Let’s Imagine How You Will Draw in 2019!

Playing with hand-drawn collage Pieces. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Let’s imagine the end of January: a simple line, then a simple shape, a simple bee or a butterfly. When you decorate its wings, your heart begins to flutter too: Where does this play take me?!

Drawing a butterfly. Sign up for Paivi Eerola's class Animal Inkdom!

Let’s imagine your heart leads you to February, to Valentine’s day when you want to give something special to a friend. You doodle a cake with a bird, a bird carrying your heart, a bird that no one has ever twitched before.

Drawing Birds. Sign up for Paivi Eerola's class Animal Inkdom!

Let’s imagine, the bird flies over a clear water. There are fish and glittering jewels, all hand-drawn by you.

Drawing sealife. Sign up for Peony and Parakeet's class Animal Inkdom!

Let’s imagine it’s March, and you realize how feathers and scales are not so far away from fur. Foxes, wild cats, squirrels … the furry wisdom enters your playful world.

Drawing wildlife. Animal Inkdom - an online drawing class by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Let’s imagine you want to take a ride in this fantastic hand-drawn safari. You draw a deer or an elephant, anything that can carry you, dress it with tassels, woven blankets, and knits, and let your imagination hop on.

Drawing elephants. Animal Inkdom, a drawing class by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Let’s imagine that despite all the seriousness that the word “art” has, you discover the power of play, and get hooked on what you can create for your Animal Inkdom!

Play with …

… Books: Embellish a notebook, an art journal, or make the prettiest bullet journal.
… Gifts: Make a set of greeting cards and be a shopper of your private gift shop.
… Collage Art: Draw collage elements, animal paper dolls, scrap pics …
… Style: Draw minimalistic animals with a blank background.
… Color: Make colorful drawings that are full of elements, enjoy the overwhelm!
… Design: Have fun drawing motifs and patterns and seeing animals as canvases.

Drawing on a bullet journal. Paivi Eerola's drawing class Animal Inkdom.

Start the new year by drawing and playing!

>> Sign up for Animal Inkdom

Notebook Drawings and Hand-Drawn Collage Pieces

Drawing on a dotted notebook. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her bujo drawing ideas!

While preparing for a new class, I took an empty notebook and started drawing. My first idea was to decorate some notebook pages but it went further and I had a lot of fun.

Bees and Butterflies

Bees and butterflies on a dotted notebook. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her bujo drawing ideas!

Birds and Feathers

Birds on a dotted notebook. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her bujo drawing ideas!

Birds on a dotted notebook. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her bujo drawing ideas!

Whale Chasing a Star

Whale on a dotted notebook. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her bujo drawing ideas!

Fish Swimming Fast

Fish on a dotted notebook. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her bujo drawing ideas!

Owl and Hearts

Owl on a dotted notebook. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. See her bujo drawing ideas!

Drawing Collage Pieces

As a child, I loved paper dolls and die cut scrap pictures. So after drawing the many notebook pages, I thought I could make some additional elements as separate collage pieces.

Hand-drawn collage pieces by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Here are a wolf and a fox, and a delicious piece of cake! I made a cut on the cake and on the fox so that they fit together.

Handdrawn collage pieces by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Playing with Notebook Drawings

I had even more fun when I realized that I can set the collage piece on the top of the drawing so that the animal becomes even more imaginative.

Playing with hand-drawn collage pieces. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

The combination of wolf and owl is so cute, and I also like how the fox and the cake could fit in! I think my word for 2019 is Play.

Ink drawings and playing with collage pieces. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Have some cake, and then get your notebook and start drawing!

Playing with ink drawings and handdrawn collage pieces. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Monkey eating cake.

Subscribe to my weekly emails – Get a free mini-course!

Expressing Mystery – Self-Portrait as a Fox

"Self-Portrait as a Fox" - an acrylic painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

In my latest webinar, I showed some unconventional ways to make portraits. This week, I show how to build the sense of mystery for a portrait. Here’s my sample project, an acrylic painting that I made on a sketchbook. It’s called “Self-Portrait as a Fox.”

