Art in August #25 – Elsa from Frozen

My Elsa Watercolour

My Elsa Watercolour

I think this is probably my favourite Art in August piece so far. I have to say a thousand thank yous to Laptop on the Ironing Board for coming up with the Art in August challenge – it has given me an excuse to indulge in some of my favourite creative pastimes without guilt. It’s for the blog, so it’s working, right?

Drawing animated characters is something I have always enjoyed doing. I find it much easier to copy someone else’s drawing than come up with my own, and cartoons have a simplicity to them that give great results without spending hours on shading and detail.

My first attempts at copying animation, back in my teens, were when I became obsessed with drawing stills from the Watership Down movie. Back then, before the handy invention of the tablet, I had to pause the video and copy from the screen – occasionally tracing off the TV (in the days when they had glass screens and you could touch them) but more often sketching from the image and then redrawing in detail.

Pencil sketch

Pencil sketch

Animation was easier to copy then, as the originals were usually watercolours, in flat colour, rather than the modern CGI three-dimensional almost lifelike characters (well, apart from the scary-huge eyes and tiny chins!) The largest Disney drawings I have done are when I painted a four-foot Ariel and a three-foot flying Dumbo, together with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, on the wall of a little girl’s bedroom. I always intended to do the same for my children, but our walls of crumbling plaster don’t really lend themselves. Besides, talk about setting a bad precedent!

Today, I was fortunate enough that the children were off trashing the playroom playing for an hour, so I was able to start the picture of Elsa I’ve been wanting to do for weeks.

As time is of a premium now I have children, I decided to use a tutorial by Mark Crilley for my drawing of Elsa. It meant I could follow step by step, focussing on things like the way the eyes tilt up and the sassy slant of the eyebrow.

After first watercolour

After first watercolour

The tutorial was brilliant, although Mark did much of his shading using coloured pencils. I’m not so good with pencils and finding any that weren’t full of broken lead proved challenging, so I used watercolour on pretty much all of it.

I’m a bit frustrated that I started too close to the top of the paper and couldn’t fit all the hair in, and the shading of the dress isn’t great because I couldn’t see it too clearly on the tutorial, but otherwise I am pleased.

I love Elsa, the “conceal, don’t feel” ice queen. They used to call me the ice maiden when I was younger – a combination of white-blonde hair and shyness that came across as arrogance – and I would give anything to have a hundredth of Elsa’s cool sass.

For now the picture will have to do!

Let it Go (Parenting remix)

The dirt never bothered me anyway

The dirt never bothered me anyway

I wish I could sing. I’ve fallen a little bit in love with the Let it Go song from Frozen, much to my kids’ disgust. They keep telling me off for singing it. But I love the sentiment and I’ve always had a weakness for a power ballad.

The song plays on loop in my head, going round and round. Slowly new lyrics have started to accompany the song, and suddenly I found myself writing the kind of parody I love so much on social media (like the brilliant Do You Want to Go to Starbucks.)

Unfortunately I can’t sing. I try. I love singing. But I’m always flat. Plus I don’t like cameras – I don’t even like photos of me, never mind video or audio. So all a bit of a waste really, I’m never going to make my perfect parody.

But I did have fun writing the words. When I wrote a romantic version of James Blunt’s Goodbye my Lover for my other half, the band sang it at my wedding. Maybe I’ll find someone to film this for me (and split the advertising revenue if it goes viral! Haha.) Of course there are already a few Mommy parodies, but I like to think I wrote more of my own words!

Let it Go (Parenting Remix)

The toys are strewn on the playroom floor, not a clean space to be seen
A whirlwind of dark destruction and it looks like I must clean

The kids are screaming like their favourite dog just died
I can’t keep calm, heaven knows I’ve tried

Don’t let them win, don’t let them see
How their constant mess is killing me
Just breathe, don’t grieve, don’t get too low
Go with the flow

Let it go, let it go
Can’t fight the mess any more
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and close the door
I don’t care what my friends might say
Let the kids play on

The dirt never bothered me anyway

It’s funny how some caffeine makes everything seem fine
And if that doesn’t quite cut it then I’ll open up the wine

It’s time to take some time for me, read a book or turn on the TV
No guilt, no shame, no endless chores
I’m bored

Let it go, let it go
I can live with the filthy floor
Let it go, let it go,
I won’t get angry any more
Let them paint and make things from clay
Let the kids play on

I tiptoe through the bricks and beads and rainbow bands
I pass the barbie shoes and broken cars and scattered sand

And one thought creeps up on me like a muddy pet
It may be chaos but I aint seen nothing yet!

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll learn to smile again
Let it go, let it go
That perfect house is gone
Here I am in amidst the fray
Let the kids play on

The dirt never bothered me anyway


By Amanda Martin