Watercolour Pencils & Stickmen Art:
The Beginnings Of An Artistic Adventure

I had never been convinced that I can draw.

Despite often saying that I am nothing more than a half-decent writer with bad spelling, I know in my heart of hearts that I am quite good at writing. Why? Because what I write appeals not only to others, but more importantly to me. Then it doesn't matter if it's only read by a handful of people.

The number of people who read it is secondary. Instead it's the impression it leaves behind: I might write a good fluffy one-shot, or invest hours in the perfect AU, and still - as far as I can tell - on AO3 I am remembered by a long-arse story which started as a pastime during boring lectures. And if I'd say that I mind this, I'd be lying ... My heart lies in every story, maybe more of it than even I am aware of.

But drawing? At the best of times I was able to draw a stickman. Not really looking like a man, or a stick. I am in awe of people who can draw anything half decent: the propositions fit, and a face looks like ... a face. There are many (fan) artists who appeal to me, and others who don't. Still, I was convinced that I would never manage this.

Fast forward to February when what is now knows as The Grand Tour was filming in Barbados. A - who can actually draw - jokingly made a painting of Clarkson and May on the beach. It were two really crappy stickmen holding hands, and there was no beach. One of them had a gut - cue, Clarkson. I claimed that I could do far better in the same time!

So I did. I sent her my stickmen, full with clothes, and pubes as hairs - Clarkson, again. She was happy. Then while she had gone back to a real drawing, I tried to figure out how I can use other colours than the given ones in Paint, drew the sea, some sort of beach, and perfected the clothes.

I don't know why, but I was quite proud of my rather crappy drawing. I liked it so much that I uploaded it with the not all too serious captain. "I am an artist."

They're in love
The next morning when I rolled out of bed, I noticed that more people than expected had liked my stickmen art. I didn't really know why but I began to indulge in the Art Of Stickmen. So like most things in my life, it started as a joke.

I had already found myself relaxing while working in Creative Cats and being able to draw my own stickmen in self-created adventures gave me joy. People liked it because apparently it is "cute."

Somewhere along the way my stickmen started to get get a skin-colour, fingers, and hands - they still have no feet - and I think I have developed something that Art People might call an "art style."

inspired by a spelling mistake - from March 2016
Four months later
I still do stickmen from time to time. But now I can tell when stickmen might be appropriate for the sake of cute, and when I can draw them in "my style."

Along the way, I always kept A informed of my progress, she saw many Works in Progress. She gave little tips, which I appreciated - unless it's her complained of lack of "footsies." Every single time I jokingly refereed to my drawing as "crap art" or "crap stickmen art" she got really, really mad. It made me feel lucky that we don't live in the same country.

I couldn't understand her angry outburst. After all, I did not feel like an artist. Of course, I was appreciative of every single like a drawing of mine got. Still I thought my art was okay. Possibly cute. But never more than okay. After all there are people who can draw faces and they look like real faces. A. being one of them. I use my mousepad and GIMP to draw ...

Then one day, on a whim, I chose to buy watercolour pencils. I liked the very idea of them: watercolours which aren't so random and you've got more control over them.

I wasn't sure what I'll do with them. I knew that I am good with landscapes, so maybe for the colouring books, and only recently had I received and unexpected amount of money. So why not?

A day later, I sat down and began to play with the colours and the pencils. And ... I love the result.
Sovergein Light Café
I know it's got two odd perspectives, and that the street doesn't look realistic. But somehow I couldn't help but feel proud of it. I found myself looking at this, just looking, and wondering ...

This is the first drawing I actually called a painting. One of the few that I called pretty before asking anybody if it was. It was like one of my writings: I knew that it was good, because I liked it. So I posted it, and people loved it as well.

I dedicated it to A because she was convinced since my first piece of crappy stickmen art that even I - master of the average stickman - could draw. In addition to many other things: because of her I bought fancy pencils for my colouring books to make them even prettier. She supported every stupid question I had about art and took it serious. She sent me useful links and art videos which might appeal to me. She runs a little blog which joyous to read. She tickled an interst in art that had lain dormant. Because of her I went to the art museum in Frankfurt and actually looked at paintings. I sat down and stared at one for ages because it appealed so much at me.

If it wouldn't be for A, I'd still think of myself as not even being able to draw a stickman. I wouldn't even know that I even had an art style. I would think I am crap at drawing landscapes - one of the few things I could do without even trying.

I'd also think that I'd be absolutely crap at drawing anything by hand. I draw in colouring books where the lines are given, or on the laptop via mousepad so it couldn't be more different.
But by playing with my new pens, and constructing a whole painting by hand ... yes, I can do it.

But the most important is that without her, I wouldn't call my painting a painting.

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