Observing Is Learning: From Still Life To Finding Your Style | Di Ujdi | Skillshare

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Observing Is Learning: From Still Life To Finding Your Style

teacher avatar Di Ujdi, Illustrator & Art Explorer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Why Observing?


    • 4.

      Still Life - Draw What You See


    • 5.

      Still Life - Sighting & Measuring


    • 6.

      Still Life - Final Drawing


    • 7.

      Find Your Style - Inspiration


    • 8.

      Find Your Style - Observe


    • 9.

      Still Life - In Your Style


    • 10.

      Thank You


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About This Class

The more you look in the right places, the more you observe, the more you rethink what you see the better you become at what you do.

Observing is one of the main skills that helped me improve throughout my very diverse creative career. And it’s actually something we often forget when we talk about practicing and learning.

So, in this class, I’m taking you on an observing adventure with a lot of practical exercises. I want to show you that you’re absolutely self-sufficient when it comes to overcoming creative obstacles and how you can easily make progress in your own pace and style.

Here is what we’ll do:

  • First of all, you’ll learn the real basics of observing the subjects you’re drawing. We’ll work on a still life study and we’ll practice measuring and drawing what we see.

  • In the next chapter, we’ll find what inspires us, what influences us, and dig deeper into finding and understanding our own artistic style. Also, we’ll see how we can learn and improve by observing the artworks that we love the most.

  • In the end, we’ll take what we learned and make a still life study illustration, but this time in our own style. 

No matter what you’re specifically interested in when it comes to visual arts, whether it’s illustration, painting, pattern design, or something else, this class is made in a way that you can reshape it to fit your own preferences.

Also, this class is absolutely beginner-friendly, but at the same time, it’s for all levels. So no matter what level you’re at it’s always good to brush up those skills and discover something new about yourself. 

By the way, you can use whatever medium you like working with, whether it’s traditional or digital, it’s your choice.

So, if all of this sounds like fun, then let’s get started.

Meet Your Teacher

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Di Ujdi

Illustrator & Art Explorer

Top Teacher

Hey! I'm Nina, even though most people know me by my artistic name Di Ujdi. I'm an illustrator and surface pattern designer.

With a big love for all things floral and natural, I enjoy depicting the world in a colorful, fun, and naive way. As an artist, I’m known for stylized illustrations and bold floral patterns. Besides spending time reimagining the world and finding new color palettes, I’m also proud to be a Skillshare top teacher and share my knowledge and passion with others. 

I was instantly drawn to Skillshare and its wonderful community. My biggest wish is to get to know more of you, share what I learned, and continue learning.

