Sulking because Inktober has ended?


Is it really over? So quickly?

Armed with my iPad and stylus I tackled this year’s Inktober with enthusiasm once I got past the ‘but it’s not ink’ dialogue in my head and focussed instead on doing a drawing a day for practice and fun. The prompts were at times challenging but always enjoyable. With my current focus on portraiture I tried to apply many of the prompts to faces which I had fun with.

I posted daily on a dedicated Inktober page on my site as well as on my Instagram profile but  also wanted to feature all 31 drawings together today, to counteract the collective Inktober-has-ended sulk.

Did you do Inktober this year? Post a link in the comments to your site featuring your drawings, I’d love to see them!

Below are thumbnails of all 31 drawings for this year’s challenge. I hope you enjoyed them as much as what I did drawing them.

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Practice drawing at every opportunity


If there is one single ‘truth’ in art it is that Practice is King. Since I’ve been taking my iPad with me wherever I go I have had many opportunities to practice my drawing without being too obvious about it. People get self-conscious when they know you are sketching them.

At our monthly portrait group meet up on Sunday I was grateful for the opportunity to capture facial expressions. My iPad drawings are rough, just quick planning sketches, some of which will become traditional oil paintings. I love the freedom that these quick sketches give me to not be too precious about the outcome and to have a source of inspiration to develop a larger or more complex work from later.

klara-guarded copy

I use a rubber-tipped stylus and a drawing App called ‘Sketches’, unfortunately my iPad is too old for newer drawing Apps like Procreate; but the App that I use serves my purposes well enough.

That’s my drawing tip for today. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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Top-Down Drawing Technique


Drawing can be a frustrating experience if we don’t have a fail proof technique. This is one of my favourites, known by many names including the top-down or ‘figure in the stone’ technique. In order to accurately capture the dimensions as well as plot the composition on the page one begins with quick broad strokes to capture the largest general shape first (demonstrated below in orange.) Once we’re satisfied that we have the overall shape as accurately as we can (taking note of angles in relation to one another) we ‘carve out’ negative spaces and angles in a generalised manner too, demonstrated in black pen below. Obviously this is all done lightly in pencil in a typical drawing.

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If we’ve done this correctly, adjusting as we go along until we’re satisfied with the angles, ensuring that our relationships / proportions are accurate, attention can be given to drawing in the details as demonstrated in the image below.

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This technique works with any subject matter, be it still life, landscape or portraiture. For demonstration purposes I drew a simple tea cup on the iPad which I coloured with digital watercolour and shaded with hatching.

If you’re frustrated by drawing give this method a go, and let me know if it works for you. Remember you can improvise as you wish once you have an accurate drawing on paper, allowing your personal style and creativity to flow freely. I deliberately wanted a loose style of drawing as can be seen by my pen strokes.

Cuppa anyone?

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Daily Prompt: Witness


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Post Humanism


What might we look like in a Post Humanism world?  My dark creative mind immediately conjured a dystopian future. Yeah, pretty grim stuff but someone’s gotta do it.

I had so much fun playing with iPad art in this project and was somewhat influenced by David Hockney during my artist research. For those of you who don’t know, Hockney is considered an influential figure in the British Pop Art movement and has embraced technology as a new medium with which to create art, the iPad being one of his favourite ‘canvases.’

Below follows an excerpt from my concept statement (to add context) and a few of the drawing outcomes.

My Post Human world visually focusses on a dystopia that dehumanises citizens through genetic modification. In this world people are divided into groups according to their designated roles and duties. Their bodies are genetically engineered to grow multiple body parts that facilitate enhanced productivity in their assigned social duties. Labourers are allotted extra limbs to enable faster and more efficient productivity; citizens designated to the breeding group develop extra wombs to facilitate multiple pregnancies simultaneously. Scientists and academics assigned to the ‘thinkers’ group grow extra heads, thus two brains instead of one; and law enforcers develop chameleon-type eyes that enhance their vision, enabling them to see in multiple directions at once.

Thanks for reading, now go make some art. On your iPad.

Thinker

Anndelize Graf. Thinker. 2018. iPad drawing & digital collage.

labourer1

Anndelize Graf. Labourer I. 2018. iPad drawing & digital collage.

