A box of Faber-Castell watercolour pencils combined with a Doodle Day challenge made for a fun December.
The Doodle Day challenge this month was to come up with anything that begins with the letters A to Z and is related to water, underwater, ocean, etc.
To this I added my own challenge – To use water colour pencils for each doodle, and become more comfortable with their use throughout the month.
I used better quality paper to what I usually would, Arches Hot Press Smooth 185gr and Aristico Cold Press 200gr. I tore them into rough squares and rectangles, with the idea that it would free me up, not taking the precious new paper too seriously.
Throughout the month I used other media in addition to the Faber-Castell water colour pencils, I really liked the use of India ink, using a nib for outlines or sketching. All doodles evolved from a rough sketch.
My selection of fish, animal, people etc. was very random and depended a lot on my mood, I wanted to try a range of different things and I quickly grew bored with fish. Other Doodlers had a completely different approach for example my friends Teresa Robeson focused on pencil drawn birds for a whole month and Sylvia Liu created a whole range of Pentel Brush markers and digital art Cephalopods. I am sure they will be blogging about this soon.
About a quarter of a way through I created a colour chart. The colours from the Faber-Castell pencils did not exactly match what I saw on the paper, and I wanted to see at a glance the dry colour direct from the pencil and the gradation of the wash as it was thinned with water.
Some of the pigments were more vivid or dissolved easier, I found the gold and copper don’t work very well at all, the silver was slightly better.
I spent roughly half an hour on each doodle, this included looking at picture references, sketching, inking and colouring.
I was quite pleased with a few of them and not happy with some of them, but all gave me more ease with using the water colour pencils. And I fell in love with the Arches paper and will be experimenting with a heavier paper next.
I had shied away from watercolour for a long time, and hoped that using a watercolour pencil was a way of easing me back in. I found it versatile, fun and easy to use, and the colours were vibrant. It is a great medium and I am less scared of watercolour and even ordered myself some actual tubes of watercolour paints to combine with the pencils in the future.
I'd like to thank all my fellow doodlers who commented on my doodles, offered encouragement, shared a technique, exchanged thoughts on media, pencils, ink etc, the Doodle Day community is awesome.
A little more about Doodle Day, which was started and envisioned by the multi talented Alison Kipnis Hertz can be found at the end of the post.
Now without further ado, here is my Aquatic Alphabet.
Feel free to leave a comment letting me know which letter is your favourite.
A is for Anamone.
And I was immediately in love with the range of colours.
B is for Barracuda ... AND ...
I used a black marker pen for the outline.
B is for Bottlenose Dolphins.
C is for Chilli Fish.
With their fiery temper they breathe chilli flakes.
D is for Diving Mask.
E and F are for Ebb and Flood.
G is for Grouper (a Coral Grouper).
H is for Hulk.
I is for Isolated Danger Beacon.
I have a husband who volunteers with Marine Rescue, he came up with this interesting idea for my alphabet.
J is for Jellyfish.
K is for Kelp.
L is for fish Lips.
Being silly and having fun. Mwah!
M is for Mermaid.
AND a bit of cheat. I was running low on time, frantically trying to get organised for Christmas. This is a sketch and digital colour for a story I have been working on.
N is for New Zealand Seal.
O is for Octopus.
I started experimenting with a simpler, minimal style. I liked this and might keep playing with this some more in the future.
P is for Penguin.
I used India Ink and one watercolour pencil.
I also adjusted this image and used it as our Christmas card.
Q and R are for Queen of the Red Coral.
I used an ancient tube of watercolour to create the splash. It is not as easy to create a puddle with a watercolour pencil. I actually 'shot' the paint at the paper with a syringe.
S is for Seahorse.
Some more splatters with the syringe.
T is for Textile Cone.
Some experimentation with charcoal, but wasn't quite fond of what I did with it.
U is for Utatsusaurus.
The earliest-known form of an ichthyopterygian, which lived in the early Triassic period (c. 245-250 millions years ago) AKA Fish Lizard.
Here I experimented with Isopropryl Alcohol (disinfectant solution), dapping it on the wet paint with a cotton tip. However as the paint was very wet, it bled out beyond the ink marks. I cut out the shape and pasted it on crumpled black paper.
V is for Viking.
His motto: "Braiding not Raiding!"
W is for Whirlpool and Wheels.
X is for Xiphosura Mesolimulinae fossil (Lower Triassic to Cretaceous.)
Y is for Yacumama.
In the mythology of the indigenous people of South America, the yacu-mama is a sea monster, fifty paces long, believed to inhabit the mouth of the Amazon River and the nearby lagoons. According to the legend, the yacu-mama would suck up any living thing that passed within 100 paces of it (Wikipedia).
Z is for Zebra Shark pup.
This last one is mainly India ink watered down and a single watercolour pencil.
About Doodle Day:
This is a doodling challenge for artists, writers, teachers, parents, children of all ages, friends, and friends of friends. for those who stare at a blank page and have a panic attack or those who just want to try something new. A doodle can take 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes or even up to an hour but seriously, if you are spending an hour or more - it is not a doodle, it is a masterpiece and you are overthinking it or trying too hard. Put your pencil to the paper and see where your arm goes - this is a stress free doodle zone. (Taken from the Facebook group)
This is the second year I am taking part in Susanna Leonard Hill's Holiday Writing Contest.
Not only does Susanna gather round a lovely community of children's writers to share their stories, she also gives out some pretty awesome prizes.
For this story, which had to be under 350 words, I have done something I have never done before. I wrote a poem.
The Contest: Write a children's story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster. Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words not counting the title.
by Yvonne Mes
The train runs round and round the track.
The track runs round the tree.
The Angel watches from above
and under it lurks me.
Forget the gifts, I just don’t care.
And Santa Clause can scoot.
An Angel is just heavenly
and celestial to boot.
I want to comb her golden hair.
I need to touch her wings.
I long to pry her slippers off
and take her sparkly rings.
Her Halo dangling from my ear
will make me look a peach.
Her dress would fit my baby doll,
if only I could reach.
I hear the train a-chug-a-chug
go once more round the bend.
‘I know!’ I screech. ‘The train, the train!’
‘Last stop is tree top’s end.’
I ride the train on tinsel track
and whoosh past stars and bells.
The baubels are a coloured blur.
‘Beware’ the Angel yells.
The Angel waves to welcome me.
Or is that flap a ‘shoo’?
I reach for her, she leans right back
I swipe and grab her shoe.
What’s wrong with her why won’t she play
a game of mirth and glee?
I think of times in years gone by
she’s watched out over me.
“Vamoose, thy goose-brained fool”, she screams
and kicks me in the face!
I leap onto a branch and duck
but don’t give up the chase.
The tree now sways from side to side
then with a thud it falls.
It gleams, it glints, it all comes down,
The stars, the bells, the balls.
The train derailed from tinsel track.
The tracks stuck through the tree.
The Angels frowns from underneath
and sprawled across lies me.
Children's Writer and Illustrator