#FebSketch: Illustrating Dreams | Skillshare Projects

Gina Dilg

Analog, Digital, Musical



#FebSketch: Illustrating Dreams

The Subconcious Creative

For this February's Sketch-A-Day challenge, I am choosing a limitation that is more related to subject. And by subject I mean the stuff that comes out of my brain while I'm sleeping. So, dreams. I have some of the most vivid and often unnerving dream-stories, sometimes taking a good length of time to describe to others. I am lucky to remember as much as I do, but have never taken the initiative to document them, even in a small way. Written journaling has never inspired me, but the idea of putting one image from a dream the night before is appealing. Each day I will sketch one image from a dream, likely in watercolor and ink, although I am open to trying to mediums in my small square Handbook journal. I am excited to see what happens, as these images are solely from my mind, and could lead to some fun creative ventures in the future.

Incorporating Daily Themes

I had to think about how I would incorporate the theme of the day to my chosen topic. Dreams don't exactly fit (even with some gratuitous stretching) thematically, as they do what they will and go in every direction at times. I decided that I will be focusing my energy as I fall asleep meditating on the given word/theme and see if it can affect my nightly adventures. With practice I believe it possible, or at least worth a try, but I certainly can't promise that these images will make sense much of the time.

Day 29: Leap

I dreamt that I found a white slip, and decided to put it on over my outfit, which was a blue sweater and blue skirt. The slip was tight over the blue skirt, and I felt very awkward, but went about the day without taking it off.


Day 28: Bliss

I return to my parked car from a music gig, and a race, or other event is going on in front of it. I apologize for leaving the car in the way, but the organizers tell me that the car is perfect for interrupting interference for their radios, and they want to know if they can use it for future events. They give me a giant pastry.


Day 27: Grow

Oh man, such a weird one! I had three adorable birds, and introduced a larger parrot to them. At first he started preening them and being very sweet. In a terrible flash, he swallowed one alive. It was awful.


Day 26: Magic

I mailed off my fiddle bow for repair, the hair came back braided. In the dream I thought it was pretty cool and hi-tech. It is wild what we take to be perfectly normal/natural in dreams that in reality would make no sense at all. It is a very good way to tap into some creative ideas, like these drawings.


Day 25: Safe

Another driving up the face of a mountain hoping not to fall backwards off the road dream! That can't be safe.


Day 24: Detail

One of my favorite sketches so far! I dreamt that I was late to turn in homework evaluating the different parts of a vacuum cleaner. The teacher told me I could turn it in late with a note from my husband excusing me. 

This is the first drawing of this project where I relied more heavily on strong pen lines and only a few colors of light watercolor wash. My sketchbook is a non-watercolor 'hand book,' so the lighter the wash the better for this journal. It holds up to the light wash pretty well. 


Day 23: Structure

I never like to go to bed right when I come home from work, although I get home late on the weekends after closing up a brewery as a bartender. If I don't unwind with some tea and reading, for example, I tend to have work stress dreams such as this one. I dreamt that there was a whole other side of the restaurant that I never knew about, and it was full of people that were waiting to be helped. They each got up and left, but not without writing some pretty dejected notes such as this one.


Day 22: Fear

It was difficult to get completely on board with the month of recording bits of dreams, because of how dark they tend to turn. I certainly don't wake up screaming very often, or unable to go back to sleep, but I was uneasy about paying more attention to them through this project. Meditating on the word "fear" was in itself asking for trouble, it seems.

This image is of a dreamwhere we were driving on a road called Intercontinental Drive, that I thought it would be fun to check out. The road proceeded to get steeper and steeper, although it was a two-lane road with plenty of traffic. At one point a truck slid off the side of the road across an intersection and was somehow able to catch itself before it fell off the face of the mountain. I looked out the window to see trees, all red, then orange, yellow... through the color spectrum to deep violet. They were relative to aspens in form, and very close together, passing by super fast. On the right side of the road, near to the crest of the hill we were scaling, was a roller coaster. I'm not fond of steep hills of roller coasters, so the fear theme was spot on last night.


Day 21: Dream

Running from a gunman of sorts, I hid amongst huge jars of candy in a room that doesn't seem quite a candy shop, but more a room in a mansion that is somehow full of giant glass jars. I notice after three weeks of recording bits of my dreams in sketches, I often tend to be running/hiding/escaping from something ominous. These also are mixed in with ridiculous or silly situations, such as the candy jars or the clarinet thieving.


Day 20: Precious

My husband and I are camping at a music festival, when he wakes me up and tells me that there was an opening in the schedule, and we'll be performing in one of the morning slots. It was great fun, and one of the better dreams that I've had through this month. This image is the product of a linoleum carving, which I dabble in on occasion. I didn't have very appropriate paper, so it is printed on watercolor paper.


Day 19: Theme:

I was given the task of stealing a world-famous clarinet and french horn. When I sneak in to steal the clarinet from the owner, he discovers me and goes on a murderous rampage. I also discover a room full of clarinet cases from floor to ceiling, leading me to believe that they are all decoy clarinets.


Day 18: Past

In my dream I owned a shack with rotting wooden walls, broken windows and a tin can that vents into the room that I called a "woodstove." Everyone told me I should tear it down, but I kept insisting that all it needed was some TLC.



