As a challenge to myself for the month of March, I completed 30 pages of sketching in my toned gray sketchbook. Ideally, it should have been a daily drawing challenge but as I had to sometimes skip a few days due to my other work I settled for completing 30 pages – sometimes doing 2 or 3 a day – just to get into a habit of frequent drawing.


Here are just some of the thoughts I had throughout March as I was working on these 30 pages.

On Drawing Every Day

You often hear the advice that you should draw every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes or just a few hours to capture ideas or to keep practicing skills. Considering my daily schedule and responsibilities, I take this advice with caution.

Giving myself permission to draw at any random time is like giving myself permission to access an addiction (or what I imagine an addiction would be like). It is like opening the flood gates – once I get started and get into it I can’t stop, and a lot of the things that I had planned for the day get sidelined or get hurried over or are pushed back completely. Even if I do manage to pull myself away from that sketch that I had started on a few hours ago, it will still call to me to be finished to be worked on a little bit more. This might be a good thing if art was all I had to think about in my life right now. But, as it is, I still have another job and other responsibilities that I need to attend to. And while that inability to shut off may demonstrate my passion for creating and drawing, it may also reveal a lack of self-discipline or self-control. Admittedly, the more I do it – going back and forth between drawing and then doing other things – I feel, the better I get at controlling myself and turning on and off of creative thought. Is that even a good thing? Maybe. At the very least, I guess it’s good that I am developing a work discipline within myself.

On Drawing on Toned Paper

Toned paper is something I tried for the first time this March. I found that I love it. I love how once you’ve finished your drawing, adding highlights just instantly gives everything more volume and makes everything pop. Sketching on toned paper also seems less intimidating to me rather than drawing on white paper, possibly because my errant pencil marks are less obvious here than on a clean white sheet. I would prefer in future though to use a heavier paper that can better handle my paint media. Currently, I’m using Strathmore 400 Series Toned Gray Sketch Paper which is ok for my line art and the colored pencils I’ve been using, but I think the Toned Mixed Media pad would be next on my to-buy list

My first few drawings on toned paper were a bit of a struggle, to be honest. But that could be because I was unfamiliar with not only the paper but also with using colored pencils. I think I’m too lazy for colored pencil work especially when I have to use it for covering large surface areas with color. My go to would still be paint or maybe even markers.

On Drawing Animals

These challenges I’m imposing on myself are mostly for me getting to know myself as an artist. I’m a little bit late getting onto the artist track because earlier in my life I chose a different career path, even though I’ve always loved drawing and painting. But now I’m back at it, so I have a lot of catching up to do in building up my skills and understanding my style of self-expression.

One thing I learned is that animal drawings are something that I really, really love to do and want to get better at. If you’ve seen my pet portraits I think we can agree that I can copy from a reference photo pretty well, but I want to challenge myself further and do more poses and scenes from my own imagination, which is why I’m diving into the study of anatomy so I don’t have to be so dependent on reference.

As you can see I’ve been doing mostly wildlife drawings – following these drawing courses by one of my favorite artists Aaron Blaise. And while I was doing these, especially the one of the polar bear, I just got so sad thinking about the possibility that all that might be left of these animals I’m drawing someday is justthese captured images and that they’ll just be a memory to us or something future generations just study in history books. Honestly, I had a bit of a cry thinking about it. These animals are so beautiful and so amazing, it’s just sad that people don’t know or don’t care enough to do anything about their plight. I mean, even me, I could probably be doing more, too. And just with these thoughts in my head, I’m realizing that animal art is probably something that’s gonna be central to my artwork especially if it allows me to share my awe and wonder of them and to help spreading any kind of message about them that might make a difference.

If you were wondering about the animal drawing courses by Aaron Blaise that I’ve been talking about, I’m planning to do a little bit of a review about that next. He’s been such an inspiration and I want to share how the course went for me, what I learned and what I think about it.

So yeah, it’s been an interesting 30 days, or I should say 30 pages of sketching and learning about myself and what direction I want my art to take. I think I’m coming out of this with more inspiration, more knowledge, definitely, and I just want to keep going!

Thanks so much for reading this far, let me know what you think about my sketches and my thoughts. I hope I got to inspire you as well, maybe. And I’ll talk to you again soon!

Check out my drawings on my Instagram account: