The full title of this piece should be “The Fungus Fairy and the Unfortunate Phallus”. It is a cautionary tale about going straight to ink when drawing and not taking time to think things through.
The Art Journal Adventure prompt for last week was the letter “F”. Don’t enquire why I thought to draw a Fungus Fairy as a result because I actually don’t know why. Let’s call it a flash of inspiration. I know that I was feeling in the mood to draw something whimsical. In my early teens, I decided to draw my own versions of the classic Flower Fairies. I think I got about twenty illustrations done before I packed in the whole enterprise because I loved drawing but hated colouring in (I was using pencils). Maybe I should start over now that I actually enjoy adding colour to my illustrations. But I digress. Short on time (as always) I decided to commit to drawing straight away with pen. No pencil guidelines. No preliminary sketching. Just straight from my brain to my hand to the ink pen. The way I drew the Fungus Fairy a lot of the line work was over on the right hand side of the page so, to fill in a bit more of the left hand side, I came up with the bright idea of giving her a toadstool as a sort of magical wand. Yeah, I don’t know what on earth I was thinking either. In the very instant that I lifted pen from paper I realised that the fungus wand looked like a phallus. Great. So, yes, this is a cautionary tale about maybe taking some time to plan things out before committing ink to paper.
Since I returned from vacation, I have been mainly using my little gobbets of free time to participate in the #drawthisinyourstyle challenge on Instagram. I have been sharing my results there and on my other blog. Yesterday, however, I managed to find enough time to open the pages of my art journal. I chose to illustrate Ligeia, the eponymous character of the Edgar Allan Poe story. I am a Poe fan and have been visiting his houses but I have not really tried illustrating the stories since I was in High School. ‘Ligeia’ is a story involving death, duality, resurrection, possession – and an unreliable narrator. My Ligeia is probably a bit too vampy to be the emaciated, sickly, wasting Ligeia. She is probably a bit more Morticia Addams to be honest. I enjoyed working on this illustration, however, and that is the important thing.
If you happen to follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this illustration as my response to this month’s Art Snacks challenge. I received two red products in the box this month and that immediately inspired me to draw a Ladybug Woman. I drew it on a sample pack of watercolour paper, also in the box, which means it is in that narrow format that I used recently for my Frankenstein’s Monster. I am enjoying working in this restrictive space as it really forces me to be creative with my composition.
This weekend, I grabbed some small parcels of time and used them to create an illustration in my art journal. I used last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt, which was to use an element and repeat it at least three times, and combined it with a prompt I had missed that involved the number 5. The idea of repetition made me think of clones and that made me think of the pod people from the movie ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ and then that segued in my brain to thinking of the book ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ and thus I arrived at a decision to draw five clone children with expressionless faces and soulless eyes. I did the grey and black inkwork first and had intended to leave the hair white as a nod to the movie adaptation ‘Village of the Damned’ but, on a whim, I decided to add a splash of colour with red ink. I am undecided as to whether that was a smart move or not and my children – who I use to judge my art work – are split 50/50. What do you think?
Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to use black and white with one colour. By coincidence, my Art Snacks box had just arrived and it contained a black fineline pen and a green alcohol marker. I, therefore, decided I could combine the challenges while giving myself the additional challenge of working on a narrow piece of paper. A childhood spent watching classic monster movies means I have a Pavlovian response to black and green. The combination always makes me think of Frankenstein’s Monster. I, therefore, set about drawing the Karloff version of the Creature in the narrow space of the paper. I was very happy with the ink illustration but then worried I would wreck it when adding the green. I have never been much good at “colouring in” plus I have never used an alcohol based marker before. I rubbed some of the marker on a piece of wax paper so that I could dilute it with water and brush it on as a light wash first. That then gave me the confidence to go in directly with the marker to create darker green areas. I am pretty pleased with how the illustration turned out. I had envisaged using it as a tip-in for my art journal but two of my kids want it as a bookmark so I guess that’s its destiny.
I had not done much in my Rainbow Art Journal since March so I decided to use some free time to start and finish a page in one sitting. I turned to a blank page in the orange sector, got out some orange drawing ink and some black India ink, a pot of water, and got to work. My intention had been to keep things loose because that is something I find to be challenging. I started out well and it is possible to detect the areas where I let the ink puddle and run and dribble. I struggle with abstraction because I don’t know how to balance the elements and create focus so I decided I would carve a figure out of the ink. Of course, inevitably, I ended up with a too tight illustration as a result. Fail! Ugh. Maybe I should just give up trying to work in a loose, uninhibited, less intentional way.
Mother’s Day was the excuse I needed to step away from the laundry, leave the vacuum unplugged, ignore the fact the basement playroom looks like it has been ransacked by raccoons, and instead spend some time at my art table. My monthly Art Snacks box had arrived the previous week so I thought I would have an experiment with the supplies within it and participate in the challenge to create some art using only those resources. Given I had a highlighter yellow paint pen and a bold orange chubby Pitt pen, the colour scheme shouted 1980s at me. I, therefore, knew I was going to end up creating an illustration with an ’80s vibe. What emerged as I sketched was a pig sporting various 1980s fashions. I actually did not wear any of these types of clothes in the ’80s because a) I have never been fashionable b) I think I was still wearing 1970s hand-me-downs when neon and ra-ra skirts were in style and c) I was a non-conformist as a child. I did have a pair of legwarmers that I wore when roller skating so I guess I dipped my toes into this style, though my legwarmers were grey. But I digress. My pig looks confident and ready to throw some shapes on the dance floor.