Me and Brain – Our First Conversation

It pains me to think that I used to love blogging, and it’s been 6 months since my last isolated post.  I neglected to feed my ‘inner artist’ for a while, choosing study and workaholism instead.  I felt like I forgot how to be an artist, bereft of the joy it brought to my life.

You may or may not have heard of Julia Cameron, or the book she wrote called The Artist’s Way, but in it she talks of your creativity as an energy like a child.  It is your duty to nurture this ‘artist child’ so that creativity can flow.  I found it interesting to think of creativity as a separate entity that existed within me.  It gave my now neglected ‘inner artist’ a different sense of self.

In the thick of my study-and-workaholism time, I set some time aside to ‘go be arty’.  Having previously chosen to spend all my art time as study time, this ‘go be arty’ scheduling was an oasis of fun in a desert of seriousness.  I readied my pencil.  Draw something.  Anything.

The blank page stared back at me.  The oasis was dry.

Frustrated, I angrily berated myself for not being inspired. I had put aside precious time and my inner artist was not performing as I was instructing it to.

And that was when my inner artist spoke back.

As I grew to understand that my creativity could be a separate entity, it gained its own voice.  This is how my inner artist manifested itself – as Brain.

Brain showed me that my inner artist is not a performing monkey.  Brain argued back when I was busy telling it off for not being inspired.  Brain would make me realise when I was being totally unreasonable.  Brain is often the uncensored me.

As I had this conversation with Brain, I drew and wrote it down.  At first I tried to make it neat, so that drawn Laura looked more like real Laura but the speed in which I needed to get the drawing on paper wouldn’t allow for neatness.  So I drew myself as a stick person; Brain was a sort of speech bubble with squiggles.

I have since had several conversations with Brain, always helping me stay true on my path of creativity.

Below is my first conversation with Brain:

me-and-brain_1sm

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Misfortune Tellers

One of the things I find interesting about existing as a creative being – and hearing about other people’s interpretation of being creative – is the concept of having an idea.  Sometimes I feel it’s not that ‘I have an idea’ but ‘an idea has me’.  It’s my duty then, to bring that idea into being.  If this sounds a bit trippy – writer Elizabeth Gilbert has a nice way of explaining it in her Ted talk.my artist desk at hamilton house art studio

So, with inspiration in my heart, I created some Fortune Tellers last year – The Ultimate In Fortune Telling Technology.  The idea wasn’t quite done with me and this year I’ve been sketching and painting and writing so that I can craft fortune tellers that are even more super awesome.  As my new creations are being printed as we speak, it felt right to show you a sneak peek behind the scenes and show you my work in progress.

My fortune tellers have a macabre slant to them, so they became known as Misfortune Tellers.  Within that, I’d written several themes, so you can discover your future in a variety of worlds.  Whether mythical stories or horror flicks are your thing, I’ve got a grisly future for you.

Work In Progress

As I enjoy both writing aclose up photo of day of the dead inspired fairytale skullsnd drawing, the path of a project will either start with written content or drawn sketches and doodles. It is my intention for both to come from a place of play and instinct.  Expanding on the written themes. I wanted to create colour sections that suited each written theme.  I’ve always liked the Day of the Dead aesthetic and as well as feeling the overall theme was relevant to my written misfortunes, the skulls I designed took inspiration from both the sugar skull decoration, and various aspects of the given theme.

Once I was happy with the designs, I traced them onto watercolour paper and inked them up.  I prefer to use dip pen and ink to get the variations in the line.  I love effect you can get with sticks (which I’ve used for past artworks) but they’re definitely less accurate.  The skulls were quite small and detailed, so dip pen it was.

Once the ink was dry, I mixed up my colours and painted all the skulls of one colour in one go to keep the continuity between the themes.  Then when that was done, I used a black(ish) ink to fill in the outside, screen shot of work in progress for the misfortune tellersmaking the skulls stand out against the background.

