Hi ho art friends. Yesterday, I was looking for digital stamps to use in Procreate and I found Procreate brush designer, artist and YouTuber, ErgoJosh. He’s got a lot of videos and I found his critique videos to be very helpful but what really caught my eye was “This art challenge is actually hard

I decided to take up this challenge because I want to improve my sketching skills to help with storyboarding and character costume design. The challenge is: get a reference photo. Set a timer for 10 minutes, sketch. At the end of the time, spend 1 minute critiquing your work. Start with a fresh layer/new page and set the time for 10 minutes, trying to incorporate the things you noticed from the first round. At the end of the time, repeat your critique of the 2nd sketch (only the 2nd sketch) for 1 minute. Then start over with a new layer/sheet, 10 minutes and create the 3rd sketch.

I didn’t want to spend forever looking for a reference photo on the Interwebs and risk getting sidetracked, so I selected a recent self portrait snapped using my remote trigger. It’s a fussy little thing and I still haven’t figured out why it works sometimes and not others, hence the annoyed look on my face.

I wanted to have the reference photo next to my sketch so I opened a new document in Photoshop. What a pain. I rarely use the pencil tool and I wasted a lot of the 10 minutes resizing the canvas after zooming in only to have my sketch photo take over the entire screen…and ugh. Here’s the first sketch:

Not too bad. It looks a lot like my mixed media girls. The eyes are too large, the body is barely an idea of a body, but my main problem was trying to control the pencil in Photoshop.

Attempt 2. I’m thinking I should finish on my iPad but decide to carry on in Photoshop because I remembered that I can flip my Wacom pen over and use the top of the pen as an eraser. I thought that might speed up my sketching.

Got more of the body in and I think the eyes are the right size, did better on the chin, but hate the hair. I prefer the hair in #1. For the 3rd attempt, I decide it’s time to break out the iPad and use Procreate because I have a higher level of comfort drawing in that program. Here is the 3rd attempt:

I spent a lot of time on the eyes, nose and mouth. Got a better representation of the body at the expense of the hair. Switching programs in midstream was not the best idea, but I definitely felt more comfortable sketching in Procreate. I also felt more comfortable with the 10 minutes. By this time, I’m pretty warmed up.

Overall, this was a very good exercise. By setting the timer, I knew I had to complete the sketch and take 1 minute to critically review my work. Looking at each of the sketches, I can see the what I chose to focus on in the subsequent sketches. I was very warmed up and feeling the drawing groove at the end of the time.

Overall, I spent 40 minutes on setting up the 3 sketch challenge and found it time well spent. I was worried that taking this challenge on would make me hate my sketching ability, but actually seeing the consciously made choices in the progression of sketches, gives me hope.

I want to continue with digital sketching in Procreate and work on realism in my sketches.

I humorously picked the photo because it expressed skepticism and mild annoyance but in the end, the image and challenge sketches pointed me to the next step of my artistic journey.

Happy creating!