Labourer3

Anndelize Graf. Labourer III. 2018. iPad drawing & digital collage.

Breeder2

Anndelize Graf. Breeder II. 2018. iPad drawing & digital collage.

 

 

Artist Interview: Paul Hallam


In this final interview of the current series I am delighted to introduce you to the artwork of Australian artist Paul Hallam. Paul’s work is ‘bouncy’ vibrant and energetic, expressed in popular comic style art; a genre that is sadly often undervalued or underestimated in the art world. Paul’s artistic knowledge of anatomy gives his characters structure and believability  and the quirkiness in his illustrations endear these characters to the viewer while often illustrating a parody or life lesson. Even Paul’s signature on his artworks will induce a smile as it is usually accompanied by a loud exclamation mark!  To follow more of Paul’s work please see the links at the end of the interview.

Cat-Water
Paul Hallam. ‘Cat water’, 2015, 20x21cm, Pen & Ink with digital colours.
  • Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Paul Hallam. I have been married to my wife Carolyn for almost 12 years and we have 4 young children. I currently work as a visual arts teacher’s aide and am studying graphic design, part time at Shillington College, Sydney.

  • Why do you do what you do?

A few reasons. It’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s the way I am wired.

  • How do you work?

I like trying out a bunch of different materials but my main tools are pen and ink, and digital art programs like Photoshop. I am just beginning to work out how to do my work completely on the computer. I have found that the digital process gives me a lot of freedom to experiment, especially in the rough sketching stage of drawing.

  • What’s your background?

In terms of art, my main background has been comic books. I’ve been reading comics since I was 13 and began drawing my own stories later on in high school. After school, I studied a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) majoring in illustration. That was a lot of fun. I then spent the next 10 years working in a different area before coming back to art and design in 2014.

  • What’s integral to the work of an artist?

I think that doing art is about seeing and showing. An artist needs to have the ability to see a complex object in such a way that you can break it down into its basic shapes, proportions and spaces. For example, being able to breakdown a car into rectangular prisms and cylinders. And then an artist needs to be able to take these basic shapes that they have seen and show them on the page.

I also think that it’s important for an artist to have a strong desire to keep learning, developing and improving. I want to be continually learning more about human anatomy, storytelling, colour, and so on.

Superman-sketch
Paul Hallam. ‘Superman Sketch’, 2016, 20x21cm, Graphite Pencil.
  • What role does the artist have in society?

I think the artist has many possible roles in society. The artist’s job can be to entertain, amuse, inspire, critique, instruct, to help others reflect, to show beauty and more.

  • What has been a seminal experience?

When I was in year 9 my friend gave me a copy of ‘How to draw comics the Marvel way’. This book changed the way I draw. It gave me all the basics that I needed. I still use the ideas and techniques today. I don’t know if I would have carried on with art in high school if not for that book. It equipped me and energised me for drawing. That period was a time of a huge leap in my art.

  • Explain what you do in 100 words

Generally, I start with a bunch of really small, rough sketches either on paper or on the computer. I then refine, adjust, combine and strengthen these initial sketches. Once the composition is sorted out, I will do a larger loose drawing, starting with stick figures and building up the shapes and forms. I usually then trace this either on a light box or on the computer to make a tighter drawing. Finally, this drawing is transferred onto Bristol board for inking and then I colour it in Photoshop. I try, throughout this process, to refine the image but I also strive to keep the energy of the first drawings. I don’t want my drawings to get too stiff.

  • How has your practice changed over time?

My practice has changed a lot over the years. I think I have gotten a bit looser with my drawing than I was maybe 10 years ago. It has also gotten more cartoony. A bit more bendy and exaggerated. I use computer programs more now as the software and hardware has improved and become more affordable.

Harry Potter
Paul Hallam. ‘Harry Potter’, 2015, 29.7x21cm, Pen & Ink and watercolour.
  • What art do you most identify with?

As I said before, I am a huge comic book fan. I really like the fact that comic stories can deal with deep and important themes as well as be entertaining. I can really identify with Spider-man. The main theme for his story is “With great power comes great responsibility”. He’s all about using his abilities for the sake of others, even when it costs him to do so. I like that moral rule. It’s something to aspire to. I also identify with Batman. Batman is a guy who sees criminals hurting people and getting away with it. He sees the inability and corruption of the police. So he does something about it. I think everyone can relate to that as they look around their community and the world.

