I really loved this month’s Scrawlrbox and creating the image for the theme: Body Parts was so much fun! Check out the process video to watch this android come to life and to find out more about this month’s art supplies!
My theme for Inktober 2018 was Endangered Animals. I used the Liquitex Muted Collection inks and chose a variety of animals of the WWF endangered list. As well as learning a bunch about these animals I am hoping to sell prints in the new year and give all proceeds to the WWF, as part of my charity Marathon I am running in April 2019. To find out more and donate visit aprilcan.run
I found Inktober a bit difficult this year as my October was very busy. I spent a week in November catching up and I finally got a scanner so I could scan them all in 🙂 I found out some crazy facts during Inktober about these endangered animals:
There are less than 20 Vaquitas left in the world – a small porpoise that lives in the gulf of Mexico. Some species like the Whooping Crane have reached a critically endangered status in the past, but thanks to conservation efforts, have bounced back in population size – this shows that conservation really does help!
And the weirdest thing I found out was that the White Tiger isn’t endangered – it’s not even a species but the result of in-breeding to propagate a birth defect.
I included a bunch of facts with each animal on my Instagram if you would like to learn more! I had a lot of fun during Inktober this year and really enjoyed using coloured inks. I realised that I love drawing animals, except cats. Cats are hard.
Thanks for reading and please check out my running blog if you are interested in my training and fundraising efforts.
Last week I challenged myself to record, edit and post a video on YouTube every day for a week. It was hard, but I did it!
I had been feeling a bit unmotivated and lazy the last couple of months. I wasn’t drawing as much as I wanted, I hadn’t posted to this blog in weeks and I was halfheartedly making videos for YouTube. I think this feeling of apathy came from forcing myself to do things I didn’t really want to do – in March I tried to draw in Procreate every day – but I wasn’t feeling it. In April I tried to do bybuns’s April Art Challenge entirely in Copic markers and I really ended up hating Copic markers after a couple of weeks! In May I thought about attempting Mermay but I just couldn’t be bothered. (If I’m being completely honest I avoided Instagram after May 6th because I was so BORED of seeing Mermaids – way to support the art community, huh?)
So I was in a funk.
Then June came. And my birthday! I LOVE my birthday. Some people hate birthdays because it reminds them another year has passed and they are getting older and blah blah blah. Who cares that you’re pretty sure your upper lip hair is getting darker, or that you didn’t achieve fame in the last year, or that you really wanted to fit into that sexy lingerie you bought back in February but have somehow managed to put on another 8 pounds instead?
Birthdays are about presents and cake and people celebrating that you’re alive! So I love birthdays and I make a pretty big deal out of them.
This year my birthday fell on a weekend, the same weekend we went to the Birmingham Design Festival. Fuelled from a weekend of creativity and motivation, armed with a brand new camera (thanks to my amazing boyfriend, Martin) and stocked up with £80 of new art supplies I was ready to get working again.
I had so much fun making my Birthday Art Haul video that I got a little crazy and thought: “Why don’t I use these new supplies next week? And make a video each day? And post it!” I was super into the idea. I told Martin and he promptly rolled his eyes. I was always starting challenges and not finishing them, Remember my 365 days of Yoga challenge? Remember when I was going to go Vegan for real? Remember that One Week Sketchbook that took 5 weeks?
Yeah, I suck at challenges.
But, guess what? I actually did it! And here are the things I learnt:
1: I can survive on 5 hours sleep a night. But it’s not fun.
In between biking to work in a heat wave, working my real-life job (I’m a 3D artist) and watching three seasons and two films of The Inbetweeners (for the third time) I managed to film, edit and post a video every day. Some would argue that because I uploaded after midnight each day I actually took two days. I’m choosing to ignore these people.
I normally started filmed between 7am and 8am and then continued in the evening at about 9pm. I went to bed about 1:30am on average. I had about 5 hours sleep a night and about 4 coffees a day. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, and the worst part was laying in bed after pressing “publish” and not being able to turn my brain off. It seems that spending 13 hours on the computer each day isn’t good for the mental health. Who would have thought?!
2. It’s hard finding music that you haven’t heard a thousand times on other people’s videos.
I started using this channel on YouTube to find music. They put everything in nifty playlists based on artists or moods and even have a paragraph you can copy and paste into our description of the artist and song. The only problem is – everyone seems to use this channel, or the music within it. I had to search through A LOT of music to find tracks I didn’t recognize. I think finding music is probably the hardest part of editing a film. And some of the songs are so awesome – but trust me – you would have heard them before.
