Drawing Eyes

Moving to the next lesson in my Fashion Design Studio book, I was inspired to focus on drawing eyes. This lesson's objective is to learn to sketch the features of the face. Fashion models have simplified features, so that attention is not drawn from the clothes to the face. However, style is exaggerated on the features as well.

So the eyes are slightly elongated with thickened eye lids and full lashes that sweep upward. A minimal make up look is desired.

Eyes can be challenging for me to draw. Perhaps because I am right handed, the right eye is easier for me to sketch. The left never quite matches the right eye. This is, therefore, very good practice for me.

I learned that the eyes are spaced a single eye-length apart. I found that helpful tonight as I worked my way through the drawing practices. And the closer the image, the more detail is required on the face. The eyes are considered the feature to give the most depth and personality to, rather than the nose and mouth, which are kept very basic.

My first eyes…a side view and front view.

Narrowed eyes and deep eyes. Note the simplified lashes. The most attention is given to the pupils and irises.

Beginning sketch for eyes that will be colored in.

Adding details and color. You can see my challenge with eyes. They don't quite match. The right one feels natural to me as I sketch it. The left feels awkward to draw. It would help if I was ambidextrous! I could simply switch the pencil to my left hand to draw the left eye. I made adjustments to my colored drawing and evened up the eyes a bit.

Although the fashion figures I will be drawing will focus on the outfits more than the facial features, I welcomed this opportunity to practice on the eyes. There are lessons coming up on drawing noses and mouths, hands, feet and hair, but the eyes called out to me tonight. I felt inspired to start there.

Why? Because the soul is glimpsed through the eyes. Intimacy starts there, with a look that sees deeply into another.

"Eyes are captivatingly beautiful. Not because of the color but because of the words they hold within them." Unknown

Communication starts there as well. The eyes can convey humor, love, sorrow, hope, joy and despair. So much of who we are can be conveyed with a glance, through eyes that are clear and full of life, or eyes that are guarded and veiled.

I intend to keep practicing on the eyes. It is important to me. As I snapped a pic of my final work, my iPhone camera, at least, recognized that there were eyes on the page. It struggled to focus on a face that was not there, putting up squares to define where the rest of the face should have been. I'll take that as encouragement!

Fashion Design Studio

It has been a very busy week. What a joy to have some quiet time late this afternoon, to dream and create and play. I returned to the creative activity I selected a couple of days ago:

Design and sketch a piece of clothing.

I am resisting the temptation to rush ahead and draw an outfit or an article of clothing. Instead, I am taking the time to learn the process of fashion design. Oh, it is simplified, compared to the classes one would take in a college course. However, I am learning from an excellent book geared toward teenage girls or young adults. It is perfect for me and part of a very enjoyable journey. I love that these words are printed on the cover of the book:

Creative girls draw.

Yes they do!

My creative studio this evening is my bedroom. My diffuser has Young Living peppermint essential oil in it, which seems to be a great mental stimulant. The setting sun is filtering through the blinds. I am barefoot and bare legged, wearing cool and comfy clothes, in deference to the heat outside. My bed with its lightweight summer linens and fluffy pillows is serving as my desk and my chair.

In such pleasant surrounding, my imagination is free to expand and take flight.

I have started at the beginning, which is always a great place to get underway, becoming comfortable with drawing fashion figures. Before I can draw a skirt or a top or a flowing wrap, I need a form to put it on. I appreciate that this book takes the time to introduce the human body as a series of shapes and connecting lines.

I have had fun tonight, sketching these simple basic figures. I learned about proportion as I drew, and how the body is divided into segments. As I practice different poses, I see how the bones give structure to the human form, how the shoulders and hips tilt in opposite directions, and how truly wonderfully we are made.

It has been very good to spend time this evening familiarizing myself with these basics. The act of drawing is searing these important details about form into my brain. My next lesson will be to flesh out the stick figures, giving them shape through the curve of muscles.

Then I will be ready to study aspects of clothing and style and design a piece.

Did you realize that the shoulders and hips don’t tilt at the same angle, ever? I had to stand up and strike some poses to see!

My next lesson…fleshing out the basic form.

