Mark is the wordsmith of Pipistrelle Art, but I feel that I need to write a blog or two as well, so you can get an idea of who I am and how I work. So please be patient, I hope you enjoy !!

So I got up at 6 this morning as I couldn’t sleep, this is very unusual for me as I am a snoozer by nature, but I needed to get up. So I took my gorgeous pair of lurchers, Jack and Tiva, out for a nice long walk. As I was walking and listening to the birdsong I realised how simple pleasures are so important. I do find myself talking to my dogs, maybe that is a bit strange but it is generally my inner dialogue voiced out loud waffling away as usual. We all talk to ourselves don’t we, but the words we use are powerful.

When I started Pipistrelle Art 3 years ago, I knew I could draw. I have been drawing since I could first pick up a pencil but never dreamed I could do it professionally. As a self taught Artist it can be a bit intimidating when people who have been to University and got an Arts degree or masters are knocking out these spectacular pieces it is easy to talk yourself out of doing it at all. But I learned techniques by watching other Artists and Illustrators and believe it or not You Tube videos. Don’t underestimate the power of You Tube, I have learned a lot from people who are willing to share their knowledge and talent.  Watching a video for a creative person is better than trying to work it out from a book. Oh and I have loads of books too – although I am very visual and tend to get bored reading instructions – I would much prefer a good fantasy or thriller.

Now when I draw for myself it is relatively easy, I get my talented husband to take some snaps of animals and I draw them. Or I get out my pens and design some more abstract images which stimulates my imagination. But when I started to do commissions of people’s pets a small voice inside me started to say “who do you think you are?”, “They aren’t going to like it”, “you are going to get it wrong”. Cor Blimey! What a tedious voice! But it was there, nagging away at me so I would delay drawing the commission with the anxiety building until I had to do it. When you draw any animal, and I am sure humans too (the only animal I don’t draw!!), it begins as a sketch to get the structure and dimensions right. Once that is done you start on the base, to get the depth and basic shapes in the right place. Finally adding the detail where it all comes together.

The issue is when you have sketched the image out and are starting to add the base, it looks pretty awful, well when you are a perfectionist like me, it was difficult to look beyond that. This is the process though, and every painting, drawing and illustration goes through it. So I never took any photos of the stages of my drawings at the beginning of my business journey. I was nervous that if anyone looked at them they would think…. well, what would they think?

As I have developed my techniques and skills I have also been developing my confidence. I have always had good feedback from customers and other artists, and as with everything the more you do the more confident you become and the easier it is. Now when I get a commission I cannot wait to get cracking on it, I love to make people happy, to give someone some joy and to immortalise their beloved non human family member. And that nagging voice? well it pops up every now and again, but is a whisper that can easily be drowned out by a good dose of music (usually Slipknot or Kate Bush). I will tell you about my music and how that helps me create in another blog.

Thanks for reading and tell that inner voice to be positive and stop being so damn grumpy.

Phaedra Elson
Pipistrelle Art