I'm working on some dolls at the moment. They look a bit like this.
Stitching, knitting, stuffing, giving. Drawing them takes a lot less time than making them. They are labours of love and an expression of an urge to create little characters. How strange.
Sketching like crazy... can't quite get it. Some days I feel like the sketches are better than the finished pieces. I like this one. There is a lightness to it that my other, more finished work, never seems to keep. This is Amelia and her imaginary friend Arkala.
Still drawing -- This weekend I spent a little time playing with the new Vine.co app. It really is a neat little thing to tack on to a twitter account. I will attempt to not over-use it... but in the mean time here is yesterday's drawing, a raw little stop motion animation called "Mad Hair Day". I used one sheet of paper and added to the same drawing with each frame. The eyes are two circles from a hole punch sitting on top of the paper, which could be moved around with finger tip. You can't get too much simpler than that.
Clearly this isn't really a new image for today but just yesterday's drawing finished up. As time goes on I am getting less fussed about the rules, as long as I am drawing every day.
"On getting yourself to the studio: Create a personal challenge or daily/weekly project. Do you respond well to parameters and structure? Do you enjoy a personal challenge? Start a “drawing a day” project or “a new medium a week” — or something unique that gets you making new work on a regular basis. Collection a Day 2010, 365 Days of Hand Lettering, and The Reconstructionists are all personal projects that have forced me to create on a regularly. And while none of them paid initially, they all led to more work in the end and in a couple of cases, book deals. The key for me was not just doing the daily practice, but sharing it publicly on the internet. That held me accountable and increased my visibility as an artist (which leads to more work)."
Creating regularly is the absolute key. Last week I was disappearing into a vortex of web redesign and at the end of the week I felt sad and uninspired again. I know now to make more time for drawing, no matter what, even if I don't get an entire illustration finished, even it's just 30 minutes a day. Even if it's on a napkin in a coffee shop. Sometimes those are the best.
Today's drawing is a snippet from a work in progress. I am working on a series of illustrations based around kids and their imaginary friends.
This is the beginning of a portrait of Lily and her pantheon of made-up buddies with names such as Leila and Fishy Crackers, Crunch & Punch (the crime fighting twins), Drain and Leaf. Next up will be Amelia and her imaginary friend Arkala who she created when she was two and has been a stalwart attendee of tea parties and dress up games until only very recently. Perhaps I will also do an illustration of my brother, c. 1979 with his BMX riding imaginary bestie, Jonnas, and maybe a self portrait of my own mid-seventies, holly-hobby style imaginary friend, Kitty.
Welcome to my entirely brand spanking new blog.
I have a brand new host and brand new publishing software... it's very exciting.
What can you expect? Expect glitches, broken bits, expect odd bits of things doing odd things that they really shouldn't be doing... but also expect delightful bits of craziness, folders within folders within folders, pages leading nowhere but in an interesting, meandering, serendipitous kind of way - expect to see me put the 'og' back in 'blogging'...what that is exactly, is completely open to interpretation. Expect a little bit more 1999 in my blogging.
So - without further ado - I'm posting a video. Have a look at this inspiring film about Oliver Jeffers and his process. I'm going to see Oliver Jeffers talk over breakfast in Vancouver in February so I'm happy to see that he is a) very handsome and b) very talented, experimental and entertaining. Enjoy. And see you soon with some more drawing.
Just squeaked this one in. Animated kitty! Now that was fun.
Here's a doll left out in the garden to fend for herself and find a way back to her nice warm dollhouse.
I really didn't want to do this today; pages in my sketch book of listless doodles, a late night, a late start, other things to do, the novelty wearing off - all the usual suspects.
But I'm glad I pushed through with drawing number 10. When I think about it, there's probably going to be many more hard days than inspired days, so tricks and techniques for getting through it are going to be the key. My mantra for today was "when in doubt, draw girls in pretty dresses"... so that's where I started.
Tomorrow I intend to lash out with an entirely different colour palette. Have you noticed my predilection towards brown, pink, orange and black? Drawing 10 will be all about green and blue. Pinky promise.
“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” ― Voltaire
Dancing beatniks with their favourite books. This is a bit of a cheat as I actually started work on this ages ago - inspired by that great dance scene of Audrey Hepburn's from the film Funny Face. But I finished it today and I think I will be popping it up on Society6 in the next few days - I hope. Or etsy. I can't decide. Let me know if you are interested and I'll keep you posted. There will also be a version with the Voltaire quote for those who like quotes.
Day 8! Bam! xx
The girls went back to school today after a couple of weeks of holidays. And what do I do? Sit down and draw them. Sad really.
Here's the early sketch version for the sake of keeping this all about the process:
And here's an early version - I actually like this better than the final:
Can you spot the difference? Just a tiny thing that makes a world of difference.
It's probably a little truer to the relationship between the girls but to make a nice illustration that both girls will feel good about I changed it a little. If I had decided to make this nothing to do with my two actual daughters and called it "The McSquinty Sisters" or something, then this is definitely how I would have left it.
Now I'm going to go and wander about the quiet, quiet house wailing and wringing my hands until it's time to pick them up from school. (ha).
Messing about with paints and pencils. One of these might eventually end up on a book plate. Now I am off to drink tea in front of the fire and contemplate cracking open a 1000 piece Charlie Harper jigsaw puzzle - which is a crazy thing to do on the last day of the Christmas Holidays and really should have been contemplated 10 days ago. The tea will be good regardless.
Happy day 5. I'm feeling slightly collagey today. I also went to the art-supply store in town and bought some watercolours, so watch out, this ride is going to get crazy.
A work in progress for today's drawing (4 or 365!) and contribution to Illustration Friday. I just did a quick search and discovered that the last time I participated in Illustration Friday was 2004. I'm working in pencil to push myself - no command-z ! I just have to live with the bits I would otherwise delete or redo. Also - I notice that it's time to build a light box and dust off my camera instead of relying on my phone.
How are you doing? Are you doing any crazy projects this year? My track record is pretty shaky when it comes to keeping up with long term projects like this but I needed some artistic discipline in my life. So far so good.
Happy New Year!
I Thought I might try doing a drawing a day for 2103. Not all of them will make it on to my blog but it's nice to have a goal.
Here's something I posted in 2009 - but I'm about to make some more of these so I thought I would publish this again.
Tiny Pointed Hats
I use 4 ply sock wool and I like using the variegated stuff (is that what a yarn buff would call it? the Patons stuff is called “Patonyle”) so that I get spontaneous stripes and patterns. My needles are size 2 3/4 (that’s 12 English size and 2 US size apparently!).
So; make a cup of tea, crack out the gingerbread, wield your long skinny needles and…
Cast on 20 stitches
Row 1: Knit 2, purl 2 and repeat until the end of the row
Repeat for two more rows to make the ribbing.
Next row: Knit row
Next row: Purl row
Next row: You will now begin to decrease to make the pointed hat. Knit 2 together and then knit to the end of the row.
Next row: Purl 2 together and then purl to the end of the row.
Repeat until you have one stitch left on your needle. Cast off.
Turn right sides together and sew sides together using row ends, leaving the bottom of the hat open. Turn inside out, using a chop stick or a knitting needle head to push the tip through. Embelish with sequins and beads or with simple embroidered details. Glue it to your little doll’s head.
(please use it for personal use and gifts only! Thanks folks)."