Live Encore: Illustrate a Time Capsule of Your Year | Samantha Dion Baker | Skillshare

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Live Encore: Illustrate a Time Capsule of Your Year

teacher avatar Samantha Dion Baker, Illustrator & Graphic Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Value of Time Capsules

    • 3. Class Materials

    • 4. Choosing What to Draw

    • 5. Drawing Memory #1

    • 6. Drawing Memory #2

    • 7. Drawing Memory #3

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Memorialize your year with a creative illustrated time capsule!

Illustrator Samantha Dion Baker has always been about drawing her day to create little illustrated memories, and in this activity, she’s taking things even further and sharing how to create a visual reflection of your whole year. 

In this 40-minute class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—she shares some guidelines and inspiration for creating your own illustrated time capsule. Samantha will also be working on her 2020 time capsule during class, giving you a peek behind the curtain of the various stages of her illustration process. 


Whether you’re an artist who wants to illustrate alongside Samantha, or you just want some prompts to write out a few reflections from the year, this is the perfect activity for memorializing the current moment while also looking forward to the future.


While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Meet Your Teacher

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Samantha Dion Baker

Illustrator & Graphic Designer


Samantha Dion Baker graduated from The Cooper Union in New York City and spent over 20 years working as a graphic designer. Now a full-time illustrator and artist, her favorite thing to do is wander the city streets and travel with her family, drawing all of the things she does, eats and sees on the pages of her sketch journal. Originally from Philadelphia, Samantha lives and works in Brooklyn with her husband and two boys.

She is best known for her daily sketch journal pages, which she shares with her ninety-eight thousand followers on her Instagram and which inspired her books: Draw Your Day, Draw Your Day Sketchbook, Draw Your World, and Draw Your Day For Kids! 


