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Life Lately: New Illustrations & Book recommendations

Today I'm back with some new art, thoughts  and book recommendations. One of the things I've learned lately (or better to say relearned because it's something that I need to remind myself of) is the importance of sketching.

Why sketching is important? 

Finding time to do art is never easy. That is why I always advise sketching or even doodling. Sketching or doodling is a great way of getting ideas onto paper. Ideas that can grow into something more. Ideas that can become paintings or even an ambitious project of some kind. This doesn't just apply to hobby art. Brainstorming and writing things down is a great way to organize our thoughts. Similarly, keeping scrapbooks, art journals or what not, can help us take our creative idea the next step. Waiting for inspiration is one of the worst myths out there, together with waiting for things to be perfect. My advice: just grab a pen and see where it gets you. Remember to always keep trying.


For example, I made this pen drawing/doodle not really having anything in mind. I wasn't trying to do anything but I ended up liking it and now I think I'll try to turn it into something more, something larger scale. Maybe a painting or something of the sort. Maybe a series of similar doodles. I'm not that focused on developing my art skills at the moment because I'm working on some other things, but I like to steal ten or fifteen minutes to do some sketching. It's amazing what a difference ten minutes can make in terms of our creativity. Even a bit of sketching can get our creative juices going. I think it's a bit like food. The more we eat, the more hungry we tend to get. Sometimes the same thing can be applied to art. The more we do it, the more we can't get enough of it. 


A Girl Wearing a Beanie Spiral Notebook
A Girl Wearing a Beanie Studio Pouch
Red Lips Fashion Illustration by IvanaKada
Red Lips Fashion Illustration iPhone Case
Red Lips Fashion Illustration by IvanaKada
Red Lips Tote Bag




The image you can see bellow was a fashion illustration sketch that got turned into an illustration when I decided to add watercolour to it. I'm not sure where I'm going with this style or will I turn it into anything. I'm a bit uncertain about the illustration itself. I like the blurry urban watercolour background, but that's about it. Is it a bit too out there for a fashion illustration? I do like the outfit, though. Camel culottes are something I'd love to own, and preferably I'd wear them with a red turtleneck and a cropped jacket. High boots are a winter must, don't you agree? 





Bellow you can see a few sketches I made while I was sitting in a cafe with friends. When I don't have the time to do art seriously, then I do my best to do it any way I can.  You can't always have the energy to do everything. Sometimes you can read a book a day, sometimes you can read a book a month. Sometimes you can make a painting a day, sometimes the best you can master is a sketch a day. The important thing is to keep trying. Keep trying to find ways to better ourselves. It is easy to get frustrated with ourselves when things don't go as planned. But things almost never go as planned, do they? So, why not relax and do the best we can? What more can we do? 





Another illustration idea I got was to make one of a girl reading. First I sketched it with a pen then I decided to add in some watercolour. Clearly, this is not the way to do it. What you should do is to sketch with pencil and then add watercolour. You must also remember to use special paper for watercolour. That is certainly sound advice (one that I get a lot) but you know what? Sometimes it's fun to break the rules. Sometimes it is fun to add watercolour to a paper that can't take it. Why not? In addition, sometimes I like to sketch with a pen and add watercolour. It's not the proper way to do things, but you can end up with pretty interesting results. 



Do you agree that reading is food for the soul? What is the latest book you have read? I have to admit that I don't do as much reading as I used to, but I do my best to keep reading. The last book I've read is a collection of stories by Henry James and I'd definitely recommend that one. I found an old edition at home and decided to read it during the weekend. It felt so good being able to finish a book in one sitting. The stories in this edition included: Four Meetings, The Beast in the Jungle, The Real Thing and Daisy Miller. I've already read Daisy Miller, so only three of them were new to me, but what stories they were! Deeply moving and endlessly fascinating. If I had the time, I'd love to write long reviews for them, but since I don't, I'll just post short ones (and only for two of them). I hope I'll manage to write more reviews in the future. I've read many works by Henry James and I always enjoy his writings. My personal favourites are: The Portrait of a Lady, The Turn of a Screw and The Aspen Papers. What are your favourites? Do you like Henry James? If yes, what are your favourite works by him?




THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE, HENRY JAMES


What to say of The Beast in the Jungle? This fascinating novella, first published in 1903 as a part of a collection, is believed by many to be one of James' finest shorter narratives. 'This is the stuff Greek tragedies are made of!', the reader is tempted to exclaim. Potent, beautiful and heart-breaking! This is a story about a man who lives in anticipation of something terrible that is to come, but when it happens he misses it. A woman, his best friend, warns him of it but it's too late. Could I see the ending? Yes, I most certainly could but somehow it didn't spoil the enjoyment of this story one bit.


