When you Google “freehand illustration” a page of links with titles like this pops up…

  • Drawing Freehand: Illustrator vs Photoshop
  • How to Draw with the Pen, Curvature, or Pencil Tool in Illustrator
  • Freehand Drawing with Adobe Illustrator CC

I’m pretty well versed in using Corel Paint Shop Pro x9 (a program similar to Photoshop). And I also use a Wacom Pen and tablet at my computer instead of a mouse. All that said, these days I’m really actually more interested in creating freehand illustrations the old-fashioned way.

By Hand.

With Ink.

(Imperfections and all!)

My latest freehand illustration…

Freehand illustration cat and mouse wars by Joana Miranda

Was the final result of an afternoon spent creating different cat and mouse freehand drawings. And, as you can see, even on the illustration above – my 6th – I made a boo-boo and smeared my signature. However, the process was still an immensely rewarding one. Why? Because drawing without the aid of a layout drawing means you have to try and feel the movement of your characters and their emotions as you’re creating them. Drawing freehand is a more thoughtful process. It requires slowing down and thinking about which lines you’ll keep open and how best to bring life to your characters using a minimum of lines. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, drawing freehand means that there will always be imperfections and happy accidents. It’s a process of discovery and, ultimately, self-acceptance.

If you like the illustration above, you might also love seeing this freehand illustration as well.

P.S. Drawing freehand is also an opportunity to throw out the rule book and play. Remember…

The most creative people have this childlike facility to play.

John Cleese


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