3. I can no longer use the excuse “It’s too late to start a video.” at 5pm on a Sunday night.
I used to post on a Sunday and sometimes I would get super lazy and put off filming a video till Sunday afternoon. When 4 or 5 pm rolled around I was always like “well, it’s basically bedtime now…so I’ll just make a video next week.” Hah! I can’t do that anymore seeing as on average I didn’t even start filming till 8pm at night! I don’t think starting a video at 8 or 9pm is a good idea btw. You’re tired, the sun is going down and by the time you actually finishing editing and posting the video most of the world is asleep.
4. Some things that look super fun online, actually arent.
Making a washi tape illustration has been on my To-Do list for ages! I was so excited to try it last week with this cool washi tape I got from Muji – but it wasn’t actually that fun. The washi tape was really dark and I just couldn’t see the lines through it. I ended up peeling up the tape, drawing my lines in black ink, re-laying the tape and I STILL couldn’t see it. Maybe I used the wrong tape for my first time. I was also being pretty impatient with cutting and ended up cutting too much or even cutting through the paper. It turned out okay, and I still want to try this again, but I didn’t really enjoy it this week.
5. Some things that look super fun on line, really are!
On the other hand – stamp making was just as fun as it looks! This was probably my favourite art material I used this week and I can’t wait to make more. I guess, we just have to try things, right? Who knows what we’re going to love or hate doing until we’ve tried it ourselves. Keep an open mind!
6. My voice isn’t that bad?
I’m sure everyone hates hearing their voice as much as I do. when I first started making YouTube videos I couldn’t watch them back. Editing them made me cringe. Do I really sound like that? This week I had to listen to myself. A lot. And it wasn’t too bad. Maybe it’s because I’ve been really trying to make my audio sound better (it’s not quite there yet) or maybe because I was speaking quietly because I was tired and it was 1am? I think tired quite me sounds a bit better than over-excited yell-y me. One thing I still forget to do is breath in-between words though. Must remember to breathe!
7. I don’t want to do this again anytime soon.
While this week was interesting, challenging and kinda fun – I don’t want to repeat it in the near future. Before this experiment, I was thinking I could do a video a day for Inktober. Hahahahahahahaha! I used to be so naive. Props to those people who can work a full-time job and get a video out a day – but I also really like sleeping, so I’m gonna be a video-a-week girl for a while.
At least I got my mojo back a bit – I’m really excited to make more videos in the future, try new editing techniques, improve my sound and most importantly make a ton of art! Have you tried a challenge like this? How did you find it?
Thanks for reading! Check out this playlist to watch all the videos I made this week!
March, April and May weren’t very good drawing months for me. I started March with the intent to partake in, and complete, the Procreate challenge (draw an image in procreate everyday) I think I lasted 11 days. I didn’t draw much the rest of March.
I started April with renewed vigor. I was going to do Bybuns April Art Challenge for the first time and it was going to be awesome. I had it all planned out – Copic Markers and Movie Scenes – the perfect combination.
It didn’t go well. I realised about day 5 I really don’t like Copic Markers. This was pretty heartbreaking as I had just spent $200 on a whole bunch. I also really disliked the style I was drawing in. I kept going, halfheartedly, until about day 12 and the I stopped. I didn’t even post half the images I did.
May came and I doodled here and there. I didn’t have “art-block” – there was still heaps of things I wanted to do and try – but I just couldn’t motivate myself. But towards the end of May, I was sketching portraits again and really enjoying it – until I got to the shoulders and found out I have no idea how to draw bodies well. I couldn’t just draw decapitated head the rest of my life, could I?
So June came and I jumped back into a self initiated challenge (I know, I know, I’m a sucker for a challenge) This time I was going to learn bodies. No crazy app, no new materials – just paper and a pencil.
I drew everyday for 26 days. Sometimes I would draw one. Mostly I would draw many – including rough warm-up sketches like these. I used a mechanical pencil for all of these – using different coloured lead each time it ran out.
I really liked these warm-up sketches! For the more “polished” sketches I used one of the Windsor and Newton pastel markers to add a bit of colour. Fun fact: during this month I lost the Rose marker. After searching for it for a week, I bought a new one. I found the old one the same day. I know have two Rose markers.
