Doodle Bug

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Stress has been at an all-time high in the past four weeks or so, as event after event (after event!) just kept on coming and I was up to my eyeballs in work. Three little books have been my constant companion during this time: Sachiko Umoto’s Illustration School series, which I picked up during the last MIBF.

I initially picked up these books because they’re adorable — who can resist covers like these? And I felt like I need an art refresher course, as this stubbornly dry spell in my artwork has refused to budge. But I’ve always been a doodler, and doodling calms me down especially when stress is at its peak. I find that working with my hands keeps me from getting too agitated, or from screaming (at certain people) in frustration.

Sachiko Umoto is a popular Japanese artist, and her Illustration School series: “Let’s Draw Plants and Small Creatures,” “Let’s Draw Cute Animals,” and “Let’s Draw Happy People” are step-by-step guides to cute (kawaii!) illustrations. The instructions are simple and work for various skill levels, and the pages are textured nicely for pencil drawing. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the books ever since I got them!

I initially didn’t want to get the Plants and Small Creatures book, because I rarely draw insects and I do okay with leaves and flowers in general. But I realized the variety showcased in this book would come in handy for filling in backgrounds later on (trees and shrubbery are among the most tedious things to draw), and who knows when I would need to draw an insect? So I ended up getting this one too, or at least, that’s what I told myself to rationalize the purchase. Hahaha.

Here are some pages I’ve done:

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The Cute Animals book was simply too cute to pass up. I like that it’s not just your basic cat and dog, but also animals even skilled artists would choose not to draw, like rhinoceros, reindeer, zebra, even capybara! I think this is the best book in the series, as it gives you the basic silhouettes, key details, and various poses of a whole menagerie of animals, as well as an idea of their scale. Plus, there’s a squee in every page — I bet it’s not just me!

Here:

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I’ve had the most fun with the “Happy People” book, because the characters are just so much fun to customize. Boys, girls, fantasy characters, people of different nationalities — the face and bodies are generally the same, but styling makes all the difference.

Voila:

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These are definitely among the best drawing books I’ve seen in a long time, and I expect I’ll be doodling on them from cover to cover.

And it’s baby steps for me, but here’s a quick vignette of my steampunk fairy:

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Meanwhile, I’m off to another work week!

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Illustration School series by Sachiko Umoto, P545 each at National Book Store.

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