Category Archives: drawing

making miniature art for #The100DayProject

I have a new favourite drawing style – very, very small pencil sketches.

haunted house tiny

In case you’re reading this on a huge computer screen, that’s an averaged-sized pencil not some kind of super-massive thing.

I’ve been drawing tiny pictures for the last two weeks as part of The 100 Day Project – a yearly, free, global art project that runs for 100 days (no surprises there) and which this year started on April 4th. It’s open to everyone and it’s up to each individual to pick their particular creative project then do that each day and post the results on instagram with #The100DayProject hashtag.

Regular readers will know I love a creative challenge – #ShapeChallenge on Twitter really helped me with my drawing last year, as did my #THISislearning cartoons and #GuessTheFilm, all of which I shared on social media. I’ve done Camp NaNoWriMo in the past too and written everyday. There’s something really motivating about a challenge, I think!

This time, having the choice of any creative project I liked nearly froze me in the start gates, but then I thought if I’m going to do it every day (alongside everything else), it needs to be something I can do reasonably quickly. Drawing things very small works well in this way – each of the sketches takes me between 15 and 45 minutes (which for me is really fast!). I decided to draw ‘big’ things small so I could play with scale and also to try and focus me a little.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge even more than I thought I would, and have found it really beneficial. Drawing small is somehow less outfacing than taking on a large scale project, so I’ve felt able to try a range of different things: animals, buildings, people… pylons… Any drawing I do helps improve my skills; I definitely subscribe to the theory that practice is more important than innate ability.

giraffes, jack, pylon and cake

TL – BR giraffes (on an average-sized paperclip), Jack introducing himself to the giant (having climbed the ladder rather than the beanstalk), pylons, and chocolate cake with BIG emotional significance)

Posting my work on social media has been really beneficial too; throwing my work out there helps with the self-doubt, and I can’t deny the positive feedback has been a real boost – who doesn’t like a bit of insta-love?!

elephant, bus, tree and dragon

TL – BR elephant, double decker bus (that perspective was so tricky!), me drawing under a tree (well, fantasy me – real me would have small children crawling on my head) and a dragon.

I’ve also really enjoyed scrolling the #The100DayProject hashtag and seeing what other people are getting up to. It’s inspirational and feels like a lovely community too. All in all, it’s been a massively positive experience.

Can I keep it up for 100 days? Follow me on Instagram and check out my #100DaysOfDrawingBigThingsSmall hashtag and we’ll find out…

tackling the self-doubt demon

self-doubt-demonThis time last week I was battling with the self-doubt demon who was determined I shouldn’t submit my illustration assignment. You know the drill: “This is rubbish… you can’t draw at all… call that a picture? Pah, a child or a lamb could do better!” The nasty creature. I couldn’t let it win could I?

Or could I?

No, I couldn’t! I drowned him out with loud music, finished the pieces off and hit the submit button. And yesterday my super-speedy, very lovely tutor, Spencer Hill sent me feedback on my work. And it was really positive!

Admittedly, Spencer is the sort to be very supportive – despite having never met him, I can just tell through the emails he sends all his students and in the way he’s interacted with me online that he is good at encouragement. But still, he clearly knows his onions so I’m going to take his positive remarks to heart. Best of all, the depth of the feedback he sent (nearly 4 A4 sides, typed) was massively useful – it’s given me lots to think about and build on and I’m really keen to get my teeth into the next section of the course now.

Take that self-doubt demon!

Last week I shared a few little snippets of my three assignment pieces. I really appreciated each and every comment I received – they helped me hit that button. Since sharing last time had a positive outcome I’m going to take an additional leap now and share one of the final pieces. The assignment was to illustrate song lyrics – here’s my illustration of a line from “Somewhere over the rainbow”somewhere-over-the-rainbow-blog-picAs you can see, the illustration is very literal, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but my (self-imposed) challenge for my next assignment (illustrating poems) is to think differently and come up with some more surprising interpretations.

And I will get back to some writing soon, honestly. Maybe I’ll even have a go at writing and illustrating something of my own. Who knows – it’s exciting to think of the possibilities!

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not writing but drawing

Nope, It’s just not happening. This post is refusing to write itself. I can’t think of a single thing to say this week, or rather, I can but it’s all way too introspective and lacking in focus.

So I tell you what – I’ll show you a few pieces I’ve been working on for my illustration course. I need to submit an assignment but I’m currently doubting everything I’ve ever drawn. Perhaps sharing a bit here will get me past the hurdle. Worth a try, hey?

