My Art Progress & Some Observations

By November 27, 2016 24 Comments
Millie Ho Noodles Cat Surreal Art Illustration

My current work-in-progress drawing, ft. cats and noodles and bloodshed.

I started sketching at least one idea since July, and I’m happy to report that I’ve made more progress. Here are some highlights from the past couple of weeks.

Millie Ho Cat Parallax Art Surreal Illustration

“Cat Parallax”, pen on paper.

As you can see, I’m adding in more colours and details now. All the recurring motifs (cats, junk food, unimpressed teens) are still there, but they are now less one-dimensional and stiff compared to my sketches from a few months ago.

Millie Ho Phobia Art Surreal Illustration

“Phobia”, pen on paper.

I’ve been filling up more white space. My lines are getting more fluid and automatic. I feel more confident when I pick up the pen now.

Millie Ho Cat Vomit Surreal Art

“Cat Vomit”, pen on paper.

Experimenting with different art styles has also helped me achieve a level of comfort with what I illustrate. When I first started drawing every day, everything came out Studio Ghibli-like, and the feedback I received was almost enough to keep me headed in that direction. Almost.

Millie Ho Oreo Ordeal Surreal Art Illustration

“Oreo Ordeal”, pen on paper.

Thankfully, I remembered how miserable I was when I listened to other people tell me what I should be doing creatively, so I said screw that, and went exploring. So now here we are.

Millie Ho Art Illustration Pop Surrealism Self-Sabotage

“Self-Sabotage”, pen on paper.

Is this surrealism? Pop surrealism? All I know is that it’s fun to draw, it makes me feel better after I’ve drawn it, and it gives me an excuse to draw more cats, and that’s all I’m really asking for.

Some Observations

It’s interesting how my efforts with making art daily is mirroring my efforts with writing daily, in that I’ve become more honest with myself about what I actually enjoy making, and have improved incrementally over the past several months.

It was a challenge for me to get started, to move from a full-time job mindset and into a freelancer mindset that allowed me to draw and write (and travel!) more, but after I started taking the necessary baby steps, and after I stuck with these new habits long enough, I did improve.

I’ve come to the conclusion that everything you do affects everything else. If you change one area of your life, it will spill over into another area. If it’s a positive change, then one good habit reinforces another, and soon you’ll be snowballing your way to a more enjoyable life.

My art style will continue to evolve. I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and finding out what else I can draw, and more ways to improve.

I will post some drawing process videos next!

Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • MatthewRJ says:

    It’s interesting that you seem to draw mainly from imagination. I’m also somebody who draws and some day I plan on making some comics too. One of the things I struggle with the most is drawing from imagination. I have trouble bridging the gap between drawing from reference and drawing from imagination. I was wondering if you experienced a similar problem and what you did to solve it?

    • Millie Ho says:

      Hmm, interesting question. I actually have the opposite problem. It’s a challenge for me to draw using a reference since I get frustrated when something isn’t 100% accurate, which is most of the time. Then I force myself to compensate for my technical issues by making more stuff up, hence the surreal/weird stuff.

      I know what you mean about bridging the gap between reference and imagination, though. I find free drawing helps. You draw quickly and freely and allow yourself to make mistakes. Sometimes you leave the mistakes in and it looks better that way, in a raw, unplanned way. But I think drawing quickly is necessary because then your mind shuts off and you’re creating on a purely instinctual level. That’s usually where the better drawings come from (for me, anyway).

      Hope that answers your question!

      • MatthewRJ says:

        There seem to be some artists who can just create from imagination better than others. You seem to be one of them. I think that’s actually cool that you have trouble drawing from reference and that you tend to mix in some imagination. I think you’re actually better off like that since you don’t become to reliant on reference.
        I actually realized yesterday that I was so one-track minded and only thought like “I’m only going to draw from imagination.” or “I’m only going to draw from pictures or real life.” I’ve decided just to do all of them. Just thought I’d share that because I found it interesting.
        Anyway, keep drawing, cause your drawings are interesting. ?

        • Millie Ho says:

          “I’ve decided just to do all of them.”

          That sounds like a good plan. I went through a high realism phase that eventually burned me out, so yeah, one-track mindedness can suck. It’s good that you recognized this and have shifted your approach to one that is more advantageous for you. Thanks for sharing!

          I’ll definitely keep drawing. Good luck with your art as well!

  • kvennarad says:

    Cereal. coffee, and Millie Ho’s sketchpad.

  • This is very motivating and inspiring. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • brwhyon says:

    Very trippy drawings, I can’t wait to see more of them. Have you ever considered animating one of them ? Let me know if you need music for it, if you decide do one.

    • Millie Ho says:

      Yes, I have thought about animating some, but I will need to study the technical side of that since I have 0 experience. It is something I would like to do in the future once I’ve improved my skills. Thanks for asking! Do you write music?

      • I do all kinds of art work. I make what I call music doodles with guitars and looping, mostly ambient trails and drones and use them for background music for videos I put together. I tell people, “I like playing guitar, I never said I was good at it”.

  • M. Miles says:

    I like the guy saying “golly!”

    I’ve recently made the transition from full-time job to freelancing as well. It’s a strange feeling, but all is well so far. Glad to hear you are feeling positive about the change too!

  • I’ve been watching your drawings pop up, and I can see right away how you say your confidence is building. I look forward to each one. I especially was taken with the ‘Phobia’ drawing
    Allbest in your work Millie-

  • fucking love your sketches, so original and funky. love the sparse colours, makes them pop.

  • Howlisher says:

    It looks like you’ve found your art voice – its wonderfully organic and lively! I feel like I need to spend time on this aspect in my own art… New follower – can’t wait to see how you progress further with this, very inspiration writing too!

    • Millie Ho says:

      Wow, thanks for your comment! I think you have this organic quality in your art already. But we can always improve all the time, yes. I can’t wait to see what you do with your art as well. 🙂

  • komalzara says:

    this is so good! very inspiring

  • I’m really enjoying your your new efforts. Each draws me in deeper to the dimension that you are creating with the many overlaps and fun with scale. Lots of energy and interest!

  • OMG! Your drawings are really mesmerizing. Really love to see more! Feeling pretty inspired after seeing your works 😀

  • elmediat says:

    Great work Millie. I was listening to BBC Word of Mouth episode on the naming of art movements. Surrealism has changed considerably from the first intended meaning. I guess we now have sub-categories of surrealism, moving from dreamscape/stream of consciousness to the subtler unexpected juxtapositions in everyday settings.

    Depending on how restrictive the incoming Trump administration becomes & the social impact it has, there may be a resurgence in Surrealism/Dadaism as a political social expression.

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