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1. Introduction: I hope that you not only feel inspired to create something in this class, but also just feel inspired to look to the teacher in a positive light. We can take so much that happened this year and learn from it, and think of goals and dreams for the future and how can we improve things. Hi. I'm Samantha Dion Baker. I'm an Author and an Artist and a Graphic Designer. I live in Brooklyn, New York. I created a lot of illustrations for many different clients, and you might have also seen my work in one of my two books; Draw Your Day and the Draw Your Day Sketchbook. Today we're going to be creating time capsules. Little treasures that we can open in a year's time, or six months, or three years wherever sort date you put on it. Back in June, I created a time capsule and I didn't even realize it was going to be a time capsule until after I was done creating this little [inaudible] cards. Then when I shared it on Instagram, I got really good feedback and I realized like, "Wow, this is something that everyone can do." It's just another version of drawing your day. You don't have to be an artist to do this, you can simply look at this class and be inspired and write a letter to yourself that you can read in a years time. You can follow along exactly. You can even take some inspiration from me, specific things that I'm drawing, or you can really just take any direction that you choose. It's really up to you. The idea is to focus on the now because I think that's really important, but really talk about everything that's happening now so that in the future, you will have something to reflect back on and see how things have changed. Just something to note, this class was recorded live and I was able to interact with the students as I was creating. I'm excited to get started. 2. The Value of Time Capsules: Hi everyone, welcome. My name is Jasmine. I will be your host today. Hello, super excited to have our teacher for the day, Samantha Dion Baker in the house. Samantha, could tell us a little bit about the time capsule, but also when you started doing this, and why did you feel compelled to share it with us today on the live session? Yeah. Well, you know, in a sense, everything I do and create in my sketch books is a time capsule. When I look back and flip through the pages, it takes me back and it speaks to my present self, from my past self. Then I can also see the growth and changes and marvel at how things have changed and how my kids have grown. That helps to speak to my future self as well and help me set goals and see what I really enjoy doing and what I want to improve on etc. This year has just been crazy. There's a lot of good things, but then it's just been intense and we all know. There was a time in June we were in lock down, and I had spent a lot of time to just going through these ebbs and flows of like creativity throughout all this. It started out, I was just making five little paintings about what was happening in the world. This is two friends speaking and one is a black woman and a white woman. I just felt like it was important to highlight how important it is that we have conversations about everything that was going on at that time. That was when this was all going on. It was just so poignant, then I saw this conversation happening and also just getting outside. What I did was I wrote a little something on the back. This is my son, Theo inside. Our apartment is small, we live in a New York City apartment and we just didn't have all the time, and it was just showing him watching TV. What else can we do? I wrote a little something about that. Some riots were going on, there was graffiti outside of our apartments, so I illustrated it and wrote about that. This is a bridge that goes into Brooklyn Bridge Park and you can see Manhattan in a distance. It had just opened again for us to walk over so I illustrated that, wrote about it, obviously that. None of the restaurants were open, but Butler, which is here and Dumbo, stayed open pretty much the whole time. Because they have this perfect setup with a window and this woman and her dog, it was so sweet. I wrote about that. Then I put it all in an envelope and decided to as well ask some questions. These are little questions that I already know some of the answers to because I wasn't really supposed to open it, but I did because of this class. I'll open some of these today, but are we still wearing masks? Are we eating at restaurants? Blah, blah, blah, things like that. It all goes in this tiny little envelope that I also made, and it was supposed to be tucked away and not opened again until June 2021. Well, I would love to know as we start to get ready to start creating our own. Who is this activity good for and should folks expect to have theirs finished by the end of this class? Okay, that's very important to understand. You do not have to draw like I did, to do this at all. You don't have to even illustrate anything. This can just be letters to yourself that you color and put patterns on or something, I mean, really anything goes. The idea is that we are making art, so we want to do something creative here. We want to express ourselves somehow, whether that's through color and collage. Painting flowers, painting ourselves a holiday greeting, and writing a letter on the back. I mean, really the possibilities and the rules are not there. There's no real rules. The idea is just that you're speaking about now and how you feel now and wrapping the year up in a whole. 