Our bicycle is the main form of transportation in Amsterdam. This bike we call “the cycle of our daughter” because it has an extra seat for our child. I sketched ‘my’ bike while it was standing for the window of the Coffee Company while I was drinking a latte decaf (or a bambino).
One of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much to study Gender Studies at the university was: any preconception about the idea of sex and gender is questioned. And if you can deconstruct sex/gender, than you can question every boundary and certainty. This education gives a sharp eye for hidden prejudices. In spite of this background, I can catch myself regularly being biased. A few days ago I discovered I’m having unrealistic preconceptions about which kind of people do have certain drawing styles.
In the Flickr-group Julia Kay’s Portrait Party (aka JKPP) members draw each other from photos we uploaded. I love being part of this group for several reasons. It is a very divers group: beginners post together with professional artists. In the group pool you can see digital art, traditional oil painting and watercolors next to each other. All kind of styles are present: abstract, wild, naïve, outsider, realistic, cartoonish, and much more.
Only when I started to draw her, I connected that Charlotte-with-the-eye-surgery was the same person as ‘chartan’-the-cool-digital-artist. Ajj, there I caught myself with a big prejudice. I didn’t make this connection, because I think ladies-older-then-50 do not use digital media like iPods and Photoshop. And with a straw hat I automatically think the person paints with watercolor. I’m really blushing for these silly preconceptions that I have, while being graduated in feminism. Well, I hope Charlotte will forgive me. Here you can see the drawing I made of chartan/Charlotte-the-great-artist:
A few weeks ago, I bought the book “Drawing Lab” by Carla Sonheim. She writes: “This books includes many traditional drawing exercises (…), but I’ve intentionally left out some of the things you might find in traditional drawing books. This book is designed to get you started drawing again, and excited about it!”
The book has 52 exercises, some take several weeks or months to complete, but the most can be done quickly. This drawing was two exercises: Collaborate with a child (Lab 28) and Eyedropper Faces (Lab 13). My daughter made the eyes and eyebrows.
Here you can see the reference photo.
For a Eyedropper Faces you fill an eyedropper with black FW acrylic ink (I filled it with indian ink) and draw the basics of the face. “Quickly take a piece of toilet paper and lay it on top of your drawing. The ink will soak into the toilet paper and spread out underneath” More Eyedropper Faces:
On my blog I posted some drawings made by my daughter. She got some positive comments. I translated them to her. She also heard me talking about Julia Kay’s Portrait Party, and she said she wanted to join. I started to explain her how the Portrait Party works, and then it turned out that she wanted to draw the people who liked her drawings. So I looked up who in the comments of the blog also was part of Julia Kay’s Portrait Party, and so we started to draw Raena.
She wanted me to do the shape of the head. So I did the head, hand, glasses and hair. Then my daughter made the eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth and neck/shoulders and the distortion of the glasses on the left of the face. She traced the pencil with marker of her favorite colour and then coloured it with soft pastel. To finish it, she made the marks around the head.
Last weeks I have thought about the balance between looking at drawings on the Internet and drawing myself. I learn a lot by looking at the work of other people, but sometimes I get lost in all the browsing. And then I read the downloadable book Focus by Leo Babauta. He advises to create a “completely separate process from consuming and communicating. Separate your day: a time for creating, and a time for consuming and communicating. And never the twain shall meet.” So – instead of endlessly browsing – I made last week some drawings for Julia Kay’s Portrait Party:
The blogging world is full of ‘challenges’. Now WordPress started the challenge to post daily or weekly: DailyPost. It is a community of bloggers with the goal to post daily or weekly. I decided to join the ‘post-weekly-challenge’ on this blog. I already challenged myself since July 2010 to draw every day. It was a nice challenge, I was not too strict about it and ended up with drawing 3 days out of 7. I am very satisfied with that.
Inspired by a Flickr Gallerie of Julia Kay titled ‘Our Work Develops Over Time’ I post here some sketches I made on July 15th, the first day I started drawing since I was a teenager. And next to these sketches of half a year ago, more recent sketches to show the development.
Another way to see the development of my drawings in the last six months is watching this Flickr-slideshow of the portraits I made of M. I challenged myself to draw 100 portraits of my partner M. Till now I made 36, a part of them can be seen in this slideshow.
Gretchen wrote this post about learning to draw her ‘Girls can’t what’-characters.