ramblings of a sprouting artist

This week was an improvement from the previous week. However, I would like to post these updates on Saturdays, which I've failed to do, mainly because my Saturdays tend to be somewhat busy with family. I'm still not at 100%, and last week, there were many times when I felt too hopeless to get into drawing. I think I'm getting back to remembering my muscles, and that's something I can be proud of.

  • Weight Training – I did all three days this week. Some of the workouts that used to be difficult now hardly break a sweat, and we've finally been adding weight to the bar.
  • Morning Pages – I did morning pages 4 days this week. While I was able to do all my pages, the days that I was not at my desk, I obviously did not do them, and I don't think much of it was particularly enlightening at the moment. Some of them made me feel upset. I know these are stream-of-consciousness, but I'd like to somehow add gratitude and positivity to my day, and I think journaling is the easiest way because it's a habit I have already established.
  • Artist Date – No actual artist date this week? I forgot.
  • Journal Sketches – No journal sketches this week. I haven't been able to get back into them. I think I was committing myself to too much time here, which puts pressure on me to make it look pretty. I would like to avoid that by shortening it to about 15 minutes of sketching.
  • Gesture Drawings – I did gestures for three days this week. It's been difficult to get myself to do them when I'm conscious they're not a warm-up because I don't have the spoons that day to make art. So, I think the solution is to target the reason why I haven't been making art.
  • Anatomy Studies – I did a knee study this week using Proko's videos. It was refreshing. I really enjoy doing studies. Besides taking notes/copying what I was seeing, I didn't really do repetitions, but I've been trying to keep it in mind when sketching. And also, using the same technique/information for the elbow.
  • Misc Studies – No extra studies this week, but I was doing some vision board stuff for direction.
  • Illustration – No work on illustration(s) this week.

I know not everyone will enjoy reading these updates because maybe it's too close to the “productivity mindset.” I don't really want anyone to look at it from that perspective. Making art and getting inspired requires skill, and that skill, like a muscle, can stop working as well if it's not used. If you're a hobbyist, this is not a problem for you, you can simply move on to whatever it is makes you happy in the moment. I'm trying to get my life together and work with my depression, my negative thoughts, and my ADHD. Without art, I feel like I've lost a limb, and I won't be happy existing unless I do this for myself so I can figure out what's getting in the way. You know yourself best. Does this post make you feel motivated and less lonely, or does it make you feel pressured and alienated?

I won't start by saying I'm disappointed in myself because I did not do as intended this week. I'm proud of myself because I was able to get back into writing. However, one problem I've encountered is that if I spend my energy writing, I cannot draw that day, and if I spend my energy drawing, I cannot write that day. What a dilemma. If any of you do both, I'd love some advice or acknowledgment.

I had to take rest time for body and health reasons. My mental health was so-so last week, so there was no art or routine. And because I was not at my desk, there were no Morning Pages either. That's alright. I heard my body, and I answered. I used my time for other things that equally support my creativity: writing, playing video games, and watching anime.

  • Weight Training – No weight training this week. I needed to rest my body.
  • Morning Pages – No morning pages this week because I was not at my desk.
  • Artist Date – I played Sticky Business while watching Twitch streams and Given (anime). It was nice. I feel like I want to get back into fandom and creating merch.
  • Journal Sketches – No drawing this week.
  • Gesture Drawings – No drawing this week.
  • Anatomy Studies – No studies this week, although I started watching a video about how to study Bridgman.
  • Misc Studies – No extra studies this week.
  • Illustration – I missed the goal of getting my illustration done in two weeks. That's okay. I got quite a lot done in one week, and I would have finished earlier had I had two normal weeks. However, I opened it and glanced at it a few times to study my next move (I was kind of stuck because of the composition).

On Writing

I mentioned this on a stream with anqi a while back, but I've been revisiting my approach to The Thread of Caona. A few years ago, I decided to write a story and make it a webcomic. This whole time, I've been struggling with the plot and, as such, the drawing portion because my ADHD causes me to have problems processing information. That means writing, especially long stories, becomes very overwhelming because I can't connect ideas together, and text on a page just becomes a wall of overstimulation.

Additionally, I've been doing a lot more inward exploration, and it turns out I'd like to write a lot more stories in my lifetime than a long-running webcomic allows. Running a webcomic also means I'd have to dedicate my days fully to it, putting aside other things I enjoy doing more than webcomics, like illustration. Frankly, I'm not willing to give that up.

So why did I make it a webcomic in the first place?

In part, it was because of a bad experience I had in art school with a toxic person that I carried with me for longer than I should. I was only able to understand what it meant and what I wanted to do after joining Mastodon because I was allowed to get away from toxic mindsets in this space.

Secondly, I also really wanted to make something story-oriented with original characters. The common belief seems to be that “People are not interested in OCs unless you make a webcomic.” I've found that to be largely false. If anything, my engagement has dropped because I turned to comics and away from what I'm passionate about, resulting in a creative block. This does not mean comics equals a less engaged audience; that is a sweeping generalization. I think if you're passionate about comics, it will show in your work. For me, it's not that I'm not passionate about them, but that my brain has a very distinct way of showing me the story, and I'd like to be as true to that as possible so that I'm not fighting against my ADHD, but using it to my advantage to become more creative.

