December 1, 2011

look what I made :)

I always carry a notebook with me, and I am always on a lookout for new ones... so I thought.... maybe it would be nice to make some myself for a change... so I made 2 and then I kept making them... and...'s contagious!....
 And it was already late in the evening when I started, but I was having so much fun and when I thought maybe I could call it a day (a night) it was already time to get up... sigh... well, at least I have an excuse now for being sleepy all day :D ... and a proof for it:

November 23, 2011

"home made" light-box

It's winter... almost... and I love winter.
I'm not complaining at all... it's just that I've encountered some obstacles
5 hours of sunlight per day (counting my "awake" time)

Each evening I'd want to blog about something, then I'd snap some photos, *they'd look terrible, and I'd give up, promising myself to do it all in the morning.
Then, in the morning I'd have something "serious" to do, and by the time I finish, all the daylight would hide away... so I would promise myself again, the same thing, and I'd draw or make make something new, and I'd want to blog about it. I'd snap photos... (start reading again at *)

Not a nice circle to be trapped in!

And all I needed was: 
            Scotch tape
                     5min for research
                            10min of "hard labour"

The results are HERE in my previous post.
It would have been great if I had one more lamp, but I think the photos turned out OK anyway.

and this is a scene from our little photo-shoot:

Super easy!


I've been busy lately, doing some "serious" stuff
but I've also been stealing time to play... seriously, of course.

Maybe that's why this guy turned out to be such a...
Or maybe it's because he was given a name early in his life, before he got eyes, or even clothes.

A dear friend of mine gave him this name that's so... 
                                             □  puritan       tick only relevant boxes
   □  prudish

And so, I went on being terribly serious.
I am not surprised that one morning, when I woke up, I realised what I had done the night before...
...more seriousness...
Apparently, I've been introduced to these guys, but I can't remember their names.
If you've seen them before, I'd love to know how they're called. 
They've kind a... moved in with me.
So it all feels a bit awkward. 

But what I really wanted was to make new friends...
And so I did.

Thy're amazing at telling stories.
And they make them up as they go.
Quite remarkable!

November 13, 2011

the importance of eating fruit

Leslie's been trying to persuade Lennard to eat fruit.
But Lennard won't even hear of it.
Stubborn little penguin... that Leslie...
quit it... it just won't happen!

the importance of eating fruit

Mattimore's happy now that he doesn't have to play alone on the playground. He's got Lennard and Leslie to play with him, and Godfry's going to join them tomorrow.

November 10, 2011

shy in green

I had a bit of ... time ... that I like to call "shy", but in fact, it's my phase where I absolutely hate every line I make, and I want to hide away and never ever try to draw again... but I can't really stop... and only now I realise, this time, most of my "shy drawings" are green... here are just a few of them...

strange world

serious conversation

les chats de Charles Baudelaire

cute in stripes

This is Mr Mattimore.

He is very happy because he got a new stripy coat, and he's parading it around...

But not even a week ago, he was just another lump of clay and sheet of aluminium who had never met before... but once they did meet, magic happened and this new creature came to life.

Mattimore is just the first of many.. some of them have already been shaped and sanded. They were in Mattimore's drying class on the shelf, and they'll join him on the playground very soon, I just need to find for them something to wear... it's getting cold outside, I can't let them go out like this.

October 4, 2011

hibernating monsters

I always have monsters hibernating in my head. Most of the time, they're quiet, but sometimes, when they wake up, they like to party... they party for days and days and won't let me sleep at all... for days... so after a while, I become an inhabitant of a weird place, where I'm half awake and half asleep constantly, and every time I blink, something completely unexpected appears before my eyes...

don't blink, you'll get lost

October 1, 2011

My Cat

This blogpost is all dedicated to Mr. Cat
because I ♥ ♥ ♥ him so much
and because I feel terribly guilty.

...he is starving...

I am torturing him and not giving him anything to eat for over 4!!!! hours... because he had to take his antihelmintic paste, and last time he had it on a full tummy, he couldn't hold it down, so the vet said no food 3 hours before and 3 hours after.

He hates me right now... and to think that only this morning we were cosy and purring in a loving cuddle...
He had his normal morning, never anticipating my horribly wicked plan.
Only when he meowed for his breakfast #3 and got nothing, he realised something was going on.

right after breakfast #1 everything seemed fine
I started feeling guilty yesterday evening, after I talked to the vet.
It kept me awake most of the night.
so I drew this:

I hope he'll forgive me... some day...

