Plans for 2023

I love making lists instead of resolutions so I made this list of things I want to work on in 2023.

Illustration Side Gig:

  • Storytelling and Picturemaking– create illustrations and pictures that are more vignette-oriented with interesting scenes or dynamic compositions.
  • Cafe sketching – go on location and practice drawing in cafes or live drawing. A bonus for this goal would be to find some local sketching friends to get together with.
  • Family tree – illustrate portraits of my family and ancestors. I also want to do some character sheets of a few family members.
  • Submit portfolio – to find an agent or publisher for freelance illustration work.
  • Binge art day – block off one day a month to binge making art.
  • Improve sketching – do more mind map brainstorming, use more vibrant colors, add personal things to illustrations, do more loose sketching.
  • If there’s time, create a character a day for Advent season.

House:

  • We need to replace the fence in our backyard
  • I want to build a garden shed or greenhouse in the backyard, ideally to double as an outdoor art studio)

Finances: Save!

Travel:

  • Be a tourist more, get out more, locally and beyond.
  • Renew passport in preparation for a dual citizenship application.

Finally, I want to celebrate life more! Cheers to 2023!

2022 Recap

I went through my photo library from 2022 to find the good moments, and there were a lot considering it was a weird year.

I filled up a lot of sketchbooks and made a lot of art. Looking back through my sketchbook art, I always wish I made more art but I am excited to finally be drawing people! Here’s my top nine according to Instagram:

Here’s some of my own personal favorites, some duplicates with my Instagram friends:

I am so grateful I got to travel to Naples, Florida early in the year for some rest and relaxation and one of my favorite things – beach time. I also got to spend time at the lake house on Lake Michigan in Door County and go on a few adventures close to home. If I had to pick some of my favorite adventures from this past year, I would choose these top nine, and some fun nature photos below that:

My dad unexpectedly passed away this year which was tough so I’m happy to have found some good moments that made me happy. Cheers to 2023!

December Art

Art Challenge from December was #Advent_Challenge2022.

I love making Christmas art and I went more playful with this year’s challenges.

12/1 Christmas Dinner – I illustrated a fox and a bear wearing their Christmas sweaters, sharing hot cocoa under a starry sky with mixed-media – gouache, colored pencils and gold ink.

12/7 Surprise Visit – St. Nick stopped by to make sure you’ve been good this year.

12/13 Grandparents – portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Polar Bear in their Christmas sweaters.

12/19 Elf – a fox and a bear wearing their Christmas sweaters and elf hats, decorating a tree under a wintery sky.

12/25 Snow globe – Peace on Earth from a snowy gingerbread house.

I had a lot of fun with last year’s Advent Challenge so I was excited to participate again this year.

Hope you’re enjoying a festive holiday season! I will be back soon with my year-end recap.

November to December

November Recap:

In November I had fun participating in weekly character prompts, including a Girl in the hollow, Croissant girl, old guy reading in cafe, folktale girl, using photo prompts provided by @housecatillustrations.

I challenged myself to practice drawing more critters and people including, semi-blind contour continuous line drawings which was more fun than I thought it would be.

Art Challenge from November was #Folktale2022 week.

I didn’t read folktales or fairy tales as a kid – my mom thought they were too scary. Since I’ve been focusing on practicing drawing people, I decided to interpret each prompt word through a character:

I tried to limit myself to a small color palette with henna, peach, taupe, brown and midnight.

11/14 Fool – He dances with a head fully of silly wishes.

11/15 Tree – The enchanted forest can be a magical but ominous place.

11/16 Star – Make a wish upon a star!

11/17 Rebel – She is adventurous and fierce

11/18 Costume – Don’t let her beauty deceive you.

11/19 Potion – This apothecary has a flair for making magical potions.

11/20 Victory – Let the trumpets sound!

Art Challenge for December: #Advent_Challenge2022

Prompts are:

12/1: Christmas dinner

12/7: Surprise visit

12/13: Grandparents

12/19: Elf

12/24: Snow globe

I had a lot of fun with last year’s Advent Challenge so I’m excited to participate again this year.

