Watercolour painting of a grey rainbow breathing unicorn by Laura Elliott of Drawesome Illustration

Unicorn Make Over

Unicorns have had a long history in mythology; with what started out as attempting to catalogue creatures from far off distant lands, later turning to something with a more magical quality.  Notoriously difficult to catch, they could once only be lured in by virgins; now they’re everywhere and everyone’s friend.  It’s a great thing to know that unicorns have finally decided to share their magical qualities with the rest of us, even becoming vengeful when called upon.

So yes, unicorns have been around a long ol’ while.  And as with any story, like Chinese Whispers, the details get warped from time to time.  I like to question and play with what is understood about this creature: why is it still white if its qualities are not so pure anymore?  What would happen if rainbows came out of its mouth instead of its butt?

sketchbook drawings of horses by Laura Elliott of Drawesome IlllustrationAs I form ideas about what I want my unicorn to look like, I start practising drawing horses.  Horses are notoriously difficult and after the first few wonky horses, I’d wonder why this was a good idea…  Despite this, my way of tackling challenging shapes is to draw them over and over and over again, so that each time, my hand to eye co-ordination comes to understand the shape and weight of a horse; the power, the gesture, the lines I need to communicate ‘horse’ to any viewer.

Once I eventually find the shape I like, I’ll trace it onto my watercolour paper, ink it up and head on in with paint.  Before I even touch the main image with paint, I’ll always have a test sheet nearby or use the corner to make sure I’m mixing my colours correctly.  You can see some of my tests with the rainbow effect for a rainbow breathing unicorn.watercolour painting tests on paper by Laura Elliott of Drawesome Illustration

Once I’m ready to go, I usually try to paint it in one sitting.  Watercolours can be quite unforgiving and personally, I find it works best if I work quickly, to make sure I’m happy with laying my paint down with different tones and blends before everything gets a chance to dry out.  I know other painters have a slower approach but this is the one that I find suits me.

There’s a lot of grey in the final unicorn, as you’ll see below.  One of the things I love about paint is that it allows me to only work with three paint colours: red, yellow and blue (in warm or cool palettes).  The grey, believe it or not, is made by just the right blend of red, yellow and blue.  No black, no grey, no white.  Amazing huh?

Maybe in a future blog post, I’ll talk about the magic of grey…

But for now, here is a bad-ass rainbow breathing unicorn:

Watercolour painting of a grey rainbow breathing unicorn by Laura Elliott of Drawesome Illustration

 

How to Say I Love You

Valentine’s is a tricky road of cliches and panic.  And love.  Yes, there’s some of that too.

If you’re looking for a slightly more creative way of showing some adoration, here’s a tip that I like to work with:

Do you have a favourite hobby/food/place/activity?  It’s a little unconventional for sure, but telling someone that you love/like/fancy them more than a particularly prized object or activity gives a tangible comparison.

For example, I LOVE granola.  So much so that I took to eating it for breakfast every morning.  Then I started lovingly baking my own.  Sometimes I’ll even eat it for not-breakfast.  Now and then, for a treat I’ll keep a shot glass of granola to hand so I can nibble on it whilst I’m working…

Anyway, if I’m to tell my partner that I love him more than I love granola, then BOOM: that’s a mighty comparison right there.

I also like this technique from other perspectives too.  This was the line of thought behind these pictures:

If I Was…

Something I like about the words ‘I love you’, is that they are so universal in concept that there are lots of ways of expressing them.  My personal iterations tend to be quite off-beat, which helps me come up with some incredibly quirky ways of saying ‘I love you’.  I like to think that I’m not the only person in this world that has a quirky interpretation of love, and that my professions of affection are romantic and not… Just plain ol’ weird.  I’ll let you decide for yourself…pen and watercolour painting of people running from a dinosaur

pencil drawings of birds

Birds!

birds sketchbook 1People ask if I draw a lot of birds and I say, ‘No, not really…’  Then I think back over the subject matters I’ve worked with and actually, there are a fair few birds in there.  So here is a lovely collection of my feathered friends, from sketchbook, to the final few I worked up into my birds series.

There’s something I like about their demeanor – short quick movements suit my short quick drawing style; the tilt of their head gives them a human-like quizzical expression.

So as I draw and draw, a few start making themselves known as the ones to paint.  It all started with this cardinal a long time ago…

cardinal bird a garden bird in america

To which I added four more… They’re all available to buy online in my redbubble shop, in various retail places in Bristol, and they’re currently in an exhibition at the Better Food cafe until Saturday 13th December.  I’m hoping to send them on a little tour around Bristol, so maybe you’ll see them up…

watercolour painting of Splendid Fairy Wrendiademed tanager redbubbleKing of saxony

Drawesome Illustrations Now Available on Redbubble

illustration of a dead blue titWahoo!  I now have an online shop!  You can find me nestled in amongst the other artists on Redbubble – which, if you’ve never heard of it before, is an online market space full of talented artists.  My shop is under the name ‘Drawesomeillus‘, as yep, you’ve guessed it, it’s short for Drawesome Illustration.  In my shop you will find a collection of my uniquely illustrated words and pictures which have all been inspired under the theme ‘Twisted Love Stories’.  If slightly odd humour is your thing, then you’ll definitely get a kick out of these.

And the best bit, is that if there’s a fabulous illustration that you like, it’s available on a variety of products, meaning you can adorn everything from your walls to your wardrobe.

Go have a visit and a look around, I’d like to know what you think…

 

Kraken Rum’s Escaped Kraken

I’m a fan of rum.  Especially dark rum.  Narrow it down again and you’ll find I love dark, spiced rum.  Cor blimey, now there’s a flavour.  I can feel my mouth watering just thinking about it.  After a splash of inspiration, I thought perhaps it’s not just me that likes rum, perhaps the kraken on the labeling of kraken rum is tired of sitting on the label, clutching it’s wooden ship.  If I were that kraken, I’d toss the ship and get me some rum.  Much like below…

kracken rum

Doodle Creature 2

chicken thing watching flyIn an effort to remember yesterday’s formula for animated gif success, I’ve animated another doodle creature.  Enjoy!