(A lil' blog on a dotty hill somewhere)

Wednesday, January 17

Cheers to Hot Chocolate and Winter Scribbles

Molten Hot Chocolate Pour

Chocolate is best when melted. Maybe that's why I like to dunk any double-chocolate Milano or dark chocolate Digestive into my hot cuppas? :) How about you?

Imagining this molten chocolate glaze poured over fresh, soft, strawberried gooey goodness made for quite a sweet tooth day all round in the real world, let me tell you. But, was it worth it? Totally!


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Speaking of sweeter fair, I have a special announcement to make! With my birthday coming up soon, I've been contemplating a personal creative challenge of getting in the habit of drawing something (no matter how quick, small or silly) every day! Yes, that can be rather daunting but the benefits are plenty too. As it is, posting only once a week (to Instagram, at least) doesn't exactly help build a greater reach as much as publishing more regularly. Doing this challenge would not only help to that end, but, more importantly, also exercise my raw skills and creative mind further, engaging my imagination more so in turn—something which I think is so crucial to creativity.

Several days ago, I asked on my Instagram what people thought about it. Overwhelmingly, others liked the idea and some had suggestions of what to focus on. So, I've decided to keep my daily sketches quite loose, quick and just exploring various styles of lines, expressions, gestures, or even what's in front of me—whatever comes to mind that day, as a sort of logue of daily muses.

I wonder then if any of you would like to join in? (No need to answer that here though if not able, btw.) Andrea (@ falling ladies) is already on board! This wouldn't require any formal sign-ups, follow-ups with others or anything like that. Rather, it's simply an opportunity to see how far this year you can go with making time for sketching. Simple really. Just get a pad of paper and start doodling! We can check in with each other every now and then for encouragement, if you want, and you don't even have to have Instagram to play along. Andrea's already come up with #dailysketchplan2018 for those of us who want to post to IG their work, but you certainly don't have go/be there. January 20th will be the official launch, btw! (We wanted to give you some heads up for consideration.)

So, how about it? Invest in your art and watch it grow! It would be so lovely knowing there was even just one of you out there, sitting at your kitchen table or wherever, and playing along. Whether you show the work or not is entirely up to you and if you miss a few days now and then, no problem. (It's really more about your intent.) I'm thinking it might be fun to present a collection of my most fun pieces every week or so here too. Hmmm.... We shall see. Thank you! :)
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29 comments

  1. Wow, there are days when I just can't ... but there are more days that I can, so if I don't have to be in perfect attendence, I'm game. And, as today is one of my always busy days, let me reach into this page and eat that delicious hot chocolate drisseled donut and be on my way. Thank you Micheal for giving me reasons to play with my art.

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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    1. Understand totally, Andrea. Yes, I think I'm somewhat mad to take on any extra commitment but practice relly does help and I have seen jsut how much Alex's work has grown over the years so know that a little more regular attendance to that would help me too. :) We shall certainly see. If you want to do it every other day even, that's a start. No pressure either way. And...no themes on those. :) Thank you.

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  2. I try so hard to stay away from donuts Michael - would be hard to pass on this beauty though, so yummy with the chocolate drizzle! Chocolate-dipped fresh strawberries are always good and maybe a wee bit more healthy - that would be an idea for an illustration - but as you can see, I went with a different angle! Love those grown-up chocolate lolly's!!!!!

    Your idea for a daily creative challenge sounds good however I cannot commit right now - life has too many other things coming at me. I've started Tai Chi classes this week though and am hoping this gentle form of ancient exercise will help me focus in this rather stress-filled environment we all seem to be dealing with!

    We've got snow coming this morning - hopefully enough to give a nice covering to the sad-looking brown garden.
    Happy day to you and Alexandra.
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. That's no problem at all and no expectations here. Yes, good for you doing some form of regular movement and I understand Tai Chi is really good for the reasons you've noted. So, will you be posting photos of you in martial arts pose with leggings on or something? :) Well, I need to start walking more again but it's been so cold, often below zero so am waiting.

      Ha, yes, I did think of strawberries too and decided the drizzle on a pale pink was what I wanted to focus on. Thanks. Looking forward to seeing whatever angle you took.

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  3. That donut looks delicious!!!!! I have my post up as well. I had no intention of starting to sketch in my book till the 20th but then I felt like I needed to try the paper out. And now I already have 3-4 pages done..... so much for the little bit of structure to our plan! Haha. I hope some people join in too. I always post Friday’s to paintpartyfriday so I will link there as well and maybe get some co-conspirators!

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    1. Thank you. That's fabulous, Andrea! Will check it out later. Yes, some others here and some I know on IG also contribute to paintpartyfriday so what's 5 more days os sketching, max? :)

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  4. Hi Michael! :)
    I LOVE that donut...I may have mentioned this. I worked at a Dunkin Donuts, one of my first jobs after moving out on my own. I had the midnight to six shift, and I decorated donuts! :) I remember dunking those donuts into the chocolate coating...it was so lovely! I ate a LOT of donuts back then lol...I'm not a dipper because I eat sweets far too quickly to even consider dipping hee hee! :)

    I LOVE your drawing challenge. I have to say, drawing is a weak point for me. I can come up with some nice watercolours and acrylics, but I fail miserably when I want to dry detail. I think I'm doing it. I WILL commit! Or be committed if it gets too crazy for me lol! I have a little sketch pad that is collecting dust, so I'll put it to good use! :) Thanks for that idea. Though I don't really use my IG account, I'll take your lead and post my drawings once a week. January 20th! Right on! :)

