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 iPhone Case|
|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
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!