On being a mom

29 Apr

I have a newborn. My older son is still in daycare, but my newborn is making sure I am drained enough to stop painting. Well, almost.

Because while he’s draining me, he’s inspiring me, too – and sometimes I manage to put the ideas on paper.

This is how I felt trying to figure out how to get my baby to sleep at night (note the choice of words: “at”, as opposed to “through”):

I succeeded, as a matter of fact πŸ™‚

I drew this one below after my bathroom scale showed weight increase – after I lost so many pounds literally overnight. What has caused it? Chocolate craving. Which I cave in to late atΒ  night after my toddler is in bed. Cause, you know, chocolate is bed for his teeth. But now it’s bad for my figure!

I even managed to sketch my son while breastfeeding. No, I don’t have 8 arms like an Indian goddess, and no, I am not with cirque du soleil. But I managed this πŸ™‚

So there you go. Even sleep deprived, breastfeeding, and tired – I find some time for myself – and my passion!

uh-oh! baby’s stirring! gotta go πŸ™‚


Free Strathmore Online Workshops

21 Mar

So far what has been posted is nothing new, but still… worth saving a link – maybe later they’ll post something a bit more advanced.


Watercolours – free tutorials

18 Mar

Saving the link to explore later – free watercolour tutorials



Yupo paper experiments

15 Mar

For the online course I’m taking, we’re experimenting with yupo paper and water colours this month. Yupo is a synthetic, plasticky sort of paper that allows you to pretty much wipe off whatever you painted, allowing for looser, wilder experiments like wiping, stenciling, etc. And you can push the paint around endlessly, it never gets absorbed into paper.

We’re illustrating a French fairy tale this month – “Blondine, Bonne Biche and Beau Minon” (I hope I spelled it right) – but the focus is on experimenting and pushing your own limits, not on the actual illustration composition and such. Here are my first four trials.

A swan, surrounded by magical fairy-tale flora:

I started off by painting the swan and then decided to add the background colours, and then added the plants in pencil and micron pen. I pushed the paint around, erased it in certain places with a q-tip (like the flowers on the top left) and wiped the paint off around the swan’s head to make it pop a bit more.

Beau Minon, brooding:

The cat was waaaay too fluffy at first, so I erased it (but the marker lines remained… markers don’t wipe off quite as easily as watercolours and micron pens). Then I added the background and the grass.

Blondine, following the evil parrot in pursuit of the Rose.

At first, they were on white background which I disliked but didn’t know what to do. So I covered the background with paint blobs, “found” flowers in them and drew them with pencil – and then darkened the in-between with pencil. I also used stencils for the deer’s white spots and for Blondine’s flowers on her dress.

Blondine riding on the Tortoise:

I really wanted to use my magical flowers here. The tortoise just “appeared” in the colour blobs (hence it has 3 legs :))

I coloured Blondine with a marker.

Draw-erase technique

25 Feb

This week on Carla Sonheim’s online course we’re draw-erasing animals: blocking shapes with pencil on tracing paper, then spreading the colour with eraser – and erasing/lightning certain spots.

I am no fan of pencil as a medium. I find it too light, uncertain, messy/dirty. I like pens. Dark, bold, decisive.

But I truly enjoyed this task! Especially when it comes to defining fur.

First, I did a tortoise. And while I enjoyed the task, I found my eraser too thick. I wanted more delicate designs.

Tortoise – sketch/study

So today I went and bought a 2.3 mm mechanical eraser. It made all the difference!!!


swan (sketch/study)

cat (sketch/study)


Ethiopian Women

16 Feb

The other day we went to an Ethiopian restaurant and that inspired me to google some Ethiopian female faces when we got back – and draw them.

Some I drew with a pen and then coloured; others I painted with a light pink marker and then added colour spots.

Here’s the page from my art journal: I added an Ethiopian flag for good measure πŸ™‚


Inspiration Wednesday: Gustav Klimt

5 Feb

In response to my frog illustration from a few days ago, someone said it reminded them of Gustav Klimt style. I recalled hearing a lot about him back in my teen years when I used to draw a lot in a balck-and-white style with tons of patterns. Back then I looked at his paintings and wasn’t too interested: using colour was not on my radar at the time.

This time around, when this person brought up Klimt’s name, I immediately went to the library website and ordered a few books about him. They arrived today and I feel mesmerized! Such vivid colours, contrast, shapes, forms… I kept wondering how could one create such patterns with a brush?! – until I saw a photo of his studio. The paintings were HUGE, so making patterns wasn’t that big of a problem, I guess πŸ™‚

And no wonder this one below, “The Kiss”, is considered one of his best-known paintings. It’s amazing!

What’s also interesting is that he got a lot of inspiration from Japanese art. So I guess I should look into Japanese art, to sort of go to the source of what inspires me. if Klimt inspires me now – so would Japanese art, I guess.

I am so excited with my newly found interest in art! And it all started with the start of Carla Sonheim’s class I enrolled into 2 weeks ago πŸ™‚