Thank you so much for all the feedback on my recent post about blogging! I will definitely keep blogging, just maybe a bit less frequently than I would like to at the moment, because the littles are taking up a lot of time and energy right now!
(Right now Marcus is throwing a tantrum on the kitchen floor because his chalk broke and I won't (can't) fix it for him. He'll probably fall asleep crying there, and then wake up in an hour and a half and still keep crying about that chalk. Kids!)
I wanted to share the little treat I got from a blog reader last week – a beautiful children's book which reminded her of my drawing. I love it, and have been itching to get drawing again since receiving it. So glad I managed a few blossom drawings on the weekend!
I've been wanting to do a drawing-a-day kind of project for a while but wasn't in a position to do so earlier in the year. Now that the machine work on the school banners is completed, I'm thinking it might be a good time to start (in a couple of weeks time, after our local Armadale Hills Open Studio Arts Trail – I'll repost the map for that here tomorrow). Drawing these blossoms on the weekend only confirmed to me how itchy my fingers are to start drawing again! My plan is 'a drawing a day for 100 days, Monday to Saturday). I'm excited about this, as I'm so ready to get back into regular drawing. I'd love to see some development in my drawings through this project, as well as helping to clarify for myself my preferred drawing styles.
This book was read on an episode of PlaySchool recently, and I knew I had to add it to my book list!
I'm with you, Miffy!
Working in a large project like a set of 16 school banners is great in that it keeps my hands nice and busy. However, all that stitching time leaves too much time for new ideas to be dreamt up and worked out in my head. Ideally I would at least note them down in a sketchbook, for future reference. Working them out in fabric will have to wait for a bit.
We finished the evening with a burger at Grill'd in the city. Yum!
Now I'm curious: what sort of books / authors would you look for at a second-hand book sale?
In the first post of this series we mentioned how valuable it is to have a sketchbook for keeping ideas. Rather than sitting around waiting for a brilliant idea to flash through your mind, there is so much you can do to stimulate ideas. I'm going to share some of the things you can do in this series, and I'll be separating them into two categories.
- Feed your Inspiration – this is more about your general 'frame of mind'
- Find your Inspiration – this is more about where, specifically, your ideas can come from
This will be by no means comprehensive – there are an infinite number of ideas out there! Each blog post will include a little exercise to help stimulate your flow of ideas.
Growing up we went to the public library at least once a fortnight. Mum would take out a wide range of books, including non-fiction books featuring photos, craft, art and more. It seemed that nothing was outside her range of interest. (She still keeps her local librarians busy with a steady stream of book requests based on books she's seen in magazines or that have been referred to by other authors). I know I browsed many of these books too. I was always plotting a new project or idea based on something I'd seen in one of those books.
Surround yourself with interesting books. It's such a great way to feed your inspiration. Look at fabric samples from throughout the ages, or dress designs from different historical eras. Look at books about famous architects, interior decorators or landscape designers. Look at science books showing diagrams of photosynthesis and cell growth and the differences between various bacteria. Study books on art from different 'schools' and countries. Look at the tribals jewelry of African tribes, and Australian Aboriginal rock art. Look at children's books – choose the ones with pictures that you love, and simply enjoy the illustrations.
Make a habit of enjoying beautiful and stimulating books. You will find ideas without even looking for them. At the same time, books can be a great reference when you are looking at specific things too. I recently drew up a whole lot of very quick thumbnail sketches of landscapes based on a photo book of Australia that I've had since childhood. I used the same book to sketch some stick figures of people doing different things. Just be conscious of copyright. Using a book to stimulate ideas and for reference material is different that copying directly from the book.
Exercise: visit the library and take out three books that make want to sit down and study them a bit longer. Children's picture book, or an animal encyclopedia, or a book outlining life in Medieval times. Take them home, make a cuppa, sit down and just enjoy the images. Spend five or ten minutes noting IN YOUR SKETCHBOOK some of the things you liked about one of the books. Maybe even try some sketches (even if it's just a beautiful curly thing denoting the beginning or end of a chapter).
Do you have a favourite book that you turn to for inspiration?
When embarking on a year-long fairy tale illustration workshop, one naturally needs to invest in some 'textbooks' (right?). I was introduced to the artwork of Lisbeth Zwerger by another workshop participant. I can't believe I didn't already know her work. It's beautiful. Simple, but interesting. Intriguing, actually. I love that – it's part of what I hope to gain from the workshop. Adding some interest and 'intrigue' to my quilts by feeling free to venture further away from pure reality. That sounds vague, because at this stage I don't know how that would look in my own artwork.
Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the drawing process, and the 'studying'. One thing I love about Zwerger's work is the feeling of 'space' she has in so many of her illustrations (without them feeling bare or boring). She places figures in interesting arrangements on the 'page' and cuts out most unnecessary detail. I'll be referring to these books over and over for inspiration!
(I think I've shared my love for children's books here on the blog before. So many wonderful stories, and so many inspiring artists/illustrators. Such a good source of inspiration!)
Why, they all appear in some of our favourite books, of course!
(It’s hard to stay serious when your baby brother just put a snail in his mouth.)
I’m going to make a big confession here (please don’t send me hate mail!): I actually quite like dress-up days. Especially Book Week dress-ups. (It’s no secret that we love our books here.) Discussing endless possibilities as to who could be whom, and how we would make them look just right. Narrowing down the list of choices to those that most interesting/feasible/economical/with the hoopiest dress. Visiting the opshops and the fabric shops. The whole family eagerly watching the costumes take shape, offering advice and opinions and plans.
Some times I don’t have the time or energy that I would like to have to devote to the required costumes. This time, though, I had a reasonable empty space in my calendar for about a week, so we hopped to it and had fun with it, too. (Timing is everything – I started as soon as we received the note about this. If I’d waited till the past week, it would have all been a very different story, with sick kids and other pressures taking up my time and energy.)
And the very best part of dress up days is seeing what all the other kids (and parents) came up with. We’re off to the Book Week Parade right now!
What about you? Do you dread dress-up days, or do you secretly enjoy them too? What’s the favourite costume you’ve made?