Heyo! I was planning on doing a year-end post, but I couldn’t really think of anything special, and was going to just do a random top-of-the-new-year-to-ya art dump. But then Christine Eyre tagged me for the Year End Art tag! So thank you, Christine, for giving me the perfect way to put some art out. I’m so thankful that you tagged me! :3
1.) Insert a picture of your artwork to answer each question. If, however, you don’t have a picture or scan or don’t have one of good quality, you can describe the piece.
2.) Answer as many questions as you can.
3.) Tag a fellow artist!
Now, into the arts and stuff!
~ First piece of artwork done in 2018
Honestly, I don’t know what my first piece of art was. I really don’t. The closest thing I can find are these little-kid versions of the TLJ stars, which I think were from late January. . . ?
Heh, I have no idea! I do a ton of random sketches throughout the day (and they’re totally not all cats and foxes and Ezras, no, not at all), but I want to say that that was the first polished and actually worthy-to-be-called-art thing I did in 2018. But hey, maybe I did do something different and I just can’t remember. Who knows!
~ Last piece of artwork done in 2018
It’s still 2018, so I’ll just go with this pencil drawing I the other night of my foxes, Chaska and Mina.
However, they technically are plushies and don’t really count as pets, but I consider them so. Lookit em X3 They’re precious. And on that note, I’m going to do a premeditated rant. Why do arctic fox plushes look like wolves??? White wolves and arctic foxes are not the same creature. Wolves are bigger, with a blockier muzzle and thinner fur. And they have bigger ears, I think. But the arctic fox I got to remake as a loth-wolf is just that — an ARCTIC FOX! And it’s perfect to make a loth-wolf from! This is so weird to me. I mean, I should be happy that they make an arctic fox plush at all, since no one makes my favorite silver morph, but it still drives me crazy. Lol and that’s all. Next question.
~ A new medium/style/technique you tried this year
2018 was the year of the marker for me. I found some on clearance at Hobby Lobby, got em, and the rest is Kitten history. They’re my primary medium for coloring now. I love them so much. However, they do take time to get used to –I did this Ezra when I was relatively new to them, and this set of sketch cards a few weeks ago.
Note the bleeding on Ezra’s eyes, and you might be able to see the splotches where I didn’t blend the ink fast enough. Not only am I comfortable with free strokes now, I also know how to pair colors to create a pleasing palette. I also had a brief stint with watercolors and watercolor pencils (but more on that later). In techniques, I was introduced to the kneaded eraser, a very helpful (and showstopping — my friends all gasp with amazement as the gray putty swipes away lead) way to gently erase pencil. Even though it smells like trash, it’s easy to use and fun to sculpt into Purgill. Yeah.
I also developed the primary style that I use for drawing humans this year. It’s an anime-inspired look, but with simplified hair and usually defined fingers. If you’ve been stalking me for long, you’ve probably noticed this. And to you guys — what do you think? Does it look better? Any tips for a little kitten?
~ A subject/medium/technique that took you out of your comfort zone
And all the Rebels artists yell “ZEB!” XD Seriously, drawing Captain Garazeb Orrelios is THE HARDEST thing. Bit thanks to a certain little style called tracing, I was able to get comfortable with him. Using what are called bases (just the body and sometimes expression of a figure), I was able to have something to work on, meaning I didn’t have go go through the hassle of proportions and style as well as including Zebby features.
But I don’t really want to talk about Zeb just yet. It hasn’t been even a year. . . 😥
So I go back to watercolor. As far as art goes, I have to have COMPLETE control. I hate when my markers bleed too much, or when the eraser makes that weird pink scrape, or when any other variable goes wrong that I had no part in. It drives me crazy!! And that’s why I’ve always hated watercolor. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful. And I love making ocean scenes with it. (But that’s because you just make an entire page blue and then make the bottom half darker. *shrug*) But as for painting actual figures, I always had my doubts. I didn’t want to paint straight down without any lines down, but the watery paint smeared my nice ink lines. And pencil shows through the paint!!!
Solution: watercolor pencils.
