The Great Art Metamorphosis // how my drawings have changed over the years

Hello, folks!

The other day, I decided to flip through an old sketch book of mine, one from aaaaaall the way back when I first got serious about drawing, dated 2014.

The result?

The result was me dragging forth all my finished sketchbooks and lining them up on the floor to compare style and improvement. The difference between the sketchbooks from five years ago and the current ones is so extreme that sometimes I laughed and sometimes I cringed (extremely hard) and sometimes… well…

I’ll show you.

May I present “An Evolution in Art,” or something like that. BEHOLD:

IMG_E0751

…yeah.

Way back in 2014, I decided to become a professional artist and THIS unsightly glory of 13-year-old craftsmanship is the result. But hey, we all have to start somewhere, right? This is a memento of just how far I’ve come. Even though I sometimes feel like throwing these old sketches into the compost pile, I’m still glad to have them because–

IMG_E0752

Scratch that. I’m burning them all.

Poor Susan Pevensie. I mutilated her face.

IMG_E0750

See that little pinnacle of land to the right? That wasn’t in the original version of this drawing. But when I showed it to everyone, my cousin pointed out that she was shooting an arrow into the ocean — and unless she thought she could catch fish that way, it didn’t make much sense. (Thanks, Zach. I may have acted like I wanted to throw you out of my house at the time, but when all was said and done, the extra strip of land now exists.)

 

IMG_E0748

Literally every single person I drew in 2014 was wearing something from the Narnia movies. (#SorryNotSorry) My question is, what are all the dark squiggles in the corners? Was I trying to represent mental illness with these simple contour lines of chaos? Or did I actually think they were the way to draw darkness??

 

IMG_E0754

Enter in the 2015 era: Liriel was born, Lord of the Rings was watched, and I did my darnedest to merge the two.

(For reference, here’s the compilation of current Aeterna art.)

 

IMG_E0746

Do you realize what this is? Probably not, so I’ll tell you: This flat, guppy-mouthed, ill-shaded faux White Witch was my very first attempt at drawing a portrait.

All things considered, I think she looks quite good. Especially that one ear.

 

IMG_E0753

Ah yes, back to Liriel. And LotR. I was still trying to make them be the same thing.

 

IMG_E0756

My second portrait. Done exclusively with an HB pencil. This is the reason my art teacher still has nightmares.

 

IMG_E0757

The interesting thing about these old drawings is how detailed my backgrounds usually are. Nowadays, I forego the background and focus all my attention on the character, because I’m allegedly a “people artist, not a background artist.” But back then, I didn’t care what kind of artist I was. I drew because it was fun, and if the background looked as sloppy as the character, well, too bad. I was gonna do it anyway.

Yep, 14-year-old Sarah had more sense than the current version.

 

IMG_E0759

Rapunzel is secretly a gecko in disguise. You cannot convince me otherwise.

 

IMG_E0760

Child. CHILD. What is wrong with your hair?! It’s like someone glued dog-hair to a bowl and stuck it on your head.

 

IMG_E0763

First costume I ever made up on my own, without copying something from Narnia or LotR. Anna still talks about this girl.

 

IMG_E0764

What, you ask, are a fawn, a human, and a dwarf doing in a meadow where some strange rainbowy thing shoots up from a hole in the ground?

The answer, my friends, is I haven’t a cotton-pickin’ clue.

 

IMG_E0765

I have so many questions…

 

IMG_E0766

Ahahahah… ahaha… haha…

THIS — this lovely little Liriel, this sketch I couldn’t even be bothered to give sleeves, this original piece of concept art — this, friends, is the infamous drawing I showed to my mother and said, “Mom, I’ve reached my peak. Some artists attain sheer brilliance at a young age, and this is mine. Nothing I draw from this point on will ever be as good as these few lines of physical, emotional, and poetic genius.”

Yeah, uh, well.

I have news for you, 2015-Sarah.

 

IMG_E0769

My first sketch of Emolas. I’ll… just… leave this one here.

 

IMG_E0773

Hello, 2016. Once again, where are her sleeves?! More importantly, WHAT IS LOTCH DOING??

(Also, notice how detailed both their poses are. I was starting to branch out into more complicated positions and the art of foreshortening.)

 

IMG_E0775

A continuation in the “Things I Should Have Finished But Didn’t” series.

 

IMG_E0779

Things I Should’ve Given Context To But Didn’t.

 

IMG_E0780

Here comes the 2017 era. I began experimenting with shading. And finally discovered other pencil values besides HB, and that they might actually be useful. I also learned a basic truth that sticks with me to this day:

I CANNOT DRAW HANDS.

This is also the time I started posting art to my blog. *squirms*

 

IMG_E0781

*coos* Awwww, look at the weird, scrawny little immortal snake-child. This was my first time drawing book fanart (N.D. Wilson’s Ashtown Burials), and I gotta say — I haven’t stopped since.