September 26, 2011

a bit of DIY

I had a zebra pattern painted on my studio wall for 6 years. I loved it for 5.5 years, and then it started annoying me, so a couple of days ago I had finally decided
to do something about it. 

I bought the best paint I could find, and painted the entire "enormous" wall all in one colour, this greyish-brownish-not-too-light-but-natural beige.

The idea was to have something neutral where to hang my lovely heavy vintage frames that I had painted white with lovely mating emulsion finish, something like this one here, only a matching pair, and bigger (and yes, two more embroideries were evicted from their frame-homes, but they'll have new life as cushions). I looove love love white-brown combinations.
the wall was painted, and I let it dry over night, and the next day ...I hated it. It was so bad that it was making me angry. I stepped into the studio, saw it, and walked out.
When I'm at any of my desks, the wall in question is behind my back, but I couldn't sit at my computer and work, the wall was bugging me that much.

Then I did something about it... again... 

I did what I like doing most... I painted... first I thought of painting an entire village, all with little trees and houses, but honestly, I don't think I'd be able to live with so much going on behind me... so I painted a forest... nice airy forest where I wish I really lived instead of being trapped on the sixth floor in a noisy-city-centre-apartment.

Mr. Cat slept in his chair. I moved it about 20 times, with him on it. He woke up only once, he was hungry.

September 21, 2011

technique research

I was testing a new painting technique last night
and it got me so preoccupied that
I'm running on 60 minutes of sleep and 12 mugs of coffee (so far) today.

First, I'm showing you the end result:

Unfortunately, the photos are not perfect.
I tried to fix the colours in Photoshop, 
but I'm still not 100% happy with them.


I've been using so many different materials lately, like colour pencils, graphite, ink with brushes or rapidographs, aquarelle, acrylic paint, and most of the time I was mixing them all in one drawing/painting.

I wanted to try to and do something a bit... heavier this time.
I don't know is it autumn, or maybe something not necessarily coming from outside me...
I just needed more... emotional saturation in what I do.
And I think I've found a good technique.

I like to use 500g cotton paper, but it's not perfect, because it usually has strong texture, and I like my paintings to look smooth, so I painted the paper with acrylic paint for background, and rubber wax over it. Then put it in the oven for 2 min, just to let the wax melt and distribute evenly across the surface, and fill all the little gaps.

Then, I put one very thin and watered down layer of white gouache paint, and when it dried up, I did it again. 

I worked on 3 sheets at once. By the time I finish the first layer, the first paper I did was already dry, so I could start over.

Only then I did sketches. 
That is a bit of a reverse process, but I wanted to let the material guide me.

Then I transferred the sketch onto the prepared surface.
It was easy to do with a pencil, lightly, because of the white pigment. It allows you to draw on it with soft graphite. I used B9 pencil.

As I drew, I made shallow cuts in the wax, and I like how it added the textured coutures to the painting.
All the rest was done with brushes and acrylic paints.

Here is the final painting:

and another one:

I would LOVE to know what you think of it!

September 18, 2011

a cat

There are so many things I should be doing now
...and none of them is drawing cats...

September 15, 2011

progressing +/- advancing

I've decided to try and have a bit more studious approach to drawing.
I had a clear picture in my head of what I wanted it to look like, but instead of changing my mind when I start colouring, and then destroying the illustration, this time I did "test drive" sketches.
Here are some of them:

After I met my characters and we had a nice chat over coffee and a bit of cake, I took my nice heavy paper, and put it all together, like a story... it's strange how drawing is like writing. Before I draw the story, I must draw the concept first... like an outline of a story, a plot.
This is it, scanned, because it was very late at night, and my drawings hate flash lights.

I would usually draw my characters first, and I'd ruin it all once I start drawing everything around them... that's why I did it reverse this time. Strangely enough, I've drawn the background easily. There are some details missing here and there, but I'm not worried about that.
Now that I've reached the final stage, I do hope not to mess it up... I'm letting you see the unfinished drawing, but I've cut out the bits I'm working on now... if they turn out well, they'll be a nice surprise, and if they turn out bad, off to the bin with them, but you haven't met them, so you won't miss them  :) ... only I will

September 13, 2011

un vrai papa

I don't know if it ever happened to you, but it happens to me all the time, and it always ends in frustration:
I draw outlines of something, I put all my actors on the stage, then I start working on one detail, and I'm actually pleased with it, so I pass on to the next one... and it's baaaad... bad bad bad! hands draws like paws, nothing looks right, I hate every line I make... That's the moment where I usually just crumple the paper, throw it in the bin that's always within a handy reach, and always completely full.
Last night I simply walked away... I couldn't look at it... But it was still there, waiting for me in the morning... it didn't disappear, it didn't change over night... but my level of tolerance and patience did.

fanfares and cheers fooooor:

Monsieur Vrai Papa, avec la moustache et les muscles d'un papa super!

