Drawing streak – eleventh week

Here is the result of one more drawing week:

Day 71 I was feeling tired, but overall good, so I opted for a relaxed, somewhat tired sun.

Day 73 I used watercolours to paint a Protoceratops skull. I still have to learn how to apply more layers of watercolour without diluting the underlying layers, but first, I have to learn to let them dry completely 🙂

Day 74 was hatching day and I drew a horse, with the direction of hatches following muscles and overall body shapes. The right part of the drawing is not so accurate, but  I lost patience at some point.

Day 75 I scribbled with a ballpoint pen, using my coat as subject. The result is not so impressive still.

Day 76 is a simple horse coloured with felt pens. To make it a bit challenging I tried an unusual perspective, and I am quite happy for it!

Day 77 is a sole fish. We ate a lot of fish that day, including very delicate and tasty soles.

Merry Christmas to you all!


Drawing streak – tenth week

Tenth week already! This week I focused on textures and different pens.

On day 64 I drew a bread loaf with a ballpoint pen. I tried to render the crumbliness of the crust by a squiggly line instead of my usual hatches. I think it is a step forward, even if the overall shadowing is quite inconsistent and does not really make it look like a bread loaf.

Day 65 I drew water. I chose to copy the picture of a calm lake with my favourite black gel pen. I paid attention to the short lines made by the reflections in the distance, and tried to render the long lines of the gentle waves next to the shore. I am quite happy with the result, even if the lower part of the picture can be improved.

Day 66 was fur day! I found the picture of a longhair cat and tried to copy the long fur of its neck. I found it quite difficult, because the first impulse would be to draw the hairs themselves, but by doing so I would put a dark line where there is light; drawing the shadows of hair tufts is a much slower, more reflective, brainy job. If I could draw with a light pencil on a dark background, that would be much simpler and intuitive.

Day 67 is my attempt to draw a metallic object, namely a sauce boat (source: Wikipedia). The shadows and lights have very crisp edges and the pattern depends on the objects that are reflected on the surface. I don’t know if it looks good enough, first because I didn’t draw the whole object, second because the contrast in my drawing is not so strong (I could have made much darker areas).

Day 68 is a view of Bologna. I attempted to follow John Muir Law’s suggestion to use a broader, darker line for the foreground and a thinner line for the background, as well as stronger vs. lighter contrasts. It looks promising to me.

Day 69 I drew two does. They are next to each other, but don’t look in the same direction. I have since a long time the idea to draw something like this, to represent how two people can be close and still have the freedom to orient their attention where they want, not necessarily on the same things. I had this feeling with people I felt very close with. We could be in the same room and be busy with different activities, and still be connected.

Day 70 is the very early phase of an assignment that I got last Saturday for my Montessori diploma. We are now going through language materials, and one of them is a set of cards with an object and its name written below, and a corresponding set of cards with the same objects, but with the name written on a separate piece of paper. The task is to recognise the objects, read the name and match all names to the pictures. The cards with both object and name are used as control. Each of the course participants has to choose a category of objects for which he/she will produce a set of 15 cards. I chose dinosaurs, and this is my start.

See past weeks here:  week 1week 2week 3week 4week 5week 6week 7week 8week 9.


Drawing streak – ninth week

This week I really had trouble finding ideas for my daily doodles. Most ideas that came to my mind would take too long to be done properly, and would require a bigger paper size. Therefore I decided to explore textures and unfamiliar techniques.

Day 57 is the rendering of the forehead of a horse. You can guess the whirl of short hair in the middle, the darker hair at the sides and the curly forelock on the left. It is quickly done with only one pencil, so most contrast is missing and the result is not so clear.

Day 58 is an aquarelle mosaic, inspired by A Creative Pickle. I like how this technique enables to practice pencil control and colour mixing, without letting freshly coloured areas mix with each other. The result is therefore very clean and rewarding! (Well, it can be clean and rewarding 🙂 )

Day 59 is a drawing made with a single line with my favourite black gel pen. It represents the front legs of a wolf cub. I started with the outline of the leg on the left, did the fingers with claws, went up the leg, down the other, drew its fingers and claws, went up again, and decided to add some idea of shadows all around.

Day 60 is the visualisation of Montessori’s binomial cube, a sensorial material that let preschool children experience mathematical concepts in form of a puzzle.

Day 61 was just scribbling with all the pens I had in my house, after I read John Muir Law’s post about drawing with simple ballpoint pens. When you don’t have a pencil, or want to use all pages of your sketchbook without worrying that sketches will smear on each other, you can use a ballpoint pen that is capable of making lighter shades when you use less pressure. There are a few caveats but it’s totally worth giving it a try.

Day 62 is a comeback of the minotaur! This time, instead of making a lame selfie or lying hopelessly in a mini-labirinth, he is studying. I like thinking of this minotaur as the part of myself that feels sometimes trapped, sometimes active and enthusiastic, but always sort of unusual.