The assignment is to illustrate lyrics from three songs. These are just snippets of the illustrations (because I can’t bring myself to share the whole pictures):

sections-of-ilustrationsThe one on the left is for a Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris song. I put loads of work into the picture at the start of the summer and rather liked it, but have basically gone off it in the interim. The middle one is a kind of obvious illustration of a kind of obvious song. Hmmm. And as for the last one – I was going for a bit of romance and softness but, having deliberately chosen to use just pencil, I now feel like it needs colour. My attempts to add some on the computer last night (in an image manipulation program called GIMP which I can’t really get the hang of) didn’t go well.

Yes, the self doubt demon has come calling – he’s sneering in my ear right now (the squelchy git) – and it’s slowing me down. I think I probably just need to put my fingers in my ears, or, even better, play some loud music (my seven-year-old currently loves ‘Walk This Way’ by Run-D.M.C. – that should do the trick) and while the demon is temporarily incapacitated, submit something.

So, here’s a thing – a ‘sticking to my intentions via the medium of blogging’ thing. By this time next week I will have submitted the assignment. No excuses. You can hold me to that.

And once it’s done, I’ll get back to some agent hunting and manuscript submissions.

But that’s a whole other blog post.

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don’t doubt, just draw.

I started an illustration course in January and, with a ‘New Year – Raaaah’ sort of energy, immediately threw myself in to a daily drawing practice. I joined in with #ShapeChallenge on Twitter, drew picture after picture and between January and March I noticed a definite improvement in my ability. I really can’t speak highly enough of doing something creative every day. No matter how limited your abilities at the beginning (or, more to the point, how limited you THINK they are because we all seem to doubt ourselves massively!), you WILL improve and seeing that improvement spurs you on to do more and get better!

So there I was, feeling quite chuffed with myself (‘New Year Raaah’ with a tangible outcome has to be something to be proud of), when in Mid-March I was hit by a whole heap of stuff that totally derailed me from my drawing. I couldn’t find time and, because I was drawing so infrequently, everything I produced on the odd occasion I tried, was rubbish. Honestly, it made me cringe. I totally lost confidence and felt quite fed up about it all.

Then last week I gave myself a huge mental shove. I’d felt like I had no time for drawing because so much of my energy was going into blogging and running the #THISislearning campaign, so I decided to combine the two. I started doing tiny daily cartoons about the sort of activities kids love. The sort where they learn masses without even realising it. Where they experiment and persevere and imagine and create. I shared my first two in my last blog post. Here are my next three:

#THISislearning maths buns

I love maths with a positive outcome. Admittedly, “0+effort = lots” is maths only in a very general sense but still…

creative #THISislearning

I had no idea what this kid was making until I’d drawn it!

puddle fun #THISislearning

This was inspired by this post from Luisa at Teaching Tiny Minds: https://teachingtinyminds.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/making-a-river/

I did tiny pictures because somehow it helped my confidence. I’m not sure why… maybe because drawing big feels more risky (if it’s rubbish it’s a big pile of rubbish) and drawing small feels more safe (less of a potential mess)? Who knows, but I’ve enjoyed doing it.

And then a really fab thing happened – an awesome friend of mine –  Sus @MrsJTeaches – started drawing some #THISislearning pictures too. I LOVE them:

#THISislearning @MrsJTeaches
Since then, a couple of other people have expressed an interest in drawing something for the campaign too (thanks guys!) and it got me thinking that I’d love to put together a gallery of #THISislearning pictures on my blog (and share them on social media of course). And I would love you to join in!

It DEFINITELY isn’t a talent competition it’s really about having a go at something creative and having some fun. In fact, you don’t have to draw, you could paint or glue or photograph a tower of creatively poised bananas or something…

If you’d like to join in just tweet your image @writingbubble using the #THISislearning hashtag. Go on, don’t doubt yourself, create.

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how I illustrated my poem

I’ve got an illustrated limerick to share with you today which I created for yesterday’s #ShapeChallenge and today’s Prose for Thought. Instead of just pasting it in right now though, I thought I’d take you – visually as well as descriptively – through my creative process first. I find it helpful seeing how other people got from A to B when writing or drawing something so hopefully it will be interesting to at least some of you!

Ok, so I started with this:
mugshape This was yesterday’s #ShapeChallenge on Twitter and the idea is, you use the shape as inspiration for an illustration of some kind. Well, this just shouted ‘mug’ at me and I decided to go with that.

Then I remembered it was Prose for Thought today and that it would be nice to have a piece of poetry to share for that. I’ll write a limerick! I thought (no surprise there for regular readers!).

