Tag Archives: drawing

When a Writer Gets Out of Her Comfort Zone and Tries to Draw

Last week, the March Draw Kuretake challenge by Kuretake ZIG USA ended. After 4 weeks of silly, clumsy drawings, I am done with my artistic attempts. For now, anyway.

March Draw Kuretake Contest Calendar

Last October, I was so happy to have stumbled upon the InkTober drawing challenge started by artist Jake Parker. It was a drawing challenge for artists, but I jumped in anyway (I remember sending a tweet to Mr. Parker, asking for permission to join, and I was happy to have received his blessing)! I was sad when InkTober ended. When I learned about this March Draw Kuretake challenge, I was eager to pick up my pens and markers and try drawing again.

I’m neither a natural nor trained artist, but once in a while, I just want to get out of my comfort zone and draw for fun. Many times, without external motivation, I end up neglecting my beloved brush pens and drawing pens. Having a daily prompt of what to draw and making a commitment to myself and to these art challenge organizers keep me drawing.

My drawings are definitely an amateur’s work and cannot compete for any of the prizes in this drawing challenge by Kuretake ZIG USA. I don’t think I even qualify for winning any prize since I don’t live in the USA. Still, I joined this challenge for fun. And it was! It pays to get out of our comfort zones to let our hair down, have fun and get our creative juices flowing again. And who knows what hidden talents or eureka moments we may discover in the process?

Bonus in this 4-week endeavor? Getting acknowledged by the challenge organizer and a few other artists when they favorited and retweeted some of my drawings. Thank you for giving this writer and non-artist a nod for her efforts!

Through these online drawing challenges, I also learned to not be ashamed of my efforts (since I had to post them on social media ūüėČ ). So here are a few of my drawings for this March Draw Kuretake challenge.


What’s in Your Treasure Chest?

I am not an artist (stick drawings, perhaps), but I love markers and pens!  And ever since I discovered Kuretake ZIG markers in Singapore (in Art Friend, my favorite art and craft store in Singapore), I fell in love with them.

At the beginning of March, I learned about Kuretake ZIG USA’s Draw Kuretake Challenge.


I wasn’t even sure if I was eligible to win since I don’t live in the US. And having seen some of the drawings already submitted (by true artists!), I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance to win. But after enjoying the InkTober drawing challenge last October, I figured, why not? Trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone has been working well for me lately.

Here I am, in the middle of the March Draw Kuretake challenge. A few days ago, I decided to draw while waiting for my kids at their football training. I read the prompt for March 10 and it said, “What’s in your Treasure Chest?” Wow, after drawing an alien planet, a footballer drawf and a grumpy cat, I was stumped. There I was, sitting in my folding chair, notebook and pens in hand, seriously contemplating. If I did have a treasure chest, what would I put in it? What do I hold dearest to me?

I thought about it. I made a short list. After some minutes, I started to draw. And I came up with these treasures: photographs, my passport, a pen and a notebook, my iPhone and my wedding and engagement rings.

What's in my Treasure Chest? DrawKuretake


I’m happy to join this drawing challenge because it’s fun and it makes me use my beloved pens and markers as often as possible. With this particular drawing challenge, I am extraordinarily thankful for the opportunity to reflect and remember what are my greatest treasures – moments and memories of family, friends and travels; stories, letters and notes; keeping in touch; and my marriage and family.

Now, maybe I’ll ask my family what are in their treasure chests.


What I Learned from InkTober

InkTober drawingsIt’s November, and InkTober¬†2014 is done. I’m relieved that it’s done because the pressure of having to draw something everyday did sometimes get to me. I’m also sad though because I know that, without that pressure (that voice in my head reminding me to stay true to my commitment), I will be drawing less and less, if at all.

