Meeting the Pets

Day 7 of the Blog Every Day in May challenge and today’s prompt is to tell us about your pets, past and/or present.

I have always been a dog person. I’ve had many in my life. I like cats too. I’ve had a fair few of those aswell. I pretty much just love having a fluffy animal to curl up on my knee every night. Unfortunately, we’re living in a teensy one bed flat until we find a house, so I’m really not  allowed one. But I have managed to sneak these guys in:

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My little fishes really didn’t want to smile for the camera so I had to settle for a little illustration. Usually they’ll come right up to the glass and just stare at me, but as soon as I waved my phone at them they swam and hid behind the water filter.

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First we have Guinevere.

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Then we have Annie.

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Tigerlily.

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And little Milo.

I’ve never really understood why people would have pet fish… but I do have a little chat with mine when I get in from work… and they always seem glad to see me (I’m not insane, I just bring the food). Bizarrely, they do seem to have their own personalities but as soon as we get a bigger place I’ll be straight down the rescue centre. However, for now I’ll happily settle for my fishies; walking and cleaning doesn’t eat into study time with these guys!

Speaking of which, back to my essay!

D x

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On what keeps me sane

Today’s topic for Blog Every Day in May with Rosalilium is: Fit and healthy. What do you do to stay fit or be a healthy individual. Share any tips or advice/plans to get healthier.

My answer to this is simple. I make art. I know what you’re thinking… art doesn’t make you fit. Painting will not tone your stomach. Lugging around huge boxes of art supplies might build muscle, but generally, it’s not going to make you physically fit. However, there was a six month period after finishing my A-Levels where I just didn’t do any art. I was completely burnt out, and I’d had such a horrible experience of tutors telling me my art was naff… I just couldn’t be bothered anymore. But living without creativity… that’s the most unhealthy I’ve ever felt. I was grumpy, I was unmotivated, I couldn’t focus on anything. This all changed when I finally opened up my sketchbook again.

So today I want to talk about one of my favourite things in the world, and the one thing that keeps me sane: art journaling. I have been experimenting with art journals for about four years now. The first two years don’t really count, as they were art-journals-for-ALevel-credit instead of art-journals-for-creative-fun. The third year is the year I always say I ‘started’ art journaling, and it was filled with hours of research and experimentation. Much fun was had. The fourth year I took two online workshops: 21 Secrets (hosted by Connie Hozvicka) and a free mini-course by Traci Bautista called Doodles Unleashed. And with these, I discovered that I absolutely loved learning from this online community of artists, and just letting other people inspire me. This year, I pretty much went off my head and started a bunch of online workshops, and although cramming them all in limits the ‘just me’ journaling I get done, surrounding myself with all these amazing, but oh-so-different artists is beyond inspiring.

Art journaling is just so low pressure it’s unreal. You can literally scribble on all the pages if you want to. You can glue in random receipts. You can create works of art or you can draw stick men. You can write out to do lists, you can doodle to your heart’s content or you can play around with journal prompts. The whole point is that you’re free to do whatever you want. To see a little bit of my art journaling, have a browse through the categories in the sidebar–>

D x

P.S. Seeing as I bring them into a lot of my blog posts, I thought I’d give you a summary of all the classes I’m taking part in this year, and what I think of them:

Doodles Unleashed Video Kit Club (Traci Bautista)

This art ‘kit’ includes three workshops (Inspiration+Mark Making, Girlie Glam Faces and Type+Letters) and six bonus projects. I absolutely love it. This is probably the class that has helped me discover the things I love to do in my art. Each workshop is broken down into (number) lessons and each lesson includes videos and PDF’s (which you can keep). As the workshop ran its course last year, all the lessons are self-guided. I actually prefer that as you really can just work at your own pace, there’s no pressure to keep up with everyone else. For more information, click on the link above.

Life Book (Tamara Laporte)

Life Book is a year-long art journaling course that includes one lesson per week. A number of artists have designed lessons, and all have such different styles that you really do learn a lot. Life Book also focuses on a lot of personal development exercises (which are entirely optional), I generally work through the arty parts but the meditative, self-analysing parts make me feel a little bit uncomfortable sometimes. All the videos and supporting PDF’s are downloadable, which is great as the course gets taken down at the end of the year. For information on how to register, click here. To see some the Life Book pages I’ve created so far, click Life Book in the category section of the sidebar –>

Inky Doodles (Michelle Houghton)

This was a six-week course that ran in January, and I think this was the second run of the class (it ran for the first time last summer). Unfortunately it isn’t available in a self-paced format, so if you wanted to purchase it you would have to wait for it to go live again… but once you’ve got it you have lifetime access. I did enjoy this class, but I feel that it was aimed more towards people who aren’t comfortable drawing or haven’t really grasped doodling… and as doodling is kind of my thing, I probably didn’t get as much out of it as others might. I’ve already posted about Lesson 1, Lesson 2 and Lesson 3 of Inky Doodles, I’ll share the rest with you at  a later date.