My mom actually has had these pencils for my whole life, I think. And it wasn’t until now that I noticed them!! But hey, at least I did, and I even got a sticker out of it (subtle advertising — find that galaxy fox sticker in my Etsy shop when I reopen after holiday break!!). There’s something in them that lets them react to water like watercolor paints do, and as long as you don’t dig into the paper, you can erase all your lines and color your image just by adding water to a basic outline. They’re really cool little inventions, but again, the variable that water is makes me use them very infrequently. Besides, it takes a lot of set up to paint, whereas with markers or pencils, you just dump them out. So I prefer dry mediums, but watercolor is okay every once in a while, for special occasions. *next question*
OH WAIT — is the Star Wars Fan Awards a special occasion?
That’s my fully watercolor entry, submitted 3 minutes before the deadline and completed 5 before. It was actually really fun, since there was plenty of room and a small mistake wasn’t that obvious. Anywho, congrats to the winners of that (the art I voted for one, yay!!!), and to everyone who entered!
~ The piece of artwork that others liked the most
That would have to be this one, this boy with an electric violin.
When I brought my sketchbook on a trip with my youth group, all the girls in my cabin ADORED it. Even my brother likes it — he thinks it looks digital. And to be completely honest, I don’t care for it that much! It’s based on the thumbnail art from a sci-fi movie trailer, so it’s not even all my own thought. But it was really fun to draw (and I ended up doing a second one which was way worse, yey) and the shading was better than usual at the time. So yeah :3
~ 3 ways your artwork improved in 2018
Uh, does saying “everything about it” count? ;D Seriously, my art improved so much this year, probably because I followed my own advice and drew pretty much every day. But since specifics are probably what I need to go for here, I’ll mention 1. line quality; 2. hands; and 3. patterning.
It wasn’t until early this year that I started to get serious with my art, and the first thing that improved was the base form of the art itself — lines. Before, I’d draw a square by 4 strokes of the pencil. Down-down-side-side. But now, I’ve learned to overlap strokes and use lighter pressure in order to make a much straighter line. Sure, using so many strokes makes a rough line at first, but going over it with a darker color or pen helps make a smooth and neat line!
Late August, I think, was when I discovered YouTube art tutorials. I had been looking for tutorials on how to draw folds in clothing, but it hadn’t occurred to me that there might be video tutorials. So, once I found this out, one of the very first things I did was look for good hand drawing tuts. And WOW, there were a ton of them! Eventually, I found two that were really helpful (don’t remember what they were, sorry!), and after drawing along with the videos and doing a heap of practicing only hands in a few-day span, I managed to get the concept into my fingers. Now, I can draw hands pretty easily — simple ones with separate thumbs and indexes for quick drawings, and more detailed and accurate ones for serious ones.
(A ramble — one neat thing about the tuts was that one tut was a really measured, blocky style that used size guidelines and analogical shapes to describe the process, and the other just whipped some lines around and it looked like a hand. Both were completely different, and yet I was still able to learn from them both. One taught how to draw technically, and the other visually. So there’s artists out there out there that have the same drawing mentality as you do, and they can teach you how to draw! Just a sudden, spirit of the moment rant. I don’t edit much.)
My last big change for this year occurred mostly just this past November and December, and took place because of an art book my mother found on clearance at Hobby Lobby. Lemme tell you — this book is AWESOME. It’s called (by ), and while it’s written to assist in coloring those mandala coloring pages that are so popular, I found it incredibly helpful in my own art. It’s got stuff about color tones and hues and values and how they differ, and a TON of info on popular art mediums (it taught me stuff about my art markers that I had no clue about, and, without wanting to brag, I consider myself pretty informed on the subject!), as well as my favorite section, simply called “patterning.” Patterning is essentially just filling a space with smaller designs, and while I used to do a lot of this, I slacked off in the summer of last year to focus on humans. But this book — it broke the technique and everything down and made it not only easy to understand, but also incredibly inspiring to draw. I ended up doing a pair of Kylo and Rey mandalas first that I love so much (probably going to shade them and then do them as a monochromatic sticker set).
Since then, I’ve done foxes, cats, more foxes, more cats, Hera, loth-cats, and some other stuff. It’s really fun. But not only did it rekindle my interest in patterning, it showed me how to do it properly, instead of the random placing and scribbling I’d done before. Anyway, highly recommend the book, I love patterning. *grins*
~ Your personal favorite piece from 2018! (Explain why!)
