It's the most wonderful book, where each page is filled with twenty ways to draw something - this book has a nature focus, so it includes, amongst many others, pages of leaves, seed heads, flowers, birds, mushrooms and feathers. We enjoyed opening the book at a random page and each picking which example of a shell or owl we were going to attempt to draw. My daughter's page of random items from nature is above, while mine is below. I chose the book because, as well as being lovely, stylistically the drawings in it are very similar to how my daughter naturally draws: tiny, detailed, careful, so I knew she'd love it. For me, I wished it had a few more examples of things that were drawn with more shading, rather than focusing solely on line drawings, but it's an amazing reference for attempting to get the shape of things right, which is something I usually struggle with.
There are a lot of books in the same series, each by a different illustrator, and we quite want them all. I noticed a new one popping up recently entitled 20 Ways to Draw a Dress, which looks fantastic too, albeit in a slightly more bonkers way than the other books in the series. Do you have any of the other books in this series?
Like the 20 Ways to Draw books, Secret Garden is a colouring book that has the same detailed line-drawing style and the pages are filled with intricate drawings. I think in some ways I can imagine using this book more as drawing inspiration than a colouring book.
While on the subject of drawing, pet artist, Katie, has recently set herself the project of drawing 300 cats from Instagram (the tag is #logacat if you use Instagram and would like to see them all). Last week she was inviting people to tag her with pictures of their cats and in return she'd draw a cat portrait for them. A most exciting prospect, so I tagged her with a picture of our tabby cat and Katie drew this for me:
I love it. Although one person commented that the cat looks like she's saying: 'Bugger off, human' in this photo.
It's only in retrospect that I wonder if she was perhaps wishing to console us over our childhood cat's glares, but my mother had always told me and my sister that when a cat narrowed its eyes at you and opened and closed them several times while staring intently at you, that it was their way of conveying fondness - a feline expression of 'I love you!' Has anyone else heard of this? So when I took this photo I had assumed the cat had been telling me that she loved me and I saw it as a really sweet facial expression...it came as a surprise that it would look like a malevolent glare to others...but now every time the cats blink at me in this intense way I feel oddly paranoid that they're trying to will me to leave them alone.
Anyway, Katie is currently working her way through 300 cats of Instagram and I love seeing the drawings appear, but even more how they look as a collective group. You might be able to spot some cats you know in there - some stitcher's pets feel as instantly recognisable to me as my own. If you'd like to follow Katie on Instagram, she goes by the name of @afternoonan or you can visit her Etsy shop.
Finally, the above drawing is also by my daughter, which she drew just before the summer. As soon as I saw it, it reminded me of the books of zentangles which I'd seen on Amazon - there are so many - does any one have one that they'd recommend?
The house has felt oddly quiet this week as my son has been on holiday with his school, but he's arriving home this evening and the teachers' strike in England will mean that he has a day to recuperate (and I will have a day with him to do cosy things like watching the Brady Bunch box set) before he returns to school. My daughter and I have saved last night's Bake-Off to watch with him on iPlayer and so I'll be spending today studiously trying to avoid seeing who was knocked out (we are really hoping Ruby or Kimberly will win).
In other news, my husband told me last night that we are about to have the coldest winter in England for over 100 years with massive amounts of snow (I'm assuming that he's heard this from an official source, rather than that he's dabbling in a new hobby of weather prediction). While this will be horribly impractical, in theory it makes me very happy due to it being pre-Christmas, thus making the whole of November and December feel extra specially Christmassy. However, I think that there may be a need to stock up on certain sewing essentials to avoid being snowed in for weeks on end and left with an English paper piecing project being brought to a sudden stop by a shortage of Sewline fabric glue refills (yes, I know that in an emergency one could revert to the traditional method of thread basting, but once you've allowed yourself to try the glue I'm not sure there's any going back...it would feel akin to being forced to wring clothes out in a mangle, rather than using the washing machine's spin cycle).
Ps. Some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links - it means that if you buy the book after clicking on my link they give me a tiny cut of the profits (it doesn't increase the price for the buyer...it just means Amazon share their profits with me). If you'd rather this didn't happen, simply open Amazon in a new tab and type the book title in independently.