What I Learned from InkTober

1. Drawing is hard work! I’m not an artist. I am not skilled in drawing (I usually make stick drawings, if I have to draw at all). I had to read tips on how to draw, sketch, use brush pens, etc. ¬†And I still have a long way to go. I don’t know if drawing comes much easier to those artists who are naturally talented, who were born with it. But I imagine that, gifted or not, drawing to produce beautiful art is hard work. My hat goes off to people who draw for a living.

Grimm Little Red Riding Hood2. Thinking of what to draw is also hard. At first, I tried to draw what I imagined, tried to pluck inspiration out of thin air.  There are just so many things one can draw, one can imagine, and trying to put them down on paper can be daunting. When I started to limit myself to themes or templates (like my Matryoshka doll drawings), I found it easier to choose and imagine what to draw.

3. Reproducing¬†an image is easier than drawing from nothing. I don’t know if this is true only for beginners like myself. Over the course of this month-long challenge, I realized that my drawings came out better and I enjoyed myself more when I was copying an image. Looking at a photograph and trying to draw it on paper gave me a plan to work with and a gauge to measure its completion. Maybe this also my logical, organizational side kicking in, but drawing this way worked much better for me.

InkTober Day 4: Matryoshka Owl4. Some people draw fine; some people draw big. Both are okay. I experimented by using drawings pens and brush pens. Sometimes, I used only drawing pens or only brush pens. Other times, I used both. I learned that, for now anyway, big brush strokes work best for me. My daughter is very dexterous and can make drawings, paintings, clay art and nail art with beautiful, fine details. On the other hand, I prefer ¬†to draw with big, colorful brush strokes. I’m not good with drawing in detail and in such fine strokes. I’d say it’s a matter of preference, of style. And whatever style works for you is fine.

5. Drawing takes practice and includes mistakes. At first, I thought I could just plunge right into drawing. I went straight for the pen. I made mistake after mistake. Then, I started drawing with a pencil, which allowed me to erase mistakes and draw again till I was satisfied enough to draw over with my drawing pen or brush pen. Several times, I had to make drafts and do-overs before I was happy with my drawing. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just like in writing, drawing requires practice and editing.

Many thanks to Mr. Jake Parker, who created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and to develop positive drawing habits. Thank you for replying to me on Twitter, and encouraging a non-artist like myself to join the challenge.

I’m glad I gave InkTober a try. It was fun to practice drawing, and it was a pleasure seeing the many beautiful InkTober artwork made by people from all over the world. Now I have 11 months to consider and prepare for next October.



InkTober Day 17: Two Snails, Two People in the Rain

Two Snails, Two People drawing


This InkTober drawing for Day 17 (late post) is inspired by my walk home with my son in the gentle rain and by yesterday’s Word of the Day by dictionary.com – duple – which means having two parts; double; twofold.

When I’m walking around our village in the rain, many times I see snails on the sidewalks and on the grass. Last night, my son and I saw a few of them slowly making their way on the sidewalk. We always try to avoid stepping on them, and when I’m not in a hurry, I would stop and watch them slowly moving their tentacles and their feet. I don’t know why snails fascinate me.

Here is my duple drawing of two snails and two people walking in the rain. Made with Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka pens and SAI Japanese Traditional Colors brush pens.

InkTober Day 15: Dolphin Tale

Dolphin drawing

My InkTober drawing today is inspired by the movie Dolphin Tale. My son and I saw the movie for the first time today and we really liked the story of Winter, the bottlenose dolphin in Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida that was rescued in 2005. Her tail was amputated because of a severe injury, and she was eventually provided with a prosthetic tail.

This drawing is made with Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka pen and SAI Japanese Traditional Colors brush pen.


InkTober Day 8: Blood Moon

Blood Moon with Brush Pens


My InkTober drawing for Day 8 is inspired by today’s lunar eclipse and blood moon.

For today, I decided to try something different. I set aside the matryoshka doll theme and my drawing pens. I wanted to make an abstract drawing of a blood moon using only brush pens.  And with this drawing, I dipped the tips of the Akashiya Sai Japanese Traditional Colors brush pens in water to learn how to work with their spreading and shading effects.