I don’t know, exactly, where this journey will lead me. I hope to a finished article of clothing, that I designed, that I can wear. Beyond that, who knows? Fashion design has long been an interest of mine. I am excited to be taking action steps instead of just dreaming about it.

The Divine has noted my dreams and my actions. The morning after my post about designing a piece of clothing, one of my Facebook notifications was about a new frame I could select for my profile picture. I laughed when I saw what it was. And then tears filled my eyes. The frame makes my profile pic look like the cover of a fashion magazine.

How amazing is that? Yes, it means Facebook is tracking my posts. But more than that, it is a wink from the Divine. It is an invitation to keep playing in this creative area. It is a Divine promise to meet me on this path, if I will keep walking, and show me how far my intentions can take me.

I am willing to keep going. How could I refuse such a playful invitation? That fashion magazine cover looks good to me. I am inspired to make it a reality.

Have fun designing your own fashions with this cool book:


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Pop’s Watermelon 

It is amazing how an ordinary object can unlock memories and strengthen connection with a loved one. Weed-eating in the backyard a couple of days ago, Greg asked me about a plant that was growing near the back steps. He didn’t think it looked like a weed. I glanced at it and agreed it looked more like a flower, or a vining plant, at least. 

He left that small area alone and moved on. This morning I wondered about the mystery plant and went outside to examine it more closely. It had grown in the last two days and I recognized it immediately. It is a watermelon plant! 

Pop's Watermelon
I love watermelon. I have several plants growing in my raised bed garden. This little vine, however, is a volunteer plant, meaning I didn’t plant it…not intentionally anyway. 

I was instantly transported back to my childhood. One of my great joys when we visited my grandparents, during the hot summer months, was eating cold, juicy watermelon slices. My grandfather, whom we all called Pop, was such a tease. “Don’t eat the seeds!” he would call out as my sisters, cousins and I carried our treats outside to the front porch. “If you do, a watermelon will grow in your belly.” 

Pop's WatermelonPop holding my grandson, Dayan. 

As a wee girl, I believed Pop. I was afraid to swallow those pesky little black and white seeds, carefully picking them out of my melon. If a seed accidentally got in my mouth, I spit it into Pop’s flower bed. Every summer, volunteer watermelon plants would appear among the flowers. Pop didn’t mind. He loved growing things. The watermelon plants were allowed to remain. 

Although I no longer believe that a watermelon will grow in my belly if I swallow a seed, I still tend to spit them out. Which, I am sure, is how that little volunteer plant appeared next to the steps. Last summer I sat on my back stoop many times, enjoying a slice of watermelon and the garden views. A seed that I spat out last summer sprouted. 

Pop's Watermelon
Pop's Watermelon

I cleared away the grasses growing around the plant, lessening the competition for nutrients and water. And then I mulched heavily around the base of the vine. Studying my new plant, I felt very tender toward it. Memories of Pop rose, of those balmy summer evenings eating watermelon on the front porch, and also of my grandfather’s love of gardening. 

Pop always had a huge vegetable garden behind his house and beds of perennials in the front and side yards. He used to let me help him weed and plant and harvest, and I am sure that my own love of gardening was born as a result. Coming into the house one day, sweaty and tired after working in the garden, Pop exclaimed that he needed more help with the weeding. “You need a couple of hoers,” my mom suggested helpfully. (Say that sentence out loud and you’ll understand why everyone laughed.) Pop was quick to answer, “I don’t think so!” 

Pop's Watermelon

Pop's Watermelon

Inspiration arrived, joining the feelings of tenderness and nostalgia. This little vine is special to me. I decided to treat it with great care. Using garden twine, and twigs left over from Maple Tree, whose gifts continue to be so useful, I created a little trellis for the plant. The twig trellis is decorative really, yet I had so much fun crafting it, and the young plant looks adorable twined around it. 

When I cleared away the grass crowding the vine, I uncovered a small triangular slab of concrete resting against the steps. I had another creative idea. 

Pop's Watermelon  

Using colorful art markers, I created a memorial for Pop by including his humorous words. The garden plaque reminds me of my grandfather, and those magical summer days of my childhood. It also reminds me that there is still magic to be found in my life, if I just stay open and know where to look. 

