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20 December 2013

Keys, keys and more keys

Isn't it funny that you always seem to collect an assortment of keys. Some of them I have had for years and have no idea what lock they open. But I will never throw them out. They are fun to draw apart from anything else, and who knows when one day I find a padlock that I can't open because it needs one of these keys.

I like to draw collections of things... Just for fun, and to be a bit silly I threw in an alum key.

Biro in cheap sketchbook

18 December 2013

Getting back into the swing...

It is great to be able to pick up a pen and draw freely again.

I love elephants and when I saw this photo as part of this weeks WDE on WetCanvas I just had to give it a go.

Quick biro sketch in cheapo sketchbook. I think he turned out pretty well.

18 November 2013

Missing days....

Thanks to all the other SkADaMo participants and other friends who have been dropping by and seeing what I've been up to. Unfortunately the last couple of days have not been good pain wise and I have been unable to do any sketches. I do have some ideas floating around that I want to try. I have been very good about resting today and feeling a bit better so here's hoping that I can pick up the pen again tomorrow and have something new to show.

Thanks again for all the support :)

Make sure you check out what everyone else has been up to here. There is some amazing fun and creative stuff.

16 November 2013

Bear stack

I have been thinking of doing some teddy bear sketches in different poses. Somehow it morphed into this idea and it just kept coming into my mind all night. I lay in bed this morning with it still nagging at me. I should do a better more finished version of it, but at least it is down on paper and out of my mind for now.
Do you get ideas like that which just have to be followed through?

Watercolour pencils and waterbrush

15 November 2013

SkADaMo - more sketches

I have been keeping up with my daily sketches but had trouble with my scanner so haven't been able to post them. They are nothing original or exciting, just using ref shots or objects around me.

These are done in a Moleskine sketchbook. I am really unsure of this. It is great for biro or uniball pen but not so good for fountain pen. With wet ink it just sits on top of the waxy page, and trying to do washes, as shown here, it is very uneven and bubbly. Maybe best to keep away from the washes for now till I find a different sketchbook to use again.

Well here are my sketching mumbles for the last couple of days. I am sure most of you have a drawing mannikin, she is great for a last resort. I try to participate in a Scavenger Hunt at WetCanvas (click this link to go have a look) where you are given a list of 26 items to draw from life. A great challenge to try new things and a focus to keep me going. One of the items was "figure", so here she is.

The bird and dog are from reference photos.

I have been ruminating (I hope that's the right word lol) over some idioms and have some ideas in my head but just haven't put them to paper yet. I am really enjoying this monthly challenge. It is great seeing what the other participants are doing too.

12 November 2013

Cat on a wire

Here is my "bright" idea from yesterday that I didn't get a chance to draw. Bit silly I know, but oh well... :)

I think the cat looks quite pleased with himself. He just wanted to join in the fun.

Pen and ink sketch

I missed sketching yesterday but did  have an idea while driving home from school. I will do it later and add it as a late addition.

Am feeling a bit lost without my sketchbooks so had a look through my cupboard to see if there was anything in there I could use. I splurged on a Moleskine back in '09 and rarely used it. So I guess now is a good enough time to give it a go and see what it is like.

This was done directly in pen, using a Signo uniball. This succulent grows in a pot outside my front door so was a handy model. I loved the way the pen glided over the paper, so smooth. I tried different pen strokes to try and show the texture and form. The colour of the paper was different to work with, I don't remember it being so yellow. I don't normally do a double page spread like this either, bit hard when my usual sketchbook is wirebound. It gave a nice square format. I think I could like this... :)

I also found a watercolour Moleskine still in its plastic wrap so I'll be giving that a test run over the week too. The paper looks very different...

10 November 2013

Fine tooth comb

Had to just do a quick one today and scan it as I have to hand in all my sketchbooks with my folio for assessment in the morning. I hate being without my sketchbook for a week. I know it just means I have to use a different one for a while but I like having a flow in my books. I do have several sketchbooks on the go at once but each seems to suit a particular mood. I know, silly, but that's me :)

I have a moleskin watercolour sketchbook that I am still to break open, maybe this is a good time to do so. But that's for tomorrow.

