My 2018, the best, worse and noteworthy

With 2019 approaching, and a wall of busy Christmas festivities closing in on me, I wanted to wrap up 2018 (prematurely) with a selection of my best, worse, and noteworthy drawings.

All my drawings have a story to tell in my personal growth, but I shall not bore you to tears with all 354 of them.

The #bestofnine2018

A while back I saw this hashtag popping up on Instagram, where artists all over the world selected the best nine drawings. That was quite hard as I liked many of them. Some of these will have their noteworthy story later on too. I have Evernote as my repository for all my drawings, and while walking the dog (in the freezing cold) I scrolled though all my 348 (back then) drawings with the tag SketchDaily. I chose 47 which I liked the most and tagged them candidate. At home I let my wife decide her best nine, and tagged them candidate2. I wanted to have a mix of her preferred drawings (as she always inspires me) and some of mine. As a result I ended up with this best of nine:

The best

My wife challenged me to use watercolor only. No pen. All my watercolor paintings were first done using a Micron marker, and embellishing them. This is my best painting ever. I never imagined it turning out like it did, even after I finished I felt I suffered from the impostor syndrome. “This can’t be made by me”, I thought. It took me longer than normal to finish it, and I think there are 13 layers of watercolor, with lift-ups and retouches with a minute hair brush. I touched up the waves with white gouache, which brought this painting to life. I want to paint more like this, but feel it was luck and when I try again, I will be dissapointed. And this painting shows that watercolor should not be rushed, which in my limited time a day, conflicts with my intentions.

The worse

The prompt somewhere in february was Spotted Hyena. I sucked at texture, drawing animals and fur. As a result I drew my worse drawing ever (top left corner). I did not even submit it at first as it was just too embarassing. But I had to, as my streak count on r/SketchDaily got reset to zero after that. Luckily, on June 28th we got a chance to redeem ourselves, redoing our worse drawing. Equipped with more knowledge I redeemed myself. It just humbled me, and tought me that even bad drawings can motivate.

The noteworthy

Ok here are 12 of my most noteworthy drawings. Are you up for this? I will try to keep the rationale as short as possible.

1. Flight

My first attempt at painting in Autodesk Sketchbook in January. My 18th drawing. My wife told me that the essence of flight does not have to be in something that flies. This sunset and the wing turned out nice, and was well received with positive comments.

2. Draw a superhero

This was a throwback cartoon I drew maybe 18 years ago. I redrew it, I kept the joke. It showed me that jokes can be contemporary, even when this one was just drawn for fun back when I was into drawing buffed people (yes I did work out a lot in these days).

3. Abandoned building

Although it is not my best, ever since I am attracted to dystopian books (I do recommend the Autumn series by David Moody), where the world has gone to pieces and mankind is decimated. I got attracted to the beauty of abandoned buildings. It ties into urban sketching , but back then I had no idea I was into that as well. Although it was not my strongest skill (this is drawing 29 of the year) it sparked more interest in architecture and getting lost in small details.

4. Free draw friday – Picasso Challenge

I challenge you to do this one. It teaches you to draw what is there instead of what you interpret, by drawing a picture upside down. And I failed. Igor’s legs are morphed into the chair. It was a fun challenge to do. The original blog post I found this on, is no longer showing the post, but google for “upside down drawing igor stravinski”.

5. Mermay

I had no idea what came over me, to draw a morbidly obese middleaged man as a mermaid. When I was done I was amazed and appalled at the same time. No, I am not mocking overweight people, as this reflects my inner self (the weight, not wanting to be a mermaid). It might not show as much, but I have gained more than I want to, excersised less, and feel I am dragging around 100 extra pounds. And yes, it needed to be something unexpected as the whole month of may (the Mermay challenge) people try their best to draw beautiful mermaids. I was just not able to.

6. Sewing machine

I can remember this well. Laying on the bed, laptop half on my lap, drawing tablet besides me, starting with a sketch I felt nothing for. It felt like a chore. But I kept on going, and used a pastel brush and managed to pull off a nice replica of an old sewing machine. It was well received as a lot of people back in the day used to own a similar one, and my wife got all teary eyed telling me how she loved to smell the machine oil when her grandma was sewing. What emotions a drawing can spark, is amazing.

7. Beach

My first painting I was very proud of as it felt like the happy spirit of Bob Ross possessed me for this day. Everything worked out. I figured out that the highlights and dark values create depth, there was a shade side to the trees and the sea actually looked like a sea. I felt the magic of painting. You’re in charge of creating what you want your world to look like.

8. Draw what’s in your pocket

Here I was learning and reading up on Alphonso Dunn’s pen and ink drawing. This is from a ref, but a funny one. They are my actual keys. It was a comical sight as I walked the dog, looked at the prompt, took my keys out and tossed them on the ground and made a photo. I can only imagine what people walking past were thinking, seeing me do that.

9. Beer stein

I finished this one, and wanted to post it while walking the dog. I looked though my gallery and only found the original. I was frustrated that my drawing was not uploaded. I clicked on it just to realise it was my drawing! The light shading made it perfect, and scaled down it just looks “real”.

10. My first real urban sketch

Right after getting a haircut, I was planning on doing an urban sketch of this building in the City of Delft, using my new Sakura Koi paint kit. I felt very nervous, just in the middle of tourists, shop owners, a town that came to life at 9 am in the morning. The best experience ever. The colors might not be as great, and it is definately not the best painting, but it is the experience I gained, the attention and how time just seemed to stop. Next year I will be doing more of this, as it was awesome!

11. Bird week

This was the end of bird week, and I redrew and painted an old sketch I made of a Cockatiel me and my wife, owned. She is called Cheekers and was my best bird buddy. I drew her live, as I remember it was hard because she did not want to sit still. She unfortunately escaped, which still pains our hearts. She is remembered forever and sparked my love for Cockatiels.

12. Free draw friday – Carmodding

And to close, this mundane drawing of a modded car (I wrote about earlier), sparked the interest of someone who wanted to buy it. Which was the best thing that could happen to me this year. Getting the recognition that someone actually wants to have an original from me on their wall. It opened up a world to me where I felt even more appreciated. My wife supported me and helped me setting up the sale. I was conflicted for a while as parting from a drawing is / was still a foreign concept to me. Unfortunately the shipping was too expensive to add to the cost of the drawing. But this last drawing represents the final step what I could accomplish this year.

Here’s to another great year with lots to learn and more stories to share! Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to all!

2 Replies to “My 2018, the best, worse and noteworthy”

  1. These are great (even the “worst” 🙂 im very impressed with your skill!
    And a great idea to go through and really examine what youve accomplished artistically this year. Maybe I will do this with my art as well.


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