It’s been almost three years now, since I started this new drawing hobby of mine. And looking back at those three years, it is interesting for me to see what has changed… or what has not. Materials, techniques, subjects, styles, I’ve tried a few along the way. I do not practise a lot – I haven’t got the patience – I just draw. So it might be nice to look at several drawings side by side, see if there’s any progress… and which style I like most?

The Birds

My very first drawing was an owl, as I’ve shown before. An old book, a piece of printer paper, just one graphite and one yellow pencil. I noticed the texture of feathers and the eyes with their shadow and light, and was intrigued to capture this on paper. At the time, I was even satisfied with this simple scribble…

uil kleurpotlood tekening

My very first drawing with Faber Castell Pitt pastel pencils on Pastelmat paper was also an owl. After two years of drawing, with cheap colour pencils at first, switching to Faber Castell Polychromos a few months later, my dear OH convinced me it would be worthwile to go for the pastel stuff. This time I found a really detailed reference, and the material definitely adds to the result. After drawing details and layering with the colour pencils for some time, the pastel ones suddenly seem easy!

Tekening uil ogen in pastel 10

But I’ve drawn other birds as well. My second drawing was a humming bird from a magazine. Cheap children’s pencils, printer paper.

Two years later, I tried a robin singing it’s heart out from a beautiful and highly detailed photograph by Thelma, in pastel pencil on Pastelmat. The differences are obvious…

Tekening roodborstje7
I added some snow, so I could use it for X-mas

And then, there was this inside struggle, a sneaking suspicion I was spending too much time on just one drawing. So, I tried a different ‘style’, or rather a different ‘technique’, with much less details and layering. Resulting in this crowned crane, drawn on very cheap black paper from a 3-colour sketch pad from Action’s. I am happy with the time saved, but… it doesn’t feel like I’ve hit the sweet spot, it’s not the real deal

crowned crane

The Horses

I will probably draw a lot more horses in time, because I really love them! But… there’s more to it than just drawing details. It is so essential to capture their spirit in a certain way, and I’m still experimenting with that. My first horse drawing was a graphite sketch on a cheap pad. I was scared at first, to draw an animal I know so well, afraid I would mess up and insult him… however, I was surprised by the outcome. Very simple, but… it somehow perfectly reflects the friendly character of this horse in real life.

horse sketch

The second time, a few weeks later, I drew him on quality paper, but again from an old, low quality reference. The faded colours on the ref held me back from more intense layering. Maybe I should try to do a little rework on it someday…? The details are barely distinguishable, but again, I love the way his eye turned out, with exactly the right expression!

horse drawing

Later, I did a charcoal sketch of a friend’s Andalusian, just to experiment with styles.

Andalusian in charcoal

And, a few months ago, I did a horse profile in pastel pencil on cheap black paper, from a ref by Robert Vavra. Interesting. I think I like that last one very much, but you sure need to find a suitable reference photo first…

horse profile in pastel

The Squirrels

There is something about squirrels I can’t resist. They just keep turning up. My first squirrel with the children’s pencils came from an old faded book, and the fluffiness gave me so much satisfaction! Even with that low level of detail…

squirrel in colour pencil

A few months later, I tried two of my own references, in Polychromos on cheap paper. The details were better by then, but the colours are not that intense.

squirrel in colour pencil
squirrel in colour pencil

This year, I used panpastel and pastel pencils on Pastelmat, and the difference is huge! Of course the incredibly detailed reference photo by Richard Bowler was helping a lot…

drawing squirrel

The second ref was a bit more blurry, and that shows (photographer unknown). It’s my first detailed background – and foreground 😉 – so I’m not entirely unhappy with it… Cuteness overload!

squirrel drawing pastel

That’s enough for today, but there’s more to come!

PS Some of the drawings are shown “in progress” in earlier posts about drawing, with comment!