I have taken a leaf from Linda Silvestri of SkADaMo fame,  and had a play with an idiom. This is a great resource for ideas.  I will come back and refine this one so you get more of a sense of the smile and mouth, but for now...

Learning from others - illustrations

I was sorting my folio ready to hand it in for assessment tomorrow. I can't believe it is the end of the year already. I found my work from half year. These are a couple of pieces that I am really happy with and thought I'd share.

The watercolours are studies from advertisements. A pretty neat idea really. Also reassuring, as a budding potential illustrator, that they are an acceptable medium.

This is a piece using coloured pencil. I rarely use this medium. I enjoyed this piece. Again it was a study emulating another artists style, Marco Mazzoni. You can see his stunning work here. I hope I did his work justice.

09 November 2013

Watercolour playtime

Here is a watercolour sketch I did a couple of weeks ago. A familiar face closeup that I like but decided to be daring and bold with the colour. I love seeing other people's work like that and was hoping to achieve something different. Well it is different. Not what I was aiming for but a start. I lost a lot of my shading and contour on the face with the mix of colours. Bit more planning next time maybe. The eyes turned out pretty well so not all is lost.

One of the online facebook groups I am a member of is having a mini challenge drawing and painting some crab apples photos that one kind lady offered up. There have been some great interpretation done. Here is my attempt. Again I was aiming for loose blending of colour. I have captured that to some degree. It is slowly getting there. The shadows need work but at least I remembered them this time :)

Was just nice to splash paint around again.

Run and Hide

The backing is loose on one of the chairs in the lounge room. One of our cats, Devi, loves to hide and play in there. She was told off this morning and did a dive for her hidy place. I quickly captured a sketch of it while it was fresh in my mind. Was cute seeing the fluffy tail disappear into the darkness :)

Watersoluble graphite pencil and touch of coloured pencil.


Last night I did some doodles of animals. Kind of got caught up with pigs. They are just fun ideas, nothing fancy. Might be able to use them in the future. I was having so much fun and finding some great ideas on the net, I ended up with two pages.

07 November 2013

Teddy friends

Was feeling positive when I got home from the doctor today, stocked up on more meds so decided to take advantage and do a quick sketch. I have been looking up at the shelves in my room at these teddy bears. I actually made them myself, many years ago and still like having them around. :) They are best buds sitting up there looking over me.

I have several other teddy bears around the house but something you made yourself is kinda special.
Am thinking I might go back and add some colour. Feels like a colour sort of day.

I hope everyone participating in SkADaMo is doing well. If you'd like to check out there great work click on the badge on the right.

06 November 2013

Bad day

Having a bad day pain wise so no sketching getting done. :(

I have tried to do a bit of browsing on the internet and found some great ideas. Which is good and bad. Great to have ideas, bad to not be able to do anything with them right now. Very frustrating.  If you are looking for new idea prompts for sketches and/or story ideas I looked up spot illustrations on google as well as browsing kids books on iTunes. Lots of great stuff there.

Am now going to try and jot some ideas down for PiBoIdMo before I forget them all completely. I hope everyone else is doing well and having a fantastic creative time. :)

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

04 November 2013


November is potentially such a busy month. There are so many different challenges available to join into. A good way to finish the year with a bang I guess. So along with participating in PiBoIdMo I also  signed myself up for SkADaMo, Sketch A Day Month. As the name implies, do a sketch a day for the month of November. Sounds good to me.

Yes I know I have a shoulder injury but not drawing at all is driving me crazy. I am being realistic here and only aiming for small simple sketches that can take only a couple of minutes. Whatever I manage will be good enough and feel good to do. It is just nice to even be able to think of the possibility of drawing. I am also planning on sketching in the morning when I have had some rest (hopefully) and have less pain.