3. Class Materials: To get started, I want to run through what you'll need to make your own illustrated time capsule. I chose to work a little bit bigger just so you can see what I'm doing. Not everything has to be mini. I only made the others small because I like working small and anything small is fun for me. But I'm working a little bigger today. These, I think are five by seven cards. They're watercolor paper. Yeah, they're card stock but honestly, anything will work. Just a pad of paper and you can just tear out pieces and fold them, put them in the same envelope. If you want to do what I'm doing, it's nice to have them all be the same size and to be any particular brand of paper. I mean, not necessarily. I have my favorites. I love Fabriano. I love Ache's. Anything hot pressed for me is better if you're water coloring using watercolor because I also use ink, and I want the ink to sit on the paper more. I personally, don't like cold-pressed paper, but it's a personal choice. Five, six, you can make 10 pieces. I'm doing five, so I have six here, but I've started some. Anyway, I know we like to have some guidelines, so five is a good number, I think, and an envelope that they can fit into. I actually decided to, because I just like making things and recycling things, I made my own envelope. You can get templates for how to make an envelope online. We can get into this at the end, but I'm making my own envelope and I'm also making like a little plaque for the front, which is similar to what I did on the smaller one. That's going to sort on top. What you want to use to create your artwork is totally up to you. I'm using pens. I have a Micron and my Copic multi liners, which are my favorite. I have favorite pens that I like to just write with is very different than drawing. Then I'm using these paints. They're Inktense paints by Derwent, and some water brushes only because it's easier not to have to deal with water while we're doing this. The water is in the brush. I'm sure you guys have seen these, and theirs just happen to be really good, these Derwent brushes. Caran d'Ache's water brushes are also great. What I like is that you push on them and the water comes out, there's a button. A pencil and eraser are important for me for the kind of work that I do, because I sometimes make mistakes when I'm planning things out. 4. Choosing What to Draw: Now let's talk about what you're going to choose to include in your time capsule. I'll just talk about why I'm choosing to do things and hopefully it inspires you. But these are things that are personal to me, and actually all of them probably speak to all one you in one way or another. I live in the city, so one is going to be about all the restaurants closing, which actually New York Magazine just posted about today, so sad. That might not be everybody's situation, but when you live in the city, these restaurants are life. I've got these all in levels of completion. One is these four little puppies, because my closest friends from high school, they all got puppies this year. I haven't met any of them because I don't live near any of them. But I'm the biggest animal lover and I don't have any animals, but just because our building doesn't allow dogs. I wrote about that, I just wrote about where they live and will I meet them, will I be seeing them by this time, will I have met them in real life by this time next year. I just wanted to draw them because it's fun. It's just, there's all the shelters and the breeders have been so busy this year because everybody's adopting animals. Brooklyn is filled with puppies, so I wrote a little bit about that on the backs. That's might first card, the second one is personal sort me but work, so if you have something going on with your work or you have a goal that you really want to accomplish by next year, this is the perfect time to speak about that and make predictions. I wrote here on the back and telling myself that I'm proud of me because we need to be proud of whatever happens. Look at it, and by this time next year my books will be out and I don't know what will happen. But I'm telling myself I'm proud of myself for getting through it. Then the third one is just a pattern of masks because they've just become such a part of our life. I'm going to ink that and paint that live and then the last two I'm going to do completely because I know people really like to see it from nothing. So I want to share that process. Pretty much for all of these, obviously not the dogs because I wanted them to look like my friend's dogs, I'm just drawing from memory and with no reference. I use photo reference for the dogs. You can use photo reference. You can draw from memory. One of the last two is going to be a quote and will be much more abstract. As I mentioned, you don't have to draw like I do for these. 5. Drawing Memory #1: Now let's start drawing. First, I'm going to ink and paint one of the drawings that I've already sketched. This one is the bandana thing, which I've heard you're not supposed to do. Even though I was all about the bandana in the beginning, apparently, they're not as safe, but I still see a lot of people wearing them. This one's like that, N90. What is it? N90 something. This one is like the one that I wear all the time. I get them from a store that makes fit me so well, and they have little floral patterns on them. I'm going to paint pink flowers on this one and it has an elastic band on it and that's why there's squiggly lines. Samantha, I was wondering, do you have any tips for folks for the inking step? Do I have tips? It comes with practice. I don't have a very steady hand and I've made that be part of my thing. I'm not a real expert cross hatcher or stapler. People who work in ink know what I'm talking about. I scribble. I would say I cross-hatch more. I just think it's something that comes with practice. I don't know if there is anything specific as far as. The other thing that's very personal is the nib, the thickness of the pen. What works for me is, I'm switching to this Micron PN plastic nib because for the lettering, I just want it to be a little bit thicker, and I like the way this one does the lettering. You can probably see the line. I don't know if you can see that, but the line is a little bit thicker. Are you self-taught or did you take class? Did you take classes being specific? Both. I went to a fine art school in design school and I went to one of the best schools for art, and I grew up in a family of artists and it's just been part of my life. But everything that I do now was really self-taught. I have a head start because of my education and background. But, I don't know really what I'm doing as far as, now I do now that I've been doing it for four or five years. But I really didn't. I came to Illustration without any real knowledge of the industry or how people supplied the artwork. Although I knew because I've been a designer, I don't know. I would say yes and no. All right, I'm going to paint