To a modern mind, The Beast In the Jungle might seem overblown, too emotional and not very convincing but luckily I don't have a modern mind. I absolutely loved it and clung onto every page. I was moved to tears, even though I could anticipate just about everything from the very start. The ending felt so dramatic, even if it was (as I emphasized) only expected. 


The sensibility of this writer is outstanding. I will probably never tire of his writing. One thing I especially appreciate about this story is that it can be read in two ways, as a metaphor for fear of life itself and what it can do to us, and as an actual story featuring a very human protagonist. In a way, we are our own worst enemy, the beast in the jungle. The tiger that lurks in the jungle is hidden within our own heart. This story is a wonderful reminder of that.

FOUR MEETINGS, HENRY JAMES 

When I picked up Four Meetings, I must admit I had high expectations because I do have a thing for Henry James. There is something so effortless about his writing style, his prose always seems to flow and yet it always feels substantial and meaningful. Now, that's quite a combination if you ask me. Another thing I enjoy and sometimes marvel at when it comes to his writing is the ambiguity. Perhaps this story isn't a best example of that, for this time it is the central heroine that lives in ambiguity and not the reader. Or is it so? The story is told by a male narrator that sounds suspiciously like Henry James himself. In other words, he is an American living in Europe. He meets a young woman, an American teacher that dreams of visiting Europe. She will be the heroine of this story. The four meetings (referred to in the title) will reveal her sad destiny. Every time our narrator meets her we learn more of her. This is basically a story in four scenic episodes (That would make for a brilliant mini series!). The ending of the story is not entirely clear, but we can guess it is not a happy one. Not a spoiler, is it? I mean it's Henry James, you know that it won't end up with - they lived happily ever after.

Henry James wrote some amazing women characters. Tragic heroines seem to be his specialty. The story is perhaps a bit predictable, but honestly I found it so easy to relate to it. It's a very touching story indeed. I could really sympathize with the heroine of this story. Bless her poor puritan heart. However, I don't feel sorry for her. I feel there is bravery in her innocence, something that I can't help but respect. Perhaps her illusions have a value of their own? Perhaps her fate is not so tragic? Perhaps it is better to believe in something that isn't true than to be vulgar? Who is really the victim? I had a lot of questions upon finishing this story, and I happen to think that's a sign of good writing.
I can definitely recommend this one to fans of Henry James. It's very much his signature style. If you liked Daisy Miller, you'll probably like this one as well. On the other hand, I can see how it might seem naive to a cynic. I suppose it's not a story for everyone, but it definitely has its place among the classics.



Thank you for reading!



Comments

  1. I love your approach Ivana. It's true we have to practice, practice and keep practicing in everything we do.
    Is it bad to admit that I've never read Henry James? But you've spiked my interest and I'll have to get one of his books from the library!!
    XOOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    2. I'm sure you'll like his works. If you don't have time for novels and longer works, his novellas and short stories are wonderful as well.

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  2. Such a fun way you've incorporated your illustration into your OOTD pics! :)

    I agree it's good to have a few minutes a day to focus on something you love even if you can't get any more time than that :)

    Hope that you are having a good week so far! Our heatwave has finally ended which is a relief! :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

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    1. thank you, and yes sometimes even a few minutes can make such a difference.

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  3. I love this all illustrations - so so good . Sometimes it's a fact that its difficult to find the time for art but it's worth to do it. Especially if you feel it inside. Henry James sounds good :-)

    Have a lovely week xx

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    Replies
    1. absolutely, when we feel inside ourselves the need to do it, then we really should do our best to find some time for it.

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  4. Fantastic, i love your Illustrations! Great Work Ivana <3

    kisses

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  5. Good one. I truly like what you do.This is meaningful and interesting as it is relatable. Keep up the good work!

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  6. I agree with you that sketching is important.
    you have such fantastic sketching.

    greeting- evi erlinda

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  7. It's nice how you work in your art practice whenever you can. And it's interesting how you developed these illustrations. I try to take at least one photo a day to make sure my eye stays fresh.

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  8. WOAH!!! Amazing is an understatement! Thank you very much sharing this. I remembered I used to sketch before. xo

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  9. I tuoi schizzi sono sempre molto interessanti, e soprattutto è bello vedere come riesci poi a svilupparli! :)
    Quanto ai libri che consigli, io di Henry James ho letto solo "ritratto di Signora" e mi è piaciuto, non conoscevo questi altri romanzi, magari però li terrò a mente per il futuro!
    Io attualmente sto leggendo "Veronika decide di morire"di Paulo Coelho (che è uno degli autori che preferisco) :)
    Baci!
    S
    https://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.com/

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  10. you are super talented! this is neat!

    kelseybang.com

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  11. I agree finding a few minutes a day doing something you love is so important! Beautiful illustrations Ivana!

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  12. These are wonderful. It's so important to find time to do what you enjoy doing each day, it really makes the stress go away!! x

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  13. If only I’ve those inspiration to draw. Pretty! xoxo

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  14. Hello,

    So beautiful !