Scanning them and formatting them was the next step – where my paintings and written work were finally combined.  Once saved, I sent them onto the printer and am currently waiting excitedly…

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  Watch this space for photos.

If you live in the Bristol UK area, I’ll be telling misfortunes at an exhibition opening for The Art Troupe, themed on Circus Splendour.  It’s on Thursday 19th November at The Edwardian Cloakroom, come say hello, and get your misfortune told if you dare…

If you’re not about, then you can still join in the fun – visit my Drawesome page on Facebook and/or Twitter to get your misfortune told and be in with a chance to win yourself a pack of misfortune tellers!

Embrace Your Whimsy

I like to think I know about ‘whimsy’ with my quirky sense of humour and drawing style; however ‘whimsy’ is not always specified in a brief when I’m commissioned so it’s nice when someone comes along and asks you to use your expertise specifically for whimsical subject matters.

I have recently had the pleasure to work with Jessica, who has set up a website dedicated entirely to her sense of whimsy.  I was asked to illustrate a header for her website entitled ‘Embrace Your Whimsy, A Tribute to The Beauty of Chaos’.  Perfect!  After discussing her particular interests, the draft came together:

Pencil draft of galeforcewhims.rocks website header by Drawesome illustration

I felt that the way a person grows and follows their interests can be very organic, following a weaving path like a plant.  Although the winding stems of a sweet pea look a little chaotic, the end result is still beautiful.  The feel of the piece was intended to be feminine too, so I decided greens, pinks and purples would set the tone just right.

Illustrated Website header for galeforcewhims.rocks Embrace Your Whimsy by Drawesome

On her website, you’ll find Jessica discussing thoughts on parenting, teaching. books, life, love and more, definitely worth a read: have a look at www.galeforcewhims.rocks  You can also have a look at the lovely things she said about me and the artwork too – thanks Jessica!

Screenshot of galeforcewhims.rocks website with header illustrated by Drawesome Illustration

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

Dr Sketchy Sketchings

A little while ago (sometime in February I believe) I mentioned that I’d been to a couple Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School classes.  I’d heard about them and had wanted to go for ages and when I finally managed to go, I went to 2 in one week!  I really enjoyed the classes, the models were really diverse and it was good to get back into life drawing – which I hadn’t done in a while – and the event was fun!  Something different.  Here are some pictures from the Falmouth evening:

Dr Sketchy’s Falmouth

The following are of Lady Allura (who had fantastic poise, I must say)

Dr Sketchy's pencil figure of burlesque performer Lady Allura

Dr Sketchy's pencil figure of burlesque performer Lady Allura

Dr Sketchy's pencil figure of burlesque performer Lady Allura

Dr Sketchy's pencil figure of burlesque performer Lady Allura

Dr Sketchy's pencil figure of burlesque performer Lady Allura

This heart drawing was part of a challenge where you had to draw half on the heart and then try and match it up with someone else’s half.  After a failed attempt of just drawing on the heart I realised it was much easier to draw the whole figure across the 2 bits of paper.  Genius eh?

The next set of drawings are of the elegant Suzie Sequin

Dr Sketchy's pencil and crayon figure sketch of burlesque performer Suzie Sequin

Dr Sketchy's pencil figure sketch of burlesque performer Suzie Sequin

Dr Sketchy's pencil figure sketch of burlesque performer Suzie Sequin

And here we have some lovely roller derby girls…

Dr Sketchy's pen figure sketch of roller derby girl

Dr Sketchy's pencil figure sketch of roller derby girl

The Sound of Snow

PAFF...PAFF...PAFF...

I’ve been enjoying the novelty of the snow these past few days. Particularly when I’ve been around to hear it fall. The gentle ‘paff paff’ sounds are quite relaxing. Although, when beautiful, thick, packable snow is utilised to its full spherical potential, the resulting ‘paff’ is not quite so gentle…

snowball paff