 

IMG_E0782

The costumes I created were starting to get more detailed, but I had a nasty habit of making arms look like glorified garden hoses…

 

DSC_0007

Hmmm, not too sloppy! (And then there’s K-2SO… *facepalm*)

 

IMG_E0789

Things I Should Have Finished but Didn’t: The ongoing saga with Liriel and co.

FYI, this is a completely accurate visual representation of what these three characters spend 95% of the book doing.

If you zip up to the first sketch of Liriel, you’ll notice the massive difference, not only in quality, but in concept as well. Out of all my characters, her concept has changed the most. At this point, I was finally starting to develop my own style, and you can see it in this picture.

 

IMG_E0790

Things I Should Have Finished but Didn’t: 2018 Edition.

This is when I started drawing bigger, portrait-style faces from my own head, without a picture to reference or copy. Not to sound weird, but this guy’s nose is superb.

 

IMG_E0791

Yeah, um, so… You can tell what mood I was in when I drew this

 

IMG_E0792

WHY DIDN’T I FINISH THIS?? All he needs is a bit of leg armor and the entire drawing would be perfect and wonderful and complete. *glares at myself*

 

IMG_E0793

Ben. BEN. You need a comb.

 

IMG_E0794

Finally, finally, the portraits are respectable! I AM INVINCIBLE!! I CAN DO NO WRONG!!! I AM–

IMG_E0795

–a failure.

Yes, I was still trying (without success) to draw Emolas. If you think this one is bad, have a look at these:

IMG_E0796

Version on the left looks like a hybrid of Fezzik and creepy internet stalkers. Version on the right looks like he’s staring into your soul and inwardly judging everything he finds.

 

IMG_E0798

I finally took it upon myself to learn proper body-proportions and how to use them…

 

IMG_E0799

….and, yeah, scratch that. Body proportions are irrelevant when it comes to demon troll thingies.

 

IMG_E0800

The reason I never finished this guy?

Costume design is hard, man. And I was too lazy to be bothered by the fact that he’ll be sitting here for eternity in his long-johns.

 

IMG_E0801

Back when I was reading the Lunar Chronicles, I thought it would be fun to draw the entire cast together.

I got as far as these two (Cinder and Cress) before finally realizing I would be drawing nine people all on the same page.

Yeah, no thanks.

 

IMG_E0802

The reason I never finished this sword-wielding cowboy princess? Apparently, I was too lazy to draw THAT ONE LAST ARM, GOOD GRIEF. *facepalm*

img-4836

Whoa. WHOA. Note the difference between this and the first one, folks. I have a personal art-style going on here. The clothes are much better. Taking full advantage of proportions and poses to give some life to the drawing. Shading is a thing. The hands are…

Well…

The hands just are.

I learned that if you keep them mostly covered, no one has to know you can’t draw ’em.

 

IMG_E0804

And finally, 2019.

Five years after becoming serious about my art, several classes, a few brain-cells, and an unhealthy amount of YouTube videos later, we come to this most recent specimen of my creativity. The one I claim has “surpassed all prior magnificence, and no other drawing will ever live up to,” and the one that I’ll probably want to burn in another few years, same as that sketch of Liriel.

But you know what? As cringey as some of these original drawings are, I found myself cooing in pride over them. Not because they were good (oh help, no), but because they represent a journey. I remember drawing almost every single one. I remember the things I was learning at the time, and I can see my efforts (however poor) to put those techniques into practice.

If it weren’t for those fairly awful drawings, I wouldn’t have the somewhat-decent ones of 2018-2019. And if it isn’t for the somewhat-decent ones today, I won’t have the fantastic drawings of the future.

So artists, aspiring-artists, and everyone in between: Let my goggly-eyed, squishy-nosed, mutant-handed creatures inspire you. Keep plugging away at what you do, and maybe in a year — or two, or three, or ten — you’ll be the next Leonardo DaVinci.

(Speaking of whom, does anyone else find it slightly humorous that most of this post is me explaining why I was too lazy to finish my drawings? No? *cough* I’ll be… going now…)

~Sarah

 

33 thoughts on “The Great Art Metamorphosis // how my drawings have changed over the years

  1. I love it when you put your drawings in the blog…and this is a bonus! All of your art from when you were wee little sarcastic child to your more sarcastic less wee self. By the way, all of your drawings are BEAUTIFUL!!!! And yes, I did find that part VERY humorous. *pats your back*

    Like

  2. OOOOHHHHHH SarAAAHHHH. How could you do this to me?? Lol, jk, but not really. If you were to see my attempts at drawing, you would probably be horrified. XD No joke, mine are sucky and yours are most definitely professional and epic and I’m gonna go burn my piddly little things right now. (not really, but I want to after looking at all of that awesomeness) You are entirely too hard on yourself! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My favorite of you artwork are that dead body (Hey, I’m in the same mood right now), the one where Liriel is showing off and Lotch is…is doing something and the other drawing where some guy’s giving Lotch a flower while Liriel is being Liriel. But all of them are amazing!! *high fives you from Fragola Land*

    Like

  4. I want to get better at drawing, but I’m just looking at you criticizing your own art whilst I’m thinking for quite a few of them: “That looks pretty good.” πŸ˜‚ I see I have a lot to learn.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I shall be honest: I snorted very hard when I saw the first picture. πŸ˜† But oh man, we do have to start from somewhere…I think I started from stick figures with only one line on the top of their heads to signify all of their hair.
    Eeehhh…I’ve improved quite a lot since then (I should dearly hope so anyway πŸ˜‚)

    Awesome post Sarah! I always enjoy seeing your artwork!!

