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:

A Date With My Etch-a-Sketch

It lay forlornly faced down, amid an assortment of drawing tools.  I picked up my Etch-a-Sketch, devoid of life; staring blankly back at me.

“Hello old friend, it’s been a while.”

I remembered the good times we’d had; time I happily spent ‘in the zone’ whiling away the hours.  Having neglected my Etch-a-Sketch for too long, I decided to take it on a date to the museum.

lion statue at bristol museumWe rocked up at the Bristol museum, a little flustered from the rain.  As I warmed myself with a cuppa at the cafe, I carefully pulled out ‘Etchy’.  It’s grey face a blank canvas, white knobs glistening in the light – we were ready.  The bottom of the grand staircases are decorated with (to my mind) slightly worried-looking lions.   Sat in direct view of worried-lion, I began my continuous single line, weaving its way around the screen.  My fingers attempted a careful co-ordination of ‘up’ and ‘across’ to get those elusive curves.  Some attempts were less successful than others, granted… But at times slip ups were useful for creating impromptu ‘shading’.  As my line completed its final stroke across Etchy’s screen, I couldn’t help but be pleased at my efforts after such a long separation.etch a sketch drawing of lion statue

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I wandered upstairs to the taxidermy section where wild beasts of all kinds stood their morbid watch.  I settled down for some Etch-a-sketch time with a pig but that didn’t end so well.  Frustrated, I shook my wiggly pig picture and started afresh with the creature next to it – a Himalayan Tahr.  I took my time, starting with the nose, working my way up and around its horns.  My favourite bit was the shaggy fur, as its more difficult to screw it up when you’re trying to be messy.

etch a sketch version of himalayan tahrEventually my Himalayan Tahr materialised onto the screen.  And just in case I forgot what it was, I wrote the name in the top right corner.  Unfortunately, in order to connect the letters you have to use a cursive writing, despite plain ol’ capital letters being the easiest  to create with the Etch-a-Sketch’s straight lines.

I was definitely getting in the swing of Etch-a-Sketching but sadly that was all I had time for.  We make a good team, Etchy and I, so I think we’ll be having another date.

The Best Mug In The World

Ok, so I’m biased.  I a) painted the mug myself and b) included 2 of my favourite animals.  I like animals that roar and have sharp teeth and claws and generally cause havoc in a wild animal sort of way.

So whilst on holiday in Wales with some friends, we spent a wet afternoon indoors painting mugs.  After an initial mind blank instigated by being faced with ‘blank mug syndrome’ it dawned on me that I had the power to create the most amazing mug in the world.  I am proud to present to you, my Bear Lion Mug:

roaring bear painted by laura elliott on the side of a muglion mug painted by laura elliott

The flash on the camera does make the bear look like it’s been startled, opposed to heading off to go a-mauling.  And the lion oddly looks like he’s posing for the camera.  Such is my talent to make ferocious creatures look cute…

I was able to add ‘RAWR!’ to the bottom of my mug so that it would be slowly revealed as I finished my drink.  My only regret is that I didn’t manage to add a fez somewhere.  I like fezs.  But they don’t have teeth or claws so I guess it would be out of place.  Perhaps I can blue-tac one on as an optional extra.

Zooray!

I hope you appreciate my mashing of ‘zoo’ and ‘hooray’ together for the title of this here entry – I felt it summed up the entry well as  I was able to spend the afternoon at the wonderful Bristol Zoo Gardens last week; like a kid in a candy store, stuffing my sketchbook with visual goodies.  Unleashed into the zoo I didn’t know where to start first!  A couple twists and turns found me some birds, the only one that sat still enough for me to vaguely capture it was a special magpie thing that I forget the name of…

azure-winged magpie

pencil sketch of black cheeked lovebird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it was an Azure-winged Magpie, at least that’s what oh-mighty-google informs me it might be.  There was also a  delightful collection of black cheeked lovebirds too.

Daffodils are always good fun to draw with their wiggly trumpets –

pencil sketch daffodils and lavender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found feeding-time at the meerkat enclosure.  There were little babies scuffling around, they were so cute!  I bet they’d look cuter in my pocket…  As it was feeding time and they were twitching scampering meerkats, my sketches of them didn’t turn out so hot.

 

meerkat pencil sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apes and monkeys seemed better at holding still for a wee bit longer –

pencil sketch gorilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

pencil sketch of a howler monkey

pencil sketch of howler monkey staring out a window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pencil sketch of ring tailed lemur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a go at some mark-making with the different types of trees I could see, as well as playing with blending, getting the right colour, for the tulip tree flower I drew.  Some other plants featured too:

 

 

collection of trees at Bristol Zoo Gardens

various flowers at Bristol Zoo Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the zoo was emptying out and the zoo was within minutes of closing, I couldn’t not get some lion action!  Although considering the image I got, I don’t think action was much on his mind…

 

 

pencil sketch of lion sleeping in the sun at Bristol Zoo Gardens

Lions Vs Business

I have a friend who works as a consultant and in an effort to not let him sink in to the depths of grey suits and endless meetings I gave him some suitably frivolous pictures involving lions and business.  I chose lions because I have a particular fondness for drawing them and I feel they would be more interesting to merge with ‘business’ than say, a star nosed mole.  Although those are pretty cool too…

Anyway, I drew a series of three images, the first an introductory image to the concept:

lion dressed up for business with bowler hat, tie and briefcase

The second image illustrates an important formula when mixing business and lions; lions plus strategies equals success.

business formula where lions plus strategies equals success

The last and perhaps my favourite shows how lions in a meeting make things more interesting.

illustration of lion eating business man in meeting

Babes in the Jungle

A friend of mine is due to have a little boy soon and I thought boys like jungle animals right?  I’m sure jungle animals like kids…

Anyway, I’m conjuring an illustrated photo frame, some of the apetures will contain animals, some will be left free for my friend to put photos of her beautiful baby boy.

Here are some of my sketchbook paintings that I worked from.  I was a little sad to find the snake didn’t quite fit, but I hope to find a use for him somewhere…

And here’s a sketch of a lion – I liked it too much to dismiss it as ‘sketchbook crap’ to never see the light of day again.