After 30 Years, I'm Sketching Again!

by T_Harmon_Art

I sketched all the time growing up, then life happened and it wasn't until after my four girls were grown that I finally began sketching again. Now I'm doing what I love to do.

From My Earliest Memories, I Loved to Draw and Paint

Like Riding a Bicycle, You Never Forget

Throughout grade school, I was a drawing fiend. I drew everything from my pets, to landscapes, and often teachers from other classes would come to me requesting that I do a drawing for them to display in their classrooms. This always gave me incentive to keep drawing, and I felt I was pretty darn good at it. Over the years, I would see someone else's artwork and think I wasn't so good after all, doubting my own abilities. But I persevered, and finally realized we all have our own style and abilities. I especially loved drawing animals, and still do today.

Now, 30 years later, I started drawing again. Though I never forgot HOW to draw, I did forget how I DREW. It took a few sketches to dust off the cobwebs of time and to find my style. How to shade was my biggest problem, but after a few sketches it finally just hit me and my work has improved immensely.

My favorite subjects are animals, and below are drawings of my own pets. The first drawing is that of my hedgehog, Michelangelo. This is one of my first drawings after my 30 year hiatus. He just has the sweetest face which I wanted to convey in the sketch. The second sketch is that of my Flemish Giant rabbit, Atira. This drawing took a lot of time as I worked to create the different nuances of light and shadow in her coat. I was really thrilled with the outcome. The next picture is that of Scooter, my dachshund, and Inari, my first Flemish Giant rabbit. I only had Inari for three short weeks because a mini dachshund I was fostering killed her when she escaped from her pen. It was devastating. I wanted to immortalize her in this sketch, which is from a photo of her and Scooter sitting on the arm of the couch. Inari was fearless, and here she was wanting to become friends with Scooter who didn't quite know what to think of this strange creature. The last sketch is that of my beagle, Bailey, who passed away in 2009. The drawing was done from a photo of her after she'd lost the use of her back legs and only weeks before she died. She was a very special girl, a real angel, and I feel this picture shows that.

Now I'm Drawing (Sketching) Again

My Pets are My Favorite Subjects
My Hedgehog, Michelangelo
My Hedgehog, Michelangelo
My Flemish Giant Bunny, Atira
My Flemish Giant Bunny, Atira
My Dachshund, Scooter, and Inari, My First Flemish Giant
My Dachshund, Scooter, and Inari, My ...
My Beagle, Bailey, Who Passed Away in 2009 at Age 15
My Beagle, Bailey, Who Passed Away in...

Conquering People

Sketching People is Challenging, But So Rewarding

Once I felt comfortable drawing again, and after doing several sketches of my pets and a few other animals, I really wanted to see how well I could draw people, more specifically, their faces. I started drawing people around my middle school years, but they were not my best subject. Sometimes my sketches would turn out pretty well while others just didn't quite cut the mustard.

I sketched my granddaughter first, a close-up and one from a photo of her standing on a tree stump. I really love these sketches because they mean so much to me. Then I decided to continue with celebrities, as everyone would be able to see if my sketches were actually good. My first celebrity was Conan O'Brien. When I finished it, It was okay, but not that good. Shading has always been my biggest problem, and I just couldn't remember my technique from all those years ago. After Conan I did Oprah Winfrey and finally my technique suddenly blossomed. I was so excited when I finished the sketch, I was like a proud peacock. It still wasn't quite right, but pretty darn close.

After Oprah, I decided to draw a young Robert De Niro, in character as "Noodles" from the movie Once Upon a Time in America. I knew then that my technique was getting better and better with each subsequent sketch, so when I finished De Niro I was feeling more confident and eager to draw yet another celebrity, and to make it my best sketch ever.

So, the question was...who do I draw next? Well, Johnny Depp, of course! I am absolutely thrilled with my sketch of Depp, and though I've gotten wonderful feedback from all of my drawings, my rendering of Depp is truly an accomplishment I'm very proud of. After 30 years, I can still draw, and I continue to strive to do better and better with each sketch I do.

I am finishing a sketch of an adorable little boy right now. My daughter, Syan, who is in the Air Force, wanted me to sketch her boyfriend's son to give to him as a gift. Assignments like this one are very important to me, because there's something special about having a sketch of someone you love. I've taken my time with this one so it will be worthy of giving, and I think this little boy's dad will be very happy with the final product. He knows nothing about it, which makes it even more special. I really hope he likes it.

