Catching up

Hi everyone. Wow, so it’s been 3 months since I posted last. Where does the time go?

Once I’d recovered from studying, for a couple of weeks at least, I got into a regular routine of drawing at the weekends. It was BLISS. I now find myself on another hiatus while I sort out some more things at home, so I thought that as I’m not in the right frame of mind for drawing, I’ll write about drawing instead and do a bit of a review of what I’ve been up to.

The last thing I blogged about was my ‘GLOW’ picture, which I was really pleased with at the time. I worked on it a bit more after that and surprised myself again. Here’s a few ‘work in progress pics’ of its development:

I loved working on the colour and developing the facial features. I’m really happy with how the colour/shading turned out around her neck and chin (and of course I LOVE the pink). Lessons learned: try and draw a more accurate initial sketch before I start adding colour. The number of times I had to erase hours of work and layers of paper! And it’s still not completely accurate/in proportion. That’s what learning is all about though.

The next picture I worked on was again a test of colouring and accuracy. I found this picture of a colourful face floating around on Facebook memes and quotes, (which I believe is a stock image but if anyone knows the artist please tell me!) and the colour on it is just delicious and I had to have a go at drawing it. So basically, I did my best to replicate it in coloured pencil. Here’s some development pics:

Biggest lesson learnt here: imitating paint with coloured pencils is HARD! I also began to use my camera more as a tool as I developed the picture, as it meant I could upload it to my computer and compare it on-screen with the original. This allowed me to look more carefully at areas that were not quite right and adjust them on paper.

More to come in my next blog, but right now my brain is mush ’cause while I was writing I had to stop and make room for the delivery of a bed for the living room. I’m exhausted. Speak again soon, thanks for stopping by and I’ll do my best to have a look round your blogs too. Feel free to say hi in the comments 🙂

P.S. bit of shameless self-promotion: I’m now on Etsy and Kofi, so if you like my work and would like to support me further please take a look at my sites, thanks!


Procrastination to motivation… and lotsa pink

Hello! So I have finally finished studying, and rather than feeling elation, as I thought I would, I felt even more stressed. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to calm down from it. I’ve also realised that procrastination is both a gift and a curse: curse obviously because you get done just about everything but what you’re meant to, and gift because it is so motivating.

It’s difficult to get myself motivated, but I am really good at watching tv. And last week I binged the 2 series’ of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) on Netflix. Really enjoyed it, and I especially loved their costumes, make-up, the lighting (talk about an aesthetic!), and how much fun they seemed to have playing their parts. After some warm-up doodles yesterday, I thought why not give it a go and try and draw someone from GLOW.

I found this picture as a reference:


See what I mean!?

This was my starting sketch, focusing on the main character on the right, Debbie Eagan.

glow sketch2

I had to enhance it a bit as the light was dodgy.

Then I spent today colouring it in. I don’t know why but I felt a lot of doubt about using coloured pencils in case I ruined it, but it turned out to be a great decision (in my opinion). And I really enjoyed using them too. I feel much more peaceful than I did earlier today.



Proportion is still a bit off compared to the picture but hopefully I’m improving. I loved loved LOVED using colour like this! I feel daunted by pictures with simpler lighting and colouring because I struggle with putting too much or too little colour on the page. I felt this image gave me permission to let loose a bit. I think I could have gone even darker in some places, what do you think? And yeah I was a bit lazy with her hair.

One pleased pumpkin over here. Thanks for stopping by, for reading and letting me share my work with you. Feel free to say hi in the comments!


Art, needs and identity

When I started this blog, I imagined it would be about sharing my art and progress with other people and I’ve really been enjoying that. But I didn’t think it would lead to as much introspection as it seems to have so far. Oh, here comes a little more… *life story alert*

One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is why it has taken me so long to get a point where I’m taking myself seriously as an artist. And by that I don’t mean that I see myself as the next Great Master or anything like that. I mean, I’ve loved drawing since I was little, and I pursued it throughout school… and then I dropped it completely 10 years ago because it didn’t fit with the plan I had to try and develop a career and earn a living. I felt a lot of pressure to make something work and art was too much of a risk. I don’t think this is unusual for artists. I know a lot of people feel discouraged and have to compromise on their dreams or give up on them entirely. Artists and their work are still not always given the value they deserve.

On reflection, I never entirely let art go as I’ve had different ideas about trying to incorporate it into my ‘day job’ or sell paintings for years. I could just never bring myself to do it because it was always about someone else rather than me creating art because I loved it.

Also, at that point in time, art seemed like a luxury and I denied myself partly because it made it easier to cope: when you’re in a very dark place, happy moments can feel too painful so you block it all out. In the last couple of years, some of my bigger worries have been sorted out and I’ve started to feel more like I’m standing on solid ground rather than waiting to have the rug pulled from under me. It’s taken a long time to recover; I feel like I’ve been climbing out of a black pit. The lights are coming back on.


Maslow's hierarchy
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (above) suggests that we need to have our basic needs met, like food and shelter, before we can think about higher level needs like loving relationships, fulfilment and self-actualising (reaching your full potential). Obviously this doesn’t always apply, as it is a very Westernised view of needs. But I think for me in this situation, it did. And yet now I’m here, and I know I’m not going to lose my home and I’ve got a fairly steady income, and I’m rediscovering this love of art, it doesn’t feel like a luxury at all – it feels like an absolute necessity.
Maslow's hierarchy1

I’ve realised how important art is to me, how much peace and fulfilment it brings me: nothing else comes even close. And I’m starting to have some confidence in my abilities, such as they are; I’m valuing myself for what I have to offer, and what I can create.

