Where drawings go to die

I had a friend tell me once that an artist has a finite number of bad drawings within them and it was only a matter of doing enough drawing to reach that limit.  Very poetic and a positive way to look at things, but c'mon.  I can't believe that in it's totality.  Even Picasso did a couple eyesores, you just never saw them (except for this crazy long documentary where Picasso paints on glass and his eyes are bulging and the music is intense and the filmmakers are practically biting their nails bloody in anticipation for the next great masterpiece only to have him chuck it and do another painting in like a minute and a half).

So I needed to get some sketches done and as I started drawing that voice that we all have in the back of my head started in "And this is how I will ruin this beautiful white page in my sketchbook".  But instead of stopping and agreeing with said low self-esteem voice, I embraced it.  I celebrated it!  "Crappy drawing, I CELEBRATE you!"  The awkward, stiff, inflexible drawing came forth from the tip of the felt marker one of kids dropped on the floor and what I did next was a bit of an epiphany (or apostrophe - Hook).  I just kept them coming, one on top of the other until I had a sprawling field of dead drawings.  It was quiet cathartic in an abstract expressionist way.  But really, the whole exercise was process over product.  Getting over my fear of yet again not living up to my own standards and making an ugly page *gasp!* in my sketchbook.  If a sketchbook is filled cover to cover with unique and original fine tuned drawings, I have a hard time trusting that person.  I keep a close eye on my kids around them. In essence - dedicate a couple pages in your sketchbook to be a drawing graveyard.  Warm up on those pages and then move on until you've stretched those muscles enough.  Big dynamic stretches people!  Don't forget to breathe... inhale....and exhale....

Illustration Friday - Midsummer Night

Being that I currently reside in Arizona, when I think of midsummer (regardless of day or night), my one resounding thought is - proper air conditioning.  So here is a view of a typical circa 1960's Arizona roof that a star has literally fallen onto.  Poor guy.

Illustration Friday - Lesson

This may be a lesson in cake making or a lesson in not eating batter because of possible Salmonella poisoning.  I can't decide.

Ya'know, I ate a TON of batter growing up and never was so severely sick to be diagnosed with Salmonellosis.  But I don't know-if I did ever contract Salmonellosis (which symptoms were a tummy ache and new found aversion to cookie batter), my mom seemed to easily cure it with giving me a cup of soda while I sat on the couch and the most effective treatment - an episode of Scooby Doo.  Or She-Ra.

I think my Mom should email the Mayo clinic.

Illustration Friday: Bike

I was super excited to see this week's IF theme be "bike" because honestly, drawing bikes (and horses) just isn't in my skill set.  So this challenge forced me to concur my fear of this two wheeled contraption.

My daughter just recently learned how to ride a "big girl bike" and the icing on the cake was outfitting her pink princess ride with a sweet ching-ching bell.  That sound, is the sound of freedom.  At least within a two block radius for my kid.

Sketching babies

"Fail, fail again, fail better" - Rama Hughes blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........

That pretty well encapsulates how I've been feeling about art, illustration or anything that makes me take the laundry off of my drafting table in order to work.  But after I read this great quote by the awesome illustrator Mr. Hughes, I just felt like I had to do something.  So, baby steps.  Baby steps led to babies...crawling, toddling, playing, wedging themselves in small places.  My floor is always moving with cute diapered beings.  So I've been plopping myself down Jane Goodall style and have just been sketching away.

And...I'm getting out of my funk!

Eloise Wilkin...and my ego

kindergarten I attended a children's  illustration panel the other night.  A couple  people  that were on the panel were illustration buddies of mine.  And being the narcissist that I am, when questions were directed to my friends I felt the need to voice my answer, quietly in my head...

"So, Molly, what got you started in illustration?"

Molly Mikela:  "Well, (small chuckle) I don't know how many of you are familiar with Golden Books but (reflective pause), for me it probably was seeing Eloise Wilkin's We Like Kindergarten.  The cover of that book was so strange to me, because on one hand, you have this beautifully rendered little girl and on the other hand the girl is holding her crude yet innocent drawing.  It was quite a conundrum!  So....ha.... (smiling at the audience) the contrast between realism and naïveté was an appealing aspect of art to my six year old mind and remains a source of interest to me as a developing artist."

Speaker: "Tanja, can you tell us about your experience with promoting your book through your various book tours?"

Tanja Mikela: "uh... book? tour?...uh...."

Death is upon our house

O.k. I give up. 

I am no good with plants and animals.

Even as I write this, I fear for the lives of my children...

It all started with a magazine, and to protect their anonymity their name will not be mentioned, but let's just say that when you read this magazine, one assumes things are gonna be very easy...so I'm all excited because I find a recipe, which gives me the impression that it's very easy.  I need a cup of this and tablespoon of that, and oh, of course FRESH herbs!  I fell for it - again!  8 out of 10 times, I never get around to cooking this herb infused concoction, and yet here I am handing over my $2 for a coffin shaped box of fresh herbs.   Sorry Tarragon, the hand of death put you in her fridge to slowly wilt and die underneath the zucchini.

What's worse is the death of Stevie...

Stevie was part of a co-op my husband and I joined for the enjoyment of our young daughters.  A gecko co-op.  Yes, Stevie was content eating his $.10 crickets in his little plastic cage, until guilt set into my chest.  I wanted him to experience his home even if through the blurred vision of his plastic penitentiary.  Putting him outside in his little greenhouse was not a good idea.  Especially in Arizona.

R.I.P. Tarragon, Thyme, Mint

In Loving Memory Stevie.


sorry, I'm not going to draw a shriveled up gecko.  I don't do that kind of illustration.

more horses...

horses2 Well, I'm still not too great at horses, but I am pleased that I worked on it (almost) everyday.  Man, God bless that Jack Hamm and his books. I hope, when I go to Heaven, that I can buy him a beer.


Ok.  This new category is all my 3 year old daughter Lily's fault.  Basically any time we sit down and draw THE dreaded question will come up... 3...2...1...

"Mama, will you draw a doggy?" or "hey, yets draw horseys!" or "Mama, tan you draw an L-ephant?"

So here, now, I am confessing to the blogging world that I really don't like drawing animals.  Primarily because, well, I stink at it.  I am not an animal person but my daughter is, like  PETA level animal person.   I'm never going to have the heart to tell her where bacon comes from...

but I digress.

So, my goal is to work on skeching one animal (Lily's choosing) and posting the results.  This week is "horse"


I know, it's bad... the head study looks like a sock puppet.

waiting, waiting, waiting...

waitingroom Isn't funny how covert you have to be when you are sketching people? 

"I'm not hiding a sketch book on my lap!" 

"No, this isn't a sketch of the back of some guy's head, really.  I'm just sketching ...a possible landscape plan for my yard"

And then if you do get caught...

"Yeah, it's just something I do..."  "Yeah, working for Disney would be...great"  "No, actually I illustrate..."  "illustrate-you know the drawings in magazines and children's book, yeah, that's illustration."   "Actually, um, I don't really have the time to, uh, illustrate your daughter's children's book." "$200?  wow, yeah, that's tempting...but I'm really kinda swamped...."

ah, waiting rooms.