From comic strips to painting flowers

Me, during a class (2012)
Me, during a class (2012)

Good morning, world!

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with wet-on-wet technique in watercolor painting, self-learning it while watching (and being inspired) by the amazing Jennifer Orkin Lewis. She posts videos of her painting daily and, at first, I was only amazed by how intuitive she paints yet how beautiful it comes out in the end. In the past few weeks, as I’ve ran to painting as a kind of “disconnecting from the world” and a kind of therapy, I decided to try the technique that Lewis does.

“Lovely Summer Day” by Jennifer Orkin Lewis

Basically, it’s painting wet (with a lot of water), and then adding splashes and patches of color while the paint was still wet, creating a beautiful mix of colors. Her technique uses gouache paint and layers of colors (you can view her process here), but since I’m not that comfortable yet with gouache, I decided to try color layering with watercolor.

I was very happy with the result, and I was also startled by the level I could reach. I mean, before trying it out, I was basically quite content with the type of technique I did and I was in this comfort zone that I was reluctant to quit.

However, upon trying this new technique (I know it’s something that’s been around for a long time, but it’s never too late so start, right?) I was amazed that, actually, I can still step up my illustration game and that it’s not impossible.

From Sass & Shamrocks


I reflected that I started doing all these artsy things since I was in kindergarten. I remember that I liked making comic strips of the ordinary life of a girl: waking up, going to school, eating their favorite food, going to sleep… My parents bought me lots of drawing books and I would usually use all the sheets in less than a month.

My aunts & uncles, as well as my parents’ friends, liked to give me art supplies as a birthday gift. I had a lot of art supplies that I shared with my brother but, being a kid, they got lost in the process.

I also reflected the journey I didn’t realize I underwent from the first year of university. In my first year of university in Indonesia (I spent a year enrolled in Interior Architecture in Indonesia before moving to Spain), the arts class tasked us with drawing natural objects, creating color swatches that range from white to black to red to blue, drawing straight lines without using a ruler (yet using 7 different types of pencils)… all the basics that I never dreamed of doing, at least until I enrolled.

During my first year in a design institute in Spain, I was tasked with still life drawings, portraits, natural objects drawings, all in different types of papers and tools. Here was my first time using the charcoal and it was unique. I was also asked to draw skeletons and muscles in different positions (we had a model in class) and the assignment included identifying different bones and muscles.

The point of all this is: just do it. Things may seem hard and pointless when you do it, but when you get to the point where you can do just about anything, you look back and be grateful of the things you had done. And never get too comfortable in your comfort zone, because you can always level up!

I mean, yes, this might be just another “meh, it’s just illustrations, just drawings, wth no importance” type of thing. However, to draw, to paint, this kind of thing motivates me & keeps me ahead on life. It pulls me from being depressed & it pushes me to always strive for the better things.

I mean, I was a 5-year-old girl who drew comic strips of ordinary girls. In middle school, I drew comic strips of superhero girls who fight to save the world with their magical powers (major W.I.T.C.H. influence). In university, I was thrown to the basic (and at times, it seemed pointless) techniques of drawing and painting.

W.I.T.C.H., by Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci, & Barbara Canepa
W.I.T.C.H., by Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci, & Barbara Canepa

And here I am, living one of my dreams as an aircraft interior designer, who spends her free time upping her painting game.

If it weren’t for that long process of learning to draw and/or paint, I don’t think I’d be here, confident with developing & finding my own style. I just… didn’t realize that the whole process took a lifetime & I’m grateful for that ❤



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