I don’t know if this little watermelon vine will produce fruit. I remember that only one small watermelon ever appeared from the many volunteer plants that grew in the flower bed. That’s okay. Pop allowed the vines to thrive and I will do the same, regardless of the outcome. 

I am grateful for my grandfather, and for the plant that stirred such memories today. Pop would be pleased that I still spit out watermelon seeds, and that I love gardening as much as he did. This plant is for him. It’s Pop’s watermelon. 

Pop's Watermelon

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment

Liz Gilbert has a wonderful TED Talk about creativity, in which she compares the curiosity driven life to a hummingbird that flits from flower to flower. I love that image and I wholeheartedly embrace a life driven by curiosity.

Liz says, “The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort. Just turn your head an inch. Pause for a instant. Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. Is there something there for you? A piece of information?”

My attention has been caught recently by fashion design. Inspiration has planted ideas, fully formed, into my head. Curiosity compels me to follow this path for a bit, to see how to get from where I am, in my abilities, to actually wearing one of the designs I have imagined.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
This is what I love about living the creative life…the Divine never leaves me floundering. This new path of creativity has appeared for me to explore, by way of inspired invitation, and immediately what I need next shows up.

During my last two visits to Barnes & Noble, I’ve found beginner books on fashion design. One was even deeply discounted. I didn’t go into the bookstore looking for these books. I was browsing. One of the books caught my attention, caused me to turn my head an inch, made me pause. And Greg found the other one and led me to it, literally.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
Tonight I spent time leafing through the pages, captivated…and curious…about this wonderful new world of fashion design. The books work well together. Fashion Design Studio is full of figures to sketch designs on and lessons on drawing techniques. A part of me wants to jump right to those figures and draw, in an attempt to create the clothes that I can see in my mind.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
That will be wildly fun for me.

However, I don’t want to rush down this path. I am willing to meander, pause, respond. Looking through The Secrets of Fashion Drawing, I found pages and pages of foundational information on basic skills, technical terms, color and drawing. This is where I need to start…at the beginning, learning as I go, spending a bit of time seeing what is here for me.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
Tight away, I see how important it is to have a designer sketchbook, separate from my art sketchbook. The authors of The Secrets of Fashion Drawing wrote, “…a sketchbook is comparable to a ship’s logbook; it is the record of a creative journey where the destination is unknown, the diary of an adventure.” That is so true and perfect for me that I will be purchasing a sketchbook just for capturing design ideas, drawings and notes.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
I ended my night of learning by doing an exercise from The Secrets of Fashion Drawing, as a way to refine my eye and hone my drawing skills. The instructions were to take a garment from my closet, leaving it on the hanger, and draw it.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment

I chose a black pullover with a stand up collar, long sleeves and side pockets with white piping. One tip that I immediately found helpful was to fold my paper in half, to better create a symmetrical image.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
This was a quick, and fun, exercise. I gathered info, instructions and techniques and put them into practice.

I don’t know where this fashion design journey is going. I only know I am curious enough to take the time to find out.

Liz finishes the quote above with these words:

“For me, a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt — where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. Pick each one up, unfold it, see where it leads you next.” 

That’s exactly what I am doing here. I’m picking up each clue, unfolding it, and seeing where it leads me next.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
If you would enjoy learning more about fashion design, check out these two books:

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Aubrey’s Dragons

I had the pleasure of spending some time with my granddaughter Aubrey late this afternoon. It was too chilly to play outside, although she quickly scampered up her favorite climbing tree in my front yard, and somersaulted down. We settled indoors. She played while I finished some work and then we hung out together, chatting and drawing. 

All of my children and grandchildren are artistic. I used to be a fair artist, although I’ve never been great at sketching from my imagination. I have to have something to look at while I draw. Furthermore, years of not drawing regularly has eroded my confidence in wielding a pencil. I am working on coaxing my abilities back into existence. 

Aubrey's Dragons
Aubrey loves to draw. She told me last year that one of her goals was to become a better artist. And she is meeting that goal! Her drawings are wonderful and she is definitely developing her own style. 

