Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

Here’s a link to some great drawing pencils I bought from Amazon. I suggest it for pros and beginning artists alike. For beginning artists, there comes a point where you’ll have the urge to use something other than a No. 2 pencil. This is perfect for that step up.

For pros, you’ll find that these are high quality pencils. I’m surprised they are selling it at this price point. It even comes in a handy travel tin to keep everything organized.  If you try them out, I hope they work out for you as they have for me. Here’s the link:




van gogh sketch

This is one of Vincent Van Gogh’s sketches which is currently displayed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Van Gogh had a short art career of only 10 years. But in those ten years, he produced over 900 works of art. To say that he was prolific would be an understatement. This is one of the sketches he did in that time period.

What I love about this piece is that he probably didn’t mean for it to be a work of art to be sold. He was just sketching when he did it. In fact, you can see that he drew it on an envelope. I imagine that the urge to draw just struck him and an envelope was the first piece of paper in his vicinity.

Nonetheless, whatever his intentions were, this was a masterpiece in my eyes. I love the feel of winter I get from this piece.




No, this isn’t the title of the latest horror movie coming from Netflix. This is a lesson or exercise to get your brain trained to instinctively know where shadows fall when you’re drawing people or things from memory and you have no model for reference to look at.  As simple as it may seem, knowing where a shadow should be in your painting or drawing can sometimes be a difficult thing if you’re aiming for realism.

This exercise was taught to me by an older and wiser artist I once knew and it has been very valuable in my progression as an artist.

The first thing you do is you get a newspaper, it can be any old newspaper you have lying around, and look for a good picture of a person with shadows falling on the face or body.  Example 1 is a good picture of a man’s face with a shadow. See example 1 below:

Example 1


In this example, you can see that the shadow falls on the right side of his face, or facing him and looking at him, it would be our left hand side.

Next, you take a pencil and just shade in over exactly where ever you see a shadow on his face.  It doesn’t have to be perfect but make sure to get the mental image of where the shadow falls.  You can even shade in the shadow that falls on his shirt. See example 2 below:

Example 2:

face 2

Once you are finished with this picture, you can look through the rest of the newspaper and find other faces and bodies or even objects to shade in over the shadows with your pencil.  You can repeat this exercise as many times as you like. Always take mental note of the shapes and where the shadows fall. The more you do it the better you will become in placing shadows in your drawings and paintings.

I know this may seem boring to an artist. “What’s the point?” you may ask. Well, what happens over time from doing this exercise is that you will instantly know, for example, when drawing a face out of memory, where the shadows would be without having to look at pictures to help you.

If you’ve ever played a sport or trained in martial arts, they would call this instinct  “muscle memory.”  For example, if you’re trained in boxing, when someone throws a right hand punch at you, you instinctively know how to step out of the way of the punch and counter with a punch of your own. But when you’re first learning how to box, you would break down the steps: “Okay when he punches, I move this way”….etc, etc. You’ll start slow and make many mistakes in the process. But from practicing the steps over and over again over time,  you get to the point where when someone throws a punch. BOOM. You react and counter without even thinking. In a split second you know what to do and your body already acted. This is muscle memory.

The same thing happens over time with drawing. After, breaking down the steps of where shadows fall on faces and objects, and practicing this over and over again, it can also become muscle memory and your brain and hands know exactly where to place your shadows in your drawings. So when you see or draw a face, your brain knows and shades in where the shadow would be without even thinking. Your hand just reacts in seconds.

Right now, I’m illustrating a graphic novel and most of the drawings are coming straight from my head without looking at any references for help. So this has helped me immensely in knowing where the shadows would be when I draw people.  Try this exercise and you will see your own skills improve.




This is a quick sketch I did of Marilyn Monroe. It was done with pencil on wrinkled parchment paper to give it a vintage look.

To see a larger view, click here:

-Roz Abellera


‘Dimension 4’ is a pencil drawing I did a few years back. Once in a while I like to put down the paints and just go for it with paper and pencil.

When I did this one, I was going through a Surreal Art phase and sank myself into the art of Salvador Dali. I feel that this piece shows a Dali and M.C. Escher influence.

Vision, passion, spirit, technical knowledge bound together to form an alternate reality: This is Dimension 4.

–Roz Abellera

Cigarettes and Alcohol

‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ is a still life drawing done with charcoal.

This is from my Sketchbook series where I do these quick and loose drawings on the fly, not going for great detail or realism but rather to capture the moment.

I was at a party and this happened to be on the table. So I whipped out my sketchbook and charcoal and this is what came out.

Special Note: I could have called this piece ‘Temptation’ because I was very tempted to take a hit of that cigarette having quit just 4 years ago. The urge still comes and goes unfortunately.

To see a larger view, click here:

-Roz Abellera
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After I applied primer to the canvas, I did a line drawing of ‘The Dragon’ right onto it. I used a sketching pencil with the lead ‘3B’ which is a relatively soft lead. I used this because I don’t want to have to press too hard onto the canvas in order to mark it. I use as light of a touch as possible. The sketch on the canvas doesn’t have to be perfect because it’s going to get painted over anyway. Stay tuned for Part 4.


Paintiing The Dragon Part 1

My latest painting is my original work called ‘The Dragon’. I am doing it in a minimalist, line drawing, Asian art style in the vein of the great artist Katsushika Hokusai.

Hokusai is the artist who painted the famous painting, ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa.’ If you’re not familiar with his work, here’s a link about him

So I start this painting by doing a sketch of what the painting will generally look like. Above is the sketch I came up with done in pencil on paper.

-Roz Barron Abellera

Recently, I was asked by one of my artist friends “How do you keep from getting “artist’s block?” What inspires you to keep painting?”  He asked this because he had hit a wall in his art career. He felt he had no ideas left and similar to “writer’s block,” he had what he called “artist’s block.”

Having gone through this myself some time ago, I answered with what worked for me. I told him:

“Just paint. Stop thinking about coming up with the “hit” painting that will bring you fame or fortune. Get those things out of your head and do your art with none of these ulterior motives. Because the truth is, there are some artists who never make money. When you do a painting it may or may NOT sell. You have to be okay with that and just do it anyway out of pleasure. Do it because you want to express yourself.

If you’re out of ideas, just paint what’s around you in your immediate environment. Look at Van Gogh. When he did ‘Starry Night’ he just painted a scene that was right outside his window. He wasn’t thinking, “I’m going to make a painting that will go down in history for hundreds of years.” No. He looked outside his window and painted what he saw.

Also, if you’re hung up on what kind of artist you’re supposed to be, be it a: Realist, Expressionist, Impressionist, Surrealist, etc…just throw that out the window and explore a different style. No one says you have to live by any labels. Experiment.

This is my advice to any artist having artist’s block: Stop thinking about it too hard. Just have fun. Experiment. Express yourself. Just Paint!

-Roz Barron Abellera

Picasso is one of my favorite artists. I admire how he explored many different styles of art and he even created some of his own. My favorite painting of his is definitely ‘The Old Guitarist.’ What’s your favorite Picasso painting?