Learning the Process of Sketching, Drawing, and Finished Art

As I suspected, having four classes this semester is consuming most of my time. I’ve been drawing and sketching a lot lately, most of which is leading towards illustration projects for my graphic design classes.

My first project for my Illustration class was to illustrate a phobia, which the teacher provided to us. I was given fear of birds. I like birds, so it was a challenge to imagine them in a scary way.

We started out doing research and wordplay, which led to thumbnail ideas, sketches, tighter drawings, and finally rendering the illustration with our choice of media. I chose to do a mixed-media illustration by drawing a formation birds in pen and ink,

then painting the background with acrylic,

and then layering and blending the two in Photoshop for a final digital print.

I haven’t done pen and ink in awhile, so it was great fun to illustrate with that technique again. I also learned more on layering and blending in Photoshop with this project. My final illustration didn’t turn out as scary as my teacher wanted, but that’s okay. I don’t do “scary.” And I’m really happy with how this turned out, no matter what the project parameters were.

Thank you for stopping by!


  • I love it!! “Unscary” and ALL!!! The colors would be dreamy in a quilt too;)

    • Thanks so much Sara! I love that… ‘unscary.’ I love that it turned out more dreamy than scary, which is more my style anyway. And I got a good grade on the project, so it’s all good!

  • Hi Terri! Your classes must be very interestin and exiting! Scary or not, your birds are great! I see we can’t help thinking of quilts – would make a unique quilt! x Teje

    • Thanks Teje! My classes really have been very interesting. It’s quite exciting learning so much. You see a quilt in this illustration? I think quilters see quilts Everywhere!

  • Nice work Terri, love it, what type of birds are these? They remind me of Ravens and Blackbirds. So mysterious, so beautiful. I like there noise and banter too, but I am your weird cousin. Anyway, kudos to you!

  • Thanks Linda! Yes, they are supposed to be ravens or crows. I was so nervous to show this on my blog, but it’s been a few weeks since I last looked at it, so now I like it again 😉

  • I never get tired of looking at your artwork!!! You have such crazy talent 🙂 Like some of the comments, I too tend to see everything in terms of quilts. This would make an awesome one. Isn’t it wonderful to go back to something you’ve created and rediscover how much you love it! Thanks for sharing…

  • Your work continues to get better and better! (Not that it was ever bad, but you know what I mean!) Great drawing and the colors are fantastic. And the birds look kind of creepy, so mission accomplished:)

  • Hello Terri,

    Personally I am liking how it is not so scary. Great piece.
    Happy sketching.

  • I just love that you share process photos of your classes. What an interesting project. If I had been assigned my real-life phobia, I don’t think I could have handled it.

    • Thanks Cindy! Good thing I like birds because I don’t think I could have handled illustrating one of my real-life phobias either, like the “s” word!

  • Oh WOW Terri!!..really great work..i’m seeing a mixed media page with words about taking flight..my big phobia is heights.

  • Excellent! They look wonderful, not scary though (lol!)

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