Sunday, February 02, 2014

Digital Drawing Day — Plant Material

Here we are on our third week of our digital drawing challenge. This week's challenge was "Plant Matter."


Terry's "assignment" for the week was "Plant Matters" and I suddenly became fixated on the variety of plants that I've depicted in other media.

I began with (something like) Plant 5 (in the east side industrial district which I painted in panels a few years ago.

And in front of my eyes in the front window are the amaryllis that we always start at Christmas time, too late to bloom then, but a joy in January and February. Years ago, I painted a bunch of amaryllis on silk. I even quilted a few of them (and just sold some others). So doing a smooshy Art Rage paint job on the pink amaryllis seemed perfect.

And in between the amaryllis and the industrial building I placed the scene across the street, behind the amaryllis and in front of the industrial building, trees in their winter gauntness, organic in form,
but without any lushness. I've painted this kind of tree often.

The industrial building was traced from a photo and then mangled with SketchClub, the trees painted from memory with SketchClub and a little tweaking with ArtRage, and the amaryllis was painted "plein air" (or on-site, or from life) with Art Rage, with a snitch of Photoshop intervening when I got stuck. All were worked on layers, which I actually remembered to use often this time.

Toshiba stylus and wacom tablet and pen.


I decided to approach this drawing in a little different way from the others I have done. The layers function in the Sketch Club program gives you the option of placing or creating layers that can serve as guides and then be discarded. Last week I used the option to start with a photo on a bottom later, that was later discarded. This time I decided to start with a rough sketch of my succulent plant sitting on a tile-topped table. (see the photo below) That approach worked well. Then, using the sketch as a guide, I stared creating the tiled background. Then I completely fouled myself up! I intended to draw the pot and the plant on a separate layer in front of the background, but inadvertently drew it on the same layer and cut off my options for refining the edges and adding shadows behind the pot. Oh well, I pushed ahead anyway.

There are some things I don't really like about this, one of which is the black areas that are a little too black, but I learned a lot with this piece and I like the effect that the speckly brush gave the plant leaves. Overall it may be a little overworked.

iPad, Sketch Club app, New Trent Arcadia stylus, tweaked in Photoshop to adjust saturation and contrast.

Here's the preliminary sketch. It really helped to get the perspective of the tiles and main elements of the plant in place.


I am really gratified by the interest this project has generated. I got a great drawing from Laura Kemshall, who wrote: "You suggested a theme of plant material, I love poppy seedheads and so couldn't resist joining in. I've attached a drawing which I did with Procreate on the iPad. Can't believe I've not done more work on the iPad before - I love it!"

Here is Laura's beautiful poppy pod:

 I think this is so simple and elegant and, of course, so representative of Laura's work. If you are not familiar with it, treat yourself to a visit to her blog

Thank you, Laura!

My friend, Susan Gallacher-Turner is also experimenting with her iPad and sent me a link to her blog:  She is definitely having some fun with the drawing apps!
Next week's theme, from June: "Bread", in any sense of the word.


  1. Oh joy, we've got companions! It's a great day in the neighborhood.

    My "assignment" had to be sent off just before the Super Bowl (which I believe Terry ignored completely) so it's pretty lame. I'll try to do better next time. But now I'm stuck with it -- and so is Terry:-(

  2. BTW, good job Laura and Susan, I'm already looking forward to what comes down the pike next week.

  3. For June,
    Actually although you aren't keen on it, I can see your hand in it more than the others so far. Maybe the sense of place you manage to put into a piece.
    Sandy in the UK

  4. You are really getting into this! As am I. I have been thinking of setting up a linky tool on sundays so people can link up their digital pics. what do you think? I also am amazed at Laura's drawings, and yours, too. I have done a few this week, but haven't as yet posted due to computer problems.

  5. the vibrant pink flower that contrasts so well with the grey building and tree. Terry...I really get such a nice feel for the succulent leaves and love the complimentary contrast between the green leaves and red tile. Laura...such a delicate drawing, strong in its simplicity.

    June and Terry ...thanks for the inspiration and I didn't realize there was a weekly theme. But now that I do, I'm looking forward to how coming up with something for bread.