This was a lovely way to spend an hour or so on a sunny Saturday morning! I’ve often said it and will say it again and again, I do enjoy drawing things of whimsy.
Houses are one of my current themes. As they’re all imaginary, I can ignore any architectural/structural rules. Towers I love, in particular. I’d love to be able to afford to buy or build a wonderful, quirky tower to live in. I’d like a dome on top so I can watch the night sky or thunderstorms clearly. For now, though, I can dream of living in a tower and create what I can imagine on paper with pen and ink.
I hope you’ll join in and try your hand at whimsical buildings and create your own village full of peace and harmony!
Oh this was a lovely pattern to explore for a page in my sketchbook. It’s quite simple to draw, but it has so many possibilities that I’ve barely touched upon in this video.
The page I’m drawing on I coloured with various Distress Inks – Mustard Seed, Wild Honey, and a touch of ripe persimmon around the edges. I also used some Abandoned Coral to add subtle patterns through a stencil.
It’s always a pleasure to draw on paper that is coloured. The colour always brings some interest to whatever is being drawn, or so I think. Not that I’m averse to drawing on white paper, but colour adds something I can’t quite put into words.
As well as using black 05, 03 and 01 Sakura Micron and Uniball Unipin pens, I added some vintage red from an 0.5 Zebra Sarasa gel pen.
For shadows, I used a purple-grey Stabilo Carbothello chalk pastel. White highlights were created using a white charcoal pencil from General’s.
I really do enjoy exploring tangle patterns, as well as all my favourite motifs. They are such a good way to get creative juices flowing, but also of practicing your drawing skills, as well as other techniques, such as adding shadows or colour, or further patterns.
In today’s YouTube video, I show and try to explain verbally, how to draw a different kind of shell, one step at a time.
This shell is, perhaps, a bit more challenging than yesterday’s. However, when broken down it’s not much more difficult.
Again, I add shadow to the drawings using a graphite pencil and a paper stump/tortillon or, in the case of part of the second shell, pen lines and density of pattern.
I also added some colour to the second shell, using a damp brush and lime green and turquoise Karin Brushmarker Pro pens. The graphite shading shows through the transparent watercolour inks from the pens.. I think this combination makes the image look quite metallic. Not surprising as graphite, as an element, is rather grey and shiny and metallic looking! Actually, it’s just the cool grey tones of the graphite that makes this so!
It’s really a lot easier to show than to explain in words, spoken or written. This is why I’m creating videos. It also makes that part of me that is a retired science teacher happy to use my teaching skills and feed my passion for helping others learn and grow.
In today’s YouTube video tutorial, I do my best to describe and show how I draw a stylised seashell or two from reference photos.
I had a request from one of my subscribers to do this. I find it hard to put into words how I do this, I don’t have conscious thoughts/words about it – I just do it. So, this forced me to slow my mind down and put into words what goes on. And I do hope those words make some sense.
The end results are good enough for my sketchbook, and the spiral shell is perhaps my favourite of all time that I’ve drawn, including realistic, diagrammatic, whimsical and stylised.
I’m particularly fond of stylised drawings. The spaces within them are perfect for adding pattern and texture. All my favourite things combined! Shading, highlight and/or colour can be the icing on the cake or shell.
This was a nice diversion from the lettering projects I have on the go. It was also something quiet, relaxing and soothing and perfect for me. Today, I’m exhausted after a stressful yesterday. It was a good kind of stress, but still stress/anxiety. I knew I’d be doing something yesterday a week ago, and so the stress built up gradually over the week. I’ll gradually recover, but today is a quiet, down-day with plenty of self-care, but not any naps as I’ll need to sleep properly tonight.
I’m about halfway through filling this slightly smaller than A5 sketchbook page with different kinds of oyster shells. Today’s even has a pearl in it!
I’m using the same peachy-pink and warm grey alcohol markers, but with the addition of a pale dusky kind of mauve colour for the shadow inside the shell.
I never claim to be an expert at colouring. However, using a very limited colour palette works in my favour, that’s for sure! The end result is good enough, which is what I always aim toward these days. Perfection is something that is unattainable. So good enough is just great!
I’ve been wintering on, both in speech and typing, about the purpose of my YouTube channel. Synchronicity struck today as two quotes about art appeared on my Facebook newsfeed today:
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So, write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.”
These two quotes eloquently sum up what I think I want to bring to YouTube, my social media, and to you.
Confidence to create art just for the pleasure of it and in your own way too.
Building self-confidence is the first step, and sometimes that needs help, instruction, step by step methods, and suggestions for variations and making it your own.
We all can draw. We just have to unlearn that drawing isn’t always about photographic representations. It’s about self-expression, and each of us expresses ourselves differently. Maybe in a similar way to others, but uniquely our own.
To have a bit of confidence to do this, in a sketchbook, where no one else has to see until you’re ready to share in a supportive environment, is all that is needed. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a supportive environment for creating art until I was in my 40s. If I can provide a supportive environment here, around social media, on YouTube, and perhaps in a closed Facebook group or some such place, then I will.
It’s nice to find a purpose, don’t you think? I do, and I’m glad I’ve found that purpose for YouTube at the very least.