I pulled one of my drawing items out of the drawer and have used him as a model over the last 2 days. My friendly green tree frog toy. I just like having him around. Decided to just use biro, keeping it simple, and did a few different angles of him.

I hope you like :)

BTW  I should give big thanks to Linda Silvestri at SketchedOut for running this. Here is her official logo, don't you just love it!! It will take you to her site to check out all the details and great works from other artists.

01 November 2013

Simple sketch

I am climbing the walls not being able to sketch, paint and draw on a daily basis at the moment. My shoulder was feeling a bit better so decided to do a simple sketch of some carnations. This is just done with a biro in a cheap simple sketchbook. Nothing fancy.  But I do really like how it turned out.

Here's to hoping I can get back into doing more and more shortly.

20 October 2013

What do you do when you can't draw?

I injured my shoulder some time ago. Like me I tried just ignoring it. And like usual it has just got worse. Right now I am at the point where I really can't enjoy drawing. And that is so frustrating. End of year assignments to get done, lots of things happening, I just want to draw and relax and have fun.

I found this blog the other day. I have heard about NaNoWriMo, where people write a novel in the month of November. Well I'm not into writing novels, these days. But what about PiBoIdMo! These is something I can get in to. Picture Book Idea Month! A lot of my ideas for illustrations evolve around children's books. I have come up with a couple of ideas for books myself to illustrate. So this will fit in very nicely. And gives me a break from drawing if I'm not up for it.

The idea is to come up with at least 30 ideas for picture books during November. I can do that... I think. Well worth a try. Thank you so much to Tara Lazar for the idea and promoting it.

Here it the official logo. Click on the logo to check out the official blog site. Lets all join in and have some fun.

I'll let you know how I go. And hopefully I'll be sketching those ideas soon.

10 October 2013

Life drawing - Pirate style

We had a special life drawing class today. Instead of a nude model she was dressed up as a pirate with assorted props. I must say the addition of clothes actually created a whole new set of challenges. It was a fun morning. It was great to get back into life drawing. I really should look for a local class or group that offers it. It really helps my drawing overall.

Here are some of my sketches. All done in A3 sketchbook using Lamy Safari fountain pen. I really like using this pen as it glides smoothly and helps me stay loose.

10 min sketches

20 min sketch

and some action shots, each pose 4 mins

I am thinking of using one or more of these sketches and developing them further into paintings. What do you think?

03 October 2013

A busy art morning

Been having a super busy and productive art morning. While waiting for the paint to dry on my assignment I have been drawing and painting up a storm in mini sketches.

There are some watercolours in my handmade sketchbook. Like usual a real mix of topics.

Did a couple of portraits in pen. Yes even tried another self portrait. I am constantly amazed at how different they turn out each time. Is this really me? Which one is me? Guess all part of how I feel each day. I tried to keep them loose. Loose is my word for the day.

And a couple of other sketches in my all purpose book.

I feel good to have achieved so much. They might not be the best standard but it is all part of keeping the flow going. I am happier with some more than others but that always happens anyway.

29 September 2013

More sketches...

Still plodding along trying to get some sketches done most if not every day. Still trying to focus on people. My "people" sketchbook is nearly full, only a few pages left. I think I'll buy a new book and continue this theme, I still have a long way to go. Having a sketchbook dedicated to this topic has helped encourage me to keep going and been a great easy way to look back and see if there has been any progress.

The first sketch was me trying to focus on getting hair looking more realistic and natural. The top wasn't too bad, I could see lots of shapes and shading in there and hopefully conveyed that. The long parts were more of a challenge. It was just becoming a mess. I need to try and simplify things more.

This was a great ref photo I found on WetCanvas. I had to give it a go. I have been focusing so much on portraits I have been neglecting doing poses. I am feeling more confident in my sketching. Hope that shows.

25 September 2013

Facial expressions

My focus in my portrait sketching the last few days has been children and different expressions. Children have such large eyes and express so much. I am trying to capture even just a small part of that. I am fairly happy with my results. One thing I have noticed I need to work on a lot  more is the 3/4 angle of the face, no matter the age. This might be what I work on next.

