Archive | July 2010

Another cat

Another cat, drawn with graphite pencil

Cat. Pencil drawing done by Ulla Hennig

I have got quite a few cat photos (not my own), and they are ideal for continuing with my drawing practice.

After having finished the sketch and taken a photo of it with my camera (I haven’t got a scanner), I thought I could go a step further and work on it with photoshop. I knew that you could vektorize an image by using the pen tool, and so I tried.

I had some tutorials dealing with that tool, and I tried to follow them. And this was the moment when I realized that some tutorials skipped important steps – I was sitting there, looking at the file in photoshop, looking at the tutorial on the left side of my notebook and–felt rather helpless.

Anyhow, after some time of trial and error I managed to produce the following result which you can now see “slapped on” a greeting card:

Halloween Cat card
Halloween Cat by ullahennig
Shop all other greeting cards at
But the fact is: If you ask me how I did it I could not give you an answer–I am just happy that I did it!

Pencil drawing – cat

Cat, drawn with pencil

Encouraged by some dear people I met in the interwebs I have taken up my pencil drawings again. I haven’t got a scanner, so I took a photograph of it and put it online.

This is just a rough sketch and it is far from perfect. I plan to do a sketch every other day or so. I also want to know what it would look like to work on it in photoshop – add color, work with brushes on it. Another project for the rest of my vacation!

3 Artists’ blogs

Many artists in the meantime have their own blogs. I will present three of them here, and if you are interested in painting or drawing or creativity in general you may want to hop over and maybe even subsribe to one or two of them:

  1. The Sketchables
    Various artists of the drawing kind are contributing here. I especially like the sketch interviews! And it is a blog with links to other artists’ blogs.
  2. 365 Days of ACEOs
    Every day you will find a new painting here – quite impressive!
  3. Paintings, Prints and Stuff


To Doodle or not do Doodle

My creative processes are differing from each other, at least so it seems to me. Some could be described as doodling – creating a circle here, and one there, and connecting them, filling them with a certain color, and such like. In the end I look at the result, and it looks funny and kind of alright to me.
Some processes are work. i’ve got a picture in my mind, as with this little devil. Then I tried to put it into reality. Take the horns, for instance, or the way the little creature is holding the fork in its hand. Hmm. I wasn’t satisfied at all with the first results, but I saved the file. I worked on it the second day – and I really mean “worked”. I am still having my difficulties with Inkscape, so often I worked by trial and error. I am was not too sure about the final result, but I got some encouraging comments, and the more I look at the cute little devil the more I like him.
Now I want to try out something: I got a witch cartoon in my mind. And I will play around on paper – using the geometric forms I will have to use in Inkscape. At the end of that doodling process I will have an orientation on how the cartoon should look like and on how to work on it with Inkscape. Oh, I am looking forward to the next design!

Observing and Absorbing

It is the first day of my vacation. After doing some work on the internet in the morning (I began to work on a cute little devil for my Halloween products – not finished yet!) I went around the corner to the Italian restaurant in order to have some aglio and olio (garlic and oil pasta).

They have a nice patio and while I am waiting for the waiter to come I have a look around and I am taking in my surroundings. How many different shades of green there are, depending from where the sun comes. There’s a light breeze, and the leaves are dancing in it.

I look up to the sky, and I wonder how intensive the color of blue can be. It is the blue of a typical summer day, and here and there you can see some fluffy white clouds.

Then I try to focus on the various noises: the restaurant is near to a busy street, and I hear the cars rushing by. Whamm, whamm, whamm – a big truck, but empty truck is passing by. Some doves are goo-gooing near by, and there’s the sound of plates clattering when the waiter fetches the empty plates and carries them to the kitchen.

The scent of pizzas is in the air, combined with that of garlic.

I observe and I absorbe and take in.

The Joy of Making People Happy

I am writing this post on a Sunday. This Sunday from 10 am until 3 pm I have been standing at the information counter in one of the old buildings of the Berlin University of the Arts. Every year at the end of term the university opens the doors for the interested public – young students coming from the secondary schools, people from abroad who are interested in continuing their studies in Berlin or older citizens who want to know about the newest development in the arts.

On Friday and today I had the joy of helping those people to find their ways through one of our oldest buildings. It is the place where Fine Arts and Architecture is taught, and just now we have a big exhibition of our Meistersch├╝ler classes (“Meistersch├╝ler” are students who finished their studies but have done so well that they carry on with their studies for one year).