I was getting into this weird cartoony face that I seem to fall back on with tiny faces. Why is everything so hard to draw when it is tiny?This was the last sketch I drew – I was getting pretty bored of daily study – and I had already drawn more than 30 poses, which was good enough for me.Did I improve? Maybe a little – but I think it’s going to take a few more months of study before I’m confident. It’s definitely nice to see heads attached to bodies – but I did find one problem I didn’t solve this month: All these characters are wearing mittens! Looks like I got some hand practice in my future.
A couple of weekends ago I went to the Birmingham Design Festival for a long weekend with my boyfriend. It was also my birthday weekend, which was pretty cool and gave me permission to buy every art supply I saw – because Treat Yo’ Self – ammiright? We got to see a lot of Birmingham as each talk was in a different part of the city. I’m pretty sure my Fitbit was in shock at the number of steps I did over the three days.The famous Bullring Bull. Google told me this is one of the World’s top ten pieces of public art and the third most photographed landmark in Britain, after the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. I managed to get this shot at 8:30 am – the only time we saw the Bull without a crowd of admirers.I wasn’t sure what to expect from Birmingham – the only thing I knew of the city before I went was it had a statue of a Bull and this crazy building above. It’s a branch of the department store Selfridges and is basically made up of 15,000 aluminium discs mounted on a curved blue building. It’s pretty impressive close up.Birmingham is a pretty grey industrial city – but jammed between the newer concrete and glass blocks are little architectural gem like this one. The Queens Arms is a Public House which opened in 1878, it was remodelled in 1901 with some really cool Art Noveau tilework over the entrance.
I especially loved this building: Newton Chambers used to be a a buff-terracotta Art & Crafts coffee house back in 1899 and still contains murals and decorative tiles. I kind of wish I knew more about the architecture before we visited – because it would have been awesome to do a photo-walk of the city. But that weekend – I only managed to snap a few shots (on my new camera!) while walking from one talk to another. We met a few Brummies (people from Birmingham) at a workshop and they suggested checking out the Public Library which has a replica of Shakespeare’s room on the top floor. Sadly, the room was shut for a function – but we did find the “Secret Garden” which had an aerial view of (construction sites) Birmingham.I spent about 8 minutes trying to get a macro shot of these bees. Bees fly around so much though! The garden was really lovely, all planted with herbs and flowers. The library was incredible too – it looked like something out of a film set. If we had a library like that near where I lived, I would be in there for hours.The main reason we went to the Design Festival was to a catch a talk by this guy – Aaron Draplin. He is a super cool, extremely prolific Graphic Design and his talk was so inspiring and motivating I left wanting to design something straight away. And I don’t even like designing! If you ever have the chance to see this guy live – jump on it!Aaaaaand it was my birthday! Did I mention that already? Here is a snapshot of ALL the supplies the I got and that I bought. Including my brand new Canon G7x Mark II which was the BEST present ever! If you would like to a little more info about my art supply haul – and see a bit more of the Festival – check out the video below. I filmed most of it with my new camera, and turns out I have no idea how to use auto-focus :/
Have you got a design or illustration festival you can recommend? This was my first art-y festival and now I’m hooked! When’s the next one?
This Altered Book page is all about afternoon tea – with your bestie, on a rooftop bar in London. Naked.
I have been a bit obsessed with negative painting lately. It looks so simple and easy – but I found out that it isn’t. How do they make it look so effortless? I decided to give it a go and practice with a few different watercolours to find out which type works best with negative painting.
Attempt 1: Windsor and Newton Watercolours
On the left, I tried starting with really simple shapes. On the right – I got really frustrated halfway through and painted over it. I kind of love this texture though – and I learnt that the Windsor and Newton paints are really easy to lift when they are wet. The blue shapes didn’t turn out too well – I definitely rushed this and the outlines of the shapes became very messy and unclear.
Attempt 2: Dr PH Martins Liquid Watercolours
I decided to move on to a different watercolour. Dr PH Martins are not very good for this kind of painting. They are very staining and once on the paper are basically immovable. I tried some more complex Lilly pad shapes which look more like stripey blobs. These were also rushed and don’t have the really light/dark value contrast that good negative paintings have.
Attempt 3, 4 and 5: Dr PH Martin LiquidWatercolours
Jumping back in with some new colours and shapes. I decided to try a school of fish. I wouldn’t even really call this negative painting, but I kind of like it! I found it very difficult to keep the fish shapes with each layer. I think this is mainly because I am so impatient! Maybe I need to try some meditation or something?
