Celebrating Myself in March

simple line drawing of Mellanie Collins

Who is this grumpy woman?  It’s me!  Only I’m really not grumpy. I’m just looking a little to intensely at my mirror.  It doesn’t really look like the beginning of a celebration, does it?  But it is.

During my birthday month,  I’m making a conscious effort to focus on the things I like about myself instead of finding more things to improve.  Why not take a stab at celebrating who I am.  Drawing, as always, is a great way to start.

IWhat kinds of things do yo do for yourself on your birthday.  Do you ever celebrate for the whole month or the whole week?

African American History Month – Rosa Parks

Rosa-ParksRosa Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) the legendary civil rights activist would have been 100 years old this year.  While many people know of her role as catalyst of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and as an icon of the Civil Rights Movement, many people are not aware that her career as an activist started before her arrest in 1955. At least I didn’t.

Here’s an interesting interview  w/ Jeanne Theoharis, a Rosa Parks biographer conducted by Gwen Ifill on the PBS NewsHour detailing the beginnings of her life as a civil rights and community activist:

Another Thurgood Marshall Sketch

Thurgood-Marshall-drawing5.5″ x 8″ pen and markers

In the past I’ve occasionally posted some drawings for Black History Month. Since it’s that time again, I thought it might be fun to revisit some old subjects.

Back in 2010 I did a sketch of a young Thurgood Marshall  (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993), the first African American on the Supreme Court and the lawyer who argued the famous Brown v. Board of Education case before the Supreme Court.  This current sketch was drawn from a photo taken in 1967, around the time he became the court’s 96th justice.

I’ve always been fascinated by his story: the grandson of a slave, who initially went to college to study medicine and become a dentist, eventually becomes an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Check out his biography on Wikipedia.

Starting an Illustrated Journal


I’ve been doing well with the Creative Every Day Challenge. I’m up to day eight. This is the best page I’ve made over the last few days.

I’m starting up another illustrated journal, something that I used to do and enjoy, but inexplicably dropped a few years ago. It’s the easiest way for me to do something creative every day and acknowledge parts of my life that I may not pay much attention to.

For instance. I guess I never really noticed how many poppy seeds there are on an everything bagel, or really see how many bubbles there are riding along the surface of cup of coffee. So many tiny things that never would have been acknowledged. How many other things do I miss every day? Too many to count.

Creating Every Day in 2013

Mellanie Collins, self-portrait, 2013

Today I signed up for the Creative Every Day Challenge.  I’m committing to doing something creative every day in 2013.  What I like about Leah Piken Kolidas’ challenge is that it calls for creativity in it’s broadest sense. So while I may draw or doodle some days, I can also practice my ukelele, take some photos, try a new recipe, or get my garden back into shape.

I often need to remind myself that being creative isn’t always about my drawing and painting.  It’s about anything I do that gives me room to express who I am and allow me to stretch my wings as I strive to live more authentically.

I’ll not post everything I do, really, you don’t want to see it all. But I’ll be updating much more frequently than I have in the past.

So this is it.  I dove in with this self-portrait in my sketchbook.  We’ll see where 2013 takes me.


Welcoming 2013 With New Confidence

drawing of Martin Freeman, actor
sketchbook page – brush markers

The other day I whining about how little progress I thought I had made over the last couple of years.  I’d been sick with a cold and generally whinging about everything I could think of.   Last night, since I felt better I got out my sketchbook to do more practice drew this drawing of actor Martin Freeman.  I remembered that I had done a drawing of Freeman in 2008  posted it here on the blog.  Wow, what a difference.  When I look back at that post, I realize that I have made progress with my drawing.

I tend to forget that with every drawing we make, there is progress.  So I plan to fill more sketchbook pages and not worry about progressing with drawing.  I’ve had enough experience to know that if I just keep going there will be bad drawings, but there will also be some good ones and eventually the good ones will get even bettter.

So Happy New Year everyone and happy drawing.

2012 ATC Round UP

So much for my creative journey this year.   As I look back on 2012 I see a lot of ebb and not much flow.   I didn’t spend much time drawing, instead I spent too much time experimenting with art journaling, mixed-media, and collage.  Oh, my.  I am definitely not a mixed-media collage artist. That’s all I’m going to say on that subject.  I know what I love – and that’s drawing. So enough of this bandwagon jumping. I’m going back to doing what I do best and work to grow in that area.

I did do some drawing that I liked this year.  I participated in a few artist trading card swaps on atcsforall.com which gave me some incentive to settle in and make something.

These three were for a 70’s Icon Swap. Here are the Icons I chose to draw:  Pam Grier, Kristy McNichol, and Diana Ross.

Pam Grier
Pam Grier
Kristy McNichol
Kristy McNichol
Diana Ross
Diana Ross

Later I made cards for an Einstein swap.  Albert Einstein is fun to draw.  There are so many beautiful lines, and his eyes are mesmerizing.  For this set I used ink with a brush over my pencil sketch.  I was in a rush to finish these on time, but I like the way Einstein 3 came out.  I can see myself filling an entire sketchbook with Einstein drawings.

Einstein 1
Einstein 1
Einstein 2
Einstein 2
drawing for einstein swap
Einstein 3

More recently, I gave whimsy another try. I signed up for a Long, Lovely Neck swap and drew these ladies.  Not really whimsical, but as close as I get. Here I used my trusty Micron pen and my Tombow markers.

Long Lovely Neck Swap
Long Lovely Neck Swap

My last swap of the year was an Edgar Allan Poe swap. We could draw the author or a scene from one of his books, or anything with a Poe flavor to it. I, of course, just drew little Poe portraits. Again, with pen and Tombow markers.

Trio of Poe Portraits
Trio of Poe Portraits

So there it is, a review of my best ATCs for the year. I resolve to do much better work in 2013.

Seasons Greetings!

Image Source:  Clipartandcrafts.com

Wow!  This year has just sailed by.  Thanks for all of your visits and comments!  Enjoy the holidays and have a great New Year.


Sketchbook Project: Heroes and Villains (The Intro)

(click on the image to see full size)

This summer I signed up for the 2012 Sketchbook Project.   You receive a book, fill it,  send it back, and it goes on national tour with thousands of other sketchbooks.  People get to flip through your book and see your process or just enjoy the drawings.  All the books eventually are sent to the Brooklyn Art Library where they are cataloged,  and then put on the shelves.  While I was in New York this October I actually made a visit to the Brooklyn Art Library to look through some of the thousands of book housed there.  It was amazing.  I was a kid in a candy store.  I looked at quite a few books.  I was at times comforted and intimidated as I thought about my own sketchbook collecting dust in my makeshift studio.

So, I’ve had my book since August, but when do I begin to actually draw in it? This week!  The deadline is postmarked Jan 31, so I will probably  finish on time.  And I did notice as I glanced through some of the books at the library that not all of them were finished, so I know that filling all the pages isn’t really that important.  But finishing the book is more of an agreement to myself.

The theme of my book is Heroes and Villains.  I’m starting my book with people who can be considered both.   The first two drawings in my book are of Nancy Pelosi and Michele Bachmann.  I’m not a big fan of either of these woman, but I know that they are both considered admirable and villainous.  It just depends on your views, values, and tastes I guess.

My sketches won’t be anything fancy, just picking up whatever is handy.  the Bachmann drawing was drawn with Pitt pens and markers.  The Pelosi drawing was just a quick sketch with a 4-color ballpoint pen.  The finished book will be   of my sketchbooks:  loose, messy, and completely disjointed.

So that’s what’s in store for the next few weeks.

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