Learning how to achieve the desired spreading and shading effects of these brush pens is hard, but I will keep trying. At this point, I’d like to believe that my drawings can only get better, right?

InkTober Day 7: Matryoshka Dogs

Matryoshka Dog 2Matryoshka Dog 1

I’ve made several attempts to draw Matty, our beloved Schnauzer-mix-looking dog. These are my fourth and fifth attempts, and I want her to be part of my InkTober drawings before I decide to move on from animals. ¬†While I found it fairly easy to draw a penguin and an owl as matryoshka dolls, I struggled so much with a dog. I’m sure part of it is my lack of drawing expertise, but I’m guessing part of it maybe because the shape of birds is closer to that of the matryoshka doll so it seemed a more natural fit. The silhouette of dogs, or perhaps any creature on fours, is very different from that of the matryoshka doll.

These are drawn with Kuretake ZIG Drawing Pen and Akashiya Fude Sai Japanese Traditional Colors Brush Pens.

P.S. Sorry, Matty. ¬†These drawings don’t do you any justice ūüėČ ¬†You are definitely more beautiful.

InkTober Day 5 and 6: Matryoshka Baju Kurung

Matryoshka Hari Raya HajiI’m cheating a little bit today. ¬†I made two drawings today to catch up with my InkTober promise. For my InkTober drawings for Day 5 and 6, I decided to try drawing a matryoshka version of a Muslim Malay girl and a Muslim Malay boy celebrating Hari Raya Haji in Singapore. Yesterday, October 5, Muslims all over the world celebrated Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice. It is to honor the Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) willingness to sacrifice his own son to God as an act of submission.

I remember how it was one of two major Muslim holidays in Singapore, and it was called Hari Raya Haji. I remember seeing Muslim families going around for their traditional family visits. I remember seeing Malay Muslim families dressed up in traditional costume, the baju kurung, of the same color, usually in shades of green, red or yellow. It was always nice to see families happily celebrating together.

This drawing was made with Kuretake ZIG Drawing Pen 0.1 in black and Akashiya Fude Sai Japanese Traditional Colors pens.

InkTober Day 4: Matryoshka Owl

InkTober Day 4: Matryoshka Owl

My InkTober Day 4 drawing is also a day late, but better late than never, right?

This matryoshka owl is inspired by two things. ¬†Yesterday, October 4, was World Animal Day. And yesterday, dictionary.com‘s Word of the Day was boobook.¬†Everyday, I check dictionary.com’s Word of the Day and I write a haiku with that word on my wotdhaiku Twitter account.

I could say that this matryoshka owl is special. It is drawn for the InkTober challenge, comes with its own haiku and is inspired by World Animal Day.

This drawing is made with Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka 05 pen in Sepia and Akashiya Fude Sai Japanese Traditional Colors brush pens.


InkTober Day 3: Matryoshka Penguin

InkTober Day 3: Matryoshka PenguinMy InkTober drawing for day 3 comes a day late. Aside from having more to do than the usual (excuses, I know), I really found myself struggling with ideas.

I know I am not an artist and I am definitely no expert in drawing. But what I am discovering for myself is that, if I make this InkTober drawing challenge into a learning challenge, a month-long task of teaching myself to draw, then it becomes more manageable, less daunting, and yes, more fun!

I’ve realized that I can’t pluck ideas out of thin air. And I can’t draw something by freehand, without planning and practice. I have given myself permission to look at art and drawings that I like to give me inspiration and ideas. I am going to use themes and templates to work with. ¬†I am drawing not as an expert but as a novice, and I am going to enjoy myself!

For now, I’m going to stick with the matryoshka doll idea. It gives me a framework, something to give my imagination a boundary, and within that boundary I can line and color and imagine as much as I would like!

This is a matryoshka penguin, in celebration of World Animal Day on October 4. I love penguins and it saddens me that some penguin species are endangered.