Paint Me A Picture

When it comes to hobbies and interests, I’m the type of person who starts something and usually abandons it half-finished. Girl Scouts, ballet, gymnastics, knitting, wire-working… Eventually, my love of the activity fades and I leave it by the wayside.

Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case with drawing (or writing for that matter). Back in high school, I was president of Art Club. Not due to any amount of skill I had, but because I was enthusiastic to take up the role. My friends all had paintings and drawings in library displays, while I did little more than draw cartoon characters with big eyes and no noses.

Exhibit One:

Almost a year ago, I mentioned a goal to create a portrait of all my many characters. I figured I’d hire out because my own digital work wasn’t up to my standards. I did find a Fiverr artist I really like, but at $25 per digital painting (which is actually a great deal), it would get expensive quick.

So I buckled down and returned to my practice of drawing characters. I finally started getting the hang of drawing them with some consistency, not in color, mind you, but still, you could tell it was the same character.

As I moved on to try to draw other characters beyond my four POVs, my husband made an off-hand comment about how my characters lacked expression. Beyond a hint of a smile on a couple of the faces, there wasn’t much beyond neutral in all my drawings. I sighed because I knew he was right. Like with previous projects, I scrapped my progress and started over, this time aiming to exaggerate.

I’ve completed eight portraits in the past couple of weeks, complete with color. This deviates from my previous drawings in that I did it completely digitally. I’m finally getting comfortable with my laptop with the pressure sensitive screen, so much so that I find myself reaching to the top corner to hit undo before realizing I’m using pencil and paper.

Here is my current progress, which I have to admit, I am pretty proud of.

Top Row: LaTonya (POV), Derek (POV), Alissandria
Middle Row: Naomi, Jebaliah
Bottom Row: Alistair, MaTisha (POV), Cameron (POV)

I’ve still got dozens of characters in my brain, and I’m not sure how to capture their personalities in simple portraits. But I’m sure going to try. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to create my mega map of interconnected characters. 🙂

I swear I am actually writing in addition to all this drawing. In fact, I finished another chapter this past week. I just can’t write while I’m conversing with my family because my brain can’t handle the interruptions. But I can draw and color while hanging with my kids or catching up on the day with my husband.

Do you have any character drawings you really like? Who are some of your favorite artists?

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

22 thoughts on “Paint Me A Picture

  1. Nice work! I wish I had that artistic talent. Two of my daughters can draw very well, but I don’t think they inherited that trait from me. Keep up the efforts as you definitely have a skill and eye for art.

    I’ve been much like you in dropping things that I’ve started. I’ve done it my entire life. I guess I just lose patience when I don’t see any immediate results from my work.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  2. Those are amazing. As someone who absolutely cannot draw, I am in awe. I know, it seems terrible to you. We are always so hypercritical of our own work. Glad yours are coming along.

  3. Anna

    They are awesome. You’ve got talent. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  4. Beautifully done. I would like to try digital drawing and painting one day.

  5. Oh my gosh. You’re so talented. One day, when I have money, I want to hire you to create cartoon images of my characters in my urban fantasy series. 🙂 If they are ever published. lol

  6. Wow, Loni, these are AMAZING! I wish I could do that (no, seriously. I do!) and you’ve definitely got the talent/skill to make them each their own characters. I LOVE MaTisha! Those nails…

  7. Wow Loni, they look incredible!

  8. I love your drawings! I think drawing out characters help too. I used to draw tons and kept a magazine binder of character sketches from both pencil and magazine clippings. My favorite artists have changed considerably and it’s been so long since I’ve thought about them. I love Van Gogh’s landscapes of the wheat fields. I love swirls. I love Gaughin because of his bright color choices. At one point I know I loved a painter who studied horses but I can’t remember his name 🙂 Happy Wednesday and enjoy your family 🙂

  9. This really made my heart happy, Loni. I know that sounds super cheesy because we don’t know each other, but it’s true. To see you nailing your artwork and reaching your writing goals, hanging with family and doing well, yeah, it made my heart happy. Good for you! And your drawings rock. 🙂

    Elsie

  10. I love your style! I’ve drawn many of my own characters, too, though they’re in a more cartoon style as well, though I did paint them for the new covers, however I had to use reference material for them because I’m not good at “real” color – I can do cellshaded coloring, but when it comes to mixing blue or yellow in to make skin tones on their cheeks or chins… yeah, it all just looks skin colored to me, LOL!

  11. I’ve been meaning to stalk you a bit since we’re always interacting so well on my blog, and I can relate entirely. I was so ‘halfway’ for years and it frustrated me that I was never offering anything to show for it. I didn’t want to lose any of my many hobbies, but had to crack down on deciding what I wanted from them and finishing things. Like you, drawing and writing seem to come in at the top these days and even then, it’s a matter of finding the discipline to hammer them to completion. It’s always inspiring to know it’s not a journey we face alone. Keep it up!

  12. Awesome artwork that you should be proud of. My art is still at the stick stage – unless I trace a master. Naomi reminds me of my main protagonist.

  13. Wow! Very nice. I can see their personalities. What hardware/software do you use?

  14. That’s some amazing artwork! All those long, spiky fingernails. I always wished I could draw like that, but sadly I was never that good at it. I love looking at fantasy artwork, though. Just think, you could create a wall mural of all your characters. That would be really cool.

  15. I love your character portraits. They look amazing! As someone with no artistic ability whatsoever, I always have to rely on searching for images on Pinterest.

  16. Those are awesome! I wish I had your talent. These ones definitely aren’t lacking expression.

    When I was a teen, my bf at the time was an insanely talented artist. He drew a big mural on my bedroom wall featuring Thor, SpiderMan, Batman, Robin, and Wolverine. SpiderMan looked 3D, like he was about to leap off the wall. I’d say Spidey and Thor are still my favourite characters.

  17. So apparently hard word and practice practice practice really does take talent to the next level. Awesome progress! I especially love MaTisha and her missing finger. Will it grow back? 🙂

  18. Beautiful.

  19. Those are amazing! Their personalities do seem to show and I find myself wanting to learn more about them 🙂

  20. Sarah

    Nice! I love that girl on the top right (saw her somewhere…an old gallery of yours?) but they’re all pretty awesome. I’ve always loved your sketches but have to admit those last digital ones are amazing.

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