In the past, I've done a lot of freehand-see-where-it-takes-me things. I still do those from time to time, but, since I'm attempting to learn a bit about how to draw sans a class, I've started doing copies of things. The copies rarely end up being exact - once I have an idea of the lines, I tend to let my own hands take over. This first image (creatively titled "girl") began life as a copy of a bookcover - one of Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic books, in fact. And, though I had planned to get around to reading that series at the time, I have to admit, I bought the book more because of the cover than anything else. Unfortunately, because the book is a UK edition I picked up in Australia, it's been difficult to track down an original image. The best I can do is the tiny one below, and a link to the original illustrator, Liselotte Watkins.
Somewhere along the way, the girl became a lot more middle eastern, and the hair grew into a veil. I'm not sure why, but I think I like it. I'm never quite sure!
The next picture began as a copy of a book I recieved for Christmas, The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrarult, illustrated by Sally Holmes. Although I can't put up the original illustration, if you page through the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon, you'll get an idea of the wonderful illustrations throughout the book.
In the original picture, from Bluebeard, the castle is atop a well-treed hill, with riders racing through the forest, and haystacks in the foreground. I went for a more castle in the sky feel, changing the trees and adding in clouds, some extra castle, and the pines.
(Please forgive the strange line; the scanner doesn't cope very well with my sketchbook!)
Before doing this sketch, I had an idea of how castles and individual trees worked, but I'd not really understood how to draw a forest. Now, though, I'm much more comfortable with the idea, and I think I'll try a few general foresty sketches soon.