Hmmm… mug… mug of tea… right, what rhymes with tea? Bee, knee, see… three! Ooh, I’ve got three kids… right mother of three, cup of tea, ok I can work with that.

rough copy
This is the sheet of paper I figured out my design on. I wrote the limerick in my head and you can see it scribbled down the bottom. I then tried to work out how I wanted to illustrate it. As you can see, I thought about having the cup of tea centre stage (the red spot in the shape would become a cherry on the bun in that instance), with my face behind or next to it. I also toyed with the idea of just having a hand reaching for the tea with a speech bubble. Then I had a go at a little scene where I could be seen relaxing with my tea with my three boys (creating mayhem) around me.

Ultimately, I decided to go for the last idea (though I decided against having a son swinging from the light fitting! In fact, looking at the sketch now, I appear to have five sons…).

mug of teaThis is what I posted on Twitter for #ShapeChallenge yesterday (the idea is you share what you draw).

This morning I went back and tweaked it a bit – my youngest son (playing with trains) was too big, there was something badly wrong with this arms in the picture and he kind of looked like he was rolling off the coffee table.  I also tried to make my eldest son (doing the handstand) look like he had a slightly less broken neck, and I faffed around with my middle son’s face and arms. That lead to:

mug of tea2small
At this point I thought, I wonder what it would look like in colour? And got out my pencil crayons:

mug of tea colour Oh, um, that looks a bit rubbish. Definitely better in pencil…

But how about if I tried felt tips? (I’ve recently bought some posh Faber-Castell ones which I love using.)

So I grabbed them, outlined the whole picture with fine black marker and then coloured  it in. I also used white pen for a few highlights. Here’s the final picture:

 

mug of tea colour pens I think I might prefer the pencil version actually, but it was fun to try adding colour and thankfully, because I scanned it in first, I still have the earlier version even though the ‘hard copy’ now has ink on it.

There you have it. I’d love to know your thoughts!

Prose for Thought

for the love of shoes

I’ve tried to hit 2016 at a run, creatively speaking, by throwing myself into things and looking for inspiration all over the place. Social media has been immensely useful, particularly Twitter (there are so many creative challenges there! Who’da thunk it? Honestly, not me) and as always, the blogging community has provided me with both ideas and an outlet.

Yesterday I had a look at The Prompt (one of my favourite linkys) and discovered it was the word ‘confusion’. So I figured I’d write a limerick based on that word. I also had a look at my favourite Twitter muse – #ShapeChallenge – to see if could use that as a visual prompt for both the limerick and an illustration for it. It was a double-pronged inspirational approach! I ended up writing and drawing this:

princess shoes limerickThe reason it’s about shoes (although, do I need a reason?) is because the shape (next to my twitter handle in the picture) reminded me of a shoe, and ‘shoes’ kind of rhymes with confused, so I went from there.

Which shoes would you choose? I’m going for the ones that look like ladybirds!

mumturnedmom
Prose for Thought

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Victoria Welton

a teeny-tiny tale

It’s Valentine’s day this Sunday so I thought I’d share this miniature love story:

penguin valentine story

This was inspired by #ShapeChallenge on Twitter (you can see the original shape in the bottom corner of the picture). I’ve been doing a drawing every day for the last three weeks and I’m definitely finding the daily creative practice is doing me good. (I may be a little obsessed!)

Prose for Thought
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Gerald the octopus

In my last post I wrote about how much I’ve loved taking part in #ShapeChallenge on Twitter. I’ve also been wondering about how to make sure I continue to find time for writing when time itself is thin on the ground. Then, inspired by a comment on my last post, I had an idea – I’d take one of my drawings and write a story to go with it! So, here is the story of Gerald the Octopus. geraldGerald was a young octopus with lovely orange skin and a rather large nose. He knew he had a large nose because all the other octopuses would tell him so:

“Big, nose, big nose!” The girls would call, swimming past him in the school yard.

“Ha ha Gerald, you’ll never get a girlfriend with that great honk!” The boys taunted.

Gerald was sad. He wished he had a small, smooth nose like the other octopuses. He tried poking his nose inwards into the soft flesh of his face… but it just boinged out again. He tried covering it with selection of seaweed scarves… but the others teased him even more. He tried hiding behind his tentacles… but, “Gerald! Get your suckers away from your face and get on with your work!” his teacher would cry.

It was no use:

“Big nose, Big nose”

“You’ll never get a girlfriend!”

The taunts continued.

As a teenager things only got worse for poor Gerald. His peers grew larger and leaner but Gerald didn’t seem to grow at all. Except for his nose!

“Big nose, Big nose!”

“…never get a girlfriend!”

Gerald just never fitted in.

Finally, he left school and swam off into the big, wide ocean. There Gerald thrived. He explored, he made new friends and he grew and grew.
His tentacles grew…
his body grew…
and he grew the most beautiful, long floaty moustache.