Day 63 is a long-due optional assignment for the NHI101x course. I tried to make a small preparatory study of a bird, that shows the main skeletal features. You have to know a bit of anatomy to guess where the wings are actually attached, because each species has a different amount of “arm” structure hidden in the muscles and feathers of the body.

See you next week for the tenth summary!

Drawing streak – eighth week

The streak continues! Here are this week’s doodles:

I tried to use more techniques than usual, so I brought back sanguigna pencil (Day 55), used the gel black pen and made dots instead of hatching (Day 52), and tried to use brushes with fountain-pen ink (Day 54, with unimpressive results!). On Day 56 I played the drums, therefore I thought of Animal, Muppets’ wild drummer. On Day 51 I drew Atlas deer at the zoo, as an assignment for the Natural History Illustration course I am taking part in.


Drawing streak – seventh week

It’s becoming more of a marathon than a streak… and it doesn’t look it’s going to end soon!

This week I used felt pens a lot and drew a raccoon, as I read about South American raccoons and the fossil remains of related species. I also drew a whale that dives in the dark deep waters, after taking a good breath at the surface. Day 46 was an experiment about rendering knitting patterns – and it works, from a distance! Yesterday’s post is about a new way of filling areas with pencils, not by straight strokes, but by circular, spirally lines. It is sort of relaxing and it makes a much smoother surface. It was challenging to render the shiny surface of the small teapot, but I am quite satisfied with this experiment.

You can find bigger images on my Flickr page, as well as next week’s doodles, that I post every day as soon as they are ready.

Hope this inspires some of you too!

Drawing streak – sixth week

Here I am again with my scribbles:

Day 36 was the day of the supermoon, that I saw above the trees of my neighbouring park. Day 37 is drawn with a small graphite pencil, I forgot how easy it is to smoothly fill areas, I should remember to use it more often! Day 38 is a watercolour sketch of my moka machine. It is not a particularly good result, but I got to try painting a new layer only when the underlying one was dry (well, almost, you can see the black areas which leaked in a still damp grey area). Day 39 is dedicated to a small Poinsettia plant that I just bought. This way of using flat colours and black borders is inspired by ligne claire, a style that I am very fond of. Day 40 is a horse rolling in the grass, just sketched, but I plan to take more time to do a proper copy of that sweet picture. Day 41 are metro lines – guess where – and Day 42 shows three of the four horses caught on camera by Chad Hanson.

Still one week to go, or more? I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Drawing streak – fifth week

The streak is ongoing, with at least two more weeks to go… I am running out of ideas. Sometimes I draw before going to bed. I decided to draw something that shows my mood or captures a relevant fact of the day, like yesterday’s supermoon… that will be featured in next week’s post!

Day 29 was a comeback to high school graffiti-style shadowing. Day 30 and 31 were connected to NHI101x, the natural history illustration course I am following online, held by University of Newcastle in Australia: a great source of inspiration, both from the teachers and the fellow course participants (over 12.000 all over the world!) – I like how it gives a reasonable set of information, opens up several paths for further learning (dedicated websites, other courses…) and how the course participants share tips and tricks and questions on the course’s forum.

Day 32 was inspired by a podcast from BBC 4 about Hector’s dolphin, an endangered species in New Zealand. This dolphin has similarities with the more common hourglass dolphin, that I drew in my notebook.

Day 33 was a simple study of an adjustable wrench|spanner that happened to be on my desk when I decided to draw.

Day 34 is a tribute to a funny memory: I was at a conference in Italy in 2010 with a friend of mine and we booked a room together. There were some noises during the night that I happily ignored. My friend mentioned them in the morning, and I told her that nothing can wake me when I am sleeping well, not even “a cat with cymbals” – so here it is 🙂

Day 35 is a sleepy dog. I loved the peace of the picture, the patience of it, maybe waiting for someone. I tried to use only three colours and the result makes the German shepherd look like a wild dog, but still, I like it 🙂

Here are the posts from past weeks: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4 — stay tuned for week 6!

Drawing streak – third week

For the third week I kept drawing something every day. Sometimes I waited until very late, but I am proud of not having missed a single day. Here is the mosaic of this week’s sketches:

And here are the links to Flickr pages with all download options:

Day 15Day 16Day 17Day 18Day 19Day 20Day 21

Day 15 represent four horses, one for each language I can speak – see the dedicated post that explains how I came to this picture.

Day 16 is a colour variant of a very nice horse picture I found on Flickr. I used watercolour pencils and a wide brush, so the result is a bit vague.

Day 17 represents a three-legged dog. He usually does everything he needs, so he doesn’t mind that much, but he has one less leg nevertheless.

Day 18 is a common subject of mine, I enjoyed imagining the shadows and lights of this horse.

Day 19 represents ideas and movements that locally aggregate in ordered structures, in an otherwise unordered space. In the end there will be more order than at the beginning, but the process could not be linear.

Day 20 was a simple colour experiment.

Day 21 is a part of an armour. The armour provides shape and strength, it can replace inner bones of the arm inside it. One should remember to take the armour off from time to time, to keep bones and muscles functional.

Now I get ready for the flight back home – I hope to see aurora lights over the Pole!