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One Month of Daily Sketching... by Olivia

2016-04-12: White blossoms. I think it's still a bit awkward, and that I still need to practice, but it was a great experiment. I'll do it again!

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2016-04-07: Here is my version of a yellow blossoming tree, with Elisa's advices :

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WORKSHOP - MARCH 2016

Hi, everybody, and especially Elisa, which I'd love to thank for this workshop and these opportunities of really seeing the life around me, which, I'm sure, will enhance my drawing skills !

Ok, first attempt to make a daily drawing challenge... I'm a bit excited, and I hope I will hang on to it !

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I liked sharing with you all my daily sketches, so I share my day #35 with you!

It's a very beautiful flower I saw in a garden. I took a picture of it, and sketched it back home. It's nearly a routine now : while my husband watches TV, I sit at the table near him, and sketch. It's very pleasant because we are close to each other while doing the things we love to do.

I only miss ideas sometimes... That was great when Elisa said us what to sketch! I sur will take that habit too, to sketch unusual things!

So, I offer you all that flower. Take care, everyone, that was really great to spend that time with you and to share a bit of your lives, wherever you are in the world!

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Day#31: what captures my senses...

I sketched a man I saw a few weeks ago, standing just by my window, playing his barrel organ. I already met him a few days before in the street. He was walking and playing, pushing his instrument in front of him and with his wife with him, and he played... Just for making music (and a little money, too), and that gave me such a feeling of joy! I don't know exactly why, but that surely captures my senses a lot! The barrel organ itself was beautiful, and these people were beautiful too, in their way. I've got almost nothing to give them, but they thanked me warmly. I will for sure remember this moment for a long time. Simple but... human, I think this is the fact that touches me so deeply.

Comments on the sketch : oups, I failed on the perpective, again! And I'll surely add a shadow under the barrel organ, but tomorrow, it's time for me to go to bed! :D

To end this incredible month of learning from each other and from myself, I want to say a big and warm and enthousiastic THANK YOU to Elisa. Without you, I couldn't do all that. And I couldn't see that I'm capable of all that. Thank you.

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Day#30: content of...

I didn't know what to sketch today, because there is no way I sketched my empty fridge : to depressive! :)

I finally had the idea of sketching the content of the can in which I put my brushes. I had a hard time with the can itself, and I still don't know how to do the next time... If someone has an advice... I'm satisfied with the brushes and the reflexion of the light in them.

In my can, I put everything I need to paint, there is even Q-tips, and a feather (that I didn't use yet).

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Day#29: toiletries

I didn't think this subject could be fun, or even give an interesting result. I changed my mind when I saw Elisa's sketch, and again when I did my own sketch. So, yes, toiletries could be something nice to look at!

I brought a chair and sit in the middle of my bathroom, and I sketched some toiletries that are on the corner of my bathtub (there is some more at the other corner, too!), and, yes, definetely had fun! 

I used india ink with a nib to draw white details, but it was too large and we can't read the text. I'm a bit disapointed, but I don't know what else I could use instead of a nib. A tiny brush, perhaps ? I'll try...

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Day#28: transport

I finally did my transport sketch, 2 days later...

I chose to make a sketch of a child's scooter near my office. I work part-time in a music school, so there's a lot of children passing by... and often forget their stuff. Sometimes a copybook, sometimes their coat or umbrella, and even sometimes their bike or scooter! I couldn't do it from life, again, because it was raining... again... I had to take a picture for reference. That was interesting though, but I prefer sketching from life, even if, obviously, I can't make all these details I love to add...

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Day#27: café

I live in France, so cafés isn't hard to find! I sketched one of my town, because it's the one I often go to meet clients and work. I can't sketched it from life because is was rainy for 2 days, and I don't have time to go inside. So I took a picture when walking the dog, and make my sketch dry at home!

By the way, I don't find it so fun to sketch from picture. I really prefere sketching from life, it seems to me I'm improving faster, and it is more interesting.

Here is my sketch for yesterday. I can't move a lot because I have a painful backache, so I'm a day late! I hope I can do the transportation tomorrow!

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Day#26: new place

Today I had a training course all day, so I could not go to a new place. Instead, I googled a photo of a mountain, a place I'd like to go to and never been to since I'm adult, and sketched that photo.

I know it's not the rules and we have to sketch from life, and I even thought about get under my dining table to sketch, which is a place where I never sketched before, but I got a really painful backache for 2 days, and I finally thought it wasn't a reasonable idea! ;)

So here is the place I want to see...

