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Finally posting a sketchbook thread after far too much lurking! Great place to keep track of progress, receive feedback and inspiring others! Looking forward to many posts in the future.

Recent oil paintings, sketches, studies, and imagination drawing.

Work in Progress...Need to get back into this one
Imagination piece
Welcome :)

I like the oils on top, hope you find time to finish the wip soon.

I think more emphasis on suggesting the general volume in your sketches will help.
Damn you YouTube! Bob Ross video that caught my eye, 3 hours later I have a wet oil painting that I can't touch, and am behind on my goals for the day. Posting some studies later tonight to get back on track.

Really not all that thrilled to post this one, but will push me to do better.
anzhou: Thanks! I will keep this in mind in future studies to not be so flat.

Here is my first attempt at an Alla Prima portrait, it was alot of fun! I think there was some proportion flaws with the lips and lower jaw.


Great alla prima youtuber:
Ahh nice, I like paints.

Thanks for sharing the link man :)

I just spent too long learning how animate layers into a .gif using painter ( F*** YEA!) so heres an animated paintover.

I don't have your reference, but you could push the forms to read abit more clearly and "less flat", even if the lighting setup is no good. Hope it helps!

Sorry for my ambiguous critique earlier, less flat isn't being that concise.


1, strengthen the darks
2, strengthen the lights
3, increase shadow transparency
4, soften hard marks (these could read as dents)
Haha, don't you love when those seemingly small tasks turn into long ones...usually fueled by frustration.

I really appreciate the paint over anzhou, thank you for taking the time and keeping an eye on my SB. I will definitely do my best to apply your crits.

Too tired to take the time to upload my studies from this evening, sleep will be more constructive for a better tomorrow at this point.
Good work, McKelvey. Look forward to seeing more. :)
Thanks Craig, your reply has pushed me to make another post. Thought I would share a pic from my recent studies. Nice to see small improvements from week to week.


Also if anyone has time to read my rant, you might find some small benefit from one of my struggles.

The Dirty(False) High of Inspiration

It has taken years to notice this pattern of mine, and I can still fall victim to it if I am not on my game. This may not be an issue for everyone, but it is definitely a curse that has plagued my growth. I love to be inspired, I love the warm fuzzy feeling that I get when I see a great work of art, or hearing a great speech that makes me want to do more. But, then that’s all that happens. I get the positive feeling and my brain tricks itself into thinking this is actually the “high” of success, because for a moment I see the future I want to have. I’ve spent years following self-help videos, and watching inspirational artists grow. After the high leaves, the guilt sets in. I count the months and years I’ve wasted, and that spark is gone and the motivation and the glimpse of the future fades. Instead of riding this inspiration into action I take the dirty feel good high, then I have my own personal pity party. After I’m down on myself, I take the next dirty high. I have trained my brain to consume this way, just like a person who takes headache medicine every day, has trained himself to get headaches.

I’m not saying inspiration is negative; just recognize if you are using it for good or bad. Inspiration gives us the fuel to want to do better. Hard work is the only cure for the dirty high. If I spend hours working on improving my drawing, nothing beats the reward of knowing I didn’t waste my time. It’s hard though, distractions from the cell phone, finding the perfect song to listen to, or the perfect podcast, a million excuses go through my brain on why I shouldn’t. Maybe everything I drew today sucks, and I just want to quit. But knowing I didn’t let another day go by makes it all worth it.

Eventually you will learn that the dirty high doesn’t compare to putting in the work. The positive momentum of putting in the hours, fighting through all the barriers becomes the real high.
^ I recognize myself in that , at least how things used to be a while back. I had to undergo drastic personal changes to fight it off, but in the end it was worth it.

I didn't lack the motivation or the drive, the problem was looking at all the amazing artists around and thinking "arghh i'll never do it, i'll never reach that level, everyone is so good", etc. Self-doubt was probably the biggest problem and it eventually rose to a point where i couldn't draw anymore. Those "headaches" you were mentioning became such a drag that i ended up hating what i was doing and hating drawing itself.
My solution at that time was to take a big step back and isolate myself entirely from the community i had grown up in. No more amazing artists, no more references, no more videos, no more tutorials, nothing but myself and my will to succeed. After a while spent that way, i managed to come back and the "game" had changed for me. These people i thought untouchable became artists that i respected because they had worked harder or for more years than i have. However, they were still people and i was no less. The dreams and aspirations i had were not silly ideals anymore but rather a question of time; and many other ideas as that.