In terms of artistic styles, I love bold, simple and graphic looking artwork. There is something very sophisticated about simplicity. I also love dynamic, exaggerated and cartoonish art. I can appreciate realism but it doesn’t really impact me as much as more stylised work.

  • What work do you most enjoying doing?

I did a book cover for a friend of mine last year. It was a parody of Star Wars called “Star Pizzas”. It was a fun project because I got to muck around with the designs of characters like ‘Darth Grater’, ‘Princess Lasagne Layers’ and other cheesy dad-joke characters.

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Paul Hallam. ‘Star Pizzas’, 2016, 13x17cm, Pen & Ink with Digital colours.
  • What themes do you pursue?

Pop culture, everyday life, I like using humour in my work. I want it to be bouncy and optimistic.

  • What’s your favourite art work?

I have always been drawn to the impressionist painters. I remember visiting the Art Gallery of NSW and being drawn to the works by Paul Cézzanne and Van Gogh. I think I like the vibrant colours, the textures and the energy of the Impressionists. When it comes to comic book art, I love the marvel comics style of the 60’s and 70’s. I have a print of the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-man) on my wall at home. It’s such an iconic image.

  • Describe a real-life situation that inspired you

I remember one drawing was surprisingly inspired by a year 1 child at school. I was pinning up some artwork in the library. The class had been given the task of creating a monster and they all did a fantastic job. But one drawing stood out to me. It was a giant pink blob, with three eyes and it was standing on multiple long legs. The student said that it was based on a spider. I thought it was cool and a little cute. This inspired me to create my own version of this “Brain-Spider”. Mine was less cute, but hopefully a lot more creepy.

  • Why art?

Because art adds so much flavour to life.

  • What is an artistic outlook on life?

I am extremely visual. I remember faces better than names, I usually notice what people are wearing, their hairstyles and their expressions. I also deconstruct the things that I see. It just happens automatically. I see something and I try and work out how to draw it.

  • What memorable responses have you had to your work?

In 2014 I took a painting course at a community college. Acrylic painting has always scared me, so I decided to do a beginner’s course to demystify it a bit. I spent the term creating a self portrait where my face was made up of various superheroes. We held an exhibition at the end of the term and it was so exciting to see people looking at my work. Especially when kids were trying to list all the superheroes in my portrait.

Super Self Portrait
Paul Hallam. ‘Superhero Self portrait’, 2015, 29.7x42cm, Acrylics.
  • Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I’m an introvert so I don’t mind being by myself. However, with family, friends and social media, it’s all pretty balanced I think.

  • What do you dislike about the art world?

I remember feeling slightly annoyed at the low view many artists or art teachers have to comic art. It’s frustrating because some of the artwork is amazing. I think it’s changing at a popular level. Superheroes are very popular at the moment. I have heard of art galleries doing exhibitions of comic artists and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney did a Lego DC superheroes exhibit.

  • What do you dislike about your work?

I find it frustrating when there is one small bit of a drawing that just doesn’t look right. Often I will be whittling away at it over and over again. Sometimes I don’t see it until the work is finished and then all I can see is the mistake.

  • What do you like about your work?

I have fun doing it so hopefully my work is fun and interesting for others too.

  • Should art be funded?

Yes, as other areas are also funded. Creative arts are an important part of our society and should be respected and encouraged to flourish.

  • What role does arts funding have?

I think it would be fantastic if there could be more funding for good artists to work in schools and universities, whether to do permanent teaching jobs or to be visiting lecturers. I can imagine how helpful that would be to high school and Uni students.

  • What research do you do?

It depends. Some sketches are just ideas that pop into my head. They are inspired by books I have been reading (fiction, biographies), movies, TV shows, current events and everyday family life. My sketch book is right next to my bed to grab those ideas before they slip away. Other artworks require more research. For example the ‘Coffee Snobs’ illustration I spent a week mind mapping, investigating coffee culture in Australia and brainstorming different possible ideas for the brief.