I mainly used pencil for these but decided to get out my Lamy Safari fountain pen for one of them. I always love working in pen and ink and washing out the lines. I don't think it is too heavy for a child.

22 September 2013

New improved digital painting style

I have been working on some digital paintings for a children's book idea. I was not completely happy with the effect I was achieving. It was much more cartoony than I like for my own work. Will Terry is an illustrator that I admire. He paints both digitally and in acrylics. I really like his style. So yesterday I watched some of his YouTube videos showing some tips on how he paints in Photoshop. It only took a short time and I felt much more confident. I understood the principles of what he was doing.

I have repainted my dragon. I am much happier with the result I have achieved here. It is more realistic, which I like, while still maintaining a digital feel. In my final image I have combined a watercolour painted background with the digitally painted dragon. The result is interesting and different. They blend well together while still looking different.

It really emphasised for me that sometimes you have to step back and really look at what you are doing and decide if you are getting the results you really want. If not try something new. Give it a go. There is so much information on the internet that you can easily and quickly get your hands on to help. Sometimes this takes a lot of time and effort, other times you can click with just a few tips. This is how we develop and grow as artists. Remember you are not slavishly copying what the other person is doing, you are adapting some of the ideas into your own style. Just making your style better.

I am so pleased I took the time to do this. Here are the results. I hope you agree there is a marked improvement.

Original style...

New style...

Final illustration, watercolour background and digital dragon...

Establishing a daily drawing practice

I am trying to re-establish a daily practice of drawing. New daily routine, get up, check internet for news, etc, do some sketching/drawing. Even if it is just one drawing or one page it helps. It helps my drawing, it helps me feel I am doing something constructive and improving my skills.  If I do more during the day its an added bonus. And I am actually wanting to do more during the day. It is having a positive effect all round.

I guess I am not so different from many others in that I often will not allow myself the time and luxury to do those things I enjoy the most. My art comes under this category. I should be doing something useful. Doing an art course at college helps me to justify my time on my art. It is homework. I have to do it. I am allowed.

Establishing this small morning ritual of allowing myself to relax and draw is good. I feel good about it. I don't have to spend a lot of time, even just 10 mins but I feel good about this time. And I have something concrete to show for it. My sketchbooks are filling up. Looking back over the pages I can see the improvement. This also makes me feel good.

Here are my efforts from this morning...

21 September 2013

Challenging myself

One of my goals for this year with my art was to improve my portraits and people drawings in general. I have worked hard at this, with the odd lapse here and there. I am human after all...

I realised that although I have been doing a lot of work I was still avoiding certain images of people as I felt they were too hard. Well I bit the bullet, so to speak and have made an attempt at some of those images. As you can see they generally include older people with wrinkles and different face shapes, and facial hair.

Here are my efforts. I hope they encourage you to give something a go that you have been avoiding. You don't have to strive for perfection just give it a go. Like everything else the more you do it the better you will become.

19 September 2013

Visiting Healesville Sanctuary, Australia

Last weekend I spent a lovely sunny spring day strolling around Healesville Sanctuary. This is a wildlife park for Australian native birds and animals. I have not been there for many years and it was great to see the improvements.

Early spring, mating season, turned out to be a great time to visit as many of the birds and animals were very lively. We saw a great display from the lyre bird. He had his mating season tail feathers and showed us his mating dance. It was fantastic to see from within 3 feet. The usually quiet platypus was also lively and swimming actively in his pool. It was also great to see the Tassie devil trotting around too.

On the evening before I pre-prepared a number of pages in my sketchbook. I took the chance to sketch some of the birds and animals and today did a watercolour sketch of the blue fairy wren, one of my favourites. The blue was just so intense to see on such a small ball of feathers. I could not resist the Pelicans, they are wonderful birds. Naturally there are some sketches of the roos and a dingo curled up enjoying the sun.

Here are my sketches, I hope you enjoy.