One day at the local library, I browsed the latest issue of International Artist magazine. I must confess that I had to force myself to do that as the magazine showcases a lot of traditional and realistic art, landscapes, and portraits. Especially in the recent ten years, I have been more interested in examining what is seen inside my head, reflected from outside world, than to illustrate the exact images of the outside world. But now and then I like to force myself to examine things that I don’t feel drawn. It makes me more open and allows me to pick ideas that are hidden behind processes that I am unlikely to obey.
So I gave myself a task: pick any photo and draw one element from it! After drawing and coloring the element I was allowed to fill the rest of the art journal page freely. So if I followed the boring routine, I was able to treat myself in the end.
Choosing the Photo
My husband has an aquarium, and I love it. Just recently he bought five new discus fish. I happened to take a photo once they were released to the tank. I thought that this image would be just perfect for the purpose. The more I art journal, the more I think of it as a diary. It’s mainly a diary of my inner world, but this fish is so beautiful that I could happily let it swim to my imaginary world as well.
Realistic Drawing – Sketching the Fish
I don’t usually use a pencil as I like every stroke to be visible. However, this time, I followed the artists from International Artist magazine: they all seem to use pencil or charcoal for sketching. I drew a simple sketch of the fish taking care of proportions more than the details.
Coloring the Fish
I followed the photo in color choices as well. I just made each of the color more vibrant. While coloring, I also added more details to the fish.
After the fish had been finished, I gave myself the freedom to doodle my heart out.
Coloring the fish with colored pencils did not feel particularly inspirational. But when I began adding colors to the mess I had made around the fish, all the fun began! I was able to do anything – yes anything! I thought about water flowing and bubbling freely, and everything started to look more loose and alive, even the fish.
After finishing the page, I asked myself, could I create more pages this way: combine realistic drawing with more imaginary elements. Yes, I could. But I think that it would be more fun to create it all freely: drawing the central element first with extra care and then adding surrounding elements. Or pick elements from various photos and construct a scene that way or … All in all, I got few new ideas, and this was a good experiment!
However, I know now why I love drawing that is liberated from all the expectations. It is much more fun and exciting! I also believe that it is good for us to both see and process what we think and feel. It is so liberating to let it all come out on the paper.
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