    Like

  6. HOHO YES, I spotted Kaladin. *voiceless screech* IT’S GOOD. You nailed the expression. And the hair. And that’s a REALLY GOOD HAND.

    Okay, every one of those drawings is better than I’ve ever been. -_- But wow, you’ve gotten so good. And i was SO HAPPY to see those first several drawings and they ALL looked similar to the things we kids drew when we drew. Narnia pictures. *right knuckles of fellowship* (And I could tell that was Susan before you said so.)

    I was dying the whole time, but my favorite (which I’m sure you couldn’t predict at all, ever) is the guy hugging the little guy. Father and son, presumably. I LUV IT, SARAH. >_< And I still REALLY like the carpetbagging dude with the big tennis shoes and hand in his pocket. *sigh* These pictures are full of such feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is great! πŸ˜€
    And I *do* think it is hilarious that most of the post is you explaining why you never finished certain drawings. XD
    Also, I may not have recognized Susan at first, but I knew instantly that Jadis was… Jadis. Not bad at all. πŸ˜‰
    And that LAST PICTURE.
    I want his story!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, those drawings are still way better than I could ever do!! 😍 I really like your drawing style. (However, I did find your commentary insanely hilarious πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚) You should think about doing commissions!
    By the way, I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and I love it! The name is Penny, so it’s nice to finally meet ya, Sarah. πŸ˜€βœŒοΈβ€οΈ

    Liked by 2 people

  9. *squeals* I LOOOOOVE them alllll. Okay so maybe not the one that looks like a hybrid of Fezzik and creepy internet stalkers…. Or that weird fanged winged thing… it looks a little creepy…just a little.

    I think you would faint if you saw what my art looks like…. πŸ˜›

    “WHAT IS LOTCH DOING??” Hmmmm counting the stars…. *nods head* most definitely.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Whenever anyone makes you angry, just show them the guy with the sword in his chest and say, “you know what happened to the last person who upset me?”

    Like seriously, that would be awesome. XD Terrifying – yes, but AWESOME.

    Whenever I draw people’s faces (or people in general), they end up looking like a slash between a frog and a weirdly proportioned mud puddle. I’m not even sure how it happens, it just does — I mean, what can I say? It’s a talent of mine.

    PS. Also I’m immensely proud of myself that I recognized the White Witch and Susan right off. XD Though, it’s probably more because your drawings aren’t as bad as you say they are than anything else. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “Costume design is hard, man. And I was too lazy to be bothered by the fact that he’ll be sitting here for eternity in his long-johns.” I. Almost. Died.

    Fun post idea! You’ve improved, I think XD.

    Like

  12. I LOVE YOUR AAAAAART!!!! IT IS SOOO AWESOME!!! And the Frodo drawing is TOTALLY AMAZING (I didn’t notice that hair problem until after you mentioned it) ;-). I really like the Gandlaf drawing and the cowgirl princess. I love this post!!! ❀

    Like

  13. Your art is really good! I really enjoyed looking at it. πŸ˜€
    I have fun to looking at my old art and seeing how I’ve grown too. Though sometimes it’s not as much fun or that much growth if I haven’t practiced a lot. XD

    Like

  14. The things I love about legit all of your work here is that 1- Narnia & LotR (because that’s how I learned to draw too idk how anyone else does) 2- characters are recognizable (*hides binder full of attempts at Aragorn*) 3- the motions, because they have awesome natural positions. Teach me your ways. xD

    Like

  15. That one you did “exclusively with an HB pencil”. . . Just saying, I think I drew something almost exactly like this one time. Is it a LOTR character?

    Like

  16. I love all these drawings!

    Hi, I’m Allison! I’m pretty sure I found your blog through Jenna Terese’s. I love reading your posts! (and art dumps are some of my favorite things)

    Like

  17. THESE ARE AMAZING! Your art posts always inspire me, Sarah, because your portraits are SO SO GOOD, and mine are… *pulls out sketchbook* well, they’re going to be better! *determined look* XD Thanks for the inspiration!

    Like

  18. The guy with the superb nose is Kaladin right? πŸ˜€ Love him. And you’ve made progress since then but that Nolan slaps pretty hard too.

    And all excuses for unfinished work aside XD, I’d love to see a writer go through all the tiny snippets and random bits of story that they’ve never finished and have to explain everything. That, my friends, would be a spectator sport.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s