I hope I can encourage you and help you out on your creative jo... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Practice makes perfect. They say if you put enough hours, if you show up every day, if you're consistent, your skills will have to improve. But actually, that's not completely true. Don't get me wrong, all of this is good and important, but there is one part that is missing, and without it you can practice in vain for hours, months, or years, and of course, I'm talking about observing. Basically, practice makes perfect when you know how to observe and improve. By the way, I'm Nina, even though everyone knows me as Di Ujdi. I'm an artist, illustrator and pattern designer. In this class I want to show you one very useful learning method that will help you improve your everyday creative practice. No matter what you're specifically interested in when it comes to visual arts, whether it's illustration, painting, pattern design, or something else, this class is made in a way that you can reshape it to fit your own preferences. This learning adventure is going to be separated into three main chapters. First of all, I want to show you the real basics of observing the subjects you are drawing. We'll work on a still life study and we'll learn how to measure and draw what we see. In the next chapter, we'll find what inspires us, what influences us, and dig deeper into finding and understanding our own artistic style. Also, we'll see how we can learn and improve by observing the artworks that we love the most. In the end, we'll take what we learned and make a still life study illustration, but this time in our own style. This class is absolutely beginner friendly, but at the same time, it's for all levels. So no matter what level you're at, it's always good to brush up those skills and discover something new about yourself. Also, once you understand how observing while learning works, you'll see that you're absolutely self-sufficient when it comes to overcoming the obstacles and how easy it is to make progress in your own pace and style. By the way, for this class, you can use whatever medium you like working with, whether it's traditional or digital, it's your choice. If all of this sounds like fun, then let's get started. 2. Project: The project for this class will be separated into three different parts, just like the class itself. The first part of the project will be to make a sketch of a still life study. You can do it by arranging your own still life composition or you can also use my still life photographs. I will add them to the project resources section and I'll provide different arrangements from easy ones to more complex ones so that you can pick the one that suits you best. The second part of the project is finding inspiration and understanding what we like about it and how can we learn from it. At the same time, we will find out more about ourselves and our own artistic style. As you'll see, we'll be looking for inspiration in more genuine places that are true to ourselves like our own bookshelves and the third part of a project is basically taking everything we learned and creating a still life illustration, drawing, or painting, but this time in our own style. You might finish this project in one day or three days or more. It doesn't matter. All that matters is to dig deeper and observe. When you finish, click on the Create Project Button. Add all three parts of your observing journey and tell us something about your process and what you've learned. Not only will you inspire all of us, but you'll be also proud and inspired by seeing your own collection of work and you're amazing progress in one place and remember, the most valuable thing is progress, not perfection. I cannot wait to see what you'll make. Let's start observing. 3. Why Observing?: I haven't finished the Academy of Fine Arts. I went to study languages and literature, but I learned my art basics while going to high school for art and graphic design, and the most important skill I acquired was to observe, that skill not only helped me advance in my pursuit of a career in visual arts, but also my other spheres of work like writing a book. Take this as an example. If you're only reading books because you're enjoying the story and you're excited about what's going to happen or how it is going to finish, but you're not paying attention at what the writer is intentionally doing to make all of that happen. That means you're reading books for enjoyment, for learning more about the era, to get inspired, to be moved, but you are not observing them in their essence, and that's fine. If you're not an aspiring writer, why would you bother with all those details? But in case you read a lot of books in that manner, didn't observe, and now you want to write a book of your own. How would you do it? How would you start? How would you introduce characters? This one is tricky, how would you distract your smart readers and then surprise them? You basically haven't got a clue because you didn't pay attention while reading other people's work, you didn't observe. The same thing happens with visual arts. The more you'll look in the right places, the more you observe, the more you rethink what you see, the better you become at what you do. Basically, while making art, our process is mostly about being creative with solving problems. This probably sounds like math, but it's true we are solving problems of visualizing our ideas. If you're a beginner and not experienced, you might go to classes and ask your mentors to suggest solutions, and once that's finished, it looks like you're on your own with new ideas and new problems. Luckily, that's not really the case because so many people before you and around you solve the same problems. It's just a matter of knowing where to look for answers. Learning to observe is the most sustainable skill you need to develop as an artist. But observing doesn't start with what other artists have done. It starts with you and the world around you. If you follow the example about writing a book, the first step to be a writer is to live and experience the world and its relations. To be a good artist, you first need to learn how to observe shapes and forms. Understand their relation to each other, and translate everything you see into drawing. That's exactly what we're going to start with. Grab your paper and pen, and I'll see you in the next video. 