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Day# 25: old thing

I was looking for an old thing, and I first thought about my old doll, which I named after me (Olivia) as a child, but I finally chose this bust of a "faux-old" statue I really love. It has a sweet look. It usually stands on a dresser in our bedroom on my side of the bed .

Its head is a bit too small, and the ear is placed too high. Too bad... But I'm pretty satisfied with the texture.

That was the first time I used my new watercolor sketchbook, and it's really more comfortable, I can do more things because the paper absorbs water the way it has to!

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Day#24: furniture

One of the nicest piece of furniture of our house is the piano we bought 2 years ago, when my husband began to take lessons. I love to hear him play. The piano is white, so it's hard to paint. I only painted the shadows, but I think I shouldn't have used Payne's grey, it's too blue.

The perspective is wrong, and the lines goes down! The good thing is : I saw it, I'm on my way to improvement!

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Day#23: everyday activities of people

The everyday activity of my daughter : watching TV... :( I found her in front of TV (again!) when I came back home from work, so I sketched her. It doesn't look like her, but I have improved (again!) since my first sketch of her (day13: family)!

I played a little bit with the color by adding a huge splatter. Don't know if I had to, it seems a bit strange...

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Day22: texture

I tried out a texture I saw in one of my classmate's sketches... but I failed this time! I obviously have to try again, but it was interesting to do that. This is a close-up of my sketch. Who's gonna find what it is? I'll post an entire view tomorrow, for those who'll want to guess! :D

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EDIT: ok, I confess, it was hard to find, because I don't know yet how to paint the texture of an orange. Because, yes, it is an orange... ;D

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Day#21: dessert

Elisa said : go and buy something you'd love to eat. Perfect, exaclty what I needed today! So, after my light lunch I went  to the commercial center and bought a lemon pie. I had a hard time finding it, all I found first were pies with meringue on top of it, and I'm not crazy about that. So, I finally found one, and settled on a bench outside, put my music on my ears (not too loud!), and as I was in that "bubble", out of time, I sketched and painted on my sketchbook, and it seems to me I was alone in the world! That was a really relaxing moment... And, after that, I ate my lemon pie, and that was great, too! ;) This is not necessarily my favorite dessert, but it really was what I wanted to eat today!

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Day#20: patterns

I was not inspired by any patterns I found at home, so when I went to walk the dog, I found some ivy leaves, and I decided that they would be my pattern. I display them on a sheet of paper, with a feather of I-don't-know-wich-bird and tried to sketch them!

I was tired and not in a good mood today, so I am not pleased with the result, although I'm aware that I simply cannot do that a month ago!

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Day#19: accessories

For my accessory, I choose my Pandora wristlet, which was given to me by my family 2 Christmas ago. I don't wear it everyday, but very often, and I love it very much. As it is becoming too large, I 'll certainly add one or two new charms soon...

I found it interresting to add some other colors to my sketch to give it more interest, and decided to make drops of paint. The shading (wet on wet) wasn't dry at all, and some pink splots of paint mixed with the shadow. And I'm pretty happy with the result!

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Day#18: bag

Here is my handbag I carry with me every time I go out. I bought it last year and I like it because it is very colorful! It looks like a well-known brand but I found it at the supermarket near my home, and it was very cheap!

It's very useful because I can put in it all my papers, my girl's stuff, and now my sketchbook, and my pencil case with my materials, and even my portable watercolor set.

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Day#17: flowers

Description of my hard work of the day : I went to my parent's home who have a garden, and rest in the sun while talking to my mom, and then, sketched one of the flowers (always in the sun) while smelling its sweet fragrance... Such a beautiful and peaceful moment... ;)

I wanted to add something, I feel that my sketch misses something, maybe a blotch of purple paint ? But I didn't (and still don't) know exactly what to add, so... I added nothing... In the beginning I also wanted the colors to be more vibrant, but, in fact, it makes the sketch soft and tender, so...

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Day#16: animals

Ok, so let's sketch outside again!  My pens had never seen the wide world before, but now I've done it once, I realize that this is not so difficult! I even find it exciting, even if it is not yet comfortable... There is so much things to see and to sketch outside! 

