My Creative Process: Desert Dweller

Hello Citizens of the Blogosphere,

Today’s post details the creative process behind my latest pencil drawing entitled, “Desert Dweller”.

Getting Inspired

While I was living in Los Angeles, my daily life was often composed of a collection of faces, buildings, vehicles and streets. While beautiful in its own right, my tiny place in the city lacked the natural surroundings that I craved to fuel my art. These days, when I look outside my window, I see birds, cacti, and succulents of all varieties. Needless to say, trading in the city’s skylines for the surprisingly luscious flora of the desert has definitely influenced my art.

From Concept to Paper

This drawing came to me while I was staring at a blank sheet of 11×14 bristol vellum paper. As is typical of my work, my aim was to depict a strong female character surrounded by plants and flowers. This time however, I wanted to incorporate the specific plants and flowers that make up my new setting. My overall intention for this piece was to create a representation of my life in its current state.

Since I don’t often work with bristol vellum or in such a large size, I found this project quite intimidating at first. I felt compelled to create artwork that would do the paper justice. I aspired to create a proportionate drawing with depth and a lot of detail. As a consequence, I decided to use pencil for this drawing because it allowed me to continually tweak and perfect the image until I was happy with the result.

annotated audrey pencils

While photo realism isn’t my thing, I do like to use reference photos so that I can get the pose and placement of facial features right. As part of my creative process, I went on Pinterest for some reference photos to help bring my idea to life. Generally, the first thing I do is check out my Inspiration board, where I post pictures of things or people that I might want to draw someday. As I was browsing, I found a picture of Lady Gaga that perfectly captured the look and expression that I wanted for this piece. (You can check out the reference picture here: Lady Gaga).

Annotated Audrey Desert Dweller 2

After I got her face down, it was time to incorporate the rest of the components. So, I pulled up pictures from my most recent nature walk and started adding them to the piece.

Once I got all the basic elements on paper, I continued to add shadows and adjust values, creating dimension and depth. To finish the piece off, I spent a fair bit of time going over the entire drawing with my lightest pencil (2H) to make sure that I was happy with the shading.

Annotated Audrey Desert Dweller 8
Desert Dweller  by Annotated Audrey

Even though I often use pencil to sketch out the basic foundation for a piece, I haven’t done a fully detailed pencil drawing in a long time. I really liked using pencil because it allowed me to adjust lines when needed, which I think resulted in a more professional look.

That's all for now. 

As always, thanks so much for following my creative journey!



If you’d like to support my art, you can purchase my coloring books or artwork in my online shop or on Amazon.

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13 thoughts on “My Creative Process: Desert Dweller

  1. Truly enjoyed reading about your process, I just wrote on my blog about creative process. It’s so interesting to see other’s process and get idea’s. For instance I do not have an inspiration board currently, but now after reading here, I do think I want to make one. 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us, adding you to my follow list. 😀


    1. Hi Ranae, Thanks so much. Yeah, its so interesting to take a peek at another artist’s creative process… its all about sharing ideas. I’m glad to hear that this post was useful to you and that you are starting an inspiration board of your own. I truly find it useful for me! -Audrey


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