Check out my sketches of my granddaughter, Aamira, and my celebrity sketches below:

My Granddaughter, Aamira, and My Celebrity Sketches

My Progression in Sketching
My Granddaughter, Aamira
My Granddaughter, Aamira
Aamira Standing on a Tree Stump
Aamira Standing on a Tree Stump
Conan O'Brien, My First Celebrity Sketch
Conan O'Brien, My First Celebrity Sketch
Oprah Winfrey, My Second Celebrity Sketch
Oprah Winfrey, My Second Celebrity Sk...
A Young Robert De Niro
A Young Robert De Niro
Oh, Yea! Johnny Depp
Oh, Yea! Johnny Depp

From Sketching to Graphic Design

How I incorporate My Sketches into My Graphic Design Work on Zazzle

So, I began sketching again and couldn't be happier. However, it is very time-consuming, and because I am not independently wealthy and have to work for a living, I don't have the time I'd like to spend on it. I will continue to sketch as I can, but I've since discovered and have devoted most of my free time to building my online store utilizing my graphic designs. Generally speaking, creating a graphic design doesn't require a tremendous amount of time, so I'm able to really put my creativity to use and produce many designs through the course of a week which I post on many products I have for sale in my Zazzle store. Admittedly, once I realized Zazzle existed and because I know enough about Photoshop to make my own unique designs, I've been less inclined to just sit back and sketch a picture. However, I have no intentions of hanging up my pencils. I'm still open to doing commissioned sketches, and I want to continue drawing and honing my skills. I want to sell prints of my work and incorporate my sketches into my graphic work.

I have a few designs already in my Zazzle store using my sketches, either as they are or with added graphics and text. Sketches can really transcend basic prints, becoming a work of art you can take with you, such as on a t-shirt or a tote bag. Imagine your own sketch being on a postage stamp! I have some of mine listed for sale on postage stamps, though I've yet to sell any. Still, it is exciting to see them on something so unique.

In one design I added color to my sketch. I scan all my sketches into my computer and can then work with them in Photoshop, cleaning them up so they are ready for printing, adding color or texture, and other graphics. It really is a great way to show my work in a different venue. Zazzle also offers posters and canvas prints for sale, so I would love to one day see one of my sketches sold on canvas. That would really be an exciting sale for me.

You may be wondering, if you've looked through my store, why I have not used any of my celebrity drawings. Well, there is this thing called COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. Because I drew my sketches from photos of celebrities, I would have to obtain permission from the celebrity, photographer, and possibly a magazine or other entity who has copyright to the image. Therefore, I only do celebrities for my own satisfaction and to show my artistic abilities. It's a bummer, but I have no intention, via Zazzle or privately, to sell my celebrity images. I respect the laws and rights of others and would never try to make a buck from something I have no legal rights to.

I hope you've enjoyed my sketches and maybe I've inspired you to take up a hobby you've put aside a long time ago while life took over. If you have a real passion for something, then just do it. Whether it's to hopefully make money or it's a therapeutic outlet, it's worth the satisfaction you'll get from doing something creative, something that is yours and yours alone. I am happier than I've been in a long time because I'm doing what I really love. I'm an artist and my art makes me happy. I would love to one day make a nice living from my work, but if I never do, I will still draw, will still do graphic work, because that's my passion!

Below are some examples of my sketch of Atira, my Flemish Giant, as she appears on several products in my store:

Updated: 08/14/2011, T_Harmon_Art
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ohcaroline on 11/12/2012

You and I are sort of trodding down the same path on our artistic Zazzle journey. Best of success in your endeavors.

T_Harmon_Art on 11/19/2011

Thank you, cgreen7090 and pawpaw...I wish I had more time to sketch, but I've been so busy lately that I've had to put that on hold for now. I have a friend whose sketches are beyond incredible...almost photographic, and I just wish I had HIS talent! LOL....but I am happy with my abilities and hope to improve on what I can do now. We all have our style and limitations, so whatever it is you love to do, just do it and own it. You may not be the best in the world, but being pretty darn good isn't so bad! =0)

pawpaw on 11/18/2011

Nice. Wish I had a talent like that.

cgreen7090 on 10/17/2011

You have a wonderful gift. I enjoyed looking at your sketches. It is great therapy to be creative!

Bhavesh on 10/16/2011

Beautiful sketches! I can't draw very well but I have a feeling that with some instructions, I probably could. This lens is helpful with its resources.

onepagearticles on 09/11/2011

Great stuff it's nice to see other artists work and what you have here is great! I like the Rabbit pencil sketch the best, I've not drawn many animals of late as I am into drawing stuff from my head quite often.

I like your Zazzle designs too!

WhiteOak50 on 08/19/2011

WOW, very impressive. Your sketching is fantastic!! I am going to go take a look at your Zazzle Gallery. Fantastic work!!

T_Harmon_Art on 08/18/2011

Thank you, sheilamarie and theraggedge....I finally realized that I just draw differently than some others and I'll never be one of the greats, lol, but knowing I can draw and create something I can be proud of really is satisfying. If I ever get the time, I'd like to start back working with watercolors, too, as I was pretty good with them when I was a kid. There's just so much on my plate right now, and working a "real" job just cuts into my creative time! =0) Thank you both for your kind comments and encouragement!

theraggededge on 08/17/2011

Beautiful! You must keep going and never give it up again! I stopped drawing and painting for years and am so glad to have restarted. Not as good as you though!

sheilamarie on 08/17/2011

These are wonderful sketches, T_Harmon_Art! I know what you mean how you can really love doing something and feel you do it well, then get discouraged because you discover others who do it better. But there is only one person who can do it the way you do, and that brings such joy -- to you and to us! I know I'm not making much sense, but your art is such a gift! I hope to see more!

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