Coffee Snobs
Paul Hallam. ‘Coffee snobs’, 2015, 20x15cm, pen and ink with digital colours.
  • What is your dream project?

Wow that’s a good question. I would love to work on a children’s book. I have been playing around with some ideas for some books. Or something superhero related? Comic books are great but they do require a significant amount of work within a small amount of time.

  • Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Mike Wieringo, Skottie Young and Chris Bachalo. They are all American comic book artists who have styles that I enjoy. While I don’t think my art looks exactly like theirs, I do feel that they are some of my influences so I would love to be mentioned in the same breath as them.

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Paul Hallam. ‘The man from the moon I’, 2002, 21×29.7cm, Pen & ink with digital colours.
Man-from-the-Moon-pg2
Paul Hallam. ‘The man from the moon II’, 2002, 21×29.7cm, Pen & ink with digital colours.
  • Favourite or most inspirational place

I find inspiration in many places. I love looking through art books, lots of ideas come from hanging out with my kids or watching our dog chase our cat around the house. I have also found hanging out at the shops or the gym to be inspirational. You can see some interesting looking people doing strange and interesting things that make for good cartoon characters or stories.

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Keep drawing all the time. Keep drawing the same thing over and over again until it becomes deeply ingrained.

  • Professionally, what’s your goal?

Even though I have been doing art for a long time, I have only been taking it more seriously over the last year and a half. Really I am just at the beginning of my professional life. I am looking forward to finishing off my studies this year, which will update and build on my previous learning. So my goal this year is to learn everything I need to be a creative, effective and efficient graphic designer/illustrator.

  • What wouldn’t you do without?

I’m a Christian so I would never want to be without Jesus. And also my relationships with my family.

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Paul Hallam. ‘Blame it on the rain’, 2015, 24x27cm, Pen & Ink and Watercolour.

To reach Paul or to see more of his work follow these links:

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Artist Interview: Tracey Fletcher King


Australian artist Tracey Fletcher King is one of my top favourite contemporary artists. I simply adore her unique style of art. Tracey is a wonderful teacher whose enthusiasm and love for artistic expression instills confidence and pride in the work of her students. I could easily wax lyrical about how her work continues to inspire me, year in and year out;   instead here is Tracey to speak for herself in the interview below the demonstration video. I have no doubt that you too will fall in love with her work.

  • Who are you and what do you do?

I am an artist, and illustrator and a teacher. I work for a lot of companies producing illustrations of their products for them to use online and for marketing which is creatively challenging and a great way of keeping my eye in and my skills strong. I keeps sketchbooks which I draw in constantly, paint for myself and my own enjoyment, as well as to create prints to sell online, and work with an interior designer painting large scale abstract acrylic paintings which I love creating because they are the opposite of everything else I do. Plus there is online teaching. My life is one big creative ride

  • Why do you do what you do?

Because I can’t imagine doing anything else. It is never boring, I get challenged constantly and I get to change between different creative modes… it is kind of perfect so why mess with it.

  • How do you work?

I try, but usually fail to work in a very organised manner. I work long hours and have a lot of balls in the air so I tend to work on illustration in the mornings and painting and abstracts in the afternoon. I always warm up with a sketch or two, and often end the day the same way. Some days it works, but others I work all day on one thing or another. My big goal for 2016 is to take two days a week off from work. Not quite achieving that at the moment, but I am certainly getting better organised.

Tracey Fletcher King. My Week, Sept 2015, Watercolour and ink, 210mm x 297mm
Tracey Fletcher King. My Week, Sept 2015, Watercolour and ink, 210mm x 297mm
  • What’s your background?

I was an art teacher after leaving university. I taught in secondary and primary school environments before taking a break and traveling and living overseas over a period of 9 years. In that time I rediscovered painting and sketching for the love of it. I came home full time and went back to uni again and did a Masters in art education, majoring in creativity theory and ran a small art school. I then got into botanical art as a way to get my skills back and rediscovered the joy of keeping a sketchbook, and it has all gone on from there.

  • What’s integral to the work of an artist?

To work… I hear a lot of people complain they can’t think of things to paint or draw etc, but to me it doesn’t matter what you draw or work on just work… You will produce lots of rubbish work, but you will produce some gems as well. I do know that you won’t produce anything great unless you are actually giving it a go. Plus a “bad” painting or drawing can lead to many many new and interesting things to explore. The only way you can guarantee you won’t create anything you feel is of value is to be not working, so just bloody jump in and cram in as much work as you can.

