Life Drawing – Anatory study at UQAM

I am attending figure drawing sessions once a week. I wanted to share the drawings I made 2 weeks ago.


I usually go to Uqam life drawing sessions in Montreal, but sometimes I go to other places like Syn Studio and Dr. Sketchy.

I find that it is always a bit hard to make good drawings during the first minutes, as you need to warm up. Sometimes, at the end too, because drawing 3 hours is pretty tiring and you lose concentration.

This time, I decided to go back to drawing in large newspaper sheets. I’ve been figure drawing in sketchbooks for a while, but I feel that I don’t have enough space to draw.

I try to get the habit to sketch with the side of my pencil to have more fludity and speed. It also makes me draw lighter.

I want to be regular in going to life drawing session once a week. When I skip a week, I don’t remember what I learned and practiced during the last session. That’s why I think it’s necessary to be regular.

It’s important to adapt your drawing technique depending of the time you have.

Quick poses make you study the movement and dynamism of the pose. During quick poses, you can’t add details and shading. I used to sketch 20 seconds poses when I was studying in animation. It was important to have dynamic motion curves.

In poses of 3 to 5 mins, I have the time to draw good shape and muscle indications. You need to get your proportions right.


Some sessions make you draw poses of 45 mins and more. You can get to make very complete pieces of art there.

I found myself able to add shading only in the last 3 mins of 10 mins poses.


There are couple of benefits in doing figure drawing.

1. As you have a time limit, You learn to draw and sketch faster.

2. It warms up your hand.

3. You learn anatomy. The model is real, so you get to draw different poses and angles.

4. Real model posing make you have a good feel of the shapes. In pictures, it could be hard to see the volume, but you see and understand it clearly in 3 dimension.

Portfolio Website: Katty Yew Portfolio

Follow my progress: Mee-Lin Instagram

Deviantart: mee-lin

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Totoro Illustration made with pens and markers

Totoro is a very popular character in the Japanese animation culture. It is a forest creature from “My Neighbor Totoro”, an animated film produced by Ghibli Studio.

This drawing was done in my sketchbook as a warm up before starting my 30 days Ghibli Watercolor Challenge. I made this illustration using pen and markers.


I opted for a clean look with grey shades and few colors. I wanted to have Totoro stand out of a very simple dark background. For the lineart, I wanted neat and thin strokes. I decided to use color pens by using a mix of black and blue lines.

Below, you can see pictures of the idea sketch research, my final sketch composition and the clean rough before the lineart.


I like to go back to traditional mediums from time to time. I find it always fun to work with physical materials and paper. There are a few materials I explored while making this drawing. I like the Sakura Pigma Micron ink pens to create my linearts. For filling colors, I used alcohol-based markers. I recently discovered water-based markers. I like them better, as I can create effects with water. Also, it doesn’t bleed through the paper. Kuretake is one of my favorite brand for watercolor materials and water-based markers.

I am thinking of reworking it a bit to make prints. I think it’s a good illustration to use as a design.

Is there a product you are willing to get with this Totoro design?


I also made a full illustration of Mononoke Hime: Mononoke Hime Illustration.
Mononoke Hime is anothe Ghibli Studio animated movie made by Hayao Miyazaki.


Portfolio Website: Katty Yew Portfolio

Follow my progress: Mee-Lin Instagram

Deviantart: mee-lin

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Camilla Portrait Digital Illustration from Fire Emblem Fates Series


Camilla comes from Fire Emblem. This jrpg got talked again with the arrival of “Fire Emblem Awakening”. Lucina was the most popular character back then. Camilla is a character from the “Fates” Series. She is an elder royal sibling of the main character from the dark side of the story.


With this digital painting, I tried to get more expressive portraits with the face expression and pose subtleties. Camilla has great magical powers, so I surrounded her with purple energy. I’m still trying to find a way of drawing hairs that I like.

Camilla work in progress and step by step tutorial:Camilla_Portrait_Illustration_step_by_step_Meelinart

This is my second fanart portrait. I’m very satisfied with the result, as it has a very finished look to it.

Here the link to my first one: Edea Portrait

A portrait I made before starting my fanart series: Girl Painting Portrait

Full Illustration of Mononoke Hime: Mononoke Hime Illustration


My next illustration portrait will be Hinata from a well known anime called “Naruto”.


