Process Piece: Desiree Cornell Part 2

For my first installment for this particular piece, I’m going to start with the unglamorous part of the process; building up the concept and collecting your references to initiate the actual drawing. On every piece I draw, I need to get myself into the mood on what I want to create. For this one, I’ve wanted to draw a spider for the longest time, so off to Google I go in search of spiders. I finally settled on the crab spider to be my muse, as I loved the angular shape and the ghostly off-white color of their bodies. (This later inspired me to go with a sort of occult theme for the overall image). I spend a good hour looking through books, (I have a rather large library of encyclopedias and similar books for references; you can never have enough, in my opinion.) As well as searching online. I take notes of the shapes and contours of my subject matter; I never rely on one image as my inspiration- I build up a mental catalog and once I’m confident in what I’ve mapped out on sketch paper, (The initial sketches are always messy and to be quite frank- ugly in their execution.) I begin to lay down on my actual ground work for my drawing on Bristol paper.

My preference for sketching is using Ticonderoga Erasable pencils in the color Carmine Red 425T. It’s light enough that I can easily erase these lines later, and as I am a sketchy illustrator, keep my line work separated from the initial outline/key lines I will later ink. I usually draw my key lines with mechanical pencils; I prefer Papermate’s Sharp writer # 2 as the lead is great for fine, dark lines, and I like how thin the pencil is and how it lacks the fancy gripping and bulkiness of other mechanical pencils. (They also come in packs of 7, which is awesome if you’re like me and misplace supplies all the time.)
From this point on, the process is all touch-and-go. Sometimes it takes me a few tries before I develop a composition I like, especially if inspiration hits mid-way through and I decide to change or add things to the design. That was the case here; I wanted to give it a haunted feel, so I am weaving a message into webbing. (I must be a masochist because mapping this out was painstakingly time consuming and I only have myself to blame.)
It took me 2 hours to lay down all the ground work which completes our work for now. It may lool rough right now, but trust me.. You’re up for a surprise. Next up: Inking. Tune in next time for that little morsel of goodness!


Desiree Cornell is an autodidact (self taught) artist from Ellwood City, PA; who is currently residing in Tucson AZ with her fellow artist/husband, Shawn Cornell. Desiree has been honing her skills since she discovered her interest for drawing at the tender age of 7. Her work exemplifies a specialty of traditional methodology, and the contextual usage in a variety of mediums, particularly watercolor and india ink. Despite formal training, Desiree’s natural ability is manifest through her skills that coalesce an evoked sensory response. Her works are regarded as a contemporary staple of esoteric fusion, often blending genres such as gothic noir with the avant garde. When not creating art, Desiree works for international logistics company and specializes in Customs Brokerage.