Drawn from life with Sketches app of Tayasui.
My 11-year-old daughter has joined the Artis Ateliers, drawing lessons at the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam. Every time she comes home with beautiful drawings. And she is very enthusiastic herself too, about the lessons themselves and the results.
Last saturday I was together with my daughter at a meetup of Julia Kay’s Portrait Party in Oxford. We drew, ate and socialized from 11 in a community centre. Julia Kay’s Portrait Party is a virtual Portrait Party in which artists draw each other from photos posted on Flickr for that purpose. All members of the group are therefore both subjects of portraits and creators of portraits. Members of JKPP sometimes organise meetups IRL (in real life). Martin Beek, Jane Sherwood and Margarita Perez Garcia organised a third (or fourth?) IRL meetup in Oxford. It was again great to meet the JKPP members I already met in Oxford and Brussels in 2011.
We visited London last Easter weekend. Besides buying books at Judd Books, visiting the marvelous Wellcome Collection and drinking coffee, I drew. Mainly people. If I look at my drawings I see medium shots of people in cafés, at home, on the train or bus. I almost never sit down to draw something. It is the other way around: I find myself sitting somewhere (train, bus, café, a home) and I think: what can I draw from this place.
(These drawings were made on the iPad with the Paper app by Fiftythree)
Passenger on the ferry: “Do you mind me watching you while you draw?”
Me: “No, I don’t. I don’t have time to talk to you though, it’s only a short time till the boat arrives at the other side.”
Passenger (seeing the ‘rewind / undo’ function on my iPad in the paper53 app): “Ssss, that’s incredible.”
Passenger: “You should draw the hair…yes, that’s better now.”
Passenger: “wow, you are really talented.”
Since I started to draw I noticed I have a lot of unwritten rules about drawing. For example: drawing from a photograph is not so good, tracing a drawing is unacceptable. I let go of the first rule rather quickly, when I joined Julia Kay’s Portrait Party I started to draw from photographs and I had a lot of fun. The last part of the rule is harder to break.
A few weeks ago I saw a beautiful view from the ferry when I crossed the river to the North of Amsterdam, I photographed it with the intention to draw it. Then I imported the photo in the Brushes app and I traced the photo on another layer. I was rather inhibited tracing the photo, I can’t help feeling ashamed about it. I’m not the only who has these strong emotions about tracing. Illustrator J.E. wrote about tracing: “I was born into a social and family environment with a certain artistic pretentiousness about it, and in this context it was considered quite unacceptable to copy or trace an image. Credit was only given to the ability to create interesting and original images using real life as inspiration as little as possible.”
Well…I traced this image and I’m showing this ‘lesser art’ to you anyway.
I found in the Flickr group Julia Kay’s Portrait Party an interesting discussion about tracing.
Since I didn’t scan all the drawings I made of M. and since I started uploading the first 36 scans of these drawings to a free Flickr account, and the last drawings to my older Flickr Pro account, M’s drawings aren’t all in one Flickr set. That would be interesting though, because of the slide show feature of Flickr.
One week ago Michael Nobbs tweeted: “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! @paulienmaria has been working little and often and produced 94 portraits http://ow.ly/7SGjA“ Michael promotes the Sustainably Creativite tool: the little and often mantra: “Little and often” is for me a gentle reminder to keep moving forward using small regular steps.”
I have seen his approach in two self-help books and it really helped me a lot. While writing my Master thesis in 2005, I sticked to the advice of Joan Bolker in her book Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, or SARK as she is known, calls it “micromovement”: tiny steps that add up to a big difference. She writes about it in her book Make Your Creative Dreams Real.
Last weeks I mainly concentrated on drawing portraits for Julia Kay’s Portrait Party (JKPP) on Flickr: “This group is a virtual Portrait Party in which artists draw each other from photos posted for that purpose. All members of the group are therefore both subjects of portraits and creators of portraits.” I counted my JKPP portraits and found out I made 116 since I started one year ago. I didn’t make any goals and in JKPP there are no expectations: you can draw as much or as little as you want. Fellow JKPP’er Erica Smith wrote on Facebook when she passed the 100 JKPP portraits: “Drawing this many portraits really crept up on me, it wasn’t hard!” That’s exactly my experience.
Last saturday I was together with my daughter at the IRL meetup of Julia Kay’s Portrait Party in Brussels. We drew, ate and socialized from 10 in the morning till almost 9 in the evening; it was great to meet again the JKPP members I already met in Oxford half a year ago, and to meet JKPP members I didn’t meet before. And, last but not least, to meet Julia Kay herself, who is giggling about being a ‘famous’ person now. These are two drawings I made this weekend, they are Maureen and the host Jean.
Because she didn’t like the results, my daughter didn’t want me to draw her last year. I don’t know what changed her mind, but this summer she posed a few times for me.