Peony and Parakeet

Zebra Madonna – Drawing Fantasy Art

Zebra Madonna, a hand-drawn collage by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

This fantasy art piece is a hand-made collage called “Zebra Madonna”. It’s made mostly with Copic markers, some elements have been colored with colored pencils. It’s hand-drawn from start to finish, mostly for my class Animal Inkdom where I show easy ways to draw and color wonderful wildlife animals like flying butterflies and running zebras.

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

It often happens to me that I am going to draw just something small, but then end up making a bigger project. Jane Austen has a novel called “Sense and Sensibility”, but my inner conversation is not very romantic.

Sensibility says: “I have an idea.” Sense says: “Don’t!” Sensibility says: “I want to do it. Now.” Sense says: “It’s 2 AM, no way! Go to sleep and wait for tomorrow.”

What was I drawing in the middle of the night? A small drawing of a girl with a zebra. The girl is a bit like zebra herself, and the zebra looks almost like a unicorn without a horn.

Making of a Zebra Madonna, fantasy art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I started with a black and white drawing, but because coloring is fun too, I couldn’t resist. Time flew, and I was having fun.

For Animal Inkdom, I drew a lot of collage pieces as samples, and then many in the videos. So I have two boxes, big and small, that have all kinds of fantasy creatures. It felt like the zebra of the small drawing started calling his fellows, and these three came out!

Hand-drawn zebras by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. Sign up for her class Animal Inkdom to learn to draw these!

Even if my zebra madonna was framed and all, I wanted to make a new image where the other zebras could join her. I cut a big piece of Bristol paper, approximately 14 x 20 inches. This is when I went to sleep! It was apparent that I would need quite a lot of energy to fill it with markers and doodles.

Self-Doubts

Next morning, I woke up determined to continue the project. I wanted to “paint” with markers – use several layers so that they would blend. I also wanted to draw with a very thin pen, Copic multiliner 0.03, so that most of the background would have subtle patterns. At this point, I wasn’t so sure if these were good ideas. Drawing took a long time, and markers weren’t so quick either.

Making of a Zebra Madonna, a hand-drawn collage by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I was also hesitating to use the zebras. Of all the animals that I had drawn for Animal Inkdom, they were my favorites. I reminded myself that because I had developed an easy way to make them, I could draw more at any time!

Before starting to ill the background, I had marked the places for the elements with a dashed line. Still, there was quite a lot to color. Here you can see how uneven the coloring is when there’s just one thin layer. I needed more layers!

Making of a Zebra Madonna, a hand-drawn collage by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. This piece is made mostly with Copic markers.

It’s typical that at some point my Sense is starting to say: “This wasn’t a very good idea.” I am at the rock bottom trying to figure out how the project could be finished quickly because it doesn’t seem so fun anymore.

New Inspiration for Fantasy Art

My way to cope with what I call “the ugly phase” is to focus on a small area and start listening to an audiobook or a podcast. I also get inspired by colors, mostly by … black! It makes other colors shine, and my collection of black pens is growing steadily. I find it difficult to express any fantasy without black!

Making of a Zebra Madonna, a hand-drawn collage by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet. This piece is made mostly with Copic markers.

Fantasy art can be just fantasy and play, but I usually have a deeper thought in my mind. Despite the happy colors and fantasy feel, the message that I have in mind often has dark tones. Here zebras symbolize things in our past that have been difficult first, but after accepting them, they have become our strength.

Fantasy Art – Zebra Madonna in Detail

Here’s the finished piece again.

Zebra Madonna, fantasy art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

And because it has a lot of details, here are some pictures of them.

A detail of Zebra Madonna, fantasy art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

The butterflies are also from my class Animal Inkdom. I think they fit perfectly to the color scheme. I also added the third butterfly on the background. It’s just a careless drawing but it adds depth because it looks to be further away than the two colorful collage elements.

A detail of Zebra Madonna, fantasy art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

The most of the flowers have jeweled centers and are inspired by my free mini-course Flowers and Jewels.

A detail of Zebra Madonna, fantasy art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

One of the zebra is flying with the butterflies, and if you look carefully, you can see his wings that I doodled vaguely.

A detail of Zebra Madonna, fantasy art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I like how the black continues the framed image and gives more depth and contrast. The right upper corner has a grey layer so that it doesn’t take the attention away from the central elements.

Drawing and Playing in Animal Inkdom

Come to draw and decorate animals with us in Animal Inkdom! You will get the published lessons immediately after the registration, and you can start drawing right away. Sign up for Animal Inkdom here!

13 thoughts on “Zebra Madonna – Drawing Fantasy Art

  1. Love these colors and those zebras are really fun. I am trying to decide what animals now to draw for the Animal Inkdom course and I just might have to include some zebras. I am having so much fun with your course again! I am even learning to doodle and think outside my comfort zone. Everyone should take your course.

    1. Thank you, Cynthia! It’s so wonderful to hear that you enjoy the class. More instructions with zebras will come in Lesson 5.

  2. Dear Paivi,
    thank you for your colorful take on the world. Your work lifts the spirit and lightens the burden of the depressing state of politics and life’s difficulties. You are inspiring me to dive deeper into my art life and lighten my spirit. Blessings to you

    1. Thank you, Ann! At the end of last year, I made a new vision for Peony and Parakeet with goals how I want to serve the readers of my blog and my customers. I defined that I want to help you to
      a) escape the mundane
      b) enjoy unapologetic beauty
      c) play with nostalgia
      d) feel hopeful in the changing world.

      Your comment is so much in line with all this that it really made my day! Thanks so much!

  3. I have so much admiration for your work You make me smile you make me want to try harder…I have been dealing with a large bump in the road and so have fallen far behind..However seeing the classes and see the pictures that you have done have me determined to get back to it and learn Just seeing this latest email makes me know that getting back to doing will be better medicine than all the rest Thank you Elaine

    1. Thank you, Elaine! I don’t want any student in the class feel behind. Because people tend to post images from the latest published module, I can see how that might feel, but I would like everyone to spend as much time as they want in each module, and especially in those which they love the most. And of course, there’s life beyond art-making too. I hope things will run smoother for you, and you will be able to make some time for drawing and self-exploration too.

  4. You picked a beautiful palette! Excellent drawing and concept! Thank you for sharing this journey.

  5. I love the idea of drawing small things to use later. Anything will “do”, as long as my pencils and pens are flying around the page, I’m in a world of my own. At night, when I’ve finished in my studio, the portable studio on wheels ( troller/cart) comes with me to my bedroom, where I am watching TV, or listening to music. Now I am doodling and creating for hours more than I ever did, and my work is becoming freer. I have also enrolled in Wanderlust this year, and my chosen word is FLOW, which is really taking off, in my Wanderlust journal, myPeony and Parakeet journal, and another altered book, on cloth, seeds and pods. You have really inspired me, thank you, Paivi!

    1. Thank you, Annie! Flow is a great word, and wonderful for a creative life. I love how you described your late night creating, sounds a lot of fun and I totally relate with “I’m in a world of my own.” Let’s keep creating and exploring!

  6. Hi Paivi, will this picture be for sale? I would love to have one. It would add a friend to the Strawberry Madonna one I bought last year. Could you email me the answer? Thanks.

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