this, and I'm going to paint it quickly because I want to move on to the other ones. While you paint that, or before you paint it, would you mind reminding us the brand of water brush that you like? Oh yes. These, I've been using them for a while. But they're Derwent, here, I don't know. They sent them to me. Can everybody see that? That's the brand Derwent. Everything I have is a little messy, sorry, it's like a big blob of something on there. But these paints, I should say they're not straight-up watercolors, they're Inktense paints, and so that means that basically, they're ink pigments in a paint form. They go down like gouache where once they dry, they go down a little bit like acrylic gouache, where once they're down, they dry flat and you can't re-wet them. Which some people might really like. I love it. But some people might not like that, and they're also just a little bit more intense than watercolors. I say that they're a cross between gouache and watercolor. I really, really like them, but they have taken a while to get used to. Alright, so I'm going to move on. I'll probably add some shadows, people who know my work know I like to put a little shadows, just so things pop, and I'll write about why I'm drawing all these face masks. It'll be obvious, not like I'm going to have to wonder in a year why I drew them, but just feelings around it and see if we are still wearing them. I'm just very curious how long we'll be wearing them after everyone hopefully gets a vaccine. 6. Drawing Memory #2: Next I'm going to start one of these from scratch so you can see the sketching stage as well. This next one, I'm going to make up a store front and put a sign on it that says closed, so sad. Hopefully I'll see more things opening this time next year than closing. The restaurant is going to be called Good Food, because I'm not talking about any specific restaurant. I'm sure there is a restaurant called Good Food. I guess they'll be some lamps inside and then see paper up, or I'm going to have like on the door. Well, I'll have them all have a note on the outside that says, thank you for your loyalty and business and blah, blah, blah. As I'm doing this part, I probably can talk. One person wants to know about the Palomino pencils that you're using and if they're worth the price point, would do you suggest them? Well, unfortunately, you have to buy boxes. I think that's probably what they're referring to, is that you can't really buy one, and I have to say, if you're like me, one pencil will last a long time. If you do invest in a box, and I do think it's worth it because their pencils are great, I would recommend, they now have it's called like the, I don't remember what it's called, it's a sampler, so they have four pencil grades. Blackwing doesn't follow like the standard pencil grading system, they have a really soft buttery one, which is the 602 and it's black, then they have a silver one that's firmer and then a white one, the Pearl, which is my favorite, which is mixed. Now they have one that is even firmer than the gray one. So it's personal which one you prefer. I like all, this one's the firmest, this is a special edition and now you can try them. I would recommend getting that set. Maybe we can put it in the resources or something when the class is over because I just don't remember what it's called. But you can go onto their website, Blackwing602 and probably easily find it. Yeah, there's some more questions specifically about the perspective and doing so quickly. Do you have any tips for folks on drawing perspective quickly? It's hard. Perspective is hard and I had to write about it in my next book that's coming out. It was one of the hardest sections to write, and write about briefly and concisely. I would say that the most important thing for perspective and proportions is that you just have to look at relative shapes and sizes. Everything has a relative. If you look at something in your subject, whether it's literally drawing like a bag to a landscape, every bit of that, of my face, every bit of my face, every shape is relative to another shape, like how much space does is take up compared to the space in that space. It's just a matter of really looking at that and seeing where things hit. I mean, you can learn the rules of perspective and study it. It's just something that literally can be learned because it's scientific. There's a horizon line and a vanishing point and all those lines meet and blah, blah, blah. But when it becomes innate, is after lots of practice and lots of looking. I always say if you're going to draw something, you have to spend as much more time looking at it than you think, and more time looking at your subject than your paper. A lot of people don't. They just start drawing and make assumptions. I mean, how I'm making this up from my head, yeah, it's just from practice. My perspective is not 100 percent accurate. Yeah, I can assure you. Another thing that I do is I don't always erase all my pencil, I like it there. I like leaving it, so you can see all the layers and history. I like that, but this time I'm erasing some. I'm going to paint now. I can try and answer more if there's anything. A lot of the New York storefronts look the same, the classic. When you look at something long enough, it becomes just in your brain. I've drawn a lot of storefronts. There was one question about your tiny lettering. What does it say? When you do tiny lettering in a sketch of a pencil, or for example, like a sketch of a pencil, how do you do that? Do you have any tips for tiny lettering? Tiny lettering. Yes. Well, some people just don't like to draw small and I do. You don't have to make things. Let's see. If you are trying to make something fit in a space, if that's whether big or small, it's nice to start with the letters on the end. Then you can count the letters and even draw the one that's in the middle, and then you fill in on each side. Because once you start, if you start on the left, you're going to draw them too big or you're going to draw them too small. When I sketch this in, I was off, so I did fix it when I was inking. But I've done this so many times, I know I have the foresight if you want to say, to know how much letters are going to fit in a space. I mess up all the time and that's why I always use a pencil. I would say start in pencil, and think about not just going left to right, but the plan. You plan and think about, okay, there's seven letters, what falls in the middle, and plan that middle letter, and then you can fill the others in. Is that helpful? I don't know. It's super helpful. Oh, my God. I've never even considered that. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to make a sign or a poster, and I get to the end, I'm like no, I had so much more to say. I mean, even if you just have three letters in this space, doesn't have to be a long word. If you draw that middle letter first in the center, and then the other two, you're going to probably do a better job if you start from left. Right. We've got another question about the water. What is the name of the watercolor set that you're using, and if you've tried different sets that you like? I've tried a lot. I love the little art palette that I created with our toolkit. But I really like it because not only is it small, when I like everything small so that I can take it on the go. I do recommend that you switch your blotting rag more than I do, because I'm not getting a clean gray here. I'm trying to get the gray for this sidewalk. What was I saying? I've totally forgotten what I was saying. What was I saying? You were telling us the different sets that you've used, and you said you like the one [inaudible] But the reason I like it is because it has Daniel Smith, really beautiful watercolors. I recommend a starter set of Daniel Smith. I still have about 10 of those little watercolor sets, so if anybody wants one, I haven't listed them in my shop, but you can e-mail me after this, and I can share it with you and sell you one. Yeah, I would say Daniel Smith. I like the handmade watercolors from Greenleaf & Blueberry and case for making. I like things that are hand-made. Hand-made watercolors are really nice. They usually have more granular qualities to them. Granular meaning they're literally like granular, sand quality, like little pieces of grit, if you want to call it. I like painting with them. I'm going to move on to the next one. But I'm going to finish this with more paint, and maybe I'll share it on my Instagram later, all of them. I'm going to move on, and I'm going to talk about why I'm drawing this, because of all the closed restaurants in the city. 7. Drawing Memory #3: Finally, I'm going to quickly include how you can incorporate lettering into your time capsule. The last one I was going to do a quote and just do for myself, talk in the back just overall reflection of the year. The quote was and I don't know the author to this. I found it and I don't know if there's an author, but it's like the author unknown quote. But I did not write it. It's, replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity, which is, I think it is really important for all of us because we're fearful still about how long this is going to go on and if the vaccine is going to work and blah, blah, everything. Are kids going to go back to school? Etc. It's just fun to look at the future in a positive light and just see, and I'll be curious about what will happen because things will get better. That's why I chose that. so I'm going to write it and this one was just going to be abstract aside from the quote. I think I'm going to write in the corner. All my lettering is based on my handwriting. Sometimes I'll go over the letters in pencil more or sometimes I'll just go right to ink because well, we don't have a lot of time, but I'll just start too. It's amazing how the time goes. Time flies when you're having fun, they say. Unknown quote. I know. Who said that first? Oh, and just a quick thing. Shout out to all the amazing people on the chat. Penelope Ward is the author of the quote you wrote. Oh, thank you. Yeah, thank you. Penelope Ward? Yes. Is the author of this one? If I heard that correctly. Or is it the author of time flies when you're having fun? [inaudible] in the chat and let us know. We need this one. Yes. Penelope ward. Oh, good. Thank you. I always want to give credit where credit is due. I don't want to take credit. Very, very important. Very important. Especially if somebody is like, I've gotten quotes wrong. I use them a lot and I've gotten them wrong and then there's also one that I love about rain and I still don't really know for sure who said it first. It was either Bob Dylan or Bob Marley and I love both of them, so I don't know. Did you hear that Bob Dylan just sold all his music to universal? No. Interesting. Yeah. One of those Bobs. Kind of one of the Bobs. It's, some people feel the rain, others just get wet. I like it. That's my lettering, we'll go over to [inaudible]. 8. Final Thoughts: That's all I have time for today and, I'm really happy you joined me. Thank you. It's important to know that there's no rush to this, and it might take a little bit of time for you to come up with exactly what you want to speak to your future self about, and what's going on right now. It doesn't have to be immediate. You can extend this over a week or even a few weeks and take your time. As you can see, I didn't get to finish mine, I'm going to take the time with it. Also, it's nice when you think about a year from now, you want to see what you created and feel good about it. Yeah, just take your time with this and make sure that you put it away somewhere safe. It's a good idea to set a calendar reminder because you might forget. Put it in your calendar for whenever you're finished, whenever your end date is so that you remember to go and find it on that date. One of the greatest things about Skillshare is that we get to see everybody's work. I really encourage you to share what you've created. If it's too personal, obviously, no need to share, but maybe the outside of your envelope you could share, or bits and pieces. We would love to see what you create. Now please drop your creations in the project gallery. I know I moved pretty quickly today and I couldn't cover everything. But if you would like to see more, you can check out my other class called Sketchbook Illustration For All. I hope you were inspired today and thank you so much for joining me, I had a really good time. Bye, everyone.