February 18, 2015

how to draw a cute snail

the other day i needed to draw a soccer ball, and was having trouble figuring the pattern out, so i looked it up online, and found very clear instructions called "how to draw a soccer ball", which is what i had googled. i know i would have been criticized (to put it mildly) in art school for doing this but i am no longer in art school… plus, i really had no time and energy to sit down and sketch a soccer ball for who knows how long…

i also had to draw a snail. that, i know how to do:) i just love to draw these "gastropods" (had to google that too, obviously!), and i just created instructions for one of the ways i draw them. go ahead and copy if you like it, just as i copied the soccer ball!

how to draw a snail

and of course don't forget to color!

happy gastropod

you can share your snails on my facebook page if you like!

January 21, 2015

what i made today

happy new year!
it hasn't been very happy so far, as far as the world goes…
and it's no longer new, since it's been 3 weeks…
still, it's my first post of the year, so i hope the year 2015 will be a good one from now on.

in any case…here i am writing my first post of the year, after having read the first blog post i ever wrote 2 years ago, and i have the feeling i have forgotten what the purpose of this blog was: to make sure i make something everyday and share it with whoever is listening. for the past 3 months, i have been making so many things, yet i have kept them in my sketchbooks and laptop. not sure why - i probably didn't deem them important enough, or good enough, but that's not what it's all about. it's not just about the good things i've done, the great things i plan to do, the extraordinary things i dream about doing…it's about showing what i've done, whatever it is.

so here's what i made today. a small village of friendly houses. a place where everybody knows everybody.

i did not make any new year resolutions this year. but i will try to remember and share what i make, if not everyday, at least once a week. the truth is, i really like to know what you think about what i make:)

so let me know!

October 24, 2014

dead fish swim

this morning at the playground my son saw small leaves floating in a puddle and said "mama, dead fish swim!". i just couldn't resist stealing this image from the beautiful brain of an 18 month old. i collected a few leaves and here are the dead fish swimming on my desk. 

dead fish, gouache on leaves

i just wish i had more leaves!

and i hope no one will accuse me of plagiarism and give me a lecture on intellectual property.

October 20, 2014

the ballerina notebook

ok, i know this blog is about my work and not my life as a full-time mom (as if there was another kind). but it's 10 pm and only now i had the time to sit down and blog. so i hope you don't mind me saying blogging is the last thing i want to do now. why am i doing it? i remember i once said something very deep like "i blog therefore i am" - there's too much pressure to keep sharing work, and i believe it's important for my so-called "career". there is also too much pressure to stay positive or at least sound positive, and that's even more exhausting. i personally don't believe anyone who says they're super-excited and grateful and happy 100% of the time. do you?

and this is where i stop being negative and tell you about my super-exciting way of life. yay!

there are so many projects bouncing around in my brain, that i had to separate them into little notebooks to keep my sanity. here's the bunch of them. 

projects in progress

the green notebook is the one devoted to my little ballerina character, which is based on my daughter, who would dance 24/7 if she was given the choice. it took me a while to get the hang of drawing a cute ballerina, as you can notice in the snapshots below. i decided to share the good, the bad, and the absolutely horrible, since i'm being very honest tonight.


cute but pretty bad

that's more like it

getting to know her better

fourth position mastered, or almost

arabesque: feeling better about this

i feel like i know what i'm doing, sometimes

i do have big dreams both for my daughter and this little character. both will need a lot of nurturing and a lot of my time. i only hope the best for them and i will do my best for them.

and in case you're curious about the other notebooks, i'm afraid you will have to wait until i recover from this post. i am being very honest, but even that is sounding a little gimmicky, isn't it? how was that for honesty?

good night. i'm tired. 100% honestly.

