Drawing Tips | The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories

Tips on: all drawing tips

Sleep on it

Nighttime is a much busier time than you may think.  It is a time when ideas

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The character of magic

When we imagine magical characters, we want to go out beyond their fingertips, out beyond even

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The other mermaids

Sometimes, when we are traveling out at sea, we catch a glimpse of a mermaid.  She

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Drawing sounds?

Yes!  Sounds can be drawn in a variety of ways, and the look of a sound

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Symmetry between worlds

We created artwork for a Writing tip (Looking-Into-A-New-Year) and artwork can, of course, tell more than

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Feasts

Story characters need to do many things that we need to do, including eating.  And big

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The mischievous character

When we are creating characters for a story, sometimes we think first of the good characters

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Decisions one by one

Zobelia and I wanted to make a Writing tip about the fact that creating a story

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The muses

In ancient Greece, it was believed that a muse was a personification of inspiration and the

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How to make something look olde

Sometimes finding something old in a story feels more exciting than finding something new.  But how

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The colors of snow

In a meeting, big and small elves sat debating what sort of storytelling tip we might

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A troll at the egg hunt

The scene above was quickly captured by an illustrator elf out for a walk:  forest animals

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Creating with a single crayon

The elves have only one copy of a human book called Harold and the Purple Crayon. 

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Change your point of view

As you work on your skills as an illustrator, you want to think about all of

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Secret worlds and scale

Magical worlds often occur inside of everyday things. You may be aware that the small elves

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An elven Thanksgiving

In the Fall, elves celebrate a holiday.  We celebrate by taking stock of all of the

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Taking light into dark places

When choosing a setting for a story, do not be afraid to head into dark places

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A mermaid with poisonous spines

You can create some absolutely amazing characters when you combine different life forms. Take mermaids, for

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How to get into a Winter mood—Early

In the workshop, we have to be well organized and prepared!  This means we sometimes have

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Falling off a unicorn 100 times and still smiling

Can you imagine smiling at every stage of your practice when you draw something new? This

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Another kind of storytelling: illustration

The human fairy tale Rapunzel has many characters:  a king and queen, an enchantress, a beautiful daughter,

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How to draw hair that does not look like a haystack

Hair is always a tricky thing to draw because it comes in so many different shapes

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Big beautiful hair

Characters often wonder what their hair is going to look like.  In the previous drawing tip,

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How to solve the puzzle of a new mythical creature

The workshop secretary, Dorothea, recently brought us a letter from a storyteller named April.  April needed

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Painting characters in water

This tip is not about painting under water.  That might be difficult without the help of

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Pumpkins as heads

Elves love pumpkins!  While we were busy decorating the workshop recently, with Jack-o’-lanterns, we thought of

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How to draw small hands

Sarah from Northport sent a question to the elves:  how do you draw hands on a

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Eye and pupil placement!

In a previous tip, we learned about the-importance-of-a-characters-eyes.  The appearance of the eyes defines a lot

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Let’s talk scenery!

Scenery and backgrounds are essential parts of a story.  These drawings really make the world you

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It doesn’t look like I imagined

I see something beautiful in my head, something so perfect, and yet what I actually draw

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Invent your own mythical creature!

One of my favorite things to draw growing up in the woods were the creatures I

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Creating a creature for your story’s setting

Drawing mythical creatures is so much fun because you can let your imagination run wild.  (If

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Leave the eraser behind

Erasers are a tool that more experienced illustrator elves use.  The elf elders encourage younger elves

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The pencil is a mighty tool!