4. Still Life - Draw What You See: As you can see, I've gathered some objects that I found at home and I made a diverse selection. I pick them in different sizes and would interesting forms. Now that I have a table full of all sorts of home treasures, I can start playing with them and arranging compositions that we're going to draw. Creating the still-life composition is as exciting as drawing it. Because it actually feels like you're creating the peace of physical art just by gathering these objects together and placing them in relation to one another. At this point, you can arrange your own still-life composition from objects you have at home, or you can use mine. I'm creating the few different still-life arrangements, varying in their complexity from easy ones to more complex ones. I'll photograph them for you and you will find them in the class three resources section where you can download them and use them for your still-life drawing. Of course, pick the one that suits you best. If you're a beginner, pick the easy ones, and if you're experienced, start with more complex ones. With that being said, I absolutely encourage you to create your own still-life composition. Because it will be completely different experience to sit in front of it, to observe it from a distance, to measure it, and then create a final drawing. The still life that I'll be drawing for this class is going to be a simple one because I want to be able to cover all the important basics. Now that I've arranged the composition that I'll be working with, I can make my drawing setup. Since I don't have an easel, I can just use two chairs. One is for sitting and another one for holding my drawing board. I'll need a pen eraser, ruler and a simple chopstick for measuring. I will explain more about it later. By the way, this board is nothing fancy, it's just a piece of wood that is going to hold my paper in the upper position. The main reason for this whole setup is to be able to create a more accurate drawing, have a better view point, and also to be able to measure correctly with my arm in a straight position. Besides all that, as an addition, I'll be using a photograph of this composition that is taken from the same viewpoint. It's going to be my guide in the first phases of drawing because it's going to help me better visualize where to place objects on the paper. I've drawn a grid system on my photograph by dividing it horizontally and vertically in half, and then dividing those four parts in half once more. Now I'm going to do the same thing on the paper. It's not at all necessary to do all this, to use a photograph and a grid. But if you're a beginner, it can help you a lot in these first stages, where you are not confident how and where to start with a completely blank piece of paper. All right, we can all start observing, measuring, and drawing. 5. Still Life - Sighting & Measuring: The best thing to do before starting to draw anything is to take a few moments to observe your still-life composition. Observe it as a whole, and observe objects one-by-one. There might be a lot going on, but at this stage, it's best to visually simplify what you see. Let's observe these objects and pinpoint some main characteristics and try to convert them into simple geometric forms. For example, we can see an apple as an ellipse or a circle. This vase is very simple, it's made out of two straight lines that are at a certain angle, and it has a top that is a bit wider and rounded. Out of all these objects, this pot is the most difficult to draw. It has different width points that we need to measure, the top, bottom, and the widest point. It has a handle that is rounded and at an angle, and also a slightly rounded upper opening. I would really need to be delicate when drawing that without exaggerating it. Only know as a start, I will simplify these objects in my mind, just like I'm showing you in this example. I'm also observing how they're positioned in relation to one another. It looks like the apple and the pot are placed on the same bottom line, while the vase is a bit further from them, and I'm also observing their height. By the way, in this class we're making just a line drawing of this still life, so that is why I'm focusing and I will be focusing on the forms, and now the material of these objects, textures, or shading. Before even getting into measuring everything and drawing it correctly, I'll start by making a freehand sketch. I'm just going to sketch this composition by looking at the still life in front of me and also by looking at a photograph with a grid. You might want to get into drawing accurately right away, but believe me, this initial freehand sketch, however it may turn out, is such a helpful way to start. Some of the reasons are to train your eye to observe and get a better feel for the space on your paper and see where and how you can position everything. Another reason is also to be more relaxed with starting this drawing task. The point is not to grab a pencil, start drawing, and make it perfect. The point is to search for it. That's why we're starting with a very loose search for the shapes, or better known as a very loose sketch, and from there, step-by-step, we're going to define them more and more. As you can see, I'm not getting into details, I'm just making a very rough sketch of simplified objects and I'm focusing on their placement and overall look. The reason why a photograph with a grid is a great guide right now is because it visually helps me observe where these objects are and where I can place them on the paper. The sketch is finished, I have my base, my starting point, and I can now start