DIY (Doodle It Yourself) Christmas Portrait

Helllloooo ho ho ho! As my diary is starting to fill up with Christmas orders I thought I’d share some hints and tips on creating your own festive portrait  to spread some smiles this festive season. Have a go and if you need some advice ping me a message and I’d be happy to help!

What you’ll need…

…Anything you can draw with. This article isn’t about replicating my style but finding your own way with it. This year has been challenging enough on the financial front for many so the last thing I want is to share a list of pricey art stuff you might not use again (although I hope you will because art is fun! :-)).

Soooooo to get started you’ll need a photo of the person you’d like your portrait to be of for reference; I find forward facing snaps the most helpful; and anything you can draw with and on, then you’re good to go! As an optional extra I also recommend a warm drink and a biscuit.

For the purpose of this article I am using some biros I found in a drawer and a back of an envelope to show it’s not all about the fancy art stuff.

Doodling faces

When drawing faces I tend to pay most attention to distance between the different facial features. It’s why on a lot of my sketches I have little notes to myself like ‘move eyes closer together’ or ‘shift eyebrow to the left slightly’. With my style I am not looking to get a realistic impression of the person I am drawing but trying to find some likeness. By moving features even slightly this can make a real difference and it means however you draw your eyes, ears, mouth etc. it can help to give some resemblance of the person your are drawing.

Here’s a little example.

On the left is a doodle of the face where the eyes are higher and by moving them down it looks closer to photo of young William. You’ll notice I haven’t drawn the top of the head. This is because I will be popping on a Christmas hat.

HANDY TIP: THE MORE LOW DOWN YOU DRAW FACIAL FEATURES THE YOUNGER A PERSON TENDS TO LOOK.

Own your style

The brilliant thing about art is anything goes. This means if you want to simply have dots for your eyes or opt for a more realistic illustration, whatever you choose for this is your style so be confident with it (or at least okay with it; us artists tend to be modest :-)). The more you draw the more your style becomes more natural. And the less you think about it too.

HANDY TIP: THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DRAWING IN TERMS OF SHAPES RATHER THAN WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS WHICH CAN SEEM MORE DAUNTING. SEE SAMPLE BELOW:

Make it festive

Let’s start with the body. In this instance I have simplified the style to a semi circle and two lines… Play around with the height and width of the semi circle and where you place the lines to suit the person you are drawing.

Now you have the body it’s time to add some fun festive details to the jumper. This is the time to let your creativity flow; from Christmas Puddings or, the main man, Santa himself there are lots of festive items you could pop on your jumper. Feeling nervous? Why not opt for a simple red and white stripe number or white circles on blue to look like snow. With the Christmas hat these are winning combinations!

Feeling more confident and also like the red and white stripes are too similar to a football team you’re not a fan of why not do a little doodle of a Snowman or a Reindeer. Below are a couple of ideas broken down into shapes again to help you along the way:

Ta Da!!!!!

I hope that inspired you have a go! I’d absolutely LOVE to see your creations!!! If you have given this a go please tag me in your pics on social media using the handle @greetingsfromsarah or send me a message if you don’t want to show the world. I’ve been doodling professionally for 7 years and still get nervous about showing people my stuff so either way I’d just be very excited to see them.

Happy Doodling!!! xx

Greetings From Lockdown

Oosh this year eh!? What a stinker!! I hope you’re keeping well and adapting nicely to life in Covid times. As the world is beginning to open up a bit more I have had a little reflection on lessons I’ve learnt from owning a business when life throws something unexpected your way and thought I’d share.

1. My customers are awesome!! (…although I kind of already knew this :-))

After the initial 2 weeks of nothingness on the business front I was getting a little nervous about how my business would survive when keeping safe and checking in on loved ones was quite rightly the priority. Then after the initial panic settled some lovely folk who I have worked with previously got in touch about some new projects!! I felt uncomfortable promoting my stuff when the world had gone into meltdown so these wonderful humans allowed me to continue working steadily in the background and I’m so grateful to them. It’s really highlighted the importance of being kind to the people who support your business; they can help keep you afloat when times are hard.

2. Hurrah for Creativity! 

It’s been so exciting to see how small creative businesses have adapted during this time. I feel in a very fortunate position that, being a one person band, I can adapt my business when something isn’t quite working or if I want to try a different direction. When things slowed down I started thinking of different offerings that could help spread a little joy at this rubbish time and came up with the idea of Letterbox Portraits. Smaller than my current listings they fit nicely in the post box so would reduce my trips to the post office, they can be sent on behalf of people to spread a little happy to those isolating/shielding and as they’re smaller the cost is less expensive than my other listings to help save some pennies as I know many folk faced job uncertainty.

Due to some sad personal stuff unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to launch my Letterbox portraits but I’ve found it reassuring that you can tap into your creativity to come up with fresh ideas to get the business through a pants time.

3. Don’t sweat the small things

If anyone runs a business they might be able to relate to the sleepless nights of worrying if the product will reach the customer safely, if they will like it and just the general ‘have I forgotten to do something?’. With everything that has happened in the world it made me gain some perspective on this. So I am trying to remember when these little anxieties creep in that there is a bigger picture and whilst it is disappointing if something doesn’t go quite as planned often there is a resolution.

4. It’s okay to take time out

I regularly try to remind myself of this but it has certainly become more apparent as of late; it’s okay to take time out. It makes me nervous that when I’m not present on social media or constantly working that I am failing or work will never start up again. This means I sacrifice time for new ideas, growing the business in the direction I’d like to take it or just having a weekend off with my favourite people. There was/is a general feeling of less pressure as people have had to contend with their own personal challenges this year and I think it’s helpful to to take this forward, remember what’s important and give ourselves a break every now and then.

If you are a small business owner I hope you have managed to ride the storm and are coming out the other side stronger than ever. Has it made you think about things differently? I’d love to hear your reflections on life in Lockdown. It’s nice to know we are all in this together. 🙂