In Finnish, we have a saying “ketunhäntä kainalossa” – “to have a foxtail under the arm.” It means that someone tries to hide the true thoughts or goals, and you are noticing it. So it’s like a mystery that’s partly revealed without intention to do so.  When building a mystery for the portraits, you somehow have to show that foxtail – to reveal a part of the mystery. Otherwise, the viewer doesn’t realize there’s any mystery at all. Think about leaving the fox out of the portrait above and just trying to express it all with the eyes. It wouldn’t have the same effect.

Expressing Mystery 1 – Start with a Mysterious Space

The lighting has a lot to do with mystery. Think about mysterious scenes in the movies – the light plays an important role there. Instead of trying to add spots of light after adding the face, start by painting the space where all happens.

Step 1 for expressing mystery. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Expressing Mystery 2 – Discover Facial Features

Once you have painted the background full of fun details, try to see a person there. You don’t have to see the whole face, but a cheek, an eye or a nose is enough. Add more facial features so that you can better see the face. Don’t outline everything. It’s a mystery, remember! The face should look like it rises from the background.

Step 2 for expressing mystery. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I rarely get the facial features to look mysterious enough at this point. I suggest that you don’t even bother to try. Just make it clearer where the person is. For this project, I didn’t use any reference images for the face. If you do, use the reference to get some ideas, but don’t make the face too defined.

Expressing Mystery 3 – Connect the Face and the Background Together

Now add more elements to the background. Add geometric shapes to outline hair and to dig out other interesting stuff. You don’t have to know the mystery yet. Keep the process mysterious enough!

Step 3 for expressing mystery. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

To me, it usually happens that if I don’t know the mystery, I don’t have the idea of the facial expression either. I covered the mouth so that I don’t focus too much on that. Working with acrylics is easy because you can always add new layers.

Expressing Mystery 3 – Add Symbolic Elements

Boost the mystery by adding symbolic elements that create tension for the person. I chose a fox and a rose.

A fox and a rose. Photography by Paivi Eerola from Peony and parakeet.

To maintain the mysterious atmosphere, I painted the fox and rose petals so that they partly disappear into the background.

Step 3 for expressing mystery. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

If you use reference photos pick just some details that you replicate more carefully. Put the reference photos away after a while so that they don’t dictate you and reduce the mysterious feel.

Expressing Mystery 4 – Finish the Facial Features

Build connections between the elements and the face by adjusting the facial features. Think about something happening at the scene and the reaction that it embarks. Here, the woman and the fox react differently. The woman looks surprised, but the fox doesn’t. If I had continued with this setting, I would have also added the element that causes the reaction toHowever the picture.

Step 4 for expressing mystery. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

However, I was not satisfied with the idea of the woman and the fox reacting differently. So I repainted the nose and the mouth and made the face shorter so that the woman looks as conniving as the fox. Now the focus is on what they think and initiate.

Detail of an acrylic painting. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Expressing Mystery 5 – Repeat Some Shapes and Colors

To make the painting more unified and to highlight the mysterious feel, add similarities between the biggest elements. I made some of the triangles resemble the fox’s ears, and continued the fox so that there’s the tail too. The tail is very similar to the woman’s hair. This kind of vagueness – when the viewer doesn’t fully see what belongs to where – also adds to the mystery.

"Self-Portrait as a Fox" by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. An acrylic painting on a sketchbook. See her tips for expressing mystery in portraits!

I hope you enjoyed these tips, and hopefully, I will see you at Innovative Portraits as well!

Innovative Portraits – Refresh the Way You Make Portraits!

In the new upcoming class Innovative Portraits, we will discover new paths to painting and drawing portraits. This class is about increasing artistic looseness, adding more style by using shapes and colors, and inventing ideas so that you never wonder what to put in the background. >> Sign up NOW!

Innovative Portraits, drawing faces and portraits in mixed media. An online art class by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

Innovative Portraits includes a 3-month membership in my art community Bloom and Fly so you will also get monthly live sessions and weekly feedback Tuesdays. >> Sign up NOW!