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.
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.
In an effort to get back into the habit of blogging more regularly, I thought I would write about some pages in my Rainbow Art Journal that were created eons ago. I am also hopeful that writing about my art might inspire me to start experimenting with art supplies in my art journal again and that these tinkerings might get me back into the habit of making time for art.
This page in the blue section of the journal was actually created all the way back in August of 2018 with supplies from that month’s Art Snacks box. It is very puddly and splodgy and full of watery blooms in the blue areas. If I was working on this illustration now, I would probably add another layer of the blue to make it darker, richer, and flatten out some that visual texture.
This blog has gone a little dormant generally. What with the pandemic and all, I just have not been up to enough in my life that generates blog fodder. This blog has, however, gone especially quiet when it comes to my art dabbling. That is not for the lack of art in my life, however. On the contrary, I have been drawing near daily since June. I have been sharing the results of a personal challenge (illustrations of vintage photos) and now Drawlloween drawings over on my blog that is dedicated to only art. Since all of my art time has been invested in those projects, art journaling has been placed so much on the back burner that it is stone cold. While I intend to take a break from daily drawing, I am going to return to art journaling in order to keep up with regular practice and stop those creative gears seizing up from rust.
Draw This in Your Style (DTIYS) challenges on Instagram seemed like a good way to get back into playing around and experimenting in my art journal. The subject matter and composition is all set for me so I just need to – like it says on the tin – draw it in my style. I thought I would have a crack at a recent art work by Behemot titled “Pale Girl and Very Suspicious Cat”, not least because the monochromatic palette appealed to me aesthetically and in terms of time management. I am pleased with my version of the Pale Girl. I think my illustration shares DNA with the original but is very clearly my style. It is a fun challenge to translate digital art into analogue so I am going to seek out a few more of those I think.
I have accidentally established a tradition in my Rainbow Art Journal whereby each colour section contains an illustration of some kind of sprite-like creature. For the blue section, I was thinking of water. I drew a figure who is drenched in water (or, as I would say in Scots, “drookit”), her body morphing into a puddle on the floor, her hair dripping across her face.
Another completed page in the blue section of my Rainbow Art Journal. This one was easy to finish up because I actually drew the original in March of 2020 – which feels like years ago now – in response to an Art Snacks challenge. I had drawn it in the blue section of the art journal thinking the media I had received were, well, much more blue than they turned out to be. They were far too green and it was annoying me that I had misjudged the colours and stuffed up the colour theme in the sketchbook. I had, therefore, walked away from it for a while – which turned out to be a long while – to come up with a solution. I was so annoyed with myself initially that I considered covering up the whole thing and starting over with essentially a new substrate but I loved that graphite watercolour and the way it had dried in puddles far too much to cover that up. My solution in the end was a quick and easy one so I could call this page “done” and move on: I simply layered some blue ink washes over some of the most green areas of the illustration to knock them back. It is definitely a blue-green piece but that’s acceptable to me.
All of my art time lately has been funneled towards my Star Wars challenge. It is always good to have a break from things, however, so I opened up my art journal and decided to create something using the supplies from my July Art Snacks box. I received two Kurteake watercolour pans in a dark grey with hints of indigo and a sort of citrus chartreuse and a Daniel Smith watercolour stick in vermilion so I basically had a slight twist on the three primary colours. The lime-yellow-chartreuse immediately made me think of a raincoat I had when I was very wee and then I thought about how the grey-blue was reminiscent of heavy rain clouds on a stormy day. That, therefore, gave me the theme for my illustration.
Incidentally, I painted this while I was on a lengthy phone call – having done the drawing earlier – so how is that for multitasking in order to ensure I still got my art time?
As in so many of Greek myths, Daphne’s is the story of a woman victimised by a man and ultimately punished by the patriarchy. Essentially poor Daphne was used by Eros to curse Apollo, one of Cupid’s arrows having created his obsessive infatuation with the naiad Daphne. An arrow fired at her ensured that she would always flee Apollo. Therefore, poor Daphne was basically stalked by Apollo, which effectively means she was being punished for no reason. In order to escape Apollo’s sexual violence, Daphne pleaded with her father, a river god, and his solution was to transform her into a laurel tree. Daphne, treated like an object by these male gods, was therefore rendered completely and utterly passive – so much so, in fact, the Apollo ended up possessing the laurel as his special tree. Ugh.
Anyway, still plodding on through the green section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I decided to illustrate Daphne’s tragic story. I wanted to communicate something of the violence of her situation and of her transformation while also suggesting something of the fact she was forced to become even more passive.