Aubrey's DragonsAubrey’s adorable bob cat

Sometimes Aubrey is content to make requests and watch me sketch. I used to enjoy doing the same when I was a child. My creative mom drew many pictures at my request.

So for Aubrey, I drew fish. This was an easy enough request. I created a family of fish from my imagination. 

Aubrey's Dragons
Then my granddaughter asked for a cat, swimming underwater! That isn’t something one sees often. I didn’t think I could even find such a picture to look at while I sketched. However, amazingly, as I thought about what such a sight would look like, an image came to mind and I drew with ease. The sketch was simplistic , but the cat does appear to be swimming for the surface. I was pleased with it and so was Aubrey. 

Aubrey's Dragons
Lest I feel too accomplished, Aubrey made her last request. Dragons. She asked for two dragons, together, facing each other. Dear child, I thought, can’t we just stick with fish? 

I would not have attempted such a drawing without being sweetly asked by my grandchild. Oh, I like dragons too. And Smaug from the Hobbit films immediately came to mind. But to draw two of them, and have them come out actually looking like dragons, challenged me. I didn’t know if I could do it. 

You know what, though? Aubrey had no doubts about whether I could handle her request. Her belief in my abilities made me try. Once again, an image came to mind and I began to draw. This was a new phenomenon for me, to draw from my imagination. 

Aubrey's Dragons

In a few minutes, I had a rough sketch, of two dragons, wings stretching toward each other, tails intertwined. I was drawing on poster board, which is not the best surface for pencil work. But as I tilted my head and examined my work, I decided it wasn’t bad! Aubrey was very matter of fact, telling me yes, yes, that’s right. I didn’t surprise her. She knew I could draw dragons. And dragons I drew. 

I gain so much insight from my grandchildren. Today I learned the importance of belief…belief in myself and the bolstering empowerment that comes from someone else’s belief in me. It was good, too, to be reminded that challenges are excellent ways to grow beyond my comfort zones. 

As Aubrey prepared to go home, she gave me final instructions for her dragons. She wanted both of them to be teal colored. And holding up one of my coloring pages, she said, “And do this…make shading on them.” 

I can do that!

I am enjoying working on the finished drawing, coloring dragons as I layer on color. Coloring, I do well. Also, I can draw fish and a cat, swimming underwater. And I can draw dragons, thanks to Aubrey’s belief that I can. I believe now, too. 

Aubrey's Dragons

Creating My Own Vision Board Pics

Hoping to complete my 2017 Vision Board this week, I’ve browsed through a few magazines looking for a very specific pic. My symbol for 2017, my image to represent Inspiration, is the lightbulb. I can find lots of lightbulb photos online, through Google search. However, I’ve come up empty searching for a photo to cut out. 

In the past, if I couldn’t locate the correct photos, I have saved online images and printed them out in color. These work well and let me fill in the areas where cut outs were lacking. Today, as I was considering giving up on the hunt for a lightbulb pic in a magazine, an idea popped into my head. 

Creating My Own Vision Board Pics
What if, instead of printing out a lightbulb picture from the internet, I created my own? As I considered that possibility, the idea quickly grew and captured my full interest. I own a set of Staedtler Watercolor pencils. I’ve colored with them often, without using water. It was time to move past my slight trepidation about using them as they are intended to be used. 

Creating My Own Vision Board PicsThere is something so inspiring about a blank piece of paper. 

Creating My Own Vision Board PicsI sketched a simple lightbulb, incorporating this year’s word into the design. Satisfied with the drawing, I inked it. 

Creating My Own Vision Board PicsThe pencils work by dipping the tip of the lead into water, and then coloring, or laying on, color. 

This was a fun little project that has inspired me to create several other drawings for my Vision Board. The watercolor pencils were easy to use. I learned more about applying the color as I worked. 

Creating my own pics for my vision board lends a very personal feel to the board. I enjoy finding and cutting out pics. However, this artistic endeavor takes the process to a deeper level.  What I love most is that the inspired idea popped into my head, very much like a lightbulb turning on. The project couldn’t have been more perfect for me, and my journey. 

