Digital soft pastel sketch of a blue cat

For my January 2023 challenge, I’ll be drawing 34 illustrations of animals with alcohol-based markers. I have Ohuhu pastel color markers, special marker paper and mixed media paper. However, sketching and designing on that paper with pencil leaves a mess, since the pencil marks can’t be fully erased and muddy the marker colors due smearing of graphite by the tip of the marker. It makes much more sense to design on a separate sheet, and then transfer the final version using carbon paper and a ballpoint pen. I could take it even further, and design on an iPad, print it out, and transfer using carbon paper and a ballpoint pen.

Designing and sketching digitally is cheaper and faster than with pencil on paper. I can simply draw the different stages of the sketch in a separate layer while lowering the opacity of the previous layer. In analog you would partially erase the previous stage and draw on top of it. I should try both, and see what works best for me.

I thought about coloring in Procreate on the iPad as well, which would add (unwanted) complications, time and cost. Digital colors differ from analog colors, and the effect of paper is hard to reproduce, I know from past experience. So I will be coloring with alcohol-based markers. I have little personal experience with those, but I’ve seen enough YouTube videos to know how to use them, in principle. I’m sure I’ll be watching loads more videos while coloring. The whole plan, after all, is to learn how to draw by doing and watching how others do it, steal their ideas, in a good way.

Digitizing the analog art is best done with a quality camera on a tripod, except that I don’t own such a camera. I do have a scanner (all-in-one with scanner and monochrome laser printer), though scanned colors tend to look washed out a bit with the bright light. Furthermore, the size is limited to A4, which isn’t a problem for this challenge, since A4 is big enough for drawing individual animals.

Eventually I want to use a light-box for transferring sketches and a budget digital camera for digitizing, so I can work on a larger canvas. Those things cost money, and I’m on a budget. I use what I have and if I start getting more skilled, I could sell some of the art to buy the equipment. Who knows…

After digitizing I need to put it somewhere, so others can see it. For now I’ll be using my Flickr account. I paid for it, so I should definitely use it.

To remove any kinks as soon as possible, it makes sense to first complete a piece before continuing to the next piece. This isn’t factory work; it’s artwork.

I’m also not expecting professional results which could be sold. The only thing I expect is that I’m able to draw animals somewhat convincingly, in the sense that others can recognize what animal it is supposed to be. It doesn’t have to be photorealistic; I’d rather have it be sketchy and loose, more impressionistic, left to the imagination of the viewer.

Only two more days. I’m excited!