I've been really loving drawing again lately. I've always enjoyed doing it, but over the last few years I've found that it's something I just don't do unless I'm pushed to. My sketchpads and pencils basically languish in a drawer until someone asks me to do an illustration, and then it always takes a while to get back in the zone.
The thing is that I don't have much confidence in my abilities. I gave up art before GCSE level and while I know that I have some natural talent - I've played Pictionary with people who have none, I definitely have SOME - it's not very well honed and it is quite limited. Drawing cartoony people is fine, but anything more complicated will have me stuck. But the more I do, the more I realise how much I love to do it, and there's nothing like the feeling of sending over a commission and being told it's exactly what was wanted. It's pretty great. It boosts my confidence and makes me realise that I'm not so bad at this drawing lark, and then it makes me want to do more.
One of my biggest regrets is not developing my arty side more when I was younger. I wish I'd learned to paint properly, and I kind of wish I'd studied graphic design and gone down that career path. But I can do some stuff, and I'm trying to develop more of my skills - my next aim is to learn how to do vector illustrations so I can create awesome, modern computer art and maybe start to make cards and prints to sell. One of those "When I have time..." fantasies.
I've also been learning modern calligraphy. I went to a class a few months ago with my friend Anne at Drink, Shop, Do with Quill London - I booked it after seeing Carrie mention it on her blog. I didn't fall in love with it instantly - it was harder than I expected, and I found that I kept rushing things and trying to do it in my own style too quickly. Taking my time helped, and now I feel like the calligraphy I write doesn't just look like my (extremely messy) handwriting, it actually looks kind of... professional. Yep, that is a surprised tone. Calligraphy is quite relaxing to do, as it is quite structured, and there's something weird (but satisfying) about writing something that doesn't look like your writing.
You can find out more info about my illustrations here, and watch this space for more info on that cards and prints shop. That's the next project... or at least one of them.
Included in this post are a couple of illustrations I've done in the last year or so that I'm quite proud of, including this picture of the lovely Amy and her hubby which they displayed at their wedding.