Creating My Own Vision Board Pics

Journey 340: A Lesson in Abundance

Today was Artist Date day, which I have come to look forward to each week as I am working through The Artist’s Way course. As I have shared previously, in ways I can’t fully explain my inner creative child is in sync with the upcoming chapter each week. Although I have no idea whether this trend will continue, it does create a heightened curiosity as I set out on a date with myself every Sunday afternoon. 


As I was getting ready for the day, I was still unsure about what my creative date would be today. I was asking my inner child for ideas. It was as I was taking a shower that an interesting series of thoughts began. (I have to add that some of my best thinking occurs in the shower!) 

From nowhere, seemingly, a memory arose from long ago. I was 19 years old, newly married, and Greg and I were invited to friends’  house for dinner. I stood in the kitchen, watching my friend as she made biscuits. She didn’t have milk, so she used tap water to create the dough, talking cheerfully to me as she kneaded the sticky mass. I’d never seen anyone knead biscuit dough, but those were the best biscuits I’d ever eaten. We had a simple meal with our friends and their two children – fresh vegetables from their large garden, scrambled eggs and those tender biscuits. 

As I was helping to clean up after dinner, I opened the trash bin to toss paper napkins and such. I noticed empty baby food jars in the bin. I asked my friend if she had baby-sat that day. She smiled and explained that the baby food was left over from a prior baby-sitting job. She went on to say that her husband and kids had eaten the baby food for lunch that day. Seeing my look of surprise, she said that money was a bit tight right now. 

I was stunned. And I felt horrible that Greg and I had eaten food that would have stretched further otherwise. My friend was quick to assure me that all was well. The money situation was temporary, the garden was just starting to produce and would provide many meals over the summer, and there was always enough to share. Before we left, I whispered to Greg and he gave that little family what cash he had in his pocket. It wasn’t much. But it would purchase some basic groceries. 

That was the memory that surprised me in the shower. At the time, my youth and lack of life experience caused me to miss some vital things. What I realized today was that my friend truly was content and unafraid. As I watched her make biscuits long ago, she chatted, hummed and sang softly as she kneaded the dough, an indomitable woman who knew there was more to life than the circumstances surrounding her. She had a sweet spirit of trust and gratitude, and she was generous, sharing what she had, knowing more would be provided. I remembered that in the years I knew her, before she moved away, I never heard her complain about anything. 

To have those memories stir, out of the blue, alerted me that my inner creative child and the Divine were at work. I asked for an image, so I’d know where to go on my date. I saw myself at Wildcat Park, feeding the ducks. Perfect! It was a beautiful day. I thought the ducks would be gone at this time of year but I packed a couple of pieces of bread anyway. I saw myself sketching. Ahhhh…an even better idea. Take along my pencils and sketch pad and allow my artistic self free reign. And I knew that somehow my thoughts about my friend were connected. 


It was beautiful at the park. The ducks were, indeed, gone. I found a picnic table near the river. Set out my pencils. Opened to a clean page in my sketch pad. I used to draw often. I was a fair artist. But I’ve had this sketch pad for years and it’s barely used. I’ve lost confidence in my ability to bring to paper the images in my head. Today, I got out of my own way and allowed my inner artist, that creative child, to draw. Quickly I sketched, thinking about my friend, remembering how quietly joyful she was as she kneaded that biscuit dough, made with water instead of milk. I saw her hands, in my mind. I drew her hands. A quote came to mind, “Gratitude turns what you have into enough.” She knew that, way back then. She knew a deep truth about abundance, and experienced it as part of her daily life. I added the quote to my drawing. 

As the sun was setting, I sat in the peaceful stillness, and watched the river flow past. So many things are shifting in my life. I love how creativity is awakening, love the daily ongoing conversations with the Divine, love how rich and full life is as I allow myself to be drawn, to be guided. I feel that sense of abundance that my friend demonstrated all those years before. I’m grateful for that memory. I’ve now captured it and I’ll frame that little sketch and place it in my studio. I could title it “Abundance”. 

I read the next chapter in The Artist’s Way after I returned home. Week Six: Recovering a Sense of Abundance. I’m no longer surprised that this series of synchronicities is unfolding the way it is. I accept it. I’m grateful. And I’m excited to see what happens next!