I don't regret the path I took—not at all. I stretched myself as far as possible to discover how far I could go, and along the way, I discovered where my interests lie. The story of Karana, Elpis, and Rytar has not ended yet, and I'm excited to share with you in the future what I've been working on and exploring.

For the past few months, I've created very little art due to my mental health and job applications. I'm now restarting my journey and thought it would be nice for you to join along. In this blog series, I hope to update you every week with new things I have learned along the way. If any of you happen to be in a similar position, I hope this blog motivates you to come along with me.

Where I Was vs. Where I Am

I used to be able to push out drawings upon drawings, of whatever subject. I enjoyed studying and had a system to quickly learn new things. My work was quickly improving, and I could push out new illustrations within a day to a week, depending on the complexity of the subject. I had a mental guide to my style.

Currently, picking up the pen has been difficult enough. Although I still retain some of the information I have learned and discovered about art and about my style, most of it seems to be in the back of my mind and difficult to locate and use on a whim. Additionally, the learning process seems quite fuzzy at the moment.

Tracking Software

  • Notion Calendar – I'm a big Notion user, and I love tracking my time, so I'm trying this out. You can technically use anything that works from you. I also love using a physical agenda such as Inamio for this. I like using these to record the event after I do it, rather than plan out my day.

What I'm Doing

  • Weight training, multiple times (2-3x) a week – This is mainly to strengthen my back, trapezius, wrist, and elbows so I'm not constantly in pain after hours of daily drawing. Hurting myself can lead to weeks of being unable to work, so this is really important for me.
  • Morning Pages – I learned this from [Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way] ( Basically, you write three stream-of-consciousness pages every day in a journal. I do these in the morning, but sometimes I do them at night or multiple times during the day (though, if I do them more than once, I don't necessarily stick to the three-page rule).
  • Weekly Artist Date – Another concept from Julia Cameron's book. It has been a struggle to properly keep up with this. I've learned that Me Time and an Artist Date are two very different things and, often, it's difficult to pinpoint what the Artist wants to do — so I end up making it Me Time by accident.
  • Journal Sketches – I take something from my journal or something that's been on my mind lately (a movie, a song, etc) and I make art from it. This is to “ground” my art and pay more Attention.
  • Gesture Drawings – I do this one daily and religiously, about 30 minutes. I use either Line Of Action or SketchDaily.
  • Anatomy Studies – This used to be my favorite when I was totally enamoured with art, so I'm re-implementing it into the regime.
  • Misc Studies – All kinds of studies that don't really fit into the other sections.
  • 1 Illustration/1-2 Weeks – I'm not necessarily showing these online, but I thought it would be important to create work frequently, on a deadline, to get myself in the mindset of finishing works.
  • Monthly Goals – Every month, I plan to revise my strategy and see how things are coming along.
  • Annual Art Direction Plan – I do this every year, to guide my style and see where I want to go, but I'm putting it here because it was what helped me come up with this plan.
  • Weekly Blog – To make annotations on my progress.

Week 1 Observations

Figure Drawing

  • Day 1: I felt pretty rusty, but I had an epiphany to use perspective and form to build my figures. As I like to refer to it, I “woke up” my art brain. I didn't really think about using lines of action. Most of my gestures were stiff stickmen.
  • Day 2: Started using lines of action and marking the pelvis, although it was difficult to get my figures to properly balance. Started thinking about overlap. Using shading to imply form, but my lines are still largely focused on contour. It's difficult to draw out the poses. Later, I realized it's because many of them are static poses and/or classic poses (not in action).
  • Day 3: Initial gestures are still rough, but I think my lines of action started to improve here. Still too focused on contour once I get past the line of action. My lines are a combination of straight and curved, but they're very short. I'm still using shading to imply form as a third step. I was able to fully shade a figure by my last gesture.
  • Day 4: My sketch lines became longer and more simplified. On the longer poses, I'm paying attention to folds, but not too much. I've stopped shading. Trying to focus a little more on fitting the entire figure onto the page (composition).
  • Day 5: Right off the bat, focusing on line of action, then hip line. Not super worried about getting things perfect, but I am worried about fitting the figure on the page. I'm not concerned about drawing in limbs and parts of the body, instead, I'm focused on drawing folds and showing form through these. There are very few contour lines, and the ones that I did make are long and simplified. Still struggling with static poses, such as stranding up straight, reaching up. I'm finding a 5-minute pose to be “too long” for my focus.


  • I recalled that I make a few boards before I start working. I made an art style/inspiration board, a lighting board, a reference board, and a mood board.
  • It took me a few tries to come up with a thumbnail that felt right. I still don't think it was the most perfect composition, but I thought it would make more sense when I added values and adjusted my lines towards the focal point.
  • I'm quite unhappy with the appearance of my work right now. After further analysis, I have decided it's my lineart. I also think it's partially my anatomy, but I'm already working on that. For the lineart, I want to do some object rotation studies, gesture copy studies from my favorite artists, fold studies, and lineart studies.


  • I found myself putting off sections because I didn't have enough time during the day to get anything done.
  • I keep getting distracted by my family. I ordered a room divider to put a physical barrier between us. It's something I expected when we moved into the new house, and I spoke about it but we ended up putting it off. I wonder how relevant this was to my creative block these past months.

Artist Date

  • Listening to The Charismatic Voice analyze and break down a favorite singer's song/voice. It was an intense experience. And helped me be more aware of becoming more analytical.