measuring. When it comes to measuring, I'll be using a simple chopstick. You can also use a pencil for this. Chopsticks just work better for me because they're a bit thinner and have no marks on them, and I did make sure to find the straight one. Anyway, this is a traditional measuring method and it has been used throughout art history. What we are going to do is to measure by comparing, so I'll pick the apple as my main object, or let's call it a reference object because it's not too big and it's not too small, and I can compare everything else to it. I will keep my arms straight in front of me and also hold the chopstick in the straight upper position, and I can slide my finger to determine the width of the apple. While I'm holding the width with my finger on the chopstick, I can determine the height of the apple, the width of the whole composition, the height of the pot, and basically everything else that I'm seeing so that I can draw this composition accurately. Now that I've determined that the width of the apple is my measuring reference, I can mark that on the paper to create a starting point. I'll just mark it once more a bit below to make it easier for you to see, and I'll also divide it into thirds to be able to show you how I'm measuring. You can think of it as creating your ruler. Let's see how we can start building everything else only by using this measure, so let's measure again. What I can see is that the width of the apple is more or less the same as the height of the apple. If you asked me before I measure that, I really wouldn't guess. That's why this practice is so important. The next thing I want to determine is the width of the whole composition, and I can see that it's in total three apples and around two-thirds of an apple. Please note that since we are measuring from a distance with a measuring stick, it's not going to be perfectly accurate as if we did it by using a ruler on photograph, and that is completely fine because we're observing and drawing, and not making a perfect replica. Now I can mark all that on the paper. First of all, I'll take the measure of the width that I've created and since the height of the apple is the same, I can just place a chopstick vertically and make marks, and this little ruler I made is getting in a way, so I'll just quickly move it down. Now I'll mark the width of the composition in the same way by using a chopstick and holding the measure of the width of the apple that I have on the paper. I can now just measure two more apples, and two-thirds of the apple, and mark that, and there you go. Now I have a complete measure of the whole width of this still life. The next thing I'm going to measure is the widest point of the pot and the height of the pot. As you can see, the bottom position is already determined because it's the same as the position of the apple, so the width is less than two apples and the height is more than two apples. Again, I'm going to mark that on the paper. I'll also draw a vertical line in the center of the pot so that I can later correctly place the bottom part and the top part. Now, let's measure the top part and the bottom part, and as you can see, the bottom part is just slightly bigger than the top part. I'll mark the top part and connect it to the widest points and then I can just pull down two vertical lines. Now I can mark the bottom part that is slightly bigger and connect everything, and here we have the measured pot. The only thing left is the handle and here's how I'm measuring it. I will look at the overall width and height, and I will mark that on the paper and make a loose sketch. Now let's measure the height of the vase. This is a bit tricky because we still haven't determined where the bottom part is, but I can measure the height of the vase with another starting point that is already determined, and that's the upper part of the pot, and now we have the overall height. This is a great example because while measuring our still-life composition, we're not solely focusing on objects individually, but we're comparing them and observing them together. Now I can continue to measure the whole height of the vase and the width of the upper lid. I will just mark all that and the vase will be almost completed. As you can see, what I'm missing are the sides and the bottom part. Since I cannot see this object completely because one part of it is hidden, I'm not sure of the measurement of the bottom part, so for that I'll use my measuring stick, but this time to determine the angles. Just as I did when measuring the objects, I'll take the chopstick and now to determine the angles, I'll move it to fit the exact angle of the object. I can determine the angles on the both sides of the vase, also I can determine the angles of the pot handle. But not only that, I can use this technique to check whether my drawing is accurate and whether everything is placed correctly. To do that, I can use angles to find touching points of the objects. The way you're going to mark the angle that you've determined with a measuring stick is very easy. Just hold your arm straight, keep the stick in the position of that angle, and move your arm to the paper without bending the arm and without moving the measuring stick while placing it on the paper. Now that I've determined the angles of the vase, I can mark that, and as you can see in this way I determined the width of the bottom part of the vase. I'll just continue doing the same thing for the pot handle, and I also check everything else I drew by using angles and finding the touching points of the objects. Now is the time to take a better look at everything and see if there is something I can fix. For example, I notice that a vertical line that divides the pot is not placed correctly in the center, so the pot doesn't look symmetrical and I need to fix that. Just take your time here and make some refinements. The measurement sketch is finished since I drew using bold lines to make it visible while filming, and also because I guess I'm that person that still cannot make a fine light sketch. I'll just trace this drawing on another paper. It's going to be a lot easier to continue with the final drawing without all these distractions. I don't have a lighting pad which would be useful in this situation. Instead, I'll just use a window. I think my whole composition could be moved a bit to the right, so I'll correct that at this stage by placing the top paper where I want it to be. That's definitely a lot easier than erasing everything and drawing again. I'll finish this and I'll see you in the next video where I'll start my final drawing. 