Ellen Muth
Ellen Muth as Georgia “George” Lass
(Dead Like Me [2003])

Why, why, why do I do this to myself? Because I’m stupid. That’s why. There is no other explanation as to why I draw once every few months, giving myself plenty of time to grow rusty and out of the habit. Then when I return to my sketchbook I have to settle for less than what I’m capable of had I just stuck with it. Anyway, under the circumstances, I’m actually very very proud of this drawing because I saw what it looked like after an hour of work. Thank me for not scanning that in. “The horror, the horror.” Abysmal line work. My Drawing I professor would have my head on a platter.

The line work really was awful initially—lacking precision, indecisive, jagged—glorified scribble. Kind of like I was practicing the theory that if I lay down enough lines, one of them has to fit the correct form sooner or later. As it developed, though, it got progressively better (exponentially better) even if a few dozen screw ups survived such as some proportion issues, and the fact her left arm would not naturally meet up with her wrist. After three hours of working on it, sketching and shading—I’m always more comfortable shading, and I find the process somewhat relaxing—I was ready to lay down new line work which looked and worked much much better. More confident, more precise, and a lot more accurate to the form.

I’m particularly proud of the right arm, the neck, the hair, and the face (the eyes.) While I know I could have done a better job (like, if I actually sat down to draw regularly) I’m very happy with how these elements turned out considering this is my first time out in ... three months? five months? I dunno how long it’s been. Anyway, I’m proud of the level of detail and subtleties I managed to pull off. I plan to take another crack at this same image in the near future, although whether that ever materializes is a good question. It might be ten years from now at the rate I’m going.

Technical details: I think I used a 2H and 4B for this, although I can’t say for sure. I was expecting the drawing to wind up in the trashcan, so I just grabbed a hard lead and a soft lead and went to work. Anyway, this is Ellen Muth from the cover of the Dead Like Me Season 2 DVD. It was interesting to draw from because from the title you can probably guess that she’s dead. On the cover, half of her body is translucent which made shading fun. Some invention was required on my part for proper shading and rebalancing the image since she had a background behind her and my render is just negative space.