    Sarah, https://sarahmodeee.fr

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  15. Dear Ivana, I read once that when we do something 10.000 hours than we are know how to do this. I think this is absolutely true and therefore I understand your approach. Btw all the sketches you show here turned out beautifully and it makes me smile that in the end of the post you mixed the illustration with your picture. It shows again how good you are! Corresponding books - I think you know that I try to read as much as possible. This means normally 1 - 2 books per week. At the moment I'm reading about a German girl who is as exchange pupil in Japan in a Japanese family. Although this book was written 2003 it is very interesting and I'm looking forward to each evening when I have time to read it. Fortunately, the letters in the book are tiny what means there is a lot of stuff in it and I can read it longer than a normal book. Because when I like a book I'm always sad when I have finished it ... Have a wonderful Thursday and hopefully one day you'll own the culottes you want!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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    Replies
    1. I heard about the 10.000 hours theory and I agree with it! 1 or 2 books per week is amazing.

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  16. Thanks for the book recommendations! The illustrations are incredible.

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  17. Practise makes a man perfect and you have really good sketching skills
    www.stylebasket.in

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  18. Your illustrations are so amazing. You are so talented and I really like how you combine photos and illustrations. So wonderful.

    Blog - http://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com/search/label/en
    YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lElpv4yu1_k&t=59s

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  19. I agree about sketching- it's like exercising and doing a warmup! You can't do all the sports without warming up properly Your artwork continues to impress me so much! Henry James is an interesting author. I was thoroughly creeped out by The Turn of The screw!

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    1. I was freaked out by The Turn of the Screw too, it's a very creepy novel.

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  20. You are so talented! I really love your art style! It has a beautiful flow to it and very inspirational! I love the designs you make as well.

    would you like to be a friend and follow each other? If you follow me,
    I'll follow you back. Thank you! ^^
    www.okcheori.com

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  21. Wow, such a interesting post, you practicaly told an entire article using drawings, that is outstanding! I love your originality and genuineness and I want to congratulate you for your work. As for what you wrote, you definitively convinced me to check out those books and read them and I believe that keep trying it applies in everything in life non only in drawing or dodling.
    Regards,
    Flo

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  22. Odličan post draga Ivana. Zanimljive ilustracije, jako si talentovana! :)
    Novi post - www.minniearts.com

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  23. What a wonderful post, dear! Great photos!
    A big hello from Germany!
    Hugs ♥

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  24. Thanks a lot :D

    so fantastic, my friend :D
    I need a bag with my photo :o :o :o

    NEW REVIEW POST | MAKEUP BLUR EFFECT!
    InstagramFacebook Official PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

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  25. So amazing that you keep sketching whenever you can and definitely keep on getting better. I'm sure it's a great way to relax and just enjoy the moment. It takes you to another place.
    I love the illustration with the camel culottes. Super cute!
    Happy weekend!

    www.fashionradi.com

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  26. You're right, dear Ivana, sketching is one thing that I should remember as well. As a girl and a young woman, I've always sketched something, in textbooks, on beer mats, on newspapers, on any blank piece of paper ... I don't even know why I stopped doing it ... your sketches and the creative things you do with them are really wonderful!
    Hugs, my dear! And Happy 2nd "Advent"-Sunday!
    Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2018/12/thailand-reisebericht-teil-8-chiang-mai.html

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  27. Lovely illustrations!
    I use to do a lot of watercoloring, and I really miss it
    S

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    1. thank you. I hope you'll get to do it again.

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  28. Love your sketches dear. So creative!
    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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  32. Grazie della visita molto bello quello che presenti. Presumo tu capisca italiano per cui ti risparmio il mio ormai pessimo inglese. Bui a settimana.

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  33. The illustration is so classy one.The sketches reminds me of my old days.Loved your work.
    http://www.rakhshanda-chamberofbeauty.com/

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  34. Che carine!!!!

    Federica
    www.federicadinardo.com

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  35. adoro le stampe personalizzate *_* sei stata bravissima

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  37. Great illustrations babe.
    It looks amazing.

    Much Love,
    Jane | The Bandwagon Chic

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi very good blog
    Thank for sharing such a valuable information
    Sajjao
    Logo Design Fiverr
    Web Development

    ReplyDelete
  39. Amazing blog <3 I follow you <3 http://mysterious-natalia.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is so cool. Love your work

    Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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  41. Cute sketches!
    I've been really lacking with my creativity this past year and this post has inspired me so thank you!

    A Shimmer, A Shadow

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  42. Practicing is mus for any art. I totally agree with you. These illustration are perfect. You are really creative and always inspire me.
    Have a great day.
    Kisses <3
    http://www.rakhshanda-chamberofbeauty.com/

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  43. That's cool. I like your blog. Go to my blog http://www.alamodenatine.com/

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  44. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite sure I will learn lots of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

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All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.

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