The Auto-Didact Way Of Learning How-To Illustrate

Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery

Lacon, Or, Many Things in a Few Words: Addressed to Those who Think

A simple and true term. These are the most famous words of English writer and cleric Charles Caleb Colton.

Imitation is what I’m doing mostly when I try out my painting skills. I am still a beginner and my techniques are lacking. So how to fix that? Easy, I do it like many before me and replicate. If it looks like the original painting then I obviously mastered the technique. If I imitate long and often enough I finally will be able to create strong images myself. For right now I venture only to simple territory when I create original paintings but in the future I want to make elaborate stuff without first figuring out how-to.

Sometimes I will duplicate a whole picture and sometimes I’m just interested in special aspects which will result in something more or less similar to the original.

I scanned some of my stuff. The colors come off lighter than in IRL, I’m not sure why. Still haven’t figured out the settings. For comparison I included the originals.

mon general copy from nancy z

Nancy Zhang - The General
Nancy Zhang – The General

Nancy Zhang has a series of super sweet and colorful illustrations on her blog. This one is my favorite.

The next three are copies from Laura Laine. She is the queen of gothic fashion illustration with her dark female images always being big-headed and decadently long-haired while the bodies get super slim but elongated limbs.

Laura Laine copy Artemis watercolor

Laura Laine illustration - Artemis in Alexander Mcqueen
Laura Laine illustration – Artemis in Alexander Mcqueen

watercolor Laura Laine copy- Flora in iconic Balenciaga

Laura Laine illustration - Flora in iconic Balenciaga
Laura Laine illustration – Flora in iconic Balenciaga

My very first one:

watercolor copy of Laura Laine Athena

Laura Laine illustration - Athena
Laura Laine illustration – Athena

I mostly use watercolors and make a sketch beforehand with a pencil. As I am crazy about using as many different colors as possible I usually end up with less dark illustrations.

Copying is easy. As you can see the progress is really fast. But now I haven’t drawn humans since a few months, I’m afraid that I have to start at the Athena level again.



A Sip At Mischpoke // Series: Charming Places In Cologne

Mischpoke serrano truffle avocado sandwich and perfect cappuccinosMischpoke serrano truffle avocado sandwich and perfect cappuccinos

Right in the middle of the Belgian quarter there is a cute tiny café without seats.

Well, it once had seating in the back room but for the moment a record store is being housed in and takes up the space.

The name of this café is Mischpoke, a Yiddish expression. Not that the owner has a Jewish family connection but it is a fun sounding word and frequently used in German. Do I need to explain its meaning? Ah, just go and look it up yourself (in German) here.

Once Köln had a big Jewish population dating way back until ancient Roman times. Of course with what happened under the nazi regime the Jews and their culture got extinct here. But there is no reason that is stays abscond and that we can not remind here and there of the Jewish heritage. So I think the Yiddish name is perfectly appropriate and offering jewish dishes even more so.

This is why I stopped there the other day. Not for a quick refreshment in-between shopping which Mischpoke is excellently located for, no I pilgered with purpose to have a taste of pastrami sandwich which I had seen on the menu and I wanted to try since a long time but no place had offered it yet.

Irony has it that I was too late!!! as it’s already cut off the menu again due to lack of demand. Obviously my Cologne fellas don’t know what pastrami is and don’t feel adventurous enough to try. Hello! People are you crazy?

Fortunately the owner was there to keep my disappointment and hungry stomach at bay by offering me an alternative which sounded equally lekker and it really made up.

Mischpoke Köln Belgisches Viertel
Mischpoke, Maastrichter Str. 47. The storefront is painted in a nice dark cyan with simple logo design.

I ordered a cappuccino alongside and settled onto the tree hugging wood bench in front where I happily digged into that wonderful crunchy and warm bread you see above. It had a layering of delicate truffle butter, Serrano ham, avocado and some other salady greens. It was delicious! As was the cappuccino made of coffee beans provided by Heilandt, a local roastery.

If you stop by you can have the coffee to go but then you’ll miss on the cool urban neighborly feel which the people from surrounding shops hanging around the bench all day provide. I liked that very much.

And from time to time waves of funky music from inside will reach your plug tortured ears and remind you how great sound coming from those old school black discs can be.

(Instagram courtesy of Omid Shahedali and from Mischpoke’s Facebook)

Shoe Fair in Düsseldorf – Dance School Party

Shoe Display Replay GDS Dance School Party

Beside fashion weeks there are still regular fairs for the garment industry. While it seems to be allowed one fashion week twice a year only for each country fairs happen more often.

In Germany since the Wende a lot of brands exhibit in Berlin and enjoy the accompanied publicity circus and easier circumstances for entrepreneurs. Yet the big players of retail stayed preferably back in posh and a little old-fashioned Düsseldorf at their well established showrooms. Here it’s more about the seller and buyer. Still after done work and deals signed brands like to have some press over and offer a little entertainment.

At this years GDS shoe fair Replay organized a fun event in it’s Düsseldorf flag ship store near prestigious Kö.

The difference between Cologne and Düsseldorf hits me each time. As here everybody was so good looking and with no exception dressed nicely. The theme of the night was dance school party and for this sweet ballerina Annika Seibel made several performances at the barre in a warm up style while wearing the brands denim.

Look at her! I have a little mobile phone cam clip. It’s blurry but I think her gorgeousness still shines through.


The great Hans Nieswandt was responsible for the music but I muted the clip and chose one of Youtube’s audio offers so as not to bother you with the talk of my bystanders.

If you’re more a friend of HD, you can have another look at the beautiful dancer here:

Thankfully refreshment for us hungry and thirsty crowd came via cute bartenders which managed to create cocktails resembling more like boozy fruit salads. Yum so tasty!

Replay GDS Collage Bartenders and Cocktails

Replay GDS Dance School Party