Inspiration can help drive you up or down just the same. All i would say is - when you look at inspirational people with great success stories or great art or anything like that - just remember that they are themselves and you are your own person. It took me years to realize that and to realize i simply could not "compete" with anyone because we are not the same. Their life is theirs and mine is mine. It was indeed very difficult for me to a. understand that my evolution pace was slower due to certain circumstances and b. actually living with that.

As for the images of this future you want to have, i have three words - Make it yours.
If there is one thing i've learned so far in this life it's that you Can achieve these things. Sure, it takes a while and sure there's tons of work to put in as i'm sure you are aware of and i don't plan on turning this rant into a disciplinary speech. But they can be achieved and you can get to that place. And when you do, it will make it worth it. I'm sure any of my working peers would agree, catching a glimpse of your image in a magazine or a billboard or playing a game you've worked on or seeing your name in a movie credit, they make this path sweeter and they make you stronger.

All you need is a thicker skin, a warrior spirit and love for the game.
I have a different problem, somewhat like yours but in it's own way.

My life is shadowed by the fair of failure. Ever since I was little I've had this problem.
The biggest challenge was school, living together with my girlfriend and the fear of failure as a father (8 month old little princess now ^^ ). Yet, I've managed to overcome these fears time and time again.

Now the biggest problems is like Sickbrush to think I can never be as good as the artist I see as inspirational. (Sickbrush, for what it's worth, you're one of them ;) )
I see their art, I draw myself and then I get so angry for not getting the art on paper like I envisioned it in my head.
Then the anger turns to fear, the same old pattern that I've lived through my entire life (turning 25 now btw).
I need to face it, and it will take me a while but I'll get there. One day :)
Thank you Sickbrush, for taking the time to make such a thoughtful writeup and sharing your own experience.

Fortunately this pitfall of mine is more a thing of the past, but having it written down, is a reminder to myself and a possible eye opener for others. You have some great advice in there, and I'm sure I will refer back to these posts from time to time.

Also, the stuff you are doing with environments is awesome, keep up the good work!

Spectre, thank you for sharing! I resonate with that fear as well.

When I have a drawing that isn't going the way I like, and feel the frustration building, I tell myself "Draw it again, and it will be better." And sure enough it usually is significantly better. Sometimes I am not drawing what I see, but drawing what I think I see. "oh thats an eye, this is what an eye looks like." Instead of breaking down the shapes and line for what they really are. It's almost like rewiring the brain from childhood notions on what a certain object is supposed to look like. If I don't get it the second time, I will on the third..or eventually. Stick with it!

Thanks again SpectreX, congrats on your daughter btw
Instead of spending time on 'selfhelp' material, you will help yourself I lot more (at least it worked for me) by looking for tutorials and lessons and actually going through them with work, not just looking at them. Also, make your own lesson plans and go through them. That is where a student's time should be spent. Be thorough! I know it hurts.
You've got what it takes in terms of talent, I'd like to see you winning this battle. Cheers!
Hey McKelvey,

Thank you for sharing man, its inspiring to watch you confront yourself like that and it gives me courage to continue :) cheers!

For what its worth, I try to make sure to think of solving the problems when I'm drawing. That way I don't go into much doodling(drawing the things I'm comfortable with) and I'm always attempting to confront the problems I have one at a time.

Whenever I draw something and I dislike it because it looks 'wrong', I realize for me its usually because of a gap in my understanding, so I spend some time to think and look for the thing that upsets the image, I'll check for perspective and proportion (and usually its one of the two, colour will probably come along soon :O) and I'll try to edit and make the drawing better.

Before I sleep I'll think about the problems I've worked out and the ones I'm still working on.

Hope its helpful.

Keep at it man I believe you can this :)

*PS Also, some of us are doing the assignments Sickbrush posted for his class, in this thread here: come join the party :)
Really love the stuff you got going on here, keep up the work, when you get a min can you give mine a look