My name is Sam Collett. I make models and draw things. Sometimes I paint. I love animals, especially dogs. I studied at the Central School of Art & Design (which has since become Central St Martins), then awful grown up stuff happened and I found myself driving around the country selling various things, including books and music and wine and some less fun things, to people. In 2001 my partner and I moved out of London to rural Shropshire where we settled down with various rescue dogs and a vegetable patch. In 2012 I finally gave up the day job to work full time as a freelance artist. When I am not being all arty-farty I will probably be reading a book, or at a gig, or playing music too loudly, or watching a horror film, or involved in some sort of nerdy gaming activity. If it is the weekend I might well have a glass of wine in my hand while I do any or all of these things.

Ok, so it’s not a mystery but it was that or ‘Stairway to Heaven’, which was not appropriate for this story.

Why haven’t I blogged for a while? Well, my dodgy back occasionally affects my balance and a few weeks ago it caused me to miss my footing at the top of our (steep old Victorian) stairs. I tried to correct myself with my dodgy leg, which promptly gave way under me and… crash, bang ‘weasel. I was stone cold sober at the time, honest. Maybe that’s where I went wrong?

It was one of those accidents that went in slow motion. My first thought was ‘where’s the dog?’ but she’d scarpered as soon as she heard my first swear. Then I thought Very Bad Things about the horribly underfunded state of the NHS and those responsible for underfunding it, because I’m still waiting for two rescheduled hospital appointments at the spine clinic and the foot/leg clinic. Then I thought of certain sympathetic (…*ahem*…) friends and decided that if this was how I was going to go I wanted to be laid to rest in the exact upside-down-and-backwards pose in which I’d landed, because they would find that hilarious. Then I just thought ‘Ouch’. Thankfully, I avoided serious injury; my legs took the worst of it and I already had a pair of crutches in the house, but it’s slowed me down and bits of me are still various shades of bruised.

In more cheerful news, I’ve been having great fun with the 100 Day Project. I’ve added my drawings so far to a gallery page here and there’s now a ‘comments’ section on all my galleries for anyone who fancies a chat. I’m using the hashtags #The 100DayProject and #ImaginaryMenagerie if you’d like to follow along on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I’m ‘@poochweasel’ everywhere.

Also, my short stair-related break means I have FINALLY got around to building a new website shop so you can now buy prints, mugs, or t shirts of anything you like! Adding all the products is quite painstaking so it’s still a work in progress but I’m so pleased it’s up and running. I really want to get it right first time, because my old website was a headache to maintain and I was forever tweaking and mending things. Technology has moved on a lot since then but my 56 year old brain has not. I’m having to learn new technical skills, which is not really my brain’s thing. A typical afternoon at Poochweasel Towers goes something like this:

Me: Right then, brain, we need to create some new product templates.

My brain: Ok.

Me: Then we need to… *something about pricing, mock ups and uploads*…

Brain …

Me: Are you still listening?

Brain: What? Oh yeah… of course. Templates.

Me: Yes. Templates.

Brain: Have you ever noticed that when wombats yawn, they look like they’re doing karaoke?

Me…

Me: Stop it.

Brain…

Me…

20 minutes later:

And in case you were in any doubt, here’s a little story I