Julie

Julie

This is Julie. I think it’s the first portrait I’ve ever drawn on black paper. I saw the photo of the plague mask and it made me think of the UK as the plague country of Europe, with the highest number of coronavirus deaths. So it seemed only right to draw on black paper and I changed the scarf to a Union Jack. The black mood, lightened by my drawing marks, seems appropriate.

I drew this on black Strathmore artist zentangle paper with Polychromos and Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Christine’s husband

Today’s Sktchy portrait is of Christine’s husband. I don’t know his name; Christine posted his photo on Sktchy but didn’t add his name. I love his wistful expression. Last week I made a commitment to draw a portrait of an older person at least once a week in honour of all the older people dying in care homes in the UK in the coronavirus pandemic. This is this week’s portrait.

I drew this on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app.

Cody

Cody didn’t look sad in the Sktchy inspiration photo for this portrait but somehow all my portraits end up looking sad at the moment. It’s not deliberate, they just end up that way. They’re being affected/infected by coronavirus.

I used Zecchi watercolours and Prismacolor coloured pencils in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook for this portrait.

Klara: Just Keep Drawing

Klara

Some days you just feel like giving up. Today has been one of those days. In fact this week has been one of those weeks. Just keep drawing… going to get through coronavirus and whatever follows one portrait at a time.

I drew this on my iPad Pro using the Procreate app.

Laya’s Love: Still Obsessing Over Face Coverings…

Today’s portrait is of a photo posted on Sktchy by Laya of someone she describes as her love. I’m not making any assumptions about whether that’s a partner, husband, best friend or family member! What I do know is that I’m still obsessing about whether or not to cover my face when I go outside – most people still aren’t, and while I know it’s a sensible thing to do I hate feeling conspicuous. I want to be invisible.

I painted this portrait in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with Zecchi Toscana watercolours and finished it with Prismacolor coloured pencils.

Cola: A Good Drawing Day

Japan is very high on my list of places I’d love to visit, though for a whole host of practical and health reasons I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. So I loved every minute of drawing Sktchy muse Cola’s Portrait, drawn from a photo taken in Yukata. I was very nearly transported away from lockdown Britain to a tearoom in Japan for the couple of hours I spent drawing this – it was possibly my favourite drawing session ever.

I’m so glad I learned to draw, especially now. Anything that can give me an escape from the anxiety of lockdown is precious indeed.

I drew Cola in my Midori Cotton sketchbook with Copic markers and Posca pens.

Akeem: Finding Peace of Mind in a Pandemic

I’ve practiced mindfulness for many years. It’s been one of my most important coping strategies when it comes to looking after my mental health and managing my chronic pain. In the many years I’ve been using it there have been only two times when I’ve really struggled with it, finding it hard to focus well enough even to practice and/or finding myself avoiding practice because to do so was so difficult. The first time was after I developed Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and the second is now. Both times the enormity of the situation has just felt too huge to allow my mind to be calm.

And yet, in the past few days, I am finally finding calm when I pick up my pens and my sketchbook or iPad and draw. I am beginning to find that mindful attention to the present moment returning when I’m focused on drawing portraits, more so every day. It’s taken five weeks to get here and it really is baby steps but I’m counting it as progress. I still can’t find the focus to sit down with my Mindful or Headspace apps, that’s asking too much of my frazzled, panicked mind, but an hour or so of portrait drawing a day is something I’m deeply grateful for.

I drew Sktchy muse Akeem on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil using the Procreate app.

Anastasia and the joy of getting lost in a painting

Sktchy are hosting a Backward Portrait Party this weekend, challenging members to reverse their usual drawing or painting methods and works “backwards”. So I totally reversed my usual process to draw Anastasia’s portrait on my iPad. I usually paint hair last so I did it first, than I painted the face and features, and then added some colour for the sweater. I added some linework right at the end. You can see a short timelapse video of my drawing process on YouTube here.

The most interesting thing about this for me was that I was completely absorbed in my work while I was painting and drawing, more than at any time since the coronavirus lockdown began. For a whole hour or so I wasn’t anxious at all, I wasn’t thinking about anything else, I was just making art. It was so lovely to have some peace of mind.