In those five hours I had to answer all sort of questions: “Where are the toilets” (a question very often asked), “what can I do in this house?”, “where is room soandso?” and so on. Most of the people did not leave the space in front of the counter without a big smile on their face and a big thank you on their lips. Sometimes I got the impression that the experience of being helped in a friendly way was something extraordinary for them, that they were not used to it.

I remember myself how often I missed that experience of being served in a competent and friendly manner. Every time I was met by someone who smiled at me and helped me – answered my questions, helped me to buy clothes in which I looked good – I was extremely happy, and the happy feeling helped me over the rest of the day.

Germany is often named as a “service desert” – a place where service and serving other people is not known anymore. We can rant about it, but the better way is to do it better oneself.

Doug the Daring Dolphin

Doug the Delphin

Here’s my newest critter – Dough the Daring Dolphin! He’s another result of me playing around with vektor graphics, this time with Adobe Illustrator. I must admit that I had a tutorial which I followed, but as always the result does not look exactly like the dolphin in the tutoral.

One thing that I am just thinking about is the fact that I have no restriction to try out new things with a computer graphics program. But I am inhibited regarding doodling around with pencils and paper. The reason could be that I seem to be a quite perfectionistic person, and with computer graphics you can just delete the file and begin from the beginning. In the pen and pencil reality you have to throw the result into the paper basket – another page of that sketchbook gone! Waah! Failure! Idiot! You see that you can’t do it!

I know that some artists are following my blog, and so I would be very much interested in the way you deal with the fact that not everything you create is perfect (if I may say this).

Planning my vacation

Only a few days to go and then – three weeks off work! Three weeks – that sounds great. I’ve got a long list of projects, and I am afraid that my list is longer than the time I’ll have. So I sit down and think about my vacation.

I remember the feeling I had after a two weeks vacation around the Easter holidays: Actually I had to fight with a bad conscience: so much time and only a few things done! I had to realize that I had had vacation – which also means allowing yourself to do nothing at all, to be unproductive, to live without a to-do-list.

First of all I will participate in Joanna Paterson’s “Summer Writing Space”. I don’t know anything about the program yet, but I know that there will be kind of a program with some active participation.

I also want to create more products for my Zazzle store. My goal is 200 products at the end of July. Creation will include making photos or processing them and doing some graphic design.

In addition to those activities which I love to do and am kind of addicted to there are tasks which have to be done, like my tax declaration and some household chores. I now use to do one household chore before sitting down in front of my notebook on the weekend, and I will continue with that in my vacation.

And I continue with my “activity log”. I began with that at the end of May, writing down every day what I got done – from household chores to blogging to everything squidoo to Zazzle. Sometimes I had been thinking that I didn’t get things done, and then I looked at my “activity log” and realized that my impression was wrong. It also tells me when I am neglecting one field of my activities, and then I either consciously carry on with neglecting it because I am focussing on other fields, or I become more active again on that field.

Hugo the Happy Ghost

Hugo the happy ghost

Hugo the happy Ghost. Illustration by Ulla Hennig

At the moment when I am writing this it is more than 30 degrees Celsius outside and about 25 degrees inside. So it is quite strange to think about Halloween yet (although thinking of those autumn days could have a cooling effect on me…).

But I am the proud owner of a zazzle shop and I am told that you have to think months ahead, and, of course, produce months ahead. Well, the chocolate for Christmas is alreading being produced, same as the christmas tree decorations. So why not think about Halloween yet?

Well, here I stop to pretend to be the cool marketing savyy woman. Hugo was the product of joyfully doodling around with Inkscape. I am still learning new things with this program, and I am learning by doing. There are a number of tutorials on the web, but I prefer to learn by trial and error. It takes longer this way, and sometimes I have to ask somebody or the handbook or a tutorial, but usually I try to avoid it.

And why is it Hugo? Somehow I connect the name “Hugo” with some old noble family, maybe French or English. He’s quite young for a ghost, still not so familar with the ghost world, and not so much into making humans afraid of him. I even imagine him getting afraid by the actions of his ghost family, especially his older brother Renard…

Note to myself: This is utter summer madness.

Bernard, the busy bee

I created that cute little bloke (I don’t know why, but I definitely think this bee is a “he”) on Monday with Inkscape.

Inkscape is the alternative to Adobe Illustrator – it is free, and you can do almost the same things with this program as you can do with Illustrator. I am still an absolute beginner, but I can say one thing: I love to do vektor graphics!
And I must admit: I am thinking of decorating certain Zazzle items with Bernard the busy Bee. It is very hot outside, so my brain is probably going over the bend, but what about a Thank you Card saying: “Thanks for being my Busy Bee!” Okay, woman, stop it. Creativity is one thing – madness another. (Is it really?)
Bernard, the busy Bee