Plans for December

I want to continue to do weekly character illustrations but I want to improve my compositions and keep putting them in scenes.

I still haven’t found time to try figure drawing so I’m keeping that on my to-do list. And I want to draw people in motion more than in static poses where they’re just standing or sitting on my pages.

And I also want to find some local sketch friends, people who like to draw who are interested in meeting every week or every other week to sketch together.

October to November

Recap:

In October I had fun participating in weekly character prompts, including a Rainy day walk, A girl and her rooster, Gal pals, and Halloween cat in a hat using photo prompts from @housecatillustrations

For the month of October, I challenged myself to fill a sketchbook page with scary/scared faces with just a dark wash graphite pencil, which was quite fun. I love how this turned out!

I also managed to fill a few more sketchbook pages with my constant practicing of faces and critters.

New Tips and Techniques:

I learned from Greenleaf Blueberry to mix phthalo blue with brown ochre paints to make a variety of robin’s egg-themed colors. It’s always fun to mix colors and I adore these new combinations so I need to find the right character or story to use these.

For fun:

We went on a couple local hiking adventures.

We had a autumn soiree, a backyard party with hot apple cider, stew and pie in a cup around a cozy bonfire.

Plans for November:

#Folktale2022 Week Challenge:

I didn’t read folktales or fairy tales as a kid – my mom thought they were too scary. I won’t be ready or have enough time to participate in this year’s #Folktale2022 challenge to illustrate a story with the word prompts: 11/14 Fool, 11/15 Tree, 11/16 Star, 11/17 Rebel, 11/18. Instead, I’m going to make time to learn more about folktales and figure out how to approach the challenge with a few story ideas I have brewing for my illustration style.

To Do

I want to continue to do the weekly character illustrations but I want to improve my compositions and start putting them in a scene.

I also want to finally try live figure drawing.

We will be hosting a small dinner party with family on Thanksgiving and we’re planning to go hiking once or twice. We will also be celebrating my birthday later this month.

Cheers to a productive and creative October and here’s to a happy and grateful November!

Drawing Faces

As part of my efforts of drawing people and illustrating characters, I’ve been practicing drawing faces in a few different ways. I’m not going for portraits or realistic renderings, just fun characters.

I adore how this page turned out! I used a photo reference of faces from Ukraine and gave each person a little frame.

This page started out as watercolor blobs and I added facial features with colored pencils. It feels silly which is fun because some of the faces are based on photos of people in my day-job office. Shhh! I also started a page of color swatches for skin, hair, highlights and accents for reference.

You know my motto, practice, practice, practice! Keep checking back for more progress and experimentation.

Characters with Pets

I’m having fun continuing to practice, practice, practice drawing people and illustrating characters. Lately, I’ve been adding a little buddy to each of my characters, which just adds that little extra sparkle to a character’s personality and the sketchbook page.

I am also really loving working with colored pencils these days. Most of my illustrations over the years have been graphite, ink and watercolor, so it feels like trying this medium is really expanding my illustration skills.

Character Development

I came up with a new illustration project that it would be fun to draw ancestors on my family tree so I’ve been practicing drawing people using the weekly photo prompt provided by @housecatillustration.

I’ve also been practicing using colored pencils which has been a nice break from my usual watercolor illustrations.

When I first noticed the character drawing prompt photos on Instagram, I was intimidated and apprehensive to try. Now I have become obsessed with drawing people and characters!

The Prompt was Celestial

The latest art prompt I worked on was celestial. This prompt really resonated with me because I go outside every night the skies are clear to look at the moon and stars. I’ve been on a mission lately to learn more constellations.

I had a lot of fun dreaming up illustrations with a celestial theme, from the sweet stargazing animals above to the steampunk-framed vignettes below.

I had to experiment with some hand-lettering and a “wreath” of planets, stars and celestial icons floating around the sayings.

Of course, I always adore painting the beautiful planet Earth, dreamy planets and moon phases, which are a fun way to play with watercolors and lots of water to see the cool blooms emerge.

I am working on a new prompt for my next series of illustrations, but I plan to continue with the celestial illustrations since the ideas keep flowing.