Pencils are perhaps the most important drawing tool because of their versatility.  If pencils aren’t already,

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Chameleons not cars (for Betsy)

Elves love to draw things from the human world.  However, I have always loved chameleons more

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Pack a sketchbook

One of the most important tools for illustrator elves is the sketchbook! The sketchbook is where

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Your sketchbook is YOUR playground

In the previous tip (pack-a-sketchbook), I talked about keeping a sketchbook.  This tip is about thinking

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Great artists are the ones who… practice

This may surprise you. Elf elders firmly believe that natural talent can help you draw more

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Erasers and the art of erasing

It is wise to practice drawing without using an eraser, as this tip explains leave-the-eraser-behind. However,

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How to draw a horse using simple shapes

I’m excited to share one of the best secrets to drawing.  It is about finding simple

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Seeing and simplifying

Elves draw animals as we would draw anything else:  by seeing and simplifying. Seeing means we

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From Mistale the cat to elephant (and baby aardvark)

Mistale the cat was simple enough (seeing-simplifying), but what about a more complex animal, like an

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Walk before you run

When you draw, it is important to learn the basics.  For example, it might be hard

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Tracing with your eyes

I learned to draw hands and other things by practicing something  elves call tracing with your

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How hands are built

Observation will always be our most valuable tool when drawing. However, learning a bit about the

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Practice pays off

We have been drawing hands and the point of all of this practice is that now

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Gesture!

Say you’ve been drawing for a while and you can get something to look like what

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The gesture of humans

In the previous Drawing tip, we looked at the gesture in some animals and in a

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Gesture in cartoons

Now we have the basic skills to find and draw gesture—in animals, trees and humans.  We

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Where things actually go on a face

This tip is about how to draw a whole face.  It will take some patience.  You

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Adding hair and ears

In the previous tip, we created a very basic face.  Now it’s time to add hair

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Doodle Duel

Illustrator elves play a game against each other.  Doodle Duel. The goal is very simple.  Challenge

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Witches for The Waking Prince

How I designed witches for an elven fairy tale called The Waking Prince makes a good

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Witches from head to toe

To finish the look of the three witches that I began in the previous tip, I

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My own warren of witches

I developed the look of three different kinds of witches in these tips: Witches For The

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Helga’s dragon

When I was little, I used to know an elf named Helga.  She took care of

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Creating a character using simple shapes

When designing a character for a story, it is important to stay consistent so that the

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How do you turn a character sideways?

In the prior tip, we practiced how to draw a simple story character from the front. 

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Do you recognize this character?

This is the character we have been working on (creating-a-character-using-simple-shapes). Changing little details will suddenly change

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The importance of a character’s eyes

The old saying, “The eyes are the windows to the soul” is so accurate.  Eyes communicate

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Characters in motion!

It is one thing to draw a character standing still but you face a whole different

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Your dog in motion

We often want to tell stories about our pets and, just as human story characters need

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Backgrounds: the power of suggestion!

We have worked on how to put story characters in motion—both human characters and canine characters!

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Creating a cat for All Hallow’s Eve

In both the elven world and the human world, black cats are commonly associated with this

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Young Elf, Part I

In December, elves exchange handmade cards.  I want to draw a young elf and I asked

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Young Elf, Part II (shading)

We have sketched an elf portrait (if you haven’t, see the previous Drawing tip!).  Now, we

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Moving weight and muscle to make a superhero

Have you ever wanted to draw a super powered guy who fights crime with his bare

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How many heads tall

In the tip about Making a Muscular Superhero, make-a-superhero, you can see how bulk and weight

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Character head shapes

When trying to draw a character, often times we find that we can get hung up

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Get ready for the 3/4 pose!

I want to show you what is called a 3/4 pose looking to the left, so

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Stick figures are perfect for practice

Young illustrator elves learn how to draw a figure in proper proportions by practicing the art

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Elven forest recipe!

In other tips, I have mentioned finding big shapes when drawing.  In this tip, we will

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Gothic Elves

Did you know that the word Gothic has more than one meaning? Goths were Germanic humans

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The Real Colors of Skin Part I

Have you ever colored in your character and felt like the orange or brown colored pencil

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The Real Colors of Skin Part II

In the first part of this tip, Part I, we took an honest look at skin

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A Thanksgiving Portrait

Painting a portrait is very fun to do.  It is an art form that some artists

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Drawing Christmas trees

When I first began to draw, I always had difficulties drawing a Christmas tree because of

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An irresistible Easter bunny

How about an Easter bunny!  This drawing may be a little more complicated than some of

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Seeing eyes, noses and mouths all over again!

Before we get into how to draw a whole face, let me repeat that drawings turn

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The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories