September 13, 2020No Comments

Week 15 – Leafs, vegetables, and African vibes

After a slow week last week, I was determined to be much more creative! I started the week by sketching a bunch of autumn leaves and experimented with blending colours on my iPad Pro. I then moved onto seasonal vegetables but not before planning my Instagram feed using the marvelous Planoly. I also created a few other pieces to fit with my African traveling theme too.

Initial sketches and illustrations of some leaves

African patterns, travel sketches and proverbs

Seasonal Vegetables!

I decided to illustrate a set of vegetables that are in season during the months of September. There was a lot to choose from but I narrowed it down to these 6. I found these to be quite rewarding when finished and some were a little challenging, mostly because prior to this week I had not blended colours on my iPad before. I don't think my go-to Tinderbox ink brush was the best brush for the job so it did take some trial and error to get the end result I was happy with. The leek in particular was tough!

As a result of the blending, I was also quite conscious of how realistic they were turning out. My aim was to have enough characteristics for them to depict their real from but to also still have an illustrated feel. I guess the more I draw/illustrate the more I will find which style suits me and what lends itself better. Overall pretty chuffed with these pieces! The ones I have posted were my first export so they may well be adjusted somewhat when they eventually appear on my Instagram feed next week. I would like to recreate these in a more fun style with faces. Also, try my different mediums such as posca markers and coloured pencils!

September 13, 2020No Comments

Week 14 – Playing catch-up

This week was mostly playing catchup, which mostly involved finishing my African safari series which turned out much better than imagined! See Week 13 and my Instagram for the full collection.

It was a short week as we decided to take a day or two off and went to have some fun in London. I tried not to be so hard on myself so went with the flow and did some bits here and there aswell as some content planning for the next couple of weeks.

September 3, 2020No Comments

Week 13 – Illustrating animals from the Serengeti

This week I had fun drawing some animals, doodling a peacock pattern, did some quick sketches from a botanical book, and lettered a fitting quote.

Initial sketches of the animals

This was a fun subject matter for me as I love animals and I got to relive my days touring Africa where I spotted these wonderful beings in their natural habitat. I used my photos taken in the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park as reference. The initial sketches were simple and mostly clean lines. I chose friendly closed eyes and included the most identifiable features. My favorite was the leopard hanging out in the tree!

Animals in colour

I chose a limited colour palette and was really happy with how these turned out. The pink and yellow reminded me of the beautiful African sunsets and the varying shades of teal were great for background elements such as grass, foliage and Acacia trees. The backgrounds did take a while for me to construct so I decided to try a different approach for the flamingo and chameleon. It turned out these did also take a while but I quite like the result. I added in textures here and there using a paintbrush set to multiply and masked it to fit the shape. All of the animals were created on my iPad Pro using Procreate. The brushes I used were 6b pencil for the outlines, Tinderbox to add colour and to create the backgrounds and lastly a Stucco paintbrush for texture.

I can see these being sold as prints - I know I would be tempted to buy them!

Peacock pattern, botanical sketch and a fitting quote

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August 21, 2020No Comments

Week 12 – into the tropics

This week was a little slow in terms of creativity but I did do more planning then usual. I illustrated a set of tropical leaves, pinned some tropical flowers, created a quick pattern and set myself a loose content plan for the rest of the year.

Tropical leaves

A quote and a quick pattern

Content plan

I found myself making a list of all the possible things I could illustrate which included so many things including florals, people, patterns, animals, food, lettering, buildings etc. It was exciting and overwhelming all at the same time so I decided to plan out when I was going to tackle them and what made the most sense. I figured it was best to map out the content dependant on the season so what I posted onto Instagram was relevant and therefore create better engagement with my current and potential followers. Another reason a plan could work is so that I have the content prepared instead of creating something last minute, which, is often the case, or even worse I just skip it completely.

I categorised my content in 4 major groups; plants, food, animals/characters, and finally observed holidays or occasions. I haven't included all my ideas as that could be too ambitious and was aiming to turn down the overwhelming feeling. Even the below can sometimes look too much as we are coming towards the end of summer which means theoretically I should be preparing/creating Autumn illustrations. Another thing to note is, I may not illustrate for the holidays mentioned or I may do some of which are not here. I am undecided on those. I have not been totally inclusive of all the cultures here - of which I want to be, so we shall see what I can manage. So many possibilities and only so much time and creative energy.

The plan is to weave in some lettering too but this guide should give me a direction of sorts and keep me relevant and an endless source of things to create, whether manually or digitally on my trusted iPad Pro.

PlantsTropical leaves
Tropical flowers
Woodland/forrest elements
Autumn wreath or bouquet
Winter wreathesSpring bulbs
FoodCitrus fruitRoot vegetables
Party food
Seasonal cookies (gingerbread etc)
Animals/ CharactersJungle animalsHalloween charactersChristmas charactersDomestic animals
Summer bank holidayHalloween
Bonfire night
New Year
Chinese New Year
Valentines day
Pancake day
Eid Al Fitr

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August 14, 2020No Comments

Week 11 – Posca doodling, ice-lollies and melting in the heat!

This week the UK had some super-hot temperatures followed by a much-needed thunderstorm. The super sunny days were great but I found it hard to create much after around midday. Regardless I created an illustration using posca pens that featured my doodles and keeping in the theme of summer I created 6 ice-lolly illustrations that I intend to post next week onto my Instagram.

Doodle puzzle illustration

Last week I briefly looked into Keith Haring and was encouraged to keep doodling. I decided to create something with my Posca pens using a limited palette. To create some interest I divided the paper into 6 even-ish sections and post each section onto my Instagram feed each day. The doodles were loosely based on a previous collection I created my iPad Pro. I was happy with the output and the distribution of colour. If I was to create this to be sold as a print, there would need to be some clean up required but this was more of an exploration.

Ice lollies!

This week involved consuming a lot of ice lollies! Therefore it felt right to illustrate a few classics including some of my favorites from Walls. I chose to illustrate in a similar way to my other creations but wanted to try to make them a little more realistic so included depth with shadows and highlights etc. I chose bright coloured backgrounds with a subtle white pattern that loosely resembles sprinkles.

A note about timetables, planning, and expectations

I am quite the planner but found that in recent weeks I have veered away from my timetable. I realized the idea of setting myself weekly challenges of creating a series of illustrations that I post daily onto Instagram actually took up a lot of my time and put the pressure on. This is good and bad, good because I am creating much more of my own work but bad because I feel like I am falling behind on my other tasks or lessons. I believe it is time to revise my timetable and set realistic expectations for myself. In addition I have been pretty distracted with; the sunshine, socialising with neighbours, and visits from family members etc. Some of which, have led to a few short weeks. I do believe that there is value in those activities so will not be so hard on myself but need to ensure I get back to my creativity.

I didn't want to waste my hot afternoons so started watching some more skillshare classes about using Instagram more effectively and how to handle a creative brief for a book cover. Both classes were encouraging and triggered a whole load of illustration ideas. Now I need to decide which ideas I want to execute and plan out when to take action. I am considering printing off a calendar and marking in deliverables and then working backwards to ensure it's feasible. I think this kind of planning could help me keep the momentum going and provide some focus.

Art History: Henry Matisse

This week I briefly looked into the work of Henry Matisse. He had a wide body of colorful work that ranged from painting to paper cut-outs. I liked a few of his pieces and hope to recreate some in the coming future. As a quick exercise, I created a pattern inspired by his ceramic mural "La Gerbe" (below). I was attracted to the colours and organic shapes that I perceived as leaves and coral.

La gerbe, 1953 - Henri Matisse -
Image courtesy of Wiki art

My Matisse inspired pattern in 3 colour ways

Re-creating leaves from William Morris

In the past, I have found painting and drawing leaves a little difficult so decided to do a study on how William Morris drew leaves. I will do some more of this where I draw tropical leaves too.

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August 7, 2020No Comments

Week 10 – all my people including bros and Keith Haring

This week I wanted to focus on people so I created a set of 6 illustrations based on some photos I had pinned on Pinterest. I was proud of the results and started to think that perhaps I should approach future weeks in a similar way with one focus instead of many. One thing that needs work is the background elements. In addition I did have a short look into the world of Keith Haring and created a quick illustration in dedication to my bros!

My process

Like most of my illustrations, I started by sketching each pose using the Narinder pencil brush on the Procreate app using my apple pencil and IPad Pro. Once I was happy with a black and white version of the figure, I added some background elements on a separate layer and reduced the opacity to 40%. Next, I group the layers, duplicate them, and create individual layers for the blocks of colour. My go-to brush when doing this is Tinderbox, which is an ink brush. I like the texture and effect when applying the strokes. I love working on my ipad pro especially when adding colour as I can very easily clean up mistakes and adjust the colours until I am happy. The backgrounds to the illustrations were a little tricky and I purposely didn't add too much detail and left them rough and ready. I wanted the focus to be on the people themselves. Sometimes I added in texture on clothing such as the jeans using the Nikko Rull paint brush. To get the desired effect I switched the layer to multiply and reduced the opacity till it looked just right.

Initial Sketches

Finished pieces

Original photos

  1. Bench phone guy:
  2. Coffee girl:
  3. Flares lady:
  4. Vest guy:
  5. Noodle girl:
  6. Ice-cream guy:

Happy Bro Day

One day this week Indians celebrated a Hindu festival called Raksha Bandhan. Sisters or close friends tie multicoloured decorated threads around the wrists of their brothers to celebrate love and brotherhood. This is often followed by feeding them a sweet treat! I created this for my brother and a close dude friend as I cannot see them in person.

Art History: Keith Haring

I flicked through a book about the legendary Keith Haring and learnt a lot about his history and the different artworks he created. I quite like his style and can relate to it as I often create doodles. This was a short session but I wanted to express my findings and his style in my own way so I quickly put together the following 3 pieces on my iPad Pro.

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August 1, 2020No Comments

Week 9 – Abstract blooms, colored pencils, and William Morris

Abstract blooms

I have doodled quite a lot before and when I have no agenda my mind often wanders and I create weird and funky shapes and patterns. Sometimes faces appear and sometimes they lend themselves to abstract plants and blooms. I decided to create a collection and for the first time, fill them with colour and share it on my Instagram. It was a courageous move on my behalf as theses creations were all from my own imagination, no replicating from other artists or photos. I was happy with how they turned out and maybe one day they could be available in print form. As they are my first collection I think they will evolve over time and I can experiment with shading and texture.

My Process

I used the Procreate app on my iPad pro and began by drawing from my imagination using the Narinder pencil brush. At this stage, the illustration is in black and white and once I'm happy with the overall shape and level of detail I move onto the next bloom. I have been reluctant to add colour in the past in case I ruin the appearance, the possibilities are endless and I am always worried that I will overdo it. However, I called upon the knowledge I gained from a Skillshare class and created a limited colour palette. The first colour I chose was for the background. Next, I took a big brush in procreate (my go-to at the moment is Tinderbox) created a layer underneath the black and white bloom and put down strokes of colour to see what worked well where and made adjustments to the swatches when needed. Once I was happy with the colour palette I discarded the experimental layer and began creating the individual shapes on their own layers. Further detail was added using the technical ink pen brush. I adjusted and recoloured as I went along to ensure the contrast was right and the colours popped on the chosen background. Some of them followed the original pencil drawings but others evolved and changed as I added colour.

Art history: Willam Morris

I took out a book about William Morris from my local library and was blown away by his floral surface patterns used on wallpapers and other interior design. I decided to replicate 2 individual flowers using colored pencils. It was a nice opportunity to try out blending and use a new medium. The technique of blending was almost mind-blowing. I was very surprised to see a gradient effect being produced with colored pencils instead of using digital tools or paint!

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July 24, 2020No Comments

Week 8 – Houseplants, exploring Gustav Klimt and sketching the real world

This week was a funny one, I started off super productive but it kind of dwindled out near the end. I am most proud of my series of houseplant illustrations that I posted on my Instagram each day and my reproduction of one of Gustav Klimt's pieces. I also managed to get myself outside to sketch the real world!

Houseplant illustrations

I created these houseplant illustrations using the Procreate app on my iPad Pro. I began by sketching them out using the Narinder pencil brush which gave me a black and white outline. I then added colour using a Tinderbox brush on separate layers. I found the outline gave the illustration structure and definition so duplicated the outlines layers and recoloured them to match the shade of the leaves and pots etc. I chose to use different shades of green that closely resembled the real plant and also to add variety within my series.

I love houseplants so this was great to do and share with my followers. I think this could be part of a larger set as there are many more houseplants that could be illustrated!

Gustav Klimt

I spent Tuesday looking through my favourite pieces by Gustav Klimt. I loved how he used symbolism and pattern within his work especially when filling in the clothing of his figures. Unlike traditional painters he filled in dresses with shapes and different strokes. It reminded me of doodling and illustrating rather than painting. I particularly liked the Stocklet frieze which is made up of 3 mosaics that was commissioned for the Palais Stoclet in Brussels. The panels depict: a swirling Tree of life, a standing female figure (Expectation) and an embracing couple (Fulfilement). I decided to replicate the Expectation.

I didn't have a solid plan and began by drawing it out. I didn't want to replicate it too closely but loosely base it on his original so I took the main structure but applied my own doodles within each triangle that made up the dress and also included some of his symbols and decoration. After looking at it for a while I realised this could lend it self well to a collage made of paper. I found some gold shiny card that fit perfectly with Gustav's Gold Era. I gathered some black, cream and white paper and began cutting out the major shapes. Piecing it together was very rewarding somehow. The different coloured paper layered on the gold card was instantly effective! I trialled different ways to get the doodled triangles onto the dress but settled with cutting individual white paper triangles that I fixed in place using a glue stick. I then filled each triangle using my previous sketch and Gustav's original for reference.

This has to be one of the more rewarding and fun pieces I have created during my journey. The arts and crafts element took me back to school days and felt more experimental. I liked how I took an original and remade it in my own way and applied my own illustrations/doodles.

Sketching the real world

This week I changed up my timetable a little and have now incorporated scenery. By this I mean learning to draw and compose backgrounds and environments such as landscapes, buildings and props that could feature in my illustrations.

One of the best ways to explore this subject is the observation of your real-world and sketching whenever possible. After flicking through some pages of the wonderful book: Cozy Days, The Art of Iraville I decided to pack a small bag and venture outside for a short stint of drawing. I borrowed a camping stool and plonked myself down around the corner from my house in a green that faced a development of houses. I sat and sketched my view. The plan wasn't to produce a polished illustration or even to replicate it exactly but to take note of the shapes, the different elements, and the composition.

I started by drawing a rough lay of the land, by outlining a few of the houses, the grass verges and scribbled in the trees. After that, I slowly added layers of details that I thought would be necessary. I found some of the angles to be tricky but I persevered till I was happy with something that loosely depicted my view. I spent about an hour creating my sketch but the midday sun got a little too hot for me (I was wearing all black) and the stool became uncomfortable so I headed back inside.

I find that going for walks leaves me with lots of inspiration. Most of the time I take a quick photo but I rarely refer back to them and create anything. I hope to replace this habit with a quick sketch instead. I know these activities can be invaluable so I ordered myself a lightweight foldable camping stool that I can easily pack in a bag. Whilst it's summer I should make the most of it so will hope to take myself on more mini expeditions and revisit some of the pretty buildings and views of my local neighborhood!

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July 17, 2020No Comments

Week 7 – Illustrating sitting girls, a live class and blooming with inspiration

End of another week already - the time is flying by. This week I created 2 illustrations of girls sitting around, visited a library, and was inspired by the lovely Meera L Patel. On Thursday I pressed flowers for the first time!

Sitting girls

This week it was time for me to venture away from my figure drawing book and start drawing poses of my own. This can be daunting so I referred to a bank of poses I saved onto my Pinterest board. I decided to try a style where the limbs are more enlarged, exaggerated, and overall more curvaceous. I almost finished the second illustration that I will be aiming to finish over the weekend. I was inspired by a few other illustrators including Diane Illustrates, Arnelle Woker and Stine. I wanted to represent a fuller female figure rather than the skinny supermodel lasses that are often depicted in mainstream media.

For the first piece (girl sitting on the floor) I chose colors from one of my previous palettes that include a brown for the skin and a dark purple for the hair. I wanted a background so went in and roughly drew in the bookcase that was in the reference photo. I found adding in a muted background was a great addition. It gave some context without fighting for attention. The finishing touch was a subtle texture that I brushed over the whole figure. Overall I am pretty pleased with this and proud that I created an illustration of a person!

The second piece was fun to do too, I liked this piece and could envisage how I would interpret it right away. I was drawn to how I could draw some chunky trainers and a large extended hand. I had to imagine a background for this one so chose a few interior items: a small bookshelf, a picture frame, and a houseplant. I added in a steaming cup of tea to relate to her winter jumper. I got as far as the initial sketch and experimenting with color. To do this I create a layer under the sketch and very roughly add in different swatches to see what works. A limited palette is what I aim for but due to the detail on the jumper, I am currently looking at around 7 different colors. Will see how this illustration develops and will post my final piece onto instagram.

Art History

A couple of afternoons were lost to appointments but I managed to adapt and visited a library to pick up some art books. I chose books on Gustav Klimt, William Morris, Matise and Keith Harding. I have been briefly studying Gustav Klimt's paintings and quite like his use of symbols and patterns. Hopefully will revisit this in the coming weeks.