I’ve been having a lot of fun filling sketchbook pages with variations on a basic motif/pattern. It’s time, I think, to fill a sketchbook page (A5-ish) with variations of just one motif. Variations that include filler patterns, colours, shading and media used. I’m not sure that makes sense, but sometimes it’s easier to show rather than tell. Or perhaps tell while showing what I’m doing/thinking.
The video is much shorter than usual, at less than 30 minutes. I think that looking at drawing just one motif is a bite-sized activity, whereas a whole sketchbook page in one go can be a bit overwhelming.
There, I’ve got to a clear explanation of my intention behind this video!
So, I’ve decided to start with a page of variations of oyster shells. I start with line art in an Oysteroid style. Oysteroid is a tangle pattern by Eni Oken. I make sure that I use thicker lines to give the illusion of depth.
Next, add colour. I used two pale warm grey marker pens to add shadows. (Ohuhu WG1 and WG3). Then I used two peachy pinks to add colour (Ohuhu R18 and R21).
Using an 01 fineliner, I added the textural patterns. I decided to use a different one in each layer of the motif. Perhaps a bit too much pattern.
Finally, I added dots of white gel pen for the highlights.
I completely forgot to add a drop shadow beneath the motif to lift it off the paper a little. I’ll add that at a later point in time I’m sure.
The patterns added complexity to the simple colour/shadow. They also masked where my impatience meant the black pen hadn’t dried fully and the ink smudged a bit with the alcohol marker.
I do hope you’ll take a look at the video, get out pen, paper and some coloring medium and draw along with me.
Carrying on with the sea-life theme, I filled a sketchbook page with simple drawings of stylised, whimsical starfish, sea urchins and mussel shells. I recorded my process as a tutorial video, showing and explaining my step by step process of drawing. I start with simple shapes and gradually add more and more complexity.
There is something very intriguing and curiosity-provoking about exploring variations based on the same simple shapes and steps. The possibilities are endless and it certainly gives creativity a bit of a workout!
These kinds of exercises are what sketchbooks are perfect for. A sketchbook is a safe place to experiment and explore, and the end result is a valuable resource of ideas as well as a visual record of your development of artistic skills. They’re a place to practice fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and for trying out new media or techniques.
Sketchbooks chart the development of our skills, our pattern and motif preferences, and show how we develop and evolve our artistic style.
This revelation about sketchbooks is exciting to me. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to work this out. I think the Inktober Tangle Pattern Challenge back in 2021, the Fragments of Your Imagination Challenge earlier this year (both challenges hosted by the 7F5R Challenge Facebook group) as well as the Lettering Sketchbook course on Domestika have definitely been significant activities that have helped me reach this realisation.
The other major realisation I’m having at this time is that I think I’ve finally found what kind of YouTube content I like to make!
I was a science teacher for 28 years. Teaching is part of who I am. My focus as a teacher was always to inspire and encourage my students, to help them to believe they could do science, and to have better self-esteem and self-confidence. I loved to see them grow and develop and gain skills and knowledge they never thought they could, and that was a wonderful thing to be a part of.
If I can do the same thing for others, who have no confidence in drawing. If I can use my love of whimsical and stylised art/motifs, the function of a sketchbook to encourage others to take up pen and paper and draw, then that is a good thing!
I also think it’s important that I show my process, warts and all. Variations that are lovely, and others that are not so. It’s all part of the process of developing as an artist. I think my work with traditional coloured media is a testament to my ability to make a total mess of a fairly nice drawing! I am better with digital colours, but not much!
It all takes time to work these things out, and I can be really dense and stubborn at times! But I do get there … eventually. ‘There’ being a point of understanding myself and accepting something or a sudden revelation, you know the kinds of things. But ‘there’ isn’t the final destination. The journey of exploration and development never ends, and a sketchbook is now, for me, a vital companion going forward.
After drawing whimsical fish floating through the air, I thought it was time to draw some other water-based things. Sand dollars (or sea urchins) and cockle/scallop shells seemed like a good place to start. And I do my best to start simple and gradually get more complex!
Sand dollars begin with a circle and a five-pointed star. Then things get more complicated, one step at a time. The first step is to divide the space up. The next step is to add pattern/texture and/or colour and/or shadow. The steps are totally interchangeable and can be repeated.
This is sketchbook work. A chance to practice drawing skills. A time to exercise creativity. And a time to relax and enjoy what you’re doing with no expectation of perfection. The only expectation is to do, experiment, explore, learn and, most importantly, experience the simple joy of a creative process.
Joy, contentment, inner peace. These are such important things to experience, even if for a short while each day. That’s why I draw so much just for pleasure. And that’s why I’m finding my feet in the realm of YouTube and realising that I can help others, you, to do the same, simply and one step at a time.
Cute and whimsical fish! What a lovely way to fill a sketchbook page and end up with a shoal of fishies.
Being whimsical, and cute, is so much fun when it comes to drawing as anything goes. All are recognisable as fish, even if only one looks like an actual fish that exists! And I’m fine with that!
Drawing practice, or indeed lettering, has to be fun, enjoyable and something to look forward to. Yes, I know it’s important to develop and advance skills, but that doesn’t mean that just drawing for fun can’t be important too. Drawing for relaxation, to de-stress, to learn how new media work, is also important, as well as expanding and exercising the imagination and creativity that we all have.