foxtrot in my blooming rose garden

The cousin I grew up with is getting married this weekend and I will not be back home for it. It is rather surreal on both counts. As a child I loved making cards. Growing up, I sketched alot, wanting to become a fashion designer even though I have no sense of 3D perspective whatsoever. But the practical realities of instrumentally rational Singapore bit into me, and I never went that route. I befriended a classmate in junior college who took the same bus as I did-- she used to do fashion as an art elective and we exchanged notes with each other's old sketches, and I remember her encouraging me to follow my dream. She was uber-hardworking but really fun, and we would walk instead of run during physical education lessons-- a girl after my own heart-, before she took off to America to study two months later.  I then made friends with a designer, who inspired me to start sketching properly-- i.e. buy a hugeassed sketchbook, and create large drawings with all sorts of colours, textures and materials. He made me a birthday card. It'd been ages since anyone made me a proper card! Feeling a frisson of excitement, I began illustrating and making cards since then, for certain people in my life. And then this weekend, I was wondering just what to do for MQ, besides the present that is being shipped over as I blog. I wanted something heartfelt for her, and for a wedding card, I had to do something big. Something fully-coloured. Can I do it, I asked myself, as I took up a pen and started to sketch, sitting on my bed at 1am on Saturday night. 

I was inspired by this picture that Pics Can Fly took of them: 

BUT, the problems were manifold:
  1. The only coloured stuff I've done are fashion sketches and concepts. Not illustrations.
  2. It's been about five or six years since I last drew properly. Apart from about five sketches sneakily done in class last December, and a card I illustrated for D in June, I was getting worried I had lost my drawing mojo. Two weeks ago, I attempted to sketch something. And nearly fainted. So I tore the paper up.
  3. The only digital alterations I've ever done to artwork were nudes. And that's just simple smudges and shadows. Also done a few years ago.
  4. I have absolutely no art materials with me in Brighton save for a few pencils and two or three markers. In August '09 as I filled my last box to ship with Seven Seas, I was torn between books I loved and my art materials. Eventually, the books won. I thought I'd collect them back in April, but there was no space in my luggage. 
  5. As you can guess, I know some basic Photoshop skills with which I do my collages. Probably back when I was 14, my secondary school sat us through about three hours of lessons in that, and I simply pick on what I remember from half-listening. But when it comes to the editing of features, I am absolutely clueless. Plus I have Premature Parkison's a.k.a. shaky hands.
  6. It was snowing so I couldn't go out to get watercolour pencils and chalk pastels.
  7. I can't draw hands to save my life. And out of all the stuff I've sketched or illustrated, there's only been three males. It's a 1:1000000 ratio here. Severely underpracticed. 

So with a piece of paper and a 10-for-£1 gel-based blue pen from Poundland (because pens are SO expensive in the UK), I hastily began sketching. . hoping that my preliminary round would not kill me. I started filling in details. There were loads of construction lines but I wanted the look to be a tad raw. .and one and a half hours later (really impressive for a hyper-hyperactive soul like myself) I decided, "Oh maybe I don't want to resketch this! I like this!". D had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs after our usual Stargate SG-1 Marathon (LOVE that show!*) so I didn't fancy waking him up scanning the sketch, so I took a photo with my iPhone (!!), mailed it to myself and plugged it into Photoshop. About eight hours in total and forty layers of linear burns, dodges, smudging and opacity tweaks in different shades, nuances, and hues later, voila. .  my card was created. From scratch! So happy that after creating my waxwork bottles and this, I might be finding my Creationist** Mojo back.

*Even if he keeps (happily) telling me it is extremely abnormal for a woman to be so excited about the show. "Shut up and tell yourself you're sooo lucky" I tell him. "I am", he says. Lol. 
**Yesh I know what "Creationist" really means.

So MQ is dressed here in a PinUp Princess style, in a deep shocking pink halter-neck polka-dotted dress with a hidden crinoline. The waist is nipped with a plush velvet sash in gradations of Prussian blue and deep purple, whilst a hemline of a similar colour mimics that of a carpet fringe for a slightly 20 Swing look. For WL, I drew him in a Naive Art sort of style, drawing inspiration from Camille Bombois (also evident in MQ's blush), and added some red strip detail to his collar and cuffs, and to add a touch of smartness, I threw in a cufflink. And towards the end I realised she does look a bit like Megan Fox here, but I guess no one's complaining. For the background, I selected and cropped part of a photograph of a rose garden, and applied 'watercolour' effect onto it. Resized the pictures, made them card-sized and wrote my message inside. Then I took a deep breath and sent it to her. And. . she was so excited, telling me she loves it!

So yesh, my dear Cousin. . may you have a happy, stress-free wedding and here's to a momentous, intense, fascinating, interesting and amazing new chapter of your lives together!!



  1. P! I can't tell you how much I love this!!! This is so my esthetic, a fantasy pretty! Seriously, it's so beautiful and whimsical. Follow your heart girly....this is obviously a gift you have. Also, I loves me some Star Gate! I think Tealc is just the coolest alien EVER! I'm a sucker for sci fi.... ~Serene

  2. This is the first time I have stopped by your blog and your creativity is off the charts! I am currently at work so I will have to go home and spend more time have so much to read and look over! Great are obviously very talented!

  3. What a wonderful card.Such a talent!!!!

  4. Wow what a sweet post! Congrats to your cousin and what a lovely heart felt card! :)

    xoxo, jaz

  5. Talent indeed!! That is sooo pretty,and so personal,which makes it very special!Yay for creationist(!!)mojo's!!
    Hope youre cousins wedding is a mighty fine bash!

  6. O,and D must be just about shitting himself-you're HOT and you like Stargate??? Bloody hell,it's all his Christmas' in one!

  7. Fantastic :) They'll be delighted, it is so lovely to receive something so much thought has gone into.

    ps I'm originally from Australia, but love it here now (even though I hate the cold and miss being able to get proper Asian food. Nowhere in this whole country does proper laksa!)

  8. you have got great polka dot dress..and the drawing looks like you.

  9. I love polka dots. Thats a great sketch!

  10. Great drawing, love it!<3

    ♥ kisses ♥

  11. Lovely drawing! Really well done, xx

  12. Lovely card! I'm sure your cousin will be really happy to receive it!

    I always think it's a strange thing how random people you meet in your life can be so important in the direction of where your life leads. If my Art teacher at school hadn't encouraged me to take Art History, I may not have studied it at all!

  13. congrats to your cousin. I hope to see some of your sketches soon!

  14. That's adorable! That will mean a lot more to your cousin than a store-bought card!

  15. That is sooo cute! I love the drawing!!!
    I also love those candles you did!

  16. It's so pretty, I'm sure she will love it!

    Chic on the Cheap


thank you for visiting devilishly pleasurable. would love to hear from you & drop by your sites too. do 'follow', add to blogroll-- would love to return that favour too x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...