6. Still Life - Final Drawing: The sketch is traced. I can start refining it and creating a final drawing. The most important thing at this stage is to stop yourself from trying to find the exact shapes of these objects right away. It's really hard to draw three lines and expect that you're going to create the correct shape of your object. I'm saying this because I remember myself as a beginner who had this unrealistic expectation. I guess it's possible for someone who has been doing this for the past 30 years, every day. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but you get the point, it's not realistic. At this moment, observe the objects you're drawing and make as many soft lines as you need while searching for the accurate shape. The more of these lines you're drawing, the closer you'll be at finding it. Once the object is getting closer to looking like what you're observing, you raise the parts that are not leading you in the right direction. Basically, repeat this along the way. Draw soft lines and erase, the ones that are not correct. Another important thing is to try and focus on all of the objects with the same care and attention and draw them at a somewhat same pace. That way, you'll get a better feel for everything you are drying as a whole. Work a bit on one object, then switch to another, and then you can come back to the previous one. This really helps because once you leave it for a bit and come back to it, you can observe it with a fresh look and determine what's wrong and what's right. That also leads us to one final important thing, and that's getting obsessed with some parts of the drawing or getting obsessed with some particular details, and that's something I'm absolutely guilty of. It happens to me when I'm drawing some challenging parts and I'm simply not managing to draw them correctly. Which in this case is a lid of the pot. At that point, I raise and try over and over again, but the best thing to do is to snap out of it, shift your focus on something else and come back to it later. If you're not sure how to correct some parts of your drawing, it's also good to stop drawing, take a short break, then start again. When our eyes are focused on one small part, we're so immersed in that, and we start drawing it by memory and not by observing the still-life composition in front of us. By the away, I guess the lids are the most tricky part in this still life composition because from this point of view, they're made out of very slightly curved lines. I remember that drawing them as wide ellipsis was the most common mistake when I was in art school. I'm making some final touches to the drawing, erasing some parts and just refining it. At this point, the unreasonable part my brain is telling me that I should work on it for another 2-3 hours to make it perfect. But my more reasonable part of the brain is telling me that it's absolutely fine for now. I do value progress a lot more than the overall perfection. To wrap this all up, here are some critical thoughts about this drawing, when I look at it after some time, and when I compare it to the still-life composition. All the shapes are pretty much correct but the upper lids of the pot is not straight. You can see that the right part of it is a bit off. Also, the whole pot could be slightly wider and a vase could be just a bit more narrow. But overall, everything looks great and I'm super happy with the port handle. Yeah, that's it for the still life study drawing practice, and now let's start with a search for things that inspire us. 7. Find Your Style - Inspiration: In the previous parts, we went through the basics and observed the real life objects and learn how to visualize them accurately in our sketch, is the most basic and the most important first step in our observing adventure. Now we can start the second part of the class and do some fun research about things we love. Let's find out what inspires us and why. I know that most of you like myself search for inspiration on Pinterest and I love Pinterest to bits. But I also figured that Pinterest, like any internet search engine, is all about the algorithm and it naturally shows and matches things related to what you already pinned. That means that some images are not shown to you because you haven't intentionally searched or pinned in the right direction and therefore you haven't discovered them. On the other hand, Pinterest can even be a bit overwhelming. I guess that you like me spent more than a few hours getting lost with all those images. One image led to another, and in the end, you forgot what you were looking for in the beginning. For this fine research, we're going to use things we own, things we keep and love, things we have at our home. I feel like there is a reason for every book you kept because you loved the cover or every children's book you loved when you were little and you still feel attached to it because of its illustrations. Maybe you're like me and you like buying and drifting books filled with art images. On the other hand maybe you're keeping a piece of fabric or a piece of clothing because of its pattern. Basically, for this part of the project, we are going to gather all those things we love because we're visually attached to them. It can be books, fabrics, clothing, stationary, prints, works of art from your favorite artists. You name it, but remember it has to be something you really, really like and a feel attached to, but