Day 17: Nurture

I birthed a baby, thought it to be the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, then put her in a canvas shopping bag over my shoulder. The world split open and swallowed my Dad's house and land, while we all ran away.


Day 16: Depth

I was in a tennis match, but gave up and napped on the bench. I complained to someone that all I had were my busted KangaROOS, but the opponent had shoes for her different tactics, and would change them throughout the match.


Day 15: Balance

I am trying to escape the rounding up of people for who-knows-what. Execution or carting away for slavery, perhaps; whatever it is, I need to escape. I wander down super narrow hallways in a castle-like maze, and eventually make it to a swamp, which I need to navigate through.


Day 14: Gift

An astronaut wearing a crimson and black space suit holds up a penny. The penny starts to glow and levitates away from the astronaut. The coin shines brighter and brighter until the scene disappears in a giant ball of light.


Day 13: Open

The scene I preserved from my dream was floating down a river, past a restaurant in an inner tube.


Day 12: Space

A sign in front of antique store witin a store says "One At A Time Only." It means only one person is allowed behind the counter into the store. A friend of mine from work is inside, showing me things that I would like, but won't leave so that I can go inside myself.


Day 11: Perspective

Last night I dreamt of four green giant/trolls standing across the street. Which is certainly a different drawing perspective, at least. I feel that all of the dreams I have put things into perspective, by default, so that is an easy one to think about.


Day 10: Time

I was with my father in a desert, and he pointed out to me a stream of ants, pouring out across the sand. 


Day 9: Texture

In my dream, a strange insect was trying to get out from an enclosed screen porch. It had a furry head with long white teeth, and a long body/tail that was 8-10 inches. I opened the door to let it out, and it immediately doubled back, because it was raining. It started to furiously stab its teeth into the screen door, trying to get back inside.


Day 8: Memory

My earliest dream memory is from when I was five. I dreamt that the sorceror from Fantasia was trying to put a magical slipper on my foot. I remember waking up, screaming "No!" I woke up on the floor, and my foot was asleep.


Day 7: Composition

In my dream, I wanted to plant a garden in a huge patch of mud and torn up ground. The neighbor I was telling this to immediately went berserk and told me if I planted a garden, the ostriches would come.


Day 6: Comfort

After thinking of the word "comfort" before falling asleep, I dreamt that my sister and I were at the store buying 40 mangoes. I am all for it.


Day 5: Shadow

Four people are lined up against a wall, chained at the ankle. A firing squad stands at the ready; I watch from a distance. They are thieves, and didn't I take care of them somehow? Did I lead them to this fate, were they captured, and I left out of the sentence?

Three women and one tall, attractive man are waiting against the wall; the first woman tells the squad not to shoot her in the head, but instead to aim for her lungs, so that her body dies believing it ran out of air. The other women say nothing, but the man runs to me (despite his chains) and kisses me again and again saying "You are the cutest thing I've ever laid eyes on." He walks back to the wall again.


Day 4: Light

The dream last night was of swimming in a river at dusk, with a stranger standing on the shore. I created a very quick sketch for this one, using watercolor only.


Day 3: Music

Music has always taken a strong role in my life, since my parents started playing old-time music when I was young. I now play fiddle regularly, have played in numerous local bands (bluegrass and old-time) and our home holds more instruments than I have a number for. A few times, a song comes into my head while I'm sleeping that I don't recognize as one that I know, and maybe I've just written a song in my sleep, but now it's gone. This is one of the reasons I am trying to keep better documentation of dream-sleep.

Last night before I fell asleep, I thought briefly about music and its importance to me. I dreamt a lot. Naturally nothing super coherent, but three scenes I remembered better than the rest, and I remember that they all had sound, music behind them, like a not so well put-together soundtrack. During the first scene, the bass player of my old-time band (that hasn't got together in 8-10 months) told me that I was a bad person for forgetting about her, accompanied by sad violin music. She's wonderful in real life, by the way. In the second scene I am training with a master of unknown good/evil persuasion and I have seven minutes to pedal a stationary bike as hard as I can. I just watched Star Wars ep. VII last night, could be something inspired by that... That was set to action-oriented music, and I was convinced that it was Eye of the Tiger when I woke up, but I'm certain it was not that cliche. In the final scene I am fishing off a very tall canyon edge, into the water at the bottom. I catch a teeny fish, btw. Happy fiddle music to that one, until I fall into the canyon with no way of escaping, ever.

A long dream description, I don't expect to try and illustrate any more than one scene at a time in general. Don't want to lose steam before the week is out.


Day 2: Place

I did not wake up this morning with a good image in my head, so I decided to muse on the idea of home in my dreaming experience. Sometimes my "home" will look a lot like my own in my waking life, but more often it is almost unrecognizable. No matter what it looks like, or what random stairways or magical portals can be found, I always accept it as my home in the dream. Which makes me wonder what it means to be "home" to my subconcious...


Day 1: Root

I like to think that the images I preserve from my dreams are rooted in my subconcious creative that I don't often have access to. Tell me to create a picture of something, and I find it difficult much of the time to make something that feels truly unique to me. Not as my normal self would I think of painting wasps escaping from an open glove-box in a car. (So, a stretch for the theme today?)

This dream I don't remember much about, other than I went to get something from the glove box of my car and ended up covered in wasps, because, you know, that is where they decided to take up residence.



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