Going back through the sketchbook is a good way to learn from things you did wrong in the past, and also helps you understand where you came from artistically. It allows you to see how you have progressed, the techniques you learned along the way, and the things you wish never to repeat.
All of these are represented in this picture of a cowboy (though I have to admit, that I think I was trying to draw "The man with no name" from the Clint Eastwood films.) that I drew in 2011.
This is a stylized drawing of the man for sure. I would like to break down the drawing piece by piece to get a better feel for some of the things I think I did wrong, what I learned looking back at it, and what I actually got right.
First, the overall composition isn't bad. We have a 3/4 view and a head and partial shoulder look at the man. His expression is blank, something that I admit I must improve on. His facial features are also a bit off, starting with the spacing of his eyes and the angle of his nose (Hey! maybe his nose is broke!), all the way down to his enormous "butt-chin". (What is it about the old west and conjuring these impressions of buttchinians!)
I think I am most impressed with the hat (though small for his head), I rarely only lightly pencil things these days, using mostly inks and markers, but the fact that you can see the crinkles and folds and it actually looks three dimensional....WIN! Also I used a decent amount of crosshatching, I dont know if I perfected it with this picture, but I certainly got better at it.
You can see from this drawing that I still havenot perfected drawing hair. I find hair to be one of the more tricky things to draw, I used to try and draw every piece of hair, now I tend to use the shading approach, working in large black and white portions of the hair. (But more on hair later I am sure.)
In conclusion this isn't one of my best works, but I think I have shown that quick sketches of any subject matter will bring some improvement along the way. As an artist I always strive to improve with each drawing I do. Even if the improvement isn't noticed until I look back at earlier works.
Thanks for looking, keep drawing!