Get drawing

During October and November The Big Draw will be happening all over the country, aiming to get people drawing.
It was set up by The Campaign for Drawing because:

“Drawing helps us to understand the world, think, feel, shape and communicate ideas. It is fun, accessible and invaluable – in education and everyday life.”

Why would you want to celebrate drawing? Too many people think they can’t draw, but there’s no such thing!

Drawing is more than producing a likeness of something on paper.
Drawing is an action, that can help you relax and de-stress as well as create something from practically nothing.
It can be a much more immediate way of getting ideas across than words – how many people say they are ‘visual’ learners?

Drawing is creating and everybody needs a bit of creativity in their lives.

I was put off drawing for a long time by a bad lecturer who told me I couldn’t do it. And I rediscovered it when I used it as a therapy at a time in my life when I was very low. It’s something a lot of us left behind in school but the act of creating is more important than the end result.

Don’t be scared, or get put off by other people. And don’t just  set up your fruit bowl and coloured pencils like you did in school, experiment!

  • Take your pencil for a walk over the paper and see what shapes appear
  • Use different materials: string, crayons, ink, biro…don’t limit yourself
  • Draw BIG, draw small, draw with your eyes shut, draw to music
  • Tell a story

There are loads of opportunities for all ages to get together and draw during October. Search The Big Draw website for events near you.

If you can’t get to one of these, draw with your friends or your family.

I’ll be drawing, will you?

Send us your pics,  I’d love to see how you get on.

Craft community, Starting up

What I’ve learnt so far..

When I decided to put my drawings out there and offer them for sale I didn’t know what to expect.
Eight months on, I have learnt a few things, but I suspect I have a few mistakes left to make yet!

Here are some of the things I know now that I didn’t back then…

Network, network, network!

Pastelesta's Etsy shop

My Etsy shop

When I set up on Etsy, I really thought that I would sell everything I listed, perhaps not immediately, but I was happily working out profits based on selling individual items daily.

This did not happen!

If you’re selling online on a shop like Etsy or Folksy or similar, you need to actively network and market your products to get yourself noticed. It’s a big old marketplace.

There are loads of groups on Etsy and on Facebook that you can use to get support and promote yourself and other people, as well as networking hashtags on Twitter.

Try Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, each is slightly different and will give you slightly different results.

  • Facebook – good for building a ‘persona’ for your business. Show your work in progress, be chatty, promote your products. Build an authentic and receptive audience for your brand. Use pictures where you can to catch people’s eye in ther packed newsfeeds
  • Twitter – good for networking and news. It’s very time-based, so be carful when you post and make use of networking hours such as #handmadehour #uketsyhour and location-based ones like #hampshirehour or #yorkshirehour
  • Pinterest – good for getting creative ideas and advertising your products (remember to put the price in the title)

You don’t have to spend a lot on advertising

Building up a presence isn’t going to be instant and throwing money into advertising won’t give instant results. There is a huge amount of information online about social media and marketing so do your research and learn from other people.

Get out there to craft fairs, it will take a while to find where you best fit in as there are all sorts of different types, but they often attract press and publicity, so it’s a good way of getting your eye-catching products see in the press.

Marketing offline is an area I definitely need to develop, I’m not that confident about the face-to-face so tend to hide online. However, getting out there and meeting and networking in real life makes your brand ‘real’ to your customers and I know I have to do it!

Take the very best photographs that you can of your products

I still don’t have this cracked, mostly down to lack of time (bad time management from me) and a slightly dodgy camera, but the more professional looking your products are, the more likely it is that someone will be to part with their money online and buy them.

Again, there’s lots of information online:

Keep on making

Marketing is incredibly time consuming, but don’t forget to keep doing what you do best…making and creating. Try to build in time to try out new ideas, you never know when you’re going to hit on something that people love.

If you get creative block, here are some great ideas from Naomi at Artbiz Rx

You will learn a lot along the way

Dream picture by @pastelesta

Dream picture by @pastelesta

I have made quite a few mistakes, but I’ve also learnt a huge amount.

  • My drawing has improved
  • I’ve got more confident
  • I feel more fulfilled
  • I’ve seen a whole new working environment that’s possible
  • I’ve got new skills to bring to my day job

In November last year I did my first craft fair and although I got lots of compliments I didn’t sell a single thing. I’ve booked for the same fair this year, so I can compare how much I’ve achieved so far both with the things I sell and the profits I make.

It’s definitely a journey, enjoy the ride!

Pastels, Step-by-step drawing

Husky drawing

It’s not very seasonal, but the latest drawing I’ve finished is a husky in the snow. The sun came out as soon as I started it, so maybe I’d better keep to the wintry theme….potential Christmas card prints at the least!

Anyway, this latest drawing is tricky as the subject is mostly black and white. I like to be quite bold with my colours when starting the drawing at least as using contrasting colours allows the light to bounce off the pastel dust and give a more 3d effect. I also don’t really like using black. So, a challenge!

I started with an outline in pastel pencil which is easier to control than the sticks and gives a more controlled line


I usually leave the background too late and struggle to get the tones right so have started to add it earlier.

Next I put down some tone by shading purple and orange over each over, as well as green and red. It sounds odd, but the contrasting colours will give a grey-brown key that is a layer to work on.


I added some bright turquoise blue to the face to act as a key for the paler white fur.


Then I began to build up the detail




The process involved lots of redrawing and layering.
This is the finished picture


I couldn’t avoid black, but it’s layered over blue, purple and orange which is allowed to show through in places.
I’m not sure it’s finished, that’s just so hard to call, but I hate to overwork my animal portraits.

I’m not interested in every piece of fur, more the look in the eyes and a sense of character.
Pastels give a good sense of fur quite quickly and easily, but I am also quite impatient and probably don’t spend as long on pieces as I should!