it doesn't necessarily need to match your art style. Basically, we are going to make our own inspirational algorithm and take a good look at our collection to see what we can observe. By the way, if you're not at home and you don't have these things or your inspiration is gathered in your favorite Pinterest board. Using the internet to find your inspiration will be absolutely fine. Start your little treasure hunt, and I'll see you in the next video where we're going to take a better look at what we have, observe it, decomposition it, and learn more about ourselves and styles were drawn to. 8. Find Your Style - Observe: Let me start this part by saying, "Good artists copy, great artists steal." You've probably heard this phrase before. It's a famous quote by Pablo Picasso, but he was not the only one to voice it. Also TS Eliot, Igor Stravinsky, and William Faulkner said the same thing in their own versions and many more after them repeated it. What does it actually mean? It took me quite a while to grasp its deeper meaning. When you're copying someone else artwork, you're doing it word by word, stroke by stroke, color by color. Some people do it intentionally, which is a very bad practice, and some people, mostly beginners tend to do it unintentionally because they're inexperienced. When they say steal, they are not talking about stealing the whole artwork. They're talking about stealing ideas behind it. You see, to be a great artist, you need to get on that level of understanding the ideas, to be even able to steal them, or let's say apply them into your own work and in your own way, any artist in art history or any current artist, has learned from others before them and others around them. We are never and will never be absolutely unique in that sense. What makes us original is that, we're pulling goal that's inspiration and information from all those different sources unique to our own preferences. We're pulling them through our own life experiences and creating something new and true to ourselves. If you remember at the beginning, I said that making art is basically solving visual problems, while stealing ideas is observing and understanding how others overcame those same problems, so that you can use their knowledge to learn and improve. Let's put this concept into practice. Now that you've gathered your inspiration collection, grab a notebook and a pen so that you can take notes. These will be an excellent reminder for later. Here are the main things we'll consider while looking at our inspiration. Perspective, colored collect, shading or no shading, line work or no line work, simplicity or complexity, problem-solving, and overall observations. Depending on what you have, some things will apply and some want. Just take this as a general guideline and see what you can observe in what you have. Let's start with this book called a step into the world of modern art, is a book for kids filled mostly with the art from the first half of the 20th century. I think that sometimes it's good to step away from a computer and [inaudible] some books or visit curated exhibitions because you never know what you'll find are what is going to find you. In this book, I found a painting by Giorgio de Chirico that I was very much drawn to when I was in high school. I remember I chose it for project and a class of visual observation. This painting here is in black and white by the original, is in color. When I look at this painting, I want to understand why I like it so much. I think that the main thing that makes it very interesting to me is this illogical perspective and how the artist play with it. That is what I am going to write down in my notebook. Realistic illustrations or paintings are not really my thing. I always prefer to see something a bit out of the ordinary, and that is what I tried to do for my work as much as I can. Now let's move on to the next one. This one I saw in this book for the first time. The work is called American city by [inaudible] model. This wants stood out for me in an instant. First of all, what inspires me the most are the colors, especially this red orange color, in combination with a pink color. Both are super vibrant and on the opposite are the light blue and grayish green. Also, I love the boldness of the black windows that are not perfect and the use of outlines. Finally, the perspective is flat. There is no shading and no dimension. You can see that even though this painting and the previous one look completely different, they have something in common that inspires me, and by observing them closer, I can understand why. You guys, this is basically my favorite art book. It's about Mexican street art. What I love about it is that it doesn't have a collection of artworks made by established artists. It's a collection of all the artwork from the walls of Mexico, whether they were intended to be a piece of art or not. But away my own interest in art actually started with street art and I did it for almost 10 years here in Belgrade where I live. Most of the art captured in this book are painted shop fronts, shop signs on the walls, or design package advertisements. What I love about this art is that it can tell him more truthful visual story about the people and their culture. Much more than any polished ads we see on a daily basis. This one is for a fruit shop. I know that most people might be shocked by my fascination with this one, but I find it to be absolutely genius. When I saw this, I just loved the idea. I loved how the artist came up with this visual representation of a cut out watermelon. It looks very free, unusual. It's not at all what we are used to when we imagine or illustrate a cut out watermelon. Besides that, I find that the difference in the size of a large watermelon and the small cut-out piece is making this whole painting very playful. I think there's so much to learn from amateur or naive works of art. Sometimes when we start creating artwork and we want to make you to be our profession, we tend to set a lot of boundaries