  • What role does the artist have in society?

I think the artist has the role of being a recorder of the life of the artist. The sights, the emotions, the experiences… it is all about exploring a world visually. We are so good at talking about things, or reading about them, but we need to also explore visually, and with the rise of a technological based world and the increase in manipulation of images using photoshop and things. I think that artists bring an authenticity to the visual world.

  • What has been a seminal experience?

Having cancer and going through a year of heavy treatment. It changed everything for me on every level. It allowed me to be more fearless and open post treatment, and to not sweat any of the small stuff.

  • Explain what you do in 100 words

Look, see, draw, paint, create, explore, make, splash, film, edit, photograph, share, research, improvise and teach

  • How has your practice change over time

It has changed radically over the years. Some things stay the same in terms of techniques and materials, but mostly I tend to not plan or try to control the path of things, and so it goes where it goes. I adapt as opportunities come my way and see what happens. Sounds a bit airy fairy but for me control is the worst thing. Trying to force things is like a hammer to my creativity so I tend to just see what is coming up next and go with that. It has opened up so many more opportunities and made my work a lot more exciting and fun.

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Tracey Fletcher King. Crushing it, 2015. Watercolour and ink. 210mmx 297 mm
  • What art do you most identify with?

I love art with strong colour and great lines. I like artists like Cressida Campbell who manage to infuse the ordinary with a kind of magical atmosphere. Her lines and use of colour are so perfect they make me feel a bit giddy when I look at them. But I love strong colours like Matisse and the clear blues of Brett Whitely and the atmospheric landscapes of William Robinson. There are so many artists and styles of art that I am drawn to from contemporary work by people like Tracey Emin through to some of the contemporary Australian artist like Tracey Moffatt, through to more traditional depictions… I could write pages on this question alone so I might just leave it there.

  • What work do you most enjoying doing?

I like being able to mix it up between the illustrative style of work and large scale work. I enjoy the abstracts, but I have started creating large canvases of close ups of floral blooms, and things I love like perfume bottles and am very inspired by that direction at the moment.

  • What themes do you pursue?

I like art as a record of my life and the world around me. I am not into big themes so much as recording my world and interests visually. That is what interests and inspires me.

  • What’s your favourite art work?

I couldn’t choose… that is like a Sophie’s Choice type question for me… how could I choose without upsetting other ones…

  • Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

Real life inspires me every day. I try to find inspiration in the objects and items around me and it is endlessly inspiring once you give yourself permission to examine the mundane as subjects. I love that my morning cuppa can inspire me to pick up a pen and brush. That is what it is all about I think.

Tracey Fletcher King. Minis. 2015. Watercolour, ink and gouache. 150mm x 220 mm
Tracey Fletcher King. Minis. 2015. Watercolour, ink and gouache. 150mm x 220 mm
  • Why art?

There are other things in life???… Other ways to express yourself??? Who knew… Can’t imagine anything would do as good a job as art

  • What is an artistic outlook on life?

An artistic outlook to me means that you look for opportunities to find the visually interesting parts of your world. That you look to be inspired and express yourself.

  • What memorable responses have you had to your work?

The most memorable are often the negative… people belittling what you do, dismissing it as feminine and not dealing with big themes… things like that. Or people being surprised that you created something… the good old… you did that??? You? Really? Never would have picked that… I have taught myself to  loooove those comments because it reinforces that I am pushing myself , that I am not leading the expected life and that I am being true to me.

  • Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I quite like the alone ness of it… I don’t feel lonely and quite like hiding in the studio and creating, but I find it hard not to have people around me who can understand the process and the trials of creating. For that I have some good friends both in real life and online who I chat with regularly and skype with. Being able to chat to a fellow creative on the other side of the world and show them what I am working on and discussing it in real time is one of the great joys of the time we live in I think.

  • What do you dislike about the art world?

I hate the elitist attitudes, the misogyny and the crap that goes along with so much of it. No time for that rubbish and posturing.

  • What do you dislike about your work?