Everyone loved Gerald’s moustache. It was exceedingly fine and perfectly complemented his face.

No one ever called Gerald “Big nose!” any more.

No one ever taunted, “You’ll never get a girlfriend.”

One day he was visiting his parents back in his old reef: “Your favourite band is playing in the rock pool tonight” said his Dad, “You should go!”

Gerald thought about it. He wanted to see the band but he knew lots of the octopuses from his old school would be there. Could he really face them?

Big nose, big nose…

Never get a girlfriend…

The taunts flitted across his memory.

No – he wasn’t going to let them beat him. He was going to go and see the band. Besides which, he had nothing to be scared of. He was bigger now and had his exceedingly fine moustache.

Gerald swam in just before the band began to play. There was whispering and nudging. All eyes turned to gaze at the handsome octopus with the long moustache floating along in the water behind him. Gerald smiled. His moustache rippled ravishingly.

“Is that…?

“Could it be…?!”

“It’s… Gerald!”

“But he’s… gorgeous!!”

The girls flocked towards him.

Gerald swam straight past them… right up to the handsome pufferfish on the front row. He beamed at his new companion who beamed right back.

What those fools never realised, Gerald thought, slipping a tentacle around Matthew’s welcoming fin, was I never wanted a GIRLfriend anyway.

***

It sort of came out as a children’s story (there are parts when I could imagine one line to a page with an illustration as I think that’s just how my brain works at the moment) although I think some of the ‘ravishing ripples’ are aimed more at an adult audience. Still, a good moral for all, I think. What do you reckon?

Linking with What I’m Writing, Prose for Thought and also with The Prompt which this week is ‘milestone’. It feels like a milestone to illustrate my own story, even if it’s not an ‘illustration’ so much as a ‘drawing’, but, well, you know what I mean!

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creativity and inspiration

You know that feeling when you start a new relationship and everything is exciting and fizzes and crackles and you can’t wait to spend time with that other person and you think about them all the time and keep smiling to yourself and feeling a little giddy? That’s how I’ve felt this past week. Only it’s not a new man (phew!) it’s a new creative avenue. I’m mad for drawing.

It all began with Twitter. Well, Twitter, and a chat with a really good friend.  You see, I was nervous about this illustration course I’d signed up to do and I thought I might procrastinate my way out of beginning it even before the course materials had arrived so, with the encouragement of this kick-ass friend of mine, I decided to throw myself in at the deep end and join in with an artistic project on Twitter.

A bit like how I felt about doing an illustration course!

A bit like how I felt about doing an illustration course!

It’s called #ShapeChallenge and is run by author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre (I love her books!). Every week day she tweets a shape and encourages anyone – people of all ages and abilities – to draw/paint/create something based on it. Everyone then tweets their creations and ‘likes’ and comments on each others pictures. It’s FAB.

I’ve joined in every day for the past week and, even better, my sons have joined in too! My older two love doing it and even their little brother sits beside them and earnestly scribbles on a piece of paper. I’ve loved watching how their brains interpret the shape and the different things they’ve come up with. It’s felt like such a positive thing to do together.

owl

Owl – by my six-year-old. The original shape was one of the wings.

submarine

‘The diver’ by my eight-year-old. The original shape made me think of a hat but this is much better!

The other people who’ve been taking part in Shape Challenge have all been so lovely and welcoming too. There are lots of ‘proper’ illustrators who do it but also plenty of children and people who just enjoy drawing. After I post our pictures for the day I always go through the feed and look at what everyone else has created – it’s hugely inspiring! Honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit high on it all!

I’ve also found the idea of drawing something and tweeting it immediately, really liberating. I think I could spend ages on a drawing and decide it’s no good but somehow, the process of this challenge – having the shape to work with and then the community to tweet it to – has allowed me to overcome the fear and doubt and just go for it. It’s also inspired me – just looking at a blank piece of paper can be intimidating, but put a little white shape (with a red dot in it) there instead and it’s amazing what your brain comes up with. I’m pretty sure that even in the space of a week, my ability has improved. I mean, ok, I’m not producing great works of art but I’ve surprised myself with how not-totally-shit it is.

howard the monster

The original shape is in the bottom corner. It took my boys a while to spot the shape in the drawing!

Even better, it’s filling me with more ideas for writing too, and making me think about ways of overcoming procrastination and blocks there. I set myself a writing challenge last week where I hoped to harness this same idea of doing something quickly and throwing it out there. Just like with drawing, it took away the stress and was really fun. I’m going to do more.

I know this is a very image-heavy post but I just want to add one final picture – in celebration of unusual plumage everywhere and because all stories need to be told. :)

Maud's unsual plumage

Be like Maud.

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