Portfolio Website: Katty Yew Portfolio

Follow my progress: Mee-Lin Instagram

Deviantart: mee-lin

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Edea Illustration Portrait from Bravely Default

Edea is one of the protagonist from a Square Enix jrpg video game called Bravely Default. The game has a very stylish design. Akihiko Yoshida designed the characters. I might end up doing Agnes eventually.


This is how I usually process an illustration from the sketch to final result.

Edea_Portrait_ Illustrations_step_by_step_Meelin

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  1. I do a sketch and set up the composition.
  2. I paint the base colors.
  3. I add shadows. To choose my light and dark colors, I slightly move the hue slider to one side to vary my nuances.
  4. After adding the shadows, I add the light.
  5. I keep on adding details with more light and dark tones. I add highlight, colored lights and reflected lights
  6. When it looks well balanced, I start putting effects with brushes, blending modes, and tools.
  7. I finish up with some adjustment layers to make everything hold together. I used a red filter for this illustration.

I’ve been practicing a lot at rendering hairs and skin. I am starting to build painting techniques for better results. The hairs took me a long time to complete. I’m still looking for another ways to render hairs…

I think I got better with faces by making portraits over and over and studying master paintings. I’m also putting effort on make up. It does add a lot. I’m getting closer to the look I want to achieve  for my characters.


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Gil Elvgren study

Gil Elvgren is my favorite pinup artist. I love his composition, posing and rendering.

I did some quick studies of his posters.

Here are some anatomy and style notes I took.

I noticed the face being expressive. He likes drawing it with a cheeky suprised look.



I like how he does hairs too. It’s very brushy and has a blurry and sharp look at the same time.


During this study, I explored which good brush I could use for skin.

I like painting the skin this way:
1. Make a palette. My palette usually constitute of a pale base pink or yellow beige, a dark color for shadows, a bright blue for highlight, a red for the blood and an orange to intensify colors. Sometimes, I add a medium blue in the shadows.
2. I apply the base color on the whole skin surface.
3. I add the shadows with diferent opacities.
4. I add the red where it should be more reddish(the cheeks, the nose and the eyes’ contour).
5. I add the orange to some spots (Around the eyes, between the shadows and midtones).
6. I blend the colors together by using the pipette. This will create more color varieties by mixing the pink with the red with the orange.
7. I boost some of the light and shadows with darker and lighter tones.
8. I also often finish with some very strong touches of highlight.


I will probably dedicate some time for more studies. They are very useful and force you to learn and observe as you reproduce their work.

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Ghibli Watercolor Illustration Series

I started this challenge in the beginning of september 2016 and finished it in the end of january 2017. It took a long time to get it done, but I still got through it.

Which one do you prefer?

It was starting to get hard towards the end, because I had a lack of inspiration for new characters. I decided to do secondary characters like San’s wolf mother, teto fron Nausicaa and the scarecrow from Howl moving castle.

I specially like how Sheeta (Laputa), Setsuko (Grave of the fireflies) and the Robot (Laputa) turned out. There are many others I like and enjoyed drawing in the set.

I watched most of Ghibli’s films and wanted to spend time studying the style and the characters. “Mononoke Hime” was the first one I watched. When I was studying in 2d animation, I started watching most of the other films.

I decided to do the challenge in watercolor because I love watercolor and want to use this medium more often. I recently got myself some watercolor pape, so that I could spend some time painting with watercolor. I also got waterbrushes. I like them, as you can just fill them up with water and paint on the go. They are useful, but I still prefer painting with real brushes,though. Waterbrushes make it hard to control the amount of water.

My favorite Ghibli movie is “Spirited Away”. I also have a soft spot for “The Cat Returns”.

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Girl Painting Portrait

This portrait was made when I was around 2/3 of my Ghibli challenge completed. My focus was at exploring effects. I like having simple and abstract background to portraits. I tend to put more effects there.


I started this painting in an unusual way. I began with a rough sketch followed by a rough black and white. Then, I added colors with the airbrush and blending modes to get a general feel of the whole. I kept going with colors and details until I achieved the desired result.


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