So today, for the animals challenge, I went to the pet shop near my office (my daughter's very good idea!) and sketched two of the animals there. I took a picture to help me remember the colors and shadows, and went home to -water-color them! I tried a style I really love which I saw in Marina Lebedeva' sketches, with the color flooding outside the drawing. I really love that effect, and so... I tried. It's still a bit awkward, and I didn't received yet my watercolor sketchbook, so the watercolor goes weird on the paper and doesn't want to dry, but that was fun, again! :)

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Day#15: strangers

I DID IT!!! Thanks to Elisa's workshop and to my classmate's example (especially Rosalba who I talked whith about this subject), I sketched outside! I am proud for daring doing that, and, plus, I had great fun! I tried not to notice the people looking at my work, but I was not in the middle of a crowd, I chose a small bench with no way behind it, in the sun, and... voilà!

These are not portrayals, but just people standing, walking, eating,... just doing their usual things. The first woman I sketched was a little hidden behind bushes, because I was afraid of her seeing me! And, once done, I finally sketched the other people, not hidden!

Thank you again for this opportunity, Elisa!

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Day#14: sketching materials

That's a great idea, I would like to know what kind of materials you use, too!

For me, I got many faber-castell pens, from 0.1 to 0.7, but I only use the thinner ones. Im' waiting for a micron 0.05 for the details. I store them in a pencil case, which is funny with a little fox hiding in trees all around !

I also got a Winsor & Newton watercolor compact set, but I switched a few pans for colors I need more. They even sell the set with white... Nonone uses white in watercolor, so I replaced it with lamp blak, which is more useful! I also add a green, and indigo and payne's grey.

Even when I'm at home and had several brushes, I do my sketches with a waterbrush, to be "in conditions", for the day I'll dare to really go outside!

And all my sketches for now were done in a simple sketchbook, but given by my brother and his wife 2 years ago for my birthday, and that I didn't really used, because I feared to spoil it... I showed it to my brother and sister-in-law, and they were proud, and happy that I use it!

I'm waiting for a moleskine watercolor sketchbook, however, because this sketchbook is almost done, and I can play more with watercolor!

My materials in a sketch:

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Day#13: family

I'm lucky to have a family with two beautiful daughters, who are 14 and 15 years old, and a caring (and beautiful too) husband (although we are not married, but I don't know the word to say it). We also have a chocolate-point siamese she-cat and a chocolate american cocker spaniel. Yes, we are fond of chocolate ;)

I tried to sketch all of my family, but I did not attempt to sketch the dog, which is way more difficult to sketch... I even sketched my mother, who lives very near by me (5 minutes by foot!), because we came to her house in the afternoon to help her with the gardening.

No watercolor this time, I like these sketches as they are. I'm a bit disappointed because the facial features are not very similar to the real features of the ones I love, especially my youngest daughter, wich is moooore beautiful than my sketch...

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Day#12: things I collect

I was used to collect a lot of things, but I finally realised that it takes me too much space, and, too, that I have to dust too much things in my home (and I hate home-cleaning)! I keep a bit of the things I collected, which have a really meaning for me, and give others to charities.

So for this project I asked to my daughters. My youngest one, which is 14, always keep a lot of things. She even have a collection of candies's wrappers! She proposed me her brand-new collection of bottle caps, and I thought it was a great idea. So I sketched it in the afternoon. It was less difficult as I imagined, but this sketch isn't very interesting, though...

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Day#11: veggies

I love onions too, so I sketched the only one left in my kitchen. It's a red onion, and I like them specially because of their color! I would like to thank Elisa for her precious advices with the use of watercolor. I try the technique she tells me about, and I think it turned out well, even if there is some work to do!

Edit: my eyes usually don't go teary when I slice onions, because I wear contact lenses! Other thing to know : my mother told me once that to rub your hands on the tap after slicing onions will prevent them for smelling. I tried, and, yes, it works!

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Day#10: appliances

10th day ! Yes !!! One third of the project today, and still here, and enjoying it more and more each day...

Ah, perspective... I have to work on it, this sketch shows it pretty well!

The project of today was a bit difficult for me, because I have to find the meaning of the word first! As you  had certainly noticed, my english isn't very good, and I have a certain lack of vocabulary... So, thanks to Google, I found the meaning of the word, and here I come with the Nespresso machine of my beloved one, and my kettle. We don't like the same beverages, he drinks coffee (and I can't even taste a little bit of that), and I drink tea (and he doesn't like as well). A good example of mixed marriage! haha ;)

Another thing: I was sure I couldn't do something which looks like wood, but, BTW, I'm pretty satisfied with it in my sketch of the day.