Oh goodness. . . I have no idea! There’s literally a ton of stuff to pick from (I filled about 9 medium to large-sized sketchbooks this year), so that took some thought to figure out. As I thought about this, there wasn’t really anything coming up off the top of my head. So I when I was going through all my sketchbooks to get pictures for the post, I found this really old pencil drawing I did of Rey, Finn, and Poe.
I was listening to the soundtrack from Dear Evan Hansen a lot during the time (end of May or early June, I think *coughthatsareferencecoughcough*), and the song “You Will Be Found” was, and still is, my favorite. (Side note, there’s a few songs in there that are. . . just. . . not good. Read the lyrics before you listen to “Anybody Have a Map” or. . . um. . . especially “Sincerely, Me.” Just do it first if you feel like listening to the soundtrack. That’s a rabbit trail, though.) And the lyrics reminded me a lot of Rey and Finn and kinda Poe, and how they all found each other. At the time, I don’t think I cared much about Kylo — that changed — so he’s not in this, but I feel like he would fit here better than Poe. Anyway, I don’t know how to explain it without copy-pasting all the lyrics to the song and then some of the Wikipedia article on the (show) background of it, but eh. I just saw it and was like “huh, when did I do that? It’s cute!” so I’m going to call it my favorite. Honorable mention to this cat, which I randomly drew when I was bored.
Her name is Bluestar.
~ 3 things to improve in your artwork in 2019
I most CERTAINLY need improvement — the most important thing to me is getting actual art done. At the moment, I just do sketches and doodles, none of which can do anything to improve my art, since I’m just drawing what I already know how to draw. I’m planning on having a monthly focus (like focusing on backgrounds one month, facial expressions another, animals a third, and so on) to keep me getting better, but of course, I’ll still doodle a lot. A lot.
Backgrounds, realistic clothing (as in “people would actually be able to find and wear this), and perspective are my biggest pains right now. I mainly doodle because I can’t think of a proper background, so I don’t see a reason to finish it. I have thousands of foxes drawn, but maybe two have backgrounds. It’s just easier for me to leave out backgrounds, but, as I was looking into animations (to be continued), I noticed that nearly all animations try to have some sort of background. MAPs (Multiple Animator Projects) sound like awesome fun, but they’ve unfailingly all called for background work. And that is why I need to get better at them.
Realistic clothing is something I just realized I didn’t do right earlier this month, so I’ve technically already been working on it. I went from doing figures like this in March. . .
. . . to this a few weeks ago.
Note how I actually gave the second girl shoes? Those are shoes I have. They’re my favorites and I wear them everywhere. No kidding. If you see someone wearing black Rocketdogs and a gray hoodie, it’s probably me. But my old art just had. . . lines. Are they shoes or small socks? What shoes could they possibly be? So you see, it’s important to me. The reason I do that is probably because my art childhood was all based in Star Wars, which means I draw boots. Boots boots and more boots. So I never learned to draw real shoes. Same goes for clothing. I go for the dramatic, not the practical. Which is ironic, because I do the total opposite in real life.
But my biggest problem is one many people suffer from: perspective. I just can’t. It’s an absolute beast to deal with, especially if you draw by sight and not structure. It literally took me two stinkin’ years to learn to draw a 360 of an anime face (animatics are the best, so helpful for learning different poses and such). I’m not really sure how I can get better at it, other than tons of practice, so I’m just gonna keep on on the keep on and keep on practicing it. And maybe one day, I can draw a person looking down at their baby loth-cat.
~ 3 new things to try in 2019 (such as styles, mediums, poses, backgrounds, character to draw, contests to enter)
I’m really hoping to experiment with lineart animation next year. Just seeing youtubers like Theodd1sout and Jaiden Animations making their living off animating is so inspiring (and if they somehow see this — hai!!! Thanks so much for inspiring an artsy little fangirl to branch out her art!!! Love you guys and your arts!). I guess I don’t consider art as a legitimate job, as Etsy is finicky for me and local sales aren’t that high. But other people make thousands a week off it. Maybe I can make my living on rambling.
ANYWAY — I got sidetracked. Surprise. The concept behind animation videos like the aforementioned people is exciting — you get to talk to people without being consciously interrupted (and by that I mean WE, the viewers, get the interrupting ads) or having to converse with them! Not. . . that I don’t like that or anything, it’s just a break from it. Yeah. They tell stories while their animated character talks along, demonstrates an action, or becomes a meme. It sounds like a lot of fun (and work!), but I’m excited to try it.
