This small illustration was created using the contents of my April Art Snacks box. There was a mechanical pencil, a black pen with a very fine point, a green alcohol marker, and a brown brush pen. I did not get along well with the brush pen at all – possibly user error – until I decided to use it as watercolour by squeezing some pigment out onto a palette and then picking it up with a wet brush. Once I did that, I really liked the way I could layer warm brown tones.
My Inner Critic is loud and brutal so I often only see the flaws in my art work. However, I actually really like this illustration and I am very happy with it.
This was what I created with the contents of my March Art Snacks box. I am not a fan of coloured pencils. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation as I don’t know whether I am bad at using them because I don’t like them or whether my ineptitude with them has led me to dislike them. Despite the fact the pencil leads were buttery smooth, I still could not achieve a neat finish. I am as scribbly with the pencils now as I was when I was a wee girl. Still, sometimes it is as useful to be reminded of what media you don’t enjoy as which you do like to use. The squiggles in the background did not start out as purposeful mark making. The nib of the black marker was very flexible – the type that would lend itself to calligraphy – and I let it slip when I was attempting a straight line. I just had to lean into it and channel my inner Bob Ross and allow squiggles to be a feature in the background. Once I had added background squiggles, it seemed necessary to balance those out with blobs made with the paint pen.
In addition to my Post-It note drawings, the other art I have been trying to keep up with is the monthly challenge of creating an illustration using only the contents of that month’s Art Snacks box. Each box arriving in my mailbox was a useful prod to get me to set aside some time for art. It helped that most of the products in recent boxes have been portable so I have been able to create art on the go.
This was what I created with the contents of my January box. I really liked the grey fine liners. As you know, I use black ink pens a lot but I was glad to have grey pens to add to my case of drawing pens. The green has not photographed well but it is actually metallic with a pleasing shimmer. I didn’t find that ochre colour appealing at first glance and never would have chosen that colour in a store but, once I used it, I actually found I really quite liked it. Green and orange are both colours I overlook when I am drawing so it is sometimes useful to have a nudge to create with those neglected colours.
I have not been creating any art for a month now which, for me, is quite a long time. Partly this was a consequence of needing a break after several months of near daily drawing and partly it was a symptom of just being burned out from everyday life in 2020. My creative mojo had temporarily departed. Not wanting rust to settle into my artistic joints, I decided to try the December Art Snacks challenge as a way to grease the machine.
In order to avoid overwhelm, I opted to work on one of those small, narrow samples of paper I have that I have been turning into bookmarks. When I looked through the media contained in my Art Snacks box and thought about the colours, I immediately thought of summer flowers. Summer flowers made me think of the May Queen from the horror movie ‘Midsommar’ and so that became the basis for my illustration. I did cheat a wee bit in that I used a micron pen for the outlines of the face and the very loose flower shapes.
Now that I have broken my creative drought with this small illustration, I hope to get back to at least pootling around in my art journals over winter break.
I desperately needed some art time but I was completely lacking in motivation and inspiration. I did, however, have my November Art Snacks box sitting untouched on my art table so I decided to tackle this month’s challenge as a way to jump start some creative time.
I did cheat a bit on the challenge because I used a black ink pen that did not come with the box. The bright pink of the marker, the citrus green of one of the pencils, and the neon yellow of the brush pen suggested a 1980s pop vibe so I sketched out a girl wearing 1980s fashions – based simply on my recollection rather than any references so probably not super accurate.
It’s certainly far from my best work but it felt therapeutic to create something in my art journal and, as I have written many times before, often the journey is more important than the destination.
Between completing my Star Wars illustration challenge and participating in Drawlloween, it took until mid-November for me to find the time and motivation to experiment with the supplies in my October Art Snacks box. Even when I did break them out, I kept things very small and manageable. This illustration is the scale of a bookmark. Indeed, I have a number of these skinny drawings now and I think I am going to laminate them so they can all become bookmarks.
I think this drawing ended up with a bit of a 1910s vibe to it. The combination of the lavender paint pen, which I watered down as well as using straight out of the barrel, and the bright sunshine yellow of the ink brush is quite a pleasing colour combination I think.
I had a bit of a cruddy day yesterday. We’ve had some flooding to deal with (a lot) lately and the day started with lashing rain yet again, I consequently changed my plan for the day which is something I always find unsettling and disappointing, and then I spent hours problem solving another unexpected problem that cropped up. It was all small beer in the greater scheme of things and certainly all piffling in the context of a global pandemic. On the other hand, living in the midst of a pandemic is also mentally and emotionally fatiguing so maybe that is why smaller problems are getting to me more.
The point of this preamble is that two things that do the best job at calming me down when I am a powder keg of stress and anxiety: art and horror movies. So I settled down with a cup of tea in front of ‘Shadow of a Doubt’, one of my favourite Hitchcock movies (and not strictly a horror), and decided to draw Alfred Hitchcock using the supplies from this month’s Art Snacks box. I thought the combination of black ink, the sepia ink pencil, and the crimson paint suited the subject.
These illustrations were created with the contents of my April Art Snacks box. It has been a while since I completed a proper illustration of my zombie critters, as opposed to a doodle. I have drawn zombie bunnies in any number of compositions and colours but I think this is the first time I have drawn a tower or stack of zombie cats. I used the warm colours (two watercolour pencils and a water based marker) for the zombie cats and coloured the zombie bunnies in shades of blue using different dilutions of ink from the blue marker. The darkest blue right at the top of the illustration is the colour straight from the nib. These were fun to draw. I hope they are also fun to look at.
Today marks 21 days since our lockdown started. Life has been transformed pretty rapidly. As a preschool teacher, I am now unemployed for the foreseeable future; we’ve had to create a home office space in our bedroom for my husband – who is thankfully still able to work; and the four boys are now having to adjust to distance learning. Overseeing four kids who are using technology to learn is a massive challenge for me. While the older three boys have lots of experience with using chromebooks for learning, my youngest son (aged 10) has not had that degree of exposure. It is, therefore, a steep learning curve for both him and for me. I am not finding any of the processes to be intuitive and it seems every teacher and every subject area is intent on using a different mode. Thank goodness my oldest son is a bit of a computer whizz and can step in to problem solve and guide his little brother through all the technological hurdles. I did not anticipate transitioning to distance learning being a smooth process but it is proving to be a more stressful experience than I predicted.
After a particularly snaggy and challenging morning, therefore, I was feeling particularly frazzled. It was critical that I find a way to decompress before I combusted. Last month, I received a bonus box from Art Snacks containing Tombow products. I had not done anything with it because I am not remotely skilled at using alcohol markers. However, I decided that I would delve into the box and try to produce an illustration using just its contents. An art challenge is, after all, much more preferable to me than a technological one. This is the illustration I produced. I am happy to report that I did not combust today. Not yet anyway.
This is the art journal page I created with this month’s Art Snacks supplies. The figure is painted using two Faber-Castell markers that can be activated with water to imitate watercolour. What I really got addicted to, however, was a Kuretake pen that makes circles. I had thought I would just add a few dots in the background but clearly I got carried away. You can see how much of a battering I put my art journal through by how crinkled and buckled this page is. It will flatten out over time because of the weight in the rest of the journal. It’s one of the reasons why I find photographing my doodlings to be a challenge.