There are so many layers of watercolour on this page. I usually only work in two or three layers so this was a real exercise in patience for me as I waited for each saturated layer to (slowly) dry. The idea was to depict a figure floating inside a nebula. Is that even scientifically possible? No idea! I didn’t bother consulting my astronomy nerd husband because accuracy doesn’t bother me. The spacesuit would possibly set someone’s teeth on edge too as I cobbled it together from various references to spacesuits from different countries and different eras and then simplified the forms.
I have scores of Draw This In Your Style challenges saved over on Instagram. I find them useful when I have time for art but am short on inspiration. They are also useful for both reinforcing and honing the elements of illustration that make something identifiably my style.
One of the ones I have had saved for months was a witch with moss hued hair created by Heather Mahler. She has a very distinctive style and is also a digital artist so I thought it would be fun to give it a try in analogue. Working on this drawing, I realised how much more practice I need with drawing faces in profile. My skills in that regard have definitely atrophied over the several months in which I was not putting pen to paper. I never add tattoos to the figures I draw so it was fun to add all of those little glyph details to the drawing. This was a relaxing drawing to work on because I didn’t get stuck in my own head coming up with an idea or composition.
These skeleton women do insist on appearing in my art journals but I decided to keep this one much simpler. I also decided to work in a colour palette that I thought might be really clashing and visually discordant. Chartreuse is a colour I actually quite like in isolation but which I find often looks horrid juxtaposed against other colours so I decided on chartreuse and violet. It struck me that the colours were reminiscent of the colours of a bruise at different stages of healing. Not something a skeleton really needs to think about.
I was trying to decide what to draw while making my morning mug of tea. I like to look at the birds at my feeder while the kettle boils and I was enjoying the way the light was highlighting the beautiful colours in the feathers of a grackle. Flashes of blues, purples, greens were shining among the rich black. And that was when I decided to draw a figure with wings in those jewel tones. I thought about making the background deep black to better reflect the grackle inspiration for the drawing but decided against it. Maybe I should at a later date? I have annoyed myself by making the wing on the right too stubby. I should have done a bit more pencil scaffolding before I went in with the ink. Apparently this is a lesson I will never learn. Otherwise I quite like this illustration – in large part because I love that Daniel Smith Phthalo Turquoise so much.
This page in the purple section of my Rainbow Art Journal was simply inspired by a desire to use complementary colours. I pivoted to what is apparently my default setting of drawing a female figure in front of a disc. My husband asked why the people I draw always look miserable. My guess is it may be because neutral expressions are easier for me to draw. So I am making a note to self to try and draw a wider range of expressions.
One of the things I really need to practice and refine is the drawing of poses and of more detailed clothing. Therefore, when I stumbled across the #Tekenuurtje challenge on Instagram, I thought I would have a try at participating. The host artist, Linda van den Berg, shares photos and artists are invited to create an illustration of one of the images in whatever medium they like.
I was immediately enchanted with a portrait of an older couple wearing stylish clothes, complete with statement hats and scarves*. It was fun drawing their poses and all of the elements of their clothing. I think I will try participating in this challenge again.
*The easiest way I can share the source photo with you is to link to my Instagram post.
I guess I was still thinking about the personification of stormy weather when I sat down at my art table because what emerged on the page was this figure who I turned into a rain cloud. The idea came from the way I drew her hair all poofy like a cloud so I decided to make the hair even bigger and rounder. I really didn’t think through how to illustrate the rain drops and probably should have made them a bit less dense but I suppose all those dashes and drips add some visual interest to the page. Returning to mixed media after such an extended break, I realise with this piece that I have lost some skill with layering water-based media over acrylic. Hopefully I will see some improvement next time I attempt it.
After a (too) long break from creating art, I am determined to use Summer break to recalibrate my life, get back into the habit of making regular time for art, rediscover my creative mojo in the process, and hopefully restore some much-needed balance to my life. My gears and joints have all seized up through lack of use so I thought a good way of dipping my toe back into regularly creating art without feeling intimidated would be to keep plodding along in my Rainbow Art Journal.
I cracked the pages of the journal open and the first completely empty page was in the purple section. Since I unintentionally started the tradition of having a Sprite figure in each colour section, I decided to create a purple sprite and I thought of stormy skies and lightning storms. That is, therefore, what this figure is supposed to represent. I was actually surprised by how easy I found it to put pen to paper and draw again but where I really observe the rustiness is in my ability to manage proportions – even in accordance with my own wonky style – and my aptitude with drawing hands. I have really experienced a setback with drawing hands. This is frustrating when I had been making good progress in that regard but, knowing I managed to develop the skill beforehand, I trust I will at least catch up to myself again with more regular practice.
This is another illustration I created with the contents of an Art Snacks box. This one was way back in November 2019 but, unlike my feelings towards most of my past art, I still really like this one. I have observed that I seem to draw a lot of female figures cowering or huddling against the cold, their hair blowing in the wind. No idea why. Perhaps because I have a tendency to feel cold?
This illustration was created with the contents of an Art Snacks box all the way back in December 2019 – and doesn’t that feel like a different time altogether now? I believe there was a blue brush pen that I used as watercolour and a metallic ink pen – which is what I used for the disc behind the figure. I don’t particularly like this page and had thought I might return to this page and add to it but – given I have not done so in over two years – I am definitely calling this page done.