I haven’t drawn anything for a few weeks now because I injured my right hand while lifting some heavy boxes, but now it’s finally better enough to draw with a pencil (it turns out drawing with pens requires a lot more physical effort).
Anyway, I wanted to draw something and just chose the first thing that popped into my head, which happened to be a dragon. Being a big nerd when it comes to dragons, I wanted to draw one that’s anatomically convincing, so I started with a skeleton sketch, then printed it out and traced it for the final drawing.
Made a pencil sketch of my youngest niece from a photo:
My obsession with dragons is still as strong as ever. I have a special sketchbook dedicated to dragons (not to say that I can actually keep from drawing them everywhere else as well). Here are two of the latest sketches, made with a Micron pen and white ink:
The second one is a dragon city. For some reason I can’t stop drawing (and painting) these cities with tall bridges and arches, and I keep thinking of them as cities dragons could live in. I know they probably don’t even look like cities that much, but that’s what they are in my head.
I’m actually working on another oil painting of one of these dragon cities right now – I guess it’s already turning into a series, as I don’t think this will be the last one.
Another quick sketch of something I had standing in front of me: my favorite coffee cup and breakfast bowl. The cup is from Starbucks and the bowl from IKEA, so there’s nothing unique about them, but I still love them and use them every day, so I enjoyed drawing them.
I was too lazy to get up and get something else to draw, so I did a sketch of all the staff that’s lying around near my bed.
I made some more sketches of the same character from the Mandarin Chinese textbook I use at work, a Russian girl called Lena who is studying in China. I was curious to see if I could make several sketches of the same character so that she would be recognizable – I’ve never really tried it before. And I guess I’m satisfied with the results, enough at least to try moving on to doing the same thing with some other character from the same textbook.
I guess part of why I like making illustrations for this textbook is that it reminds me of my own time in China (I studied there for 2 years, not counting all the short trips). I was drawing this Chinese food on the table, and I almost felt the taste of steamed dumplings from that little place near our campus in Shanghai. When I graw this sketches, I attribute my own experience to the characters and it makes them a lot more real for me, more like personal acquaintances than just generic textbook characters. And since I teach using this textbook everyday anyway, this adds another dimention to the teaching process. Plus it’ s good illustration practice, of course.
Here are two of my latest sketchbook spreads:
Somewhere in the middle of one of these pages I suddenly realised that I use the same process for drawing this kind of patterns as I do while preparing lesson plans (I teach Mandarin Chinese). I put together different kinds of class activities, and then I step back and look if the overall picture is balanced. Then I think something like “there’s too much listening in a row, l should add some reading” and it’s the same as “there is too much triangles here, it would be better to add some lines or circles”.
I’ve never thought of this before, but it seems that I mostly think of my lesson plans in terms of pattern-like balance and compositional beauty, instead of just what is useful for my students’ learning process.
Here’s a drawing I made of the plant I have standing on my window.
P.S. The drawing is available in my Society6 shop as prints and other products.