Danny

Today’s portrait is not a Sktchy face. This is Danny Gregory, founder of Sketchbook Skool and all round art guru who is celebrating his birthday today. I owe Danny a lot. He is the person who got me drawing for the first time since childhood when I was in the depths of major depressive illness after a serious breakdown some years ago. It’s no exaggeration to say that drawing, and by extension Danny, was one of the things that helped to save my life.

Since that time chronic mental and physical illness has become a part of my life and daily drawing is part of my toolkit for maintaining my wellbeing. Sketchbook Skool and Sktchy, and the online communities that surround these, have become an integral part of my life and crucial to my mental and physical health. I’m hugely grateful to the people who make up these communities for their ongoing friendship and support and to Danny, Koosje Koene and Jordan Melnick for their foresight and hard work in creating and sustaining them.

Those of you who follow this blog regularly will know that a few months ago I became a teacher for Sketchbook Skool. I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to go from student to teacher. The very least I can do is draw Danny on his birthday and wish him a very happy birthday!

Vincent

Every week Sketchbook Skool founder Danny Gregory House Draw With Me session on YouTube. Anyone can attend and draw along with Danny. Each session has a different theme and after the session people post their drawings on social media (although this isn’t obligatory).

During this week’s s Draw With Me session we drew a 19-year-old Vincent van Gogh. I did a simple sketch in ballpoint pen. But many other people did wonderfully colourful drawings in true Van Gogh style and when I saw them posted online I decided I had to have a go. So I uploaded my sketch to my iPad and started playing around in Procreate with a TrueGrit TextureTown brush and the Liquefy function. This is what I ended up with. I love it.

You can see my process on YouTube here. If you’d like to watch a previous or attend a future Draw With Me session ( they’re absolutely free and open to anyone worldwide) you’ll find them here – make sure you subscribe if you want to receive a reminder of future sessions.

Faeze

This was so much fun to draw! I want to focus on drawing hands in a future Spark class so I was looking at inspiration photos with hands. This one caught my eye – too hard for a first class on drawing hands but fun for me to draw. The muse is Faeze from the Museum by Sktchy app.

Denyce

I’m struggling to draw in the hot weather in the UK. The heat affects my meds and makes me very tired and I think that this affected my drawing subliminally – Denyce looks so tired in this portrait and she really doesn’t look tired in the inspiration photo. Her hair has also ended up frizzy from the humidity – and it’s not like that in the inspiration image either. I didn’t really notice this when I was drawing but can see it so clearly now.

So my challenge for the next couple of weeks is to see if I can manage to draw portraits without making people look hot, sweaty and tired. I’m also wondering if this something that happens to other people or just me…

Erika

We practiced drawing noses in my Drawing Faces class for Sketchbook Skool’s Spark programme this week. I love drawing noses and hate drawing mouths (because I find them so difficult to get right) so drawing Erika’s nose and mouth here was both a joy and a struggle! We focused on finding the roundness in these features to help us draw them well and it was a lot of fun.

I usually play around with the drawings a little after class, adding finishing touches when I have more time. But this week I have builders putting in new windows and I had to pack all my art materials away straight after my class, so I had to finish my drawing entirely in Procreate. So all the finishing touches are added with digital Copic and coloured pencil brushes.