to what we do. They teach us in school what is right or wrong, what is desired and what isn't. I'm absolutely for learning the basics, but it's also great to break those rules. That's why I love any kind of art expression. I love how kids are drawing because they don't know how to make it realistic, but they use their imagination to recreate reality in their own way. The same thing goes with these amazing works of street art in Mexico. The next one, also from this book is a painted sign for an upholstery shop. I was amazed by its simplicity and line work. What makes this line work wonderful is that first of all, the boldness of the outline changes. It's not unified and it's very heavy in texture. I love seeing all those messy textured parts. Some of them are acting as shading of some sorts and some of them are just like that. Also the perspective is not at all correct, and I love the playfulness of that. When I'm drawing, I like to play with twisting the perspective and switching the viewpoints. You can spot that here by looking at the left arm rest, that shouldn't be that visible to us, and also by looking at this lovely table. Here is my favorite book with children's illustrations. It's a very old ABC book from my country, Serbia, but it was made during the time of Yugoslavia. I think this one is from the 60s. I love it the style of the artist Marko Kuzmanovic very much. I think he's using wash and ink. This style is so simple and filled with the most beautiful inclined work. What makes everything so special for me, is how he adds the ink details very freely and in the right places. Let's take a look at this one. The first thing that caught my eye was the illustration of the fruit and vegetables, and the line work that is defining them. It feels very natural, but at the same time it has some sculptural geometric quality. You can spot that on the cabbage illustration, and you can also clearly see that characteristic on the bowl next to the cabbage. It has sharp and strong coroner's, it reminds me of something I like to achieve when making paper cutouts. Also, another thing I love, like in the previous examples is again, this impossible perspective that you can see on the bowl. If it was realistic, the bottom part would, of course never be visible. Before we move to the next page, just take a look at this small but important detail that I find absolutely genius. It's a play with negative space. In this case, a white sky that connects with a white wall of the house. This is a great technique to use to connect your elements visually without interrupting an overall flow, especially if you have a bigger flat surface. He left a little hole in between the fence and the end of the wall, and now when we see it, we know that that's where to house wall ends, but still it feels like a delicate part of the sky. As you can see on the next page in the upper-right corner, there is the same example of how you can play with the negative space or any larger part of some surface. In this case, the artist connected sky with a road that goes through fields. This visually separates the green fields, the larger green surface in a very smart way and connect the sky with the rest of the illustration. Before we finish with this book, Let me mention how playful this city looks. It's made in the seemingly flat perspective, but unlike the painting, the American city that I showed you, where everything was flat, here you can see that he adds dimension with very unusual shifting viewpoints, he does that with shapes, with different colors and by defining it with ink. You can see all that very clearly on the buildings, the bridge and this trolley bus. In conclusion, I cannot get enough of this book, but it's time that we move on to the next one. Most of my work recently is very much focused on patterns, especially floral patterns. Unlike so many of you, I'm very much inspired by the work of textile design from the late 19th century. In this book, there are works of William Morris, who is the most famous one and many others that created during the arts and crafts era. My goal is not to create in that exact style, but I know there are a lot of things I can learn from them and incorporate in my more vintage modern patterns. What I'm most inspired when it comes to these patterns, besides stunningly beautiful, intricate florals, is the limited use of colors. Back then, they obviously couldn't print digitally, so, their designs depended on the printing technique. The technique they were using, whether it was roller printing or woodblock printing had its limitations, and not only that, the more colors the print has, the more expensive it was. In both of these examples, I can see that the artist used the same color of the background for the main outline of the flowers and leaves. You can see that where the cells are touching the leaves or flowers, they're separated by white outlines. I sometimes find it hard to find the best way to separate the elements in the same color when they overlap or touch each other. This is one of the possible solutions to that problem. Besides that, it's also great to take a closer look at how the artist used the color. On the left page, I can spot that he used the same grayish blue color for the second smaller flower and also for the other side of the main green leaf. I find that to be a very subtle and delicate choice. Here is the last book I'll be showing you. It's not the whole book, but just the on-page art that I'm obsessed with. I know that you've probably already spotted the entire pattern of my inspiration and what I love seeing. This artwork comes as no surprise. It's a simple illustration in two colors. I'm currently in love with a light pink and red or orange color combinations. When I saw this, I couldn't stop looking at it. I really like this retro style of illustration and printing technique they used. Like in the previous example of the patterns, the elements looked like they're carved stamps. The outline that we see, is in the same color as the background and it's very effective. I hope you enjoy seeing my selected inspiration collection. You can use this as an example of how to observe your own inspiration and how to see and understand things you love when it comes to someone else's artwork. I also hope you'll be taking notes because I want to hear all about it. By the way, if you look at my artwork on Instagram, I'm sure you'll find some similarities with what I was talking about here, and if you do, I would love to hear what you observed. All right. Now let's start creating a still-life illustration in our own style. 