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Thank you Hypnagogic, I shall do some skull studies once I get the chance. Luckily I have amongst my collection of bones a replica of a human skull. Anyway, after a brief hiatus from drawing due to finishing school, here's some things from the past weeks:

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A couple of studies of a crab claw I found at the beach.

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Studies of one of my pet beetle pupae, which I sadly found dead. At least I got to study it though!

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An awkward little sketch I did for a concept pertaining to one of my story projects.

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Finally, a mixed media painting I don't think worked too well.

Fire away, daggers!
I just finished this study of a stag beetle. I don't think it's that well done, I'm terrible at digital. Any advice?

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A couple more aesthetic ramblings:

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Some notes from the Peter Han videos on form and such. Also some dabblings with two-point perspective.

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A study of a frog. I really don't like this one.
Really enjoying all these studies from nature you have! With regards to digital, a couple of basic tips:

1. Start with a toned canvas - preferably some neutral-ish colour - when you paint. Painting on white kind of distorts how you see colours, and on top of that, can look pretty messy when bits of white show between brush strokes.

2. Use the biggest brush possible for what you are doing. This really helps with avoiding 'streakiness' in brush strokes, as well as saving time. It takes a bit of practise, but try to blend with the opacity on with a soft touch. (There are other ways - some people control opacity with the numbers, and a couple of pros use the smudge to clean details, but generally opacity control is the most useful way to blend.)

Odds are you have probably heard of it already, but I recommend the library of free videos at for starting out at digital painting if you need some resources.
Thank you very much, Clockodile. I have had a look around CtrlPaint since you linked me to it and it looks as though it could be of use, so thank you for linking it to me.

Here's more scratchings from the meat of the scrawler beast:

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A couple of quick form studies of a couple of ammonite fossils, plus a little ammonite doodle.

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Character design sketches for one of my story concepts.

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A quick piece I finished last night.
A couple more visual regurgitations:

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A study of a mole cricket. I'd love some feedback on this one as I really don't like how it came out.
Hi Stardust, the first image is awesome, I love the stippling.

The silhouette of the second one looks good too, I think you could benefit from looking at the edges though; get some hard edges in there, it's all too soft. I mean all the edges too, not just the outer edges - whenever the form transitions the light changes and there's either a hard or a soft edge - explains it better and shows a good, simple, technique for doing hard and soft edges in photoshop.

Also there's this one:, not directly related to your drawing but it's got bugs in it so I thought of you : )
Thank you, Jyonny, I'll take a look at those videos shortly. Also, here's a little thing I did yesterday that I was thinking of using for my hypothetical scientific illustration portfolio, but it's probably not good enough. I probably need to wait until I improve more until I think about that.

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Hello again, splendid chordates. Here's more drawings and other endeavours:

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A study of a lovely Katydid.

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Drawing based on recent unpleasant experiences.

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Lastly, a consumerist ammonite.

As you can see, I've been practicing with pen and ink a lot.
Here's a quick portrait I did today. I'm not too pleased with it. Any suggestions?

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Well, lots of experimenting around here! Keep it up and don't stop pushing forward!
Really liking the black and white pointillism illustrations!
If you don't mind me asking. What is your artistic direction, what do you want to do?
That could give your studies a direction that you could follow.

I find it's best to train your fundamentals drawing and painting things that you are actually interested about.

Also as suggested before, ctrl+paint is an awesome site for learning the basics of digital media!

keep going! Getting better at art is all about presistence :D
All the best
LaleAnn-Thank you. I intend to.

Birchgrove-Thank you, too. To answer your question, my intentions are to produce stuff along the lines of symbolic illustrations (that probably sounds pretentious, but oh well). I'm also heavily interested in scientific and medical illustration, which despite how considerably less commonly demanded it is now, I would like to attempt to get somewhere with.

As anyone would be able to tell, I draw and paint arthropods a lot as I enjoy using them as symbols in my work, aside from being a long-time fascination of mine. I also would like to specialise in illustrations of insects and other invertebrates for publications and the like(which I know is a pretty niche area, but one can dream, can't they?). Anyway, I shall continue to study subjects of interest, including invertebrates. Anything else anyone wants to suggest about the direction of my studies and such?

Also, just so this isn't a wall of text, here's a work in progress of a study I'm working on, intending to put into practice what I learned from the Ctrl+Paint videos you guys have recommended to me. Any thoughts?

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More stippling. Here's a drawing of the giant water bug Kirkaldyia deyrolli.

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Nice to see you experimenting and evolving in different mediums and techniques there, Stardust!
Especially like the pointilism pieces, the bugs get such nice texture from it.

A suggestion when you paint digitally, begin more zoomed out, use big brushes and block in the values and basic shapes first. Squint and see if the values read, if there's nice contrast going on in there.
Then you can zoom in and use those smaller brushes to get some texture going. I found that this approach helped me a lot.
One can also do a two value black and white block in to pin-point the light source early on. It's pretty sweet because if your image reads in that stage, It'll probably look good rendered aswell since you already have the light well planned out.

Typing a lot of stuff so bear with me ;D I think that self-portrait has some sweet loose strokes going on in it. The eyes kinda ruin it for me however, since they have such sharp lines they look..drawn on, for lack of a better word. They get that cartoony feel, especially since they're contrasted with the rest of the painting which again, has nice loose more realistic lighting. Otherwise I think it can be pushed further as far as light goes, as in use more of the value range. Darker where it's dark and a few highlights in the light. But be careful to not overdo it heh.
This will be all I type for now, have a tendency to spew out too many words sometimes. Hope some of it helps :)
You are your biggest asset, if you know what you want to do and love to do, more power to you.
Do you have a natural history museum close by? Get a season ticket and go sketch them bugs :D
Adzerak-Thank you very much for your response. I will retain all of that in mind. Also, don't worry about writing a wall of text, it was very helpful.

Birchgrove-Thanks. There is a museum in my town that apparently has a large collection of pinned insect specimens. I should have a look there.

More scribblings.

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A drawing I finished today. I wish it were more symmetrical.

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Value study of a female Dynastes tityus beetle, also done today. Reference used here.
Hey man, great stuff going on here! You're building your visual library of bugs everytime you do one of these ^^

Definitely get down to that museum and sketch some insects from life - it becomes more of an emotional experience - I find - when you draw like that, you build up a connection with the thing you're drawing which, for me, makes me take more care over it and helps me to remember it better if I want to draw it from imagination.

You may well have seen this video:

The exercises he teaches towards the end could really help you; drawing shapes then giving them volume with wrapping lines. A lot of insects resemble really clear spheres / ellipsoids / cylindrical legs & antennas etc, all stuck together. Getting an instinctive feel for how those shapes attach and feel in space would really help you to draw insects; like being confident you can always get the legs in the right places on each side even when it's at an angle. I do those exercises all the time.

Good luck man! Keep it up!
Thank you very much, Jyonny! I intend to watch that video again, as you are right, the tutorial it gives on construction would likely come in useful when I'm drawing subjects from imagination, particularly arthropods.

Anyway, here's a quick pen and ink dabble of one of my fox skulls, in which I've attempted a hatching technique using only horizontal lines. Maybe this could work if I took more time and a cleaner approach with it. Still, I love pen and ink.

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Also, forgot to add this earlier, here's another value study, this time of a male Xylotrupes gideon beetle. Reference used here.

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