Not much to tell you the truth. I try to not judge or reflect on the actual work too much as I think it is counterproductive… I wish I was more organised I think… but overall despite it sounding a tad arrogant. I kind of like what I do.

  • What do you like about your work?

I like that my work reflects me and that it tells the story of my life visually and reflects my interests and personality. I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer a few years ago and the prognosis was pretty dire, and I found it was comforting to think that my work was there as a record that I had been here if that makes sense. I can look back and trace things I have seen, done and experienced through going through my sketchbooks or leafing through my work. I love that journey being there.

Tracey Fletcher King. Bottle, 2015, Ballpoint pen, 150mm x 220 mm
Tracey Fletcher King. Bottle, 2015, Ballpoint pen, 150mm x 220 mm
  • Should art be funded?

I find this one a tough one. On one hand I feel that it should be, and hate the amount of funding that goes to bloody sport. But then I worry that all the funding will go to niche areas. I would like to see the arts better funded in schools so that we can get ‘em young and expose as many young people to art as possible. That way they will hopefully grow up to be participants and interact with art later in life.

  • What role does arts funding have?

I think that the role is to allow people to create art and to disseminate the ideas of art and to be good advocates. I think in the visual arts we are very poor advocates for the value and role that art plays in all of our lives, so funding directed not just to exhibiting artists, but to training people to be better at advocating for the arts would be useful.

  • What research to you do?

I am a voracious reader of all things art related, and love reading biographies of artists, and people in the creative arts in general. I have a huge collection of art books, and also books on things like urban sketching and graphic novels as I find them endlessly inspiring. I tend to research for inspiration… though I still read the latest on areas like creativity theory thanks to my post graduate study. It is endlessly fascinating to me.

  • What is your dream project?

It isn’t something I worry about. I figure I am living my artistic dreams so all is pretty good. Having said that I am building and filming online classes I will be teaching in coming months and it is pretty cool to be able to plan and create a course not having to consider syllabi and rubbish like that. Teaching without external constraints is pretty cool.

  • Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Comparison is like a disease… I just don’t do it, and don’t even want to think about this one.

  • Favourite or most inspirational place

My studio. I get to surround myself with work by people I love, objects that inspire me or are meaningful to me, and I get to leaf back through sketchbooks and things. Doesn’t get much better than that I don’t think.

Tracey Fletcher King. Teaspoon Header, Dec 2014, Watercolour, acrylic paint, gouache, ephemera, and ink, 180mm x 420mm
Tracey Fletcher King. Teaspoon Header, Dec 2014, Watercolour, acrylic paint, gouache, ephemera, and ink, 180mm x 420mm
  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t edit your ideas. If you want to draw or paint something then don’t get in and place a value judgement as to whether it will be worthy or interesting enough, just paint the bloody thing. If it is an idea then it is worth pursuing even if you end up discarding it down the track, just don’t throw it out before you have explored it.

  • Professionally, what’s your goal?

I am living it. To set up the classroom where I can run classes that I would like, and to keep working in the varied artistic fields I work in. Just keep doing it …

  • What wouldn’t you do without?

Art.

To follow Tracey’s work or to sign up for one of her classes please follow the links below.

Tracey’s website and newsletter sign up, art blogPinterestInstagram Facebook: Personal ProfileBusiness page

Little Treasures


mini-sketchbooks

I recently blogged about reclaiming the tradition of letter-writing, actual handwritten letters that are sent and received in the mail, something that I have resolved to continue during 2016. I wanted my letters to be creative, to challenge me to create something more than just writing a letter so I set out to include a hand-made ‘something’ in each letter I send.

For the latest letter that I will be mailing to my sister in the UK I am including two mini sketchbooks, small and thin enough to include in the envelope. To make these I cut watercolour paper to size, rounded the corners and bound the pages together to form cute mini-sized sketchbooks which I have since filled with little drawings. These little treasures are about the size of a standard business card. 🙂

The first booklet is about everyday things around me, random objects which gave me reason to practice drawing from life. The second booklet is a botanical one, filled with different blossoms, these were based on photographs. I ink washed the mini-sketches to give them some definition but may add colour too before mailing them with my next letter.

Daily Prompt: Resolved (Have you made a New Year’s resolution that you kept?)