Back to the basic shapes! Still trying to make these liquid watercolours work – but I am beginning to realise at this point, that they are not very suitable. But I just love the vibrancy of these paints. I was so unhappy with how these turned out – messy and rushed edges – that I decided to outlines each image. Outlining the image kind of defeats the purpose of negative painting – but it made me feel better!
Attempt 6: Gansai Tambi Watercolours
My last attempt was with the Gansai Tambi watercolours, which are known for being very easy to lift and manipulate. I took my sweet time with this one and made sure each layer had dried before adding the next one. While this isn’t perfect, I think I have some good contrast here and really enjoyed these watercolours.
I got a bit burnt out with the negative paintings after these but still want to practice and improve as I have an idea for a larger piece I would love to paint with this technique. So, stay tuned for that one. Have you tried negative painting? How did you find it?
Thanks for reading! If you would like to see some of these painting in action – check out my video below!
For my next art journalling adventure I created another spread using Bybun’s creatures class. This spread uses white creatures instead of black. I took the dedication on the first page of the book (For Dad, who enjoyed travelling the world but was always happiest coming home to London) and tried to create a theme inspired by travel and home. Here are some (slightly blurry) images of the finished spread and scroll down for the process video!
March was a pretty chill month. I spent the whole month working from home – which basically meant PJs and unlimited snacks! We also got a long weekend at the end of the month for Easter which is always appreciated!
I’ve mentioned before that I’m pretty obsessed with llamas. We found ourselves in a very strange store last weekend that sold all kinds of kooky and cool stuff. There were many may cacti and llama merch, but I held myself back and settled for this sweet little notebook (the pages look super thin so I’ll just be using it for notes and sketching) and another keychain to add to my keys. I don’t need another keychain! My keys are so heavy it’s basically a workout carrying them around.
I have been wanting to try Posca pens for sooooo long! But they are expensive and I just didn’t know if I’d like them. So I didn’t make a crazy purchase like I have in the past (Copic markers, I’m looking at you) but instead bought three gorgeous colours that I thought would make an interesting colour palette for more abstract work. I haven’t used them much, but I’m really loving this posca pen / brown paper combo!
Book of Bun and Creature Class
This month I also had a bit of a Bybun overload. I ordered her new art zine one week and bought her digital art journal class Creatures, the next. Her zine is quite thin, but shows a lot of her sketchbook work which I really love. And her Creatures class was super fun and really helpful to figure out the world of art journaling!
This month’s snacks have been all about popcorn! We got free tickets to go see Ready Player One (I highly recommend it!) and not only did we buy a large popcorn there – but they also gave us 2 free bags – which we brought home and ate while watching telly in the evenings. Then, we tried a new brand of popcorn – Waitrose’s own Sweet and Salty. I must say – I was expecting more from Waitrose but was left pretty disappointed by the flavour and texture. The best popcorn I have found (and I’ve tried a lot!) is Tesco’s own brand Sweet and Salty. It is SO good!
Faber and Castell Water Colour Pencils
So I need to swallow my pride a bit here, after bad-mouthing these pencils on my recent Scrawlrbox video. I really didn’t like them when I was using them for the Scrawlrbox challenge. But it the month that followed I’ve found myself picking them up nearly every day. I may be terrible using these in the traditional way – but they are super handy for sketching with and adding a bit of watercolour feel to sketches. If I don’t feel like adding water and just want to use them for an initial sketch – they are super at erasing and leave much lighter lines then the Derwent coloured pencils I normally use. So these pencils remind me not to judge things so harshly the first time I use them, and keep an open mind!
My favourite Instagrammer this month is Tom Haugomat. I found him a while ago and it was his beautiful and graphic pictures that really inspired me to try paint pens. He used Posca pens and Molotow pens mainly and creates amazing little illustrations that look both simple and super complicated. How does he do it? What are his secrets? Maybe if I keep playing with my Posca pens, I can figure it out 🙂
This month is pretty slim since I was working from home and took the opportunity to watch a whole bunch of Netflix while I was working. I also ended up listening to my February playlist until the mid-March – but I still managed to find a few awesome songs, including a couple of my old favourites I haven’t heard in a while Favourite song this month, was Fire by Special Explosion.
That’s it for March Favourites. Pop back next month to see what new things I’ve found!