Fish in paper – all about drawing

If this is the first time you have visited this blog (hello!), you might be forgiven for thinking that I am writing about our famous British  ‘fish and chips’, which are served in white ‘newsprint’ paper, and originally in real newspaper. Actually no.  I have taken part in one of the yearly challenges, set by The Brooklyn Art Library. The prompt for this came from Kim Werker (author of ‘Make it Mighty Ugly’ – a most interesting book about creativity). Kim reported in her online newsletter ‘The Weekly Digest’, that she was planning to take part in the project. I thought it was a fun idea and sent off for my small sketchbook last year. Since then I have been adding to it, with paintings in watercolour and gouache of tropical fish, accompanied by poems. The Brooklyn Art Library offer a selection of themes, from which I chose ‘Underwater’. I called my book ‘Sketches from the Depths’.

I sent off my package on the closing date of 30 April from the post office in our village. The completed sketchbook is now in New York and it will become part of the permanent collection of the library. It’s reference number is 349.57-10, should you be passing and wish to pop in and find it!  It will also be digitised so it can be accessed online.

My paintings were based on photographs taken by my cousin Dave and his wife Lee who have been making epic (many-thousand-mile-long) voyages around the coasts of Australia. They love to dive and have captured images of many beautiful fish.

Photo: Lee and Dave Gradon
fish 6
Photo: Lee and Dave Gradon
fish 4

In the final version of the book, all the fish were swimming in blue water and the quotations were written opposite them, in gold, silver and white gel pen. For example:

‘The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever’. (This is by Jacques Yves Cousteau, whose films about underwater life first introduced me to this fascinating world.) You can see the entire sketchbook with this digital link here.

I have also been continuing with my ‘Draw every day draw every way’ book (see the blog post here for details).  It’s a great discipline, although I do sometimes draw but forget to post on the same day. Never mind, all the drawings are there from 1 January up to today on my personal Instagram account (I also have a business account)

Many of these drawings are quite personal. This month the theme is ‘A month around the house’ and it feels as if parts of my home are being revealed bit by bit, like parts of a jigsaw. Below is the sketch of the rug on our sitting-room floor. The media for May are black pen and gold gel pen:


In April, it was ‘A month around town’ and the drawing medium was pencil. The prompt  ‘A bicycle with a delivery basket’ took me, in memory, back to a holiday in Denmark some years ago, when I had to have an emergency appendix operation! Fresh vegetables were delivered by bike to the small hospital; I saw it from my window.


I was drawing bicycles again a week or so ago for a ‘cycling’ prompt from Spoonflower and gave it a circus theme.  It’s called ‘Cycling for acrobats and clowns’. You can find it here.

Cycling for acrobats and clowns

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Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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