to really portrait them, like my cats they were moving too fast either :wink:

First take on cats:

Second take, way better but if you really want to see what way my cats look like go here :wink:

Faces (one with no ref):



Both Depardieu and Rano have got really interesting faces and totally different to a generic faces I try to catch, I need to make a real studies/portraits of them with time.

In the end - a quick image done for Pierre on Christmas gifts exchange over Epilogue. I used references for pandas, they supposed to represent his two daughters:


Ah it’s great to see you sketching this often!
Jean Reno and Depardieu are both indeed awesome actors!
Think you depicted a young Reno there, which I’m sure he’d appreciate :smiley:


Young Rano, could be. Now I realised I have never seen him young anywhere, need to browse the web one day.

Haven’t had enough time, but I managed to sketch again and now when I do have more time again I’ll try to keep this pace.

Here is something from the night of 1st/3nd of January - a quick digital sketch of characters to Baldur’s Gate add-on my friends have been doing (and never finished). I tried to push further the female necromancer (referenced Jennifer Lopezin The Cell movie):

Ears are crap, I need to do ears studies.

Pencil sketches, one page of two I did last night. The other page is nothing interesting, but I like the sketches done while looking at old photos of my parents. While I caught some similarity to my mum, my dad want totally different way XD

Another thing I tried to do here was holding a pencil in a different way than while writing, holding it more like a brush. That’s what John Howe advices to do. But I had to switch to the usual grasp for details. I guess it’s just a matter of time, though. Much better way to keep image clean of unintentional hand smudging :wink: But I wonder now if a tablet pen should not be hold such way, too? And what way do you hold pencils?


A little update on the necromancer - after I did the necklace (which I didn’t plan to make at all) I have to finish the rest. And fix the overdosed breasts :wink:


I have forgotten about that red necklace and spent a whole day yesterday making an animation in Painter. Well, maybe too big word - a little test only, Painter is not the best animation tool ever. And I still haven’t tried to animate real movement, like moving a hand or walking, but will try, especially since I browsed animation forums here, which I never did before and found pout a lot of different animation software to try :slight_smile:

Yesterday I only tried to animate the first 3 frames of my unfinished comic. It took me a whole day (almost, I’m ill, so I got up late but also stayed up late) because of no experience and crappy way Painter replaces frames at random and loses layers after reopening FRM file which makes hard moving back and making changes. I had to redo all from the start to test different amount of frames to make camera movement more natural etc. Here are the sketchy comic/colour test I probably posted in my sketchbook before and new images for the animation:

Story based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s alternative version of the events in Losgar (burning ships of the Teleri) - the quoatation above might not be readable, here it is:

“Fëanor stole the ships of the Teleri, and breaking faith with Fingolfin and with those faithful to him sailed away, leaving the rest of his host to make their way on foot with great travail and loss. The ships were anchored off the shore, in the Firth of Drengist, and all the host of Fëanor went on land and camped there.”
J. R. R. Tolkien, History of Middle Earth vol. XII (page 354)

The animation tests are at You Tube, a lot of things has to be detailed and/or changed, but I’m happy I could put my artwork into “life”:

  • test #1 [link] with more natural animation of fire light on character’s face
  • test #2 [link] simplified fire light, more mimics on face, format 6x9

Note1 - I start too many things, should finish something first.
Note 2 - apart ears handd studies are necessary.


Working back on the old image to finalise it. I’m trying to show a transformation into a dragon, not a guy with dragon wings. The first idea was to swirl his hair into appearing wings (partially invisible). Here is what I came to while doodling over the original. Does it work?

[left]I decided to give him less human face, as I wanted in the beginning.

A few sketches I haven’t posted:


The image on the left has been done with left hand (I’m right handed). I like it better than the right hand one.

A forgotten WIP - drowning or drowned girl.

A forgotten portrait WIP.
Funny, I see nothing wrong as I did when I wrote that text.



An idea born while making up a new layout for my web site. It used to be called Forgotten Isle, so here is a concept of the isle’s gate:


[left]The pose is slightly different than I wanted, but the idea gets shape. Two female statues in ivy like company. We’ll see what way it’ll evolve.