It’s making me happy! 🙂

It’s a significant part of my self and identity that I’ve ignored for such a long time. I feel like I’m coming back to life. And I hope I haven’t jinxed it by posting about it!


MerMay… sorta

So after my last blog post I was raring to go and decided to try my hand at Mermay 2018.

There were so many utterly amazing Mermay pictures on Twitter and it was difficult not to judge myself by the standard these amazing artists were setting. You have to run your own race!

Well, I was pleased with what I produced for the first 3 days… then fatigue set in by the 4th! I was shattered by the end of the week. I do suffer with fatigue anyway (because of rheumatoid arthritis) but I didn’t realise how much these little A6 drawings would take out of me after being at work all day.

It was nice to draw mermaids though; they were all I drew when I was little and it was good to try and be a little bit more creative with their general appearance, colours, shape, pose and background. I also tried to vary the materials I used: I mainly used watercolours and pens, but for day 2 I went a bit mad and got the oil pastels out which resulted in something very bright and unexpected!

I finished my MerMay today with a copy of a picture of Ariel from The Little Mermaid (using this beautiful reference) because I was tired and lazy but wanted one last go! (Note to self – use a bigger sketchpad! I really am terrible for not drawing to fit the page haha) Her arms and her face are a bit off… and I got bit carried away with the colour/shading… but I pushed past the fatigue and feeling sick to attempt it, so I’m happy 🙂

Mermay 2018: that’s a wrap!

Thanks for stopping by!


Desperate to paint

I’ve been away from art for so long that now I’ve rediscovered my love for it, I can’t ignore it anymore! Which is tricky as I’ve got 2 months left on a course I’m doing and I should be writing essays *cries*.

It’s quite a sciencey course and it’s interesting how it has propelled me in completely the opposite direction towards art and music. And as much as I thought I wanted to do this course, now I can’t wait to finish it.

I keep telling myself that I can immerse myself in arty stuff once I finish the course, but I can’t put myself on hold like I used to, I can’t stand it. I get worried that if I don’t let myself make art now that when I am able to I won’t want to or won’t be able to.


#shouldbestudying #lovethesepaints #dodgyscan

So I doodled a bit… with some paints ❤

And er… yes I should be studying right now. I should probably go do that…

Thanks for stopping by 🙂


Doodles (yay!) and Ladybug

Because doodles are great for so many reasons! They can be the start of an idea, an outlet, and just plain amazing in their own right. I remember at school my books where covered in what was essentially scribble. My chemistry teacher once wrote in my book ‘is this really necessary?’ to which I replied ‘yes is it’ (especially in chemistry). If it wasn’t my books it was my hands… me and my friends went through a bit of a strange phase of covering our hands in scribble and doodles.

Drawing ‘Super-Bob’ the stick-man was a favourite pastime, normally in maths. I’ve just had a dig around in my old sketchbooks (I am really surprised how much art I produced at one time) and I found a whole sheet of ‘Bobs’:


Yay Bob!! 😀

Doodling is what got me back into art. I just had to draw Miraculous Ladybug haha. I’ve never been particularly interested in superheroes before (except maybe Super Ted when I was about 5) but something about her really inspired me. So I started drawing rough little doodles of her in my diary. Mostly things like this:

MLB diaryshot

I was pleased I could get her basic features right (having a mask cover half her face really helps). But I thought this was about the best I could do and I produced some similar doodles to this in colour too. Then just before Christmas 2017, I was enjoying my first day off in ages and I thought, ‘right, I need to do some art! I need to get a hobby!’ So, Ladybug being my muse, I decided to try and draw a half-decent picture of her based on an official ‘ZAG’ image.

The first picture wasn’t great (see below) and it was a bit of an experiment anyway because I was using Promarkers for the first time. Ick! I wasn’t at all happy with the way it looked, but now some time has passed I think maybe it has it’s own style even if it wasn’t what I was going for.

lb sketch1acrop

So I looked up a drawing tutorial on YouTube to get an idea of proportion, and a little while later came up with another picture (below), done with ballpoint pen and coloured pencils (which are much more familiar territory!). This one I am really proud of and I have no idea where it came from, when I think about my rough little doodles. It was a relief and a delight to see that there seemed to be some skills buried in my brain somewhere.

lb sketch2acrop

It’s not perfect – I can see a number of places where I would draw it differently such as the left edge of her face and the sketchy lines below her mask. Not to mention I meant to get her whole body into the picture, not just her head! But I really like it 🙂 It feels wrong to say publicly that I like my own work but I really do like it. And I enjoyed the process I went through to make it.

I’ve since noticed how some of the artists I follow online will draw doodley little pictures as well as their more polished works. It’s an important lesson to learn that when I can focus myself, I can produce art that I am happy with and proud of. And also, doodles are a great place to start! I’m definitely someone that struggles with perfectionism and I’m realising that it’s OK if the first thing I draw today is basically scribble! At least I’m putting pen to paper. And the more I draw, the more I learn about and refine what I’m drawing. The first drawing doesn’t have to be the final piece.

Thanks for reading my first blog-post! I’d love to hear about your doodles and the things that you’ve learnt about art along the way 🙂