Along the lines of animation, I really want to get a drawing tablet. You know, those things that pros have, that you draw on and it appears on the screen? Those. I really want to get one (as all my current digital art is done with a mouse), but they’re known for being REALLY expensive. A Wacom can be like $600+!!! While an expensive, very nice one would be, well, nice, I’m looking at spending less than $60 on it. Expensive enough to make sure it’s good quality (and so my little sisters will be scared to touch it because WOW it was more than $30), but cheap enough that I won’t have to spend all my money on it. I’m also scared of defects and will probably get a warranty. . . there’s another what, $40? And then my current art program is lacking in technical areas (they literally don’t have a flip tool), so that means upgrading to something paid, not free like Gimp or Krita. Yeesh. Anyway, I need one for animation, and would be very glad to have one for regular art too.
And finally — branching out into other fandoms. You’ve. . . probably noticed, but this blog could really just be called a Star Wars Rebels fanart blog. I do draw other things, but Star Wars is my main subject. And what can I say? My art grew up with these characters. I wasn’t even regularly drawing when Rebels aired, but here I am now, 16 and writing a year end post about all the art I did. Anyway, SW is very special to me and I’ll always love it, but I need to draw other fan art too. Did you know that I’m a newbie Marvel fan? Yup, I’m a little baby Spidey fangirl now. Through Spider-Man, I’ve grown to know some of the other characters, and I’ll probably be getting to know them better by next year. *insert grand idea on how to be an awesome Marvel fan* I also love the Big Hero Six anime series that Disney did — seriously, I won’t spoil it, but as goofy as the show seemed, it had one of THE BEST overall season theme, and the SECOND MOST BEST season finale I’ve ever seen (you who know me know the best one Rebels season 2 cough cough). Really. It was epic, go watch the series. Bye.
Back to the story.
There’s Lego’s multiple series that I like, such as Ninjago or Hero Factory (I never really got into Friends or Elves, despite however cool Elves was supposed to be). And of course, who could ever not love Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes. Who couldn’t??? As for book fandoms, there’s a series by Shannon Messenger my friend introduced me to called Keeper of the Lost Cities, which is a sort of Lord of the Rings/original story thing about a girl named Sophie who discovers that she’s an elf with a very important destiny (LotR comes up a good deal). It’s actually way cooler and less cliche than it sounds (cuz I can’t describe books, you gotta read em for yourself), and I really like it. Currently, there’s 7 out of 9 books released — and they’re HUGE books, 800+ pages usually — so you’ll be able to read most of em before you get to a real cliffhanger. Note: the author, like a certain Cowboy Hat Guy, loves cliffhangers, harming beloved characters, and/or doing something that never should have worked but did perfectly. Both master storytellers.
ANYWAY, long rabbit trailing me is trying to explain that I have many fandoms and many many MANY things to draw other than Star Wars. And that’s something new I want to try. Drawing stuff that isn’t SW.
~ What do you enjoy most about creating?
The fact that I get to express myself through something more widely relatable or likable than just yelling out at the moon like a lunatic wolf (aihai, see what I did? Luna, moon? *winks*) is my favorite part about creating. The wavy, flowing lines that I prefer to work with give so much of my own emotion into the drawing — I can be dramatic, but my love for it manifests in my art, not my behavior (mostly). And to me, that special way that drawn or sculpted art captures emotion is very different from animation. Although animation would be fun, I don’t think that it’s as special to me as my stationary art. It takes time and effort to create the look of movement in my drawings, and as fun as animation is, the moment isn’t really that exciting, because it’s animation and you expect it. With art, the deep color palette, glowing moon and eyes, flowing cape and wind-tossed hair conveys greater emotion and passion for the medium than animation ever could. And hey, art’s my first love. Soft-sculpture, traditional, and digital — I love it all so much, and I’m so glad that I have ways to share it with others.
I don’t really know who else to tag here. Honestly I don’t. So I guess I’ll just say “hey, come here and tag yourself.” If you do, please let me know cuz I wanna see your arts too! Comment down below with your favorites, your funny art stories from this year, and your hopes and dreams and pizzas for the coming year! (Are you paying attention?)
That’s all for now, till we meet again, Kitten out!