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I spent some time last week doing pen and wash sketches of various kitchen items and various foodstuffs – mostly cakes and pastries. They are not meant to be accurate, rather an indication. And in the case of the kitchen items, I tried to remove mention of any branding but keep colours close enough that they would be recognisable for what they are.

I owe much to Yasmina Creates for kicking me off on this path although, as she told me, this is the first time she’s seen anything but pastries done in this style! Plus, I imitated her trademark flowery offerings by trying an image in similar style. Is this a style I want to pursue? Who knows? It could come in useful for illustration purposes. I certainly take to watercolour more when it’s used like this. We’re maybe not quite friends yet, but me and my pan sets are getting more of an acquaintance relationship recently 🙂

Eleanor Patrick cakes and pastries

Eleanor Patrick kitchen stuff

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I really believe in the benefits of drawing something every day. I always start with a proper sketch, which I upload to a sketching thread on ArtTutor, or sometimes maybe a few thumbnails for an illustration I’m planning to make. I try to fit in some writing too – and that’s all before breakfast!

But at Christmas, a friend gave me a Moleskine Accordion notebook:

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I’d never had one before but have many times followed Lynn Chapman’s adventures  as a resident artist doing similar things (with greater skill haha!).

So I set about it, documenting bits of my life every few days or when I felt like it. And today I got to the end of the second side. (You work through it one way, then it sort of folds over and you work your way on the reverse until you get to the cover again.)

It has been such a fun journey. Here is one of my spreads from a month or so ago.FullSizeRender 8

I might have to buy another, but then I also need a few other things, like, um, food! Although art does tend to become all-consuming 🙂

Back in July 2016, I posted about a new version of Humpty Dumpty I had invented on a whim. You can find it here.

This morning I got up and found some new words to another nursery rhyme going round in my head. I jotted them down and then added some pretty primitive sketches.

Maybe I was inspired subconsciously by having seen one-day-old lambs yesterday (ours are late up here), but anyway, I thought I’d post it here tonight to amuse you.

Enjoy!

Mary had a little lamb

The NHS in the UK has an acronym, CLANG, that stands for Connect, Learn, be Active, Notice and Give back – all things we should do every day to stay in a state of mental wellbeing. I hate being told what to do, but it did make some sense, so I self-initiated a task based on CLANG.

Here is the result. Looking at it on a non-retina screen, I do think I will go back in to each and make the highlighted word red instead of green. But apart from that, I am well pleased with my week’s efforts. Hope you like them. There is a certain satisfaction in making them all match in terms of colour and style, just like when I draw a child doing different things but always recognisable.

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My mother always said I was a fairground child. She had reason – I used to like trying my hand at all the stalls. Not that we went to many fairs, but the Girl Guides and the Scouts had them and occasionally one came to town from further afield.

I think I frustrated her because she could see that I had some talent of sorts but that I squandered it (her words!) on getting to grips with many things instead of mastering just one.

Actually, I think this enriches my life. I love learning all sorts of things and getting fun from doing all sorts of activities. But – and it’s a big but – it does mean that while I’m illustrating (and in the zone), I’m fine. Same with writing. But if I’m casually doing one or the other (not in the zone) then I can get seriously distracted . For instance, I had just finished an article illustration done digitally, about the financial sickness of a particular country’s banks, when I decided to do some watercolour! Not for any reason in particular; just some vegetables and fruit for fun. Miniature ones. I’ve assembled them here for you.

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White Nights watercolours on Khadi handmade paper

It’s not that they’re bad (for my lowly ability, they’re quite reasonable – and each is only two inches tall) but I know I won’t continue to practise watercolour: my oil pastels are winking at me. And my alcohol inks… So – fairground child indeed!

What I’m thinking of doing is rationing some of my time. Work is work and I must concentrate, then allocate myself some hours or days to simply do whatever takes my fancy among the fairground stalls. For that, I shall call myself Wandering Ellie.

After finishing two very intense weeks of serious work proofreading and copyediting, I got back to a couple of self-imposed tasks to illustrate two articles.

One was intended to honour some of the celebrities that died in 2016 (delayed from New Year – when it was at least relevant! – because my dad died suddenly). The other draws attention to the amazing number of crowdsourced activities currently happening. These seem to range from medical operations to new products to books to activities. Getting the money doesn’t seem to be a problem (the aspect I show here), but getting the market reach afterwards might be 🙂

My favourite of the two, though, is the celeb one – I wanted to show them (I hope you can recognise them!) refusing the die off, and the reaper’s angry look as their legend lives on. I hope you like them. Both started on paper and were coloured and finished off digitally.

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Every now and then I remember to practise drawing the same character from different viewpoints doing different things. You may remember this attempt. I was at it again in the last couple of days, only this time I gave him (or is it a her with shortish hair?) some huge objects to manhandle. I was just being whimsical. But then some ideas came to mind.

Maybe:

He feels little in his family. Maybe he has a skill no one really notices. Maybe there is some incident when he knows he could help but no one even glances at him.

So what happens? *shrugs* Well, maybe he has to surreptitiously assemble the things he needs, in order to do whatever he needs to do to sort it out! So, stretching my brain a bit… he, um, steals the sharpener to sharpen the pencil, then draws the image and finally paints it.

That latter image was meant to be pastel sticks but looks more like watercolour paints – except for the lack of a mixing lid! He struggles to lug this one to his bedroom…

So yes, I don’t have time right now because a 400-page book has to be proofread this week for a publisher. But this is how a story could grow in my head, needing many revisions obviously, but perhaps it could be made to work if I really wanted to.

Nice to have conjured up a spark on a cold, icy day 🙂 Happy new year to you all.

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