Whimsy & Wonder (Alisa Burke)

I wrote an introductory post to this class last week (click here to see it). This is a great class for those who create art on a daily basis and those who are contemplating getting back into art. I would wholeheartedly recommend this class to anyone, Alisa has a great teaching style and there’s no way you can not love her! Check out her blog for sneak peaks at her amazing artwork and other online classes.

21 Secrets (Connie Hozvicka)

This is a workshop that runs from April to December and contains 21 classes, each taught by a different artist. I took 21 Secrets last year, but I started mid way through and didn’t have much time to work through all the classes. This year I signed up the day it went live, so I won’t miss a second! There is such variety, I love it! This is probably the one workshop that has inspired me try something completely new. Sometimes these end up as failed experiments, sometimes there’s some art magic going on! The teachers and students on this course offer feedback and guidance all year round, which I love. Click the link above for info on how to register.

As you can see, I’m a busy little beaver right now. With a full-time job, an English degree and a blogging addiction you’d think I’d have enough on my plate without this self-imposed art curriculum, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything!

If you have any other art workshops, challenges, webinars etc that you’d like to recommend, feel free to leave me a comment below!

P.P.S. As someone who is pretty damn busy, I don’t have a lot of time to invest in the gym (and team sports just bring me horrific P.E. lesson flashbacks), but here are some the things I incorporate into everyday life to stay physically healthy:

– I walk everywhere (non-optional due to lack of car, but it definitely has its benefits)

– Eat breakfast every day (helps avoid headaches, snacking and humongous arguments)

– Run up the stairs instead of taking the lift (the minimum being three flights a day)

– Keep a glass of water on my desk/by my bed (as then I’ll absent-mindedly keep myself hydrated)

– Cook my own food as much as possible (so I can control what goes in)

– Dance whenever I can (even if I embarrass those around me…)

– Sleep as much as possible (this is the one I keep to least often though, no time!)

Whimsy & Wonder

A while ago Alisa Burke offered a few free places on her latest workshop, and I won! I was really excited because I’ve admired her art from afar for quite a while now. I have now worked my way through the materials, and I just love, love, loved the course!

Now, if you’re looking for a teacher who offers step-by-step tutorials to create a specific drawing or painting, then Alisa’s classes are not for you. She gives you tips to come up with your own inspiration, and ideas to push your art to the next level, and I love this. I don’t really like classes where you’re expected to mimic the teacher, I find them a little bit stifling.

Whimsy and Wonder is also a great class if you’re not very confident at drawing, or if you’re coming back to art after years of grown-up time… Alisa provides a bunch of prompts to help free up creativity and play with whimsical representations of places, people and animals. Despite the fact that I practise art on a daily basis, I was still able to get so, so much from this class.

Here’s a sneak preview at some of the introductory exercises:

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(Drawing with my left hand – not the best thing I’ve done, but was a good ‘loosening up exercise’)

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(If I was an animal I’d be… a curvy zebra with pink highlights. Obviously.)

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(Brainstorming ideas for potentially whimsical and wonderful drawings)

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(A quick sample of my whimsical colour palette… and the imaginings they spark)

I would wholeheartedly recommend this class to anyone and everyone, and I can’t wait to share some of my drawings and doodles with you over the coming weeks.

D x

P.S. Whimsy and Wonder is currently on sale! Click on the link above for more info!

Quirky things with Wings and Clouds

Last night the latest Quirky Crafts challenge went life – this time the brief was to use some sort of winged creature, and to incorporate clouds somewhere. For the original challenge post, click here.

So this week, instead of a card or a journal page, I created this fun little doodle:

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I used the ‘Ava Fairy’ digital stamp from Bugaboo as the starting point, and added patterns and doodles using four different black pens (a felt tip, a gel pen, a 0.1 drawing pen and a 0.3 drawing pen) for a bit of whimsical line variety. The colour came from my fantabulous Prismacolor pencils (I still maintain that they are the BEST Christmas present ever!) and the quote around the edges reads “Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us.” (-Rumi).

Looking at this drawing now, I can really see the influences of the ‘Whimsy and Wonder’ art workshop I’ve been taking part in (I’ll share details with you later in the week). I just love the simplicity, and child-like dreaminess of the whole scene…At one point I thought I might stick this on the front of a card, but I might want to keep her and paste her into my journal… what do you reckon?

If you make anything with a wing and a cloud on it, swing by and link it up to our challenge for a chance to win one of the prizes donated by our sponsors. It could be anything… a card, a scrapbook page, a tapestry, a sketch, a sculpture, a bookmark, a soft toy, a mural… Seriously, anything.

Have fun!

D x