Live Skillshare - Fun with faces

The wonderful Charley Clements hosted a great live session about drawing faces. Her classes on Skillshare have been invaluable to me and gave me so much confidence in drawing faces, so it was a pleasure to join the live session. She covered how she picks skin tone and how to depict emotion with the positioning of shoulders. It was fun to transform simple blobs of colour into a bunch of different characters with their own personality. I am quite interested in how to represent a range of different ethnicities so the skin tones were of particular interest. I have been on the hunt for pens and pencils that represent skin tone shades.

Inspiration: Amanda Kammarada &
Meera L Patel

This week I wanted to look for illustrators and artists that used lettering in their work. I have been a keen letterer in the past so wanted to see what others do. The handful of artists I checked out included Amanda Kammarada. Her feed is full of great uplifting words lettered in bright colours. From her work, I can see the importance of having a consistent color palette. Amanda shares her knowledge of hand lettering with her own workbook and classes. I was inspired by her positive attitude that comes through in all her work!

My second inspiration was the beautiful work from Meera Lee Patel. Meera is an author and artist that explores all that we are which includes mental health. I was inspired by everything. Not only are her pieces delightful to look at, but the content is also warming and meaningful. I found her vibe to be very uplifting and caring which is something I hope to emulate myself. One of the tasks I did when approaching my style was to think about my values and how I want to be seen to others. I also brainstormed the type of themes and subject matter I could explore. My notes included: helping people untangle life and shining a light on those who are quietly struggling.

My replication of one of her artworks wasn't great. My watercolour pencils did ok but clearly not as effective as watercolour paints. However, my aim when replicating isn't perfection, but to try something new. It might be time to get my watercolour paints out and brush up on my flowers and foliage!

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July 10, 2020No Comments

Week 6 – Drawing faces & illustrating eyes

I sty with my swollen eye..

I focused on eyes this week - coincidentally at the same time as me getting some gross sty thingy on my own eye! In addition, I finished an ongoing task of drawing faces - a grand total of 34! One of the highlights was an inspirational artist on Instagram sharing my post of recreating her artwork! Shame it was a mess but yay! 

The early start of my week was me playing catchup on my blogging. This was painful, but rewarding to recap my progress. I have designated a day to do this now so it won’t be too last min and hopefully no more backlog!

Figure drawing: light planes and features

I learnt about the different planes of the face and how to draw features
I learnt about the different planes of the face and how to draw features

Illustrating eyes

To help me with finding my own illustration style I decided to draw the different ways one could illustrate an eye. I included eyes from my own pieces and drew upon some inspirational creators to see how they rendered eyes for their own illustrations and characters. In isolation they may look odd and not depict the true personality and emotion so will be doing more work into setting them into the different faces in the coming weeks. It was an insightful task and has triggered a series of illustrations that I will be posting on Instagram. Keep an eye on my Instagram account for those! It is interesting to see how powerful the style can be, from playful to mysterious and how only a few strokes can convey an emotion. Another thing I leant was the different shapes that are available and how they can change the appearance. For e.g, the 2nd from the bottom row has a much more cartoony appearance compared to the others.

I put drew a variation of different eye styles
I drew a variation of different eye styles - a real eye opener.. (sorry)

Drawing faces

To get better at drawing faces I purchased a book called "Draw Like an Artist: 100 Faces and Figures: Step-by-Step Realistic Line Drawing" by Chris Legaspi. I bought the book in May last year and most recently dedicated some solid time to it. I am proud to say I completed all 34 portraits. I used my Ipad Pro and Procreate, with the procreate pencil brush and followed along step by step to construct the faces. Some look better than others but overall pretty pleased that I stuck with it.

Inspiration: Amanda Holden Designs

Not to be confused with the tv presenter, Amanda is an illustrator from Idaho, USA, who creates greeting cards, art prints, stickers, and more. I was drawn to her Instagram feed as it includes cute colorful illustrations, lovely hand lettering, and fun stickers and pins, etc. Being someone who letters too, it was nice to see how I could incorporate it within some illustration pieces. She started her greeting card business from the ground up so it was nice to watch her Youtube videos where she explained more about this and get a studio tour too.

I decided to recreate one of her cute houses using my Posca marker pens. The results were a little messy but took me back to my childhood when I enjoyed drawing houses. Drawing more buildings, shops, cityscapes, etc are on my list to do so will explore this more in the future. Reluctantly I posted my version on Instagram and Amanada herself commented and shared it on her own story!! Next time, before I post, I shall make sure my work is a little tidier!

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