This post is officially a week late, which feels all sorts of wrong to me, especially when I was talking about getting back into a regular schedule just the other day.
There is quite a lot going on in my mind at the moment and it makes it hard for me to write, sing or create anything at all. I know the heaviness will pass but for now, I am forced to take things slow for my own sake and I hope you can bear with me. ♥
Going back to basics
Last month, I started a new project but haven’t touched it in weeks because life has been a little too heavy these days. I haven’t been very active online either and I am afraid to watch my already small following thin out.
I have a lot of things to figure out and it’s leaving me with very little energy/time to keep working on all the products and ideas that have been flooding my mind the past few months.
It pains me to have to take things slow or even completely put a halt on some projects/ideas, but I must look after my mental health in these very demanding days.
Pushing myself sounds appealing ( especially because I am aware of the amount of work I have yet to do in order to make this dream truly come true ) but it would only be detrimental to my health and this year has been bad enough already.
When every single thing feels like a boulder on your shoulders, it is best to avoid the tasks and projects that have a certain amount of pressure attached to them and go back to doing things that make you feel grounded.
For me, that’s my polychromos pencils and my sketchbook.
Even though most of the things I have worked on these days were pencil drawings, it is a different feeling to work on proper drawings for my shop than it is to experiment in my sketchbook and forget about the world around me.
This is the new drawing that I have started in my sketchbook and, even though I haven’t done much work on it yet, I still wanted to write about it today.
It is a drawing of a rook, more focused on the wings than my usual drawings.
The amount of details in wings tend to scare me but since I have faced that fear already with the sparrow I drew last month, I decided it would be good for me to keep pushing in that direction.
Even though most of the things that I have worked on lately were done with my polychromos pencils, going back to my purples & blues hits differently.
I didn’t know it when I started it, but this is exactly what I need right now to keep going : feeling & feeding my roots.
The original purples
When I first had the idea to start sketching in my sketchbooks with coloured pencils, I went straight for violet as it is my favourite colour.
With the violet pencil only, it would not have been possible to add as much depth and details to the birds as it would have resulted in a “flat” drawing (so I thought anyways…). So, I paired it with a purple violet to work in some shadows and help bring the birds to life.
The first page that I worked on was the one where I started practicing to draw jackdaws.
I fell in love with this idea as soon as I was done with the first bird (I believe it was the one in the top left corner).
It brought a nice pop of colours in my sketchbook but also helped me work on adding subtle highlights/shadows.
Back then, I was really obsessed with jackdaws so it would have been easy for me to just keep going and keep filling page after page with monochromous jackdaws. However, with that exercise I had already went out of my comfort zone so why stop there ?
I knew that in order to keep getting better, I couldn’t just force myself into a box, so, for the next page, I decided to throw in some rooks and expand my colour palette.
Embracing the blues
The first rook I drew is the one in the middle of the page. Before I started it, I had to closely study rooks and understand what sets them apart.
The main feature that struck me was their beak : it has some whitish skin on the top which makes it look longer than it actually is and a little pouch under it (where I think they can store food?).
Quite an impressive beak compared to the jackdaws’ ! This is what prompted me to add more colours to my sketches as I thought they deserved to stand out properly.
I decided to add various shades of blue to my palette so I could learn how to highlight the true beauty of these birds.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but their wings can have a blue/purple sheen sometimes under the sunlight, which gives this choice of colours even more meaning !
The main blue that I used was a middle phtalo blue. It added a lot of brightness to the sketches and, although it was initially meant to be used just for the beaks, it soon was all over the place.
I quite randomly “sprinkled” this colour around along with the cobalt green and had I worked with more purpose, I could have done a better job.
To add a darker shade in both the blue and purple areas, I used a blue violet pencil. Along with it, I also used a black pencil which I thought was a nice way to let the “real” bird shine through. It helped me shape their beaks a little better as well as make their eyes pop.
Looking back at them, I am not sure if the black works as well as I thought it did but I am still really proud of them.
This was only supposed to be a pressure-free experiment after all.
My only objective was to get out of my comfort zone by drawing new birds with new colours without caring too much about the end result.
(As you can see, some of them don’t look too good. Ha ha! )
I honestly had no idea what I was doing with these sketches.
But when I re-did them for the bird postcards, I believe that I managed to make them look much much better.
For this new drawing, I want to try and use only dark indigo for the darkest parts instead of using black (but you never know where my hands might take me…).
The rest of my palette, as you can see in the picture, will pretty much remain the same although I am thinking of experimenting with some warmer colours too (such as brown or maybe a shade of red?).
I think that working on these wings will be a bit of a challenge, but that’s the reason why I started it in the first place ! I really want to master “my” birds, and only with practice and through trial and error will I ever be able to achieve that.
It is a bit scary at times to try and tackle something that feels so big and unknown and complicated to you but the only way forward is through the fear. You either use it as a fuel or you let it consume you.
It’s never really easy, although the more you do face your fears and get out of your comfort zone, the less scared you are to do it. Which reminds me of one of my favourite quotes :
All of my life, I’ve jumped off the cliff and built my wings. It works every single time. It never fails.Ray Bradbury
In the midst of all the mayhem & chaos that is engulfing me and shaking my mind up lately, drawing this rook with my favourite pencils has been a soothing experience ; almost like a warm embrace from a friend I haven’t seen in months.
I will keep updating you on the progress of this drawing on Instagram so don’t forget to follow me @chloerivsart if you haven’t already ♥
This is all i have for today ! I still am not able to devote as much of my energy or strength to all these things I love but I am happy to have been able to write this. I am also really happy to be working on this bird, no matter how slow a process it is/will be.
If you made it this far, let me know in the comments what your favourite colour(s) is/are. Mine are purple and yellow 🌈
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