Reminding myself of the pure joy of creating

Who would have thought a year ago that zoom meet ups would be our new norm? One of the things I love about this is the chance to participate in all sorts of events that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to get to. All from the comfort of my living room with stretchy pants and a hot chocolate!

I’ve loved joining meet ups with people from all around the world. And watching fascinating webcasts while curling up with a hot chocolate!

I’ve especially loved joining drawing meet ups. My favourite at the moment being Sketch Appeal, run by Dulcie Ball.

My friend Caroline had been posting her sketches from the sessions on Instagram. While I very much admired her work, I felt a little unsure of whether it’d be right for me.

The focus of the sessions is drawing portraits of each other. Something I felt really quite nervous about. I didn’t want to offend anyone with my scrappy attempts!

But then I was lucky enough to win a free ticket to one of the December sessions. So it seemed the universe wanted me to give it a go!

I’m so glad that I did as I absolutely loved it!

The sessions

Dulcie is a fantastic host. What I especially appreciated was that she reassured us that the point of the sessions was drawing to have FUN.

She showed an example of a portrait that she loved. Not because it had stellar artistic merit. But because she could tell that the artist had really been enjoying the process.

Then we started with some warm up exercises of drawing without looking at the paper and using our non dominant hand. With such constraints you immediately stop hoping for a masterpiece and so can simply focus on having fun! 😀

Dulcie also has a great set list playing in the background. Plenty of songs to bring a smile to your face and reinforce the having fun vibe.

For the main portraits, we only get a few minutes on each one. Again, this helps me to stop thinking I should create a “good” portrait and instead just focus on enjoying myself.

From what I understand, a few of the participants will often use their non dominant hand or experiment in some other way. So there really is no pressure.

Everyone’s super lovely too!

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different mediums and styles myself. Occasionally I get out my watercolours. Often just a black ink pen and my colouring pencils.

One rule I have created for myself is no erasing!

My sketches

The results are often a bit mixed, as you might expect with quick poses and lots of experimentation. Although I have to say I also often surprise myself (in a good way!) with what I create.

The more sessions I attend, the more often this seems to happen.

My increased confidence through regular practice is no doubt having an effect there. But I also think it’s down to my expectations evolving. I attend the sessions with the intention of having fun for an hour or two. If I like any of my sketches that’s just a bonus.

Here’s a selection of my favourite sketches from the sessions.

A space and cosmos themed session:

10 portraits of women drawn with pen and colouring pencils.

A session focussing on different ways of drawing hair:

2 self portraits and 2 portraits of other participants.

A session with a 1920s theme:

4 portraits inspired by the 1920s and art deco style.

Galentine’s day portraits

This month I attended a particularly lovely session where we drew everyone who attended the session.

Normally we share what we’ve drawn during the session (although there’s no pressure to if you don’t want to). But for this one, we kept all our sketches secret. Instead sending all our portraits to Dulcie so she could group them and send the portraits back out to each model as a Galentine’s Day gift.

Not heard of Galentine’s Day? It’s February 13th and a day to celebrate your gal pals. I believe it comes from the TV show Parks and Recreation (definitely worth watching!).

It was such a delight when all my portraits arrived!

I think they’re all fabulous and I really love how everyone has such different styles.

Here’s my collection of Alexes:

16 sketches of me!

I’m now figuring out the best way to display them all…

And these are all the portraits that I drew of the other participants:

17 portraits drawn with black pen and colouring pencils.

I hope everyone likes theirs!

I’ll certainly be continuing with Sketch Appeal’s zoom sessions. Have you discovered any that help keep you going through lockdown?

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