9. Still Life - In Your Style: Everything you observed and wrote down is true to you, and it will help you as a guide for making this illustration. If you're not sure how to start, or you're thinking that you should now have a completely clear vision of your own artistic style, especially, if you're a beginner, please don't be fooled by that idea. It doesn't work like that. Just let yourself experiment, be free, make something you personally, would love to see at this moment, and don't set any expectations. Just try different things and see where that leads you. Go through your notes again, place them somewhere where you can read them, and let's start creating this Still Life illustration in our own style. At this point, you can use any medium you like working with. I'll create this illustration in a digital form with the iPad and the app Procreate. I will talk mostly about my thought process and I won't go into specific details about how I use this app. As you can see, I'm starting with a sketch of objects. I'm not really looking at anything as a reference for drawing, but I am inspired by the objects I showed you before, especially the blue metal pot. What I'm really focused on right now, are the shapes and how they work together. I want the whole composition to be balanced, but I also want to create a size difference in between these shapes. I'll have the biggest one which is the bottle, the teapot is the middle one, and also the one with more details. It has a handle, a lid. Then, in the center, I'll have this more complex fruit stand bowl with apples. You can also see that my objects are exaggerated and not perfect or symmetrical, and that's also something I like playing with because it makes it a bit naive. Now that I finished the first step of refining the sketch and created my objects as solid color shapes, I can take a better look again at the whole composition and see what I can do next. I will reposition them a bit, because I think that it would look more effective if the teapot and the bottle are closer to each other, and through that overlapping, I can make a tea pot handle to be more visible, while making a flat surface of the bottle more interesting. At this point, I also had an idea to make the fruit stand in the same color as the background and make them connect. The fruit stand has the perfect shape for that. As you can remember, there is something we saw in that illustrated ABC book, and now by being inspired by it, I'm applying it to my illustration in a completely different way. I could leave the whole background in one color, but I think it will look more dynamic to add another color, and in that way, I can also create a visual space in which these objects are existing. Now, I have the table and the wall, and I'm still keeping the previous idea of connecting the fruit stand with the background. You can also see that I haven't perfectly centered the whole composition, instead, I left a bit more empty space on the right. I feel that slightly breaking rules can make an illustration a bit unusual and interesting. Now is the time to refine everything again. I will add some textured line work, but only in some places that really need it. Here, I'm mostly inspired by the last book I showed you with the on-page art in a light pink and red. I'm also keeping everything in a very limited color palette and using only four colors. It's always fun to play with not a lot of colors and figure out how they can relate to each other, create contrast, or define the space between them. In the end, it's time to take another critical look at everything I did and start making some final adjustments and changes. The teapot handle looks a bit strange when I take a better look, so I will redraw it, and I will also position it a bit lower so it's in the balance with the start of the bottom part of the teapot lid. Finally, I will pick my final color palette and add some additional texture on top. In the end, I decided to recolor the apples in a more red-orange tone, because having them in the orange color, that I used as the background, wasn't that effective for me. With this change, I can see that they really stood out in the foreground. This is the finished Still Life illustration in my style. I really enjoyed creating it, and I cannot wait to see what you'll make. 10. Thank You: Hey, again. I just wanted to say thank you very much for spending all this time with me and watching the class. I hope you enjoyed this class, and that you've learned something valuable that you can apply to everyday creative practice. We went through drawing a still life sketch to digging deeper into what inspires us and how we can learn from it. In the end, we made the final still life study in our style. Once you've finished all three parts of this project, share it. Create a little project puzzle to show your whole process. I'm very much looking forward to it. It's really great that we can support and inspire each other here. By the way, don't forget to rate and review this class, I would love to hear what you think. As always, if you have any questions or something I was showing wasn't clear, feel free to ask anything in the discussion section of this class and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. To get notified about my next classes, follow me here on Skillshare and you can also keep in touch with me on Instagram at Diujdi. I'm sending you lots of love and good vibes, and I'll see you in the next one.