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Day#9: clothes

the prompt was later than the other days today, so I wondered all the morning what I could draw to make my challenge of the day, with no direction.. and I failed to find the answer! I was happy, then, when the prompt arrived, but I was at work and can't sketch till the evening, before I walked the dog and make my girls went to bed. So, lesson of the day : I have not enough imagination yet to find a subject by myself. I have to improve that before the end of this workshop! :)

So, for "clothes", I finally decided to draw the latest dress I bought. I don't usually wear dresses, but I tend to wear some more often, and I love that one. In fact, it's black with some flowers with light colors, but for the sketch, I decided to make the dark color lighter, so the drawing would be more interesting. Then, I added some splashes, which I thought go well with the design of the dress.

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And the same without colors (I often put the 2 versions, because I love the huge difference between them!) :

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Day#8: shoe

Elisa's sketch inspired me, so I decided to draw one of my husband's shoe, which is quite similar to Elisa's ; except they weren't worn on such an exceptionnal day ! 

I had fun sketching that shoe, but it took me 20 minutes for the pen work, and around 15 for the watercolor. I think it's too long... And you, does your sketches take you such time ? I'd like to know...

I'm quite satisfied with the shoe itself, just a little bit too long, but I think I still use watercolor like gouache, and I don't manage to leave more of "white space"... Elisa, if you have some advice...

So, here is the shoe !

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Day#7: drink

my favorite drink is tea, with no hesitation ! I'm not comfortable drinking cold water, so I drink tea. Green tea, usually, because it's better for the health! ;)

So I sketched my favorite drink, tea, in my favorite mug, which is huge and has a drawing of tinkerbell, the fairy in Peter Pan (but everybody knows her, right ?).

So that's my morning sweet ! I'm not satisfied with my sketch (the Tinkerbell drawing, ant the perspective!!!), but I had no time because my holidays ends this morning, and I will have to find the time to draw, now! Perhaps I will do it again in the evening...

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Day#6: book

I have no favorite book among all the books I read. For this exercice, I choose to take the most beautiful in my library, which happens to be an old book about astronomy. Usually, I love to read fantasy, and my last reading was Robin Hobb. I can't share a favorite quote for all my books, and to be honest, Im' not used to remember parts of the book I read! Except the story, of course! ;)

So, here is my book. I love the old pages...

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Day#5: fruit

My fruit of the day is an avocado. I wasn't in a good mood for sketching today, so my first attempt is a mess. I share it with you though, for it's the game! I also share my second try, which is better, I think. Watercolor help a lot to recognize the subject, for it add color, and depth.

See you all tomorrow !

first try:

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second try:

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Day#4: building

For now, I had no need to go outside for the past 4 days to achieve the daily challenge ! I simply sketched the building in front of my flat. The particularity of my city is that 80% of the buildings look the same. There is also houses, which are very different from each other, but not for the buildings.

I'm not completely happy with the watercolor, for I think I could have stopped the color of the sky and the bush on the front much more loosely. The next time! I'm really stunned with the way I could improve by "just" sketching once a day! I think I really see better now, and know better what to do in my next drawings/sketches !

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and before the painting:

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Day #3: lunch

So, there is not a day with a simple challenge, right ? I'm not a good cooker. In fact, I'm not a cooker at all, so sketching my lunch was somehow disturbing, it have to look right, no ?

I finally simply sketch what I got in front of me : rice and a mix of cauliflower (I have to look for the word, in french we say "chou-fleur"...) and romanesco and brocolis.

I post the 2 versions of my sketch, so we can all see the magic of watercolor !!! We still don't know it's rice untill I say it, but there is more consistency.

Really, I'm having fun, and my self-confidence is growing too. Can't wait for the next daily theme !

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Day #2: trees

Here are the trees I have right in front of my window. I don't know what specie it is...

To tell all the story, it was super cool this afternoon, because I stand at the window in the sun drawing my trees, during about 45 minutes (there was a looooot of leaves!!!), and as I stopped, the snow came ! A large amount of snow, so I was totally surprised, because we haven't seen a single snowflake for at least 2 years (maybe 3, in fact...). So this story will be related to my first sketching session all my life, for now...

To come back to the sketch, I'll certainly color it with watercolor, but I was very busy today...

Can't wait to be tomorrow !

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... and the same with watercolor. I don't know which one I love the best...

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Day #1: self-portrait

First theme, first (hard) challenge : depict myself... The hardest for me ! But, however, here I am with my self-portrait. I'm not as old as I seem to be in the drawing, but it's hard for me to  draw faces, and it's even harder to draw mine !!! However, I'm pretty satisfied with the upper part : hair and eyes, which I think is a bit like me...

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