What you have before you is my attempt to save this guy... I'm even quietly happy I didn't toss him with the rest of the gang from that sheet of paper...
I'm sorry, Lady Weightlifter and Mr Bearded Clown... I promise to give your a solo act each... one day... maybe soon... learn to be patient, that's a good thing to be!

September 9, 2011

caffeine feline

I drew a lion...
I like lions... especially today
I don't know why...

Sorry 'bout the coffee stain
if it wasn't for coffee
there would be no lion tonight

had to take a photo again in the morning
do all photos taken at night look terrible?
even when I use the scanner?
the scanner can't know what time of day it is, surely!


You don't look silly, dear! You look mysterious!
Now, let's go to that fancy dress party.
I've heard they'll be serving wine...
if we're patient, we can have coq au vin
or  souris au vin
or even lapin au vin!

August 24, 2011

ummm... a dance?

    action <> reaction
 cause <> effect

I've been under a strong influence of a motion bug
that's been nesting in my mind

and it always starts so innocently
sketches can be tricky
if left to do what they wish

August 23, 2011

I simply had to do it

Some drawings are cute, some drawings are sweet or scary or sad. I always loved drawings... but sometimes I happen to see a picture that really speaks to me... then... I don't need any effort at all to see it wink, smile, talk... its personality, its story, it's all there... that's whyyyy... one day, I decided to try and master a skill to help those critters talk to the rest of the world the same way...

I'm so faaaar from even scratching the surface of animation, but I love learning, I enjoy every step of it... If you want to see some of my first attempts click here. I'm obviously just a self-tough enthusiast... I would be so happy to know if you have any comment or suggestion.

Now, without further ado...
Let me introduce to you Baby Blue Owl.
I've met this feathery sweetie through our mutual friend, Heidi. Her blog is adorable, and she's an amazingly talented artist. Everything she ever draws makes me giggle and smile.

She wrote with so much love about the Owlish behaviour of B.B.Owl and other owlish friends, I fell in love with them... You can meet them too, of course, just click here.

The sweetest little owl ever, don't you think? :D

August 15, 2011

papyrus experiment

This is my crazy contraption for drying papyrus sheets:

Only a couple of weeks ago I discovered papyrus, and fell in love with it.

Here's a little trick:

Papyrus is amazing as it is, but if you dip it in oil for a day, and let it dry, it changes the texture, becomes a bit more transparent and rubbery. I was told that if I put a bit of oil paint into oil, papyrus will keep it's transparency, only get a light tone of the colour. That will be my next experiment :)

...and then I tested it...

I made all these photos with my Canon scanner, no Photoshop tweaking.

August 14, 2011

embarrassing sketches

sulking cats

OK, so I've just finished an illustration on a slightly bigger paper format (50cm * 70cm) and now I'm stuck. It happens so often, I might have to come up with a name for that condition... Stuckitis… What-now-itis… I'm not sure is it because "I could never do it again", or is it because I'm too self-criticizing and I don't like the drawing I've finished...

Well, I don't think it's either one. Most of the time, I have SO many new ideas that I simply can't pick one. I can't focus, so they're all in my head... all at once... buzzing and flapping and whizzing...

Ideas are like smells, they're there, I can feel them, I know them quite intimately, they're packed with sensations and motion, but when I start sketching, they become unreachable. I want to put them all on paper, and sketches always turn out to be beyond disappointing.

I'm a terrible starter.

couch potato
No, let me rephrase that! I'm great at starting at least ten things at once, and then not doing any of them... which is a shame. The best part… what I like most about drawing… is the bit after I'd started something, and passed that second phase. If I get that far, I land in some amazing space where's no time, or thoughts... I become my pencils and paints, and that feeling is the reason why I draw at all.

I hate all my drawings, but I love making them!

Sketches are my biggest embarrassment. I used to love sketching, but now… uh… I cringe when I see unrefined lines, bad proportions, somewhat incorrect perspective… I need to feel that I’m in control, so I start fixing my sketches, and keep fixing them till they stop being sketches.

Anyway… this time I present you a few pages from my poor little moleskine. They will stay as they are. Paper is too thin, it simply wouldn’t survive my “corrections”.