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    1. Thanks Rain, and that's fantastic that you are joining in! I got a new sketchbook too for inspiration. Practice makes perfect and I'm sure you will notice a differnt the longer you stick with it. I am concerned how long I will do it myself but at least as going to try. :)

      I used to work graveyard shift for over 4 years but never making doughnuts which sounds far more fun..adn fattening! :)

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    2. Good thing I was seventeen at the time, or I'd be as big as a house with a terrible donut addiction lol! :)

      I went grocery shopping today and stopped by the art store. I now have a nice little sketch book to start the drawing challenge! :) I am also thinking of fairy tales...and maybe some of my spiritual stuff..the hamster wheel is turning! :)

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  5. Wishing I had a donut for my hot chocolate this morning...haha. Great job, great theme.

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  6. Perfect job on the doughnut, Michael...lovely work! There was a time when iced doughnuts would have been way too sweet for my savoury-loving palate but, nowadays, i quite enjoy them on the odd occasion.

    I actually started a personal challenge to sketch daily this year so you can count me in!

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    1. Serena, you are funny b/c you're going in reverse! Usually ppl prefer more savoury as they get older. :)

      OOh, so glad you joining in! Let's all see how far we get. A new pad helps too but you;ve already begun so extra kudos to you!

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  7. wow your art is amazing so realistic Michael, will look forward to seeing your daily challenges.

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  8. Oh, but that looks sooo delicious! And now that I see your drawing, I wish I had thought of doing a scrumptious hot fudge sundae instead of just a regular cup of hot chocolate for my "hot chocolate" scribble! Seems I often have trouble getting past my first thought with a theme.

    Doing a daily sketch sounds like a great idea. But I know how that would likely go with me, so I'll refrain from making that commitment! :-)

    Your post reminds me that a small bakery has just opened in our little town. I must make a point to get into town soon to sample their goodies and support their efforts so they can make a go of it!

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    1. A bakery near by is ideal. That's what we have. And yes, I know what you mean about how such challenges can go so we shall indeed see. :)

      And, yes, as it is, with my career as a designer I was always challenged by my first Art Director to never do the first or even 3rd idea but he would keep sending me to the drawing board to get me in the habit of exploring ideas further and so now that jsut comes second nature. But, you know, i was too hoping for hot choc drink pictures too. :) Thank you

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  9. Oh Michael, I love the ooozing flow of the steam of chocolate syrup. How do you make it look so real. Swiped my finger across the screen and truly expected some chocolate on my finger...but alas, it was but a dream. Funny you should choose a doughnut for your illustration, as yesterday I had two cream filled with chocolate frosting....I gave up dinner to do it....and I'm not sorry. I'm drawing most every day for a Children's Bible class I do on Wednesday nights....but with everything on my plate, not sure I could share them daily, and some might not feel them appropriate and I not to overload folks with my "faith". But my method of teaching is "visual" and that's why I do many little drawing for the class. They are 1st and 2nd grade, and love pictures. Enough about me...I so glad you are doing this for those artists who want to increase their skills and have a place to post it. I'm sure you will give wonderful responses and helpful hints to those who participate. Love you and your sweetness. btw..love your new profile picture. Can you get any cuter????

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    1. Hee, Wanda, no problem and thank you! Alex picked out the pic form one she took last year. I think that's great you are helping out like that too. I wasn't expecting you to jump in and as it is, you already are drawing as you said so keep it up!

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  10. oh that do nut looks amazing, yummo!! I'm not linking this week but I'm posting and linking so others can come visit all of your participants!! Beautiful yummy painting,, you certainly brought that yumminess to life!!

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    1. So nice to have you here, regardless, Laurie. thank you so much. Hope your eyesight is not bothering you too much!

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  11. Oh yum! Hot, drippy, gooey chocolate on a donut looks absolutely delicious. Funny thing, side-by-side my laptop screen shows a lavender donut and the phone definitely pink - either way scrumptious. I've been pondering for, well it has to be the last 17 days as to whether to do a 365 challenge but I haven't been able to commit to anything. I have many blank sketchbooks waiting in the wings and many ideas. I just can't seem to focus. But I'll keep it in mind and may jump in.

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    1. If you jump in, great, and join in when you can if you want. Having a new sketchbook helps--that's what I did so I have 192 pages to fill. After that I will see if its working for me or not. :)

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  12. no more chocolate for me, gives me horrible migraines which sucks since chocolate here is so good

    now I want a donut lol need to make some

    good luck with your daily sketching :)

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    1. Full sympathy here as actually, I'm the same way with dark choc and I love it so much.

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  13. A big YES to dark chocolate digestives dunked in tea or coffee.

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    1. I can eat one digestive and be fine as the choc is thin and yes, in fact, jsut had one for lunch. :)

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  14. Hi Micheal, I am just stopping by to update you on instagram. I have tried every possible way to post on Instagram and it just isn't happening. I have had problems with my computer since I uploaded Windows 10 and I think this is yet another issue. I have, however added a page to my blog for my sketches called Sketchedy. If you go to my blog and click on the work "Sketchedy" at the top of the page it should take you to the sketches I have posted so far. I am not sure how to get the word out, but for now, it's a start. Thanks for your help ...

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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    1. So glad to see that Rain helped you by now. So what was the issue? I was wondering if it was from trying to upload with jsut the laptop?

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