October 2, 2014

in case you were wondering what Little Fox is up to!

just in case you've been checking my sketchbook, you might have noticed i have been painting a lot of foxes and other cute creatures. so here's the story, in case you were wondering.

it's been that time of year again: the deadline to submit to the Illustrators Exhibition at the Bologna Children's Book Fair was fast approaching and i had nothing that met the submission specifications, so as usual i had to create something new. luckily i knew exactly what i wanted to illustrate: i had long been musing about telling different stories with different characters all happening on the same page. i chose to illustrate 5 Aesop fables, because they are simple, and because their characters are animals, and who doesn't like painting those? i focused on 5 fables which had the fox as the main character - i've been seeing foxes everywhere and wanted to come up with my own little fox.

a new restriction i imposed on myself - well, it's not really a restriction, since it's very liberating, as you will see - was that i would not draw the illustration first and paint over later, as has been my practice since forever. i find my paintings lack the spontaneity of my sketches, so i decided to start painting without the initial pencil drawing. of course i did have a rough sketch in front of me, but i was no longer just coloring my drawing. my brush was free to move around, and i did not mind when some lines were a little off. i felt this made my illustrations more lively and i learned not to obsess over small discrepancies.

in preparation for this new way of painting, i had to draw and paint my characters numerous times, to familiarize myself with them. below are some examples:

once i felt ready, i placed my sketches on the wall above my desk and started painting. here's one of the sketches to show how rough they were:

and finally, below are the illustrations i submitted to the exhibition. each one focuses on the fable it tells (the fox always being the largest character illustrated),  but the main event is surrounded with illustrations of what the other characters in the remaining or previous fables are up to (according to me, not Aesop:)

the fox and the grapes

the fox and the stork

the fox and the lion

the fox and the rooster

the fox and the crow

i have been submitting to Bologna every year with no exception for the past 10 years. it is a very prestigious show, and it would be amazing if i ever got in. but by now i am used to rejection, and don't hope for anything. that doesn't mean i stop trying, though. wish me luck this time!

September 10, 2014

no place like home

i am working on a personal project which i call "no place like home". i love to draw houses and i love to draw maps, so these drawings show houses and a street map, in which the streets lead nowhere else but home. no need to read too deep into this, i just like to draw these things.

i have been drawing, like so.

no place like home no.1 drawing

and painting.

no place like home no.1 painting

i have been painting and drawing.

no place like home no.1 painting and drawing

i have been "photoshoping" and "illustratoring".

no place like home no.1 in photoshop

no place like home no. 1 in illustrator

i like working in all those media and i am not sure which way to go. which one do you like best and why? these are not rhetorical questions, so please feel free to answer them. it goes without saying you can also feel free to ignore them, even though i would like to know what you think!

September 1, 2014

back to earth

so here i am as promised. had a great time and did not forget the suncream - and it was never cloudy!

before leaving, i had entered the Lilla Rogers Studio Global Talent Search 2014. the assignment was to create a wall art piece with the theme "little terrariums", and the image had to contain at least one word. i loved the brief, and how it was packed with supporting material and guidance.

first thing i did: called our babysitter to make sure i had enough time to do my best.

and then the fun began. i spent the first day on visual research, a couple more days on drawing motifs, and then i scanned in everything and experimented with various photoshop brushes, until i found what i was looking for. i played with my drawings in illustrator, moved them around, designed the composition and figured out the colors. finally i worked in photoshop to add the desired texture. (one day i want to write about how working digitally has made my process so much more intuitive than when i used to paint like a medieval manuscript illuminator! )

plants (drawings)

plants ( illusatrator)

small world (photoshop)

i greatly enjoyed making this, was satisfied with my work, and waited for the results with anticipation. when i found out i hadn't made it to the second round i have to admit i was disappointed, but fortunately i did not have time to dwell on it because i was in a sunny place with my family, and frankly, nothing else mattered (except not forgetting the suncream!)

make sure to take a look at the beautiful work of the 50 artists who were selected among the 999 from around the world. 5 will be selected and move to the finals. who do you think has got what it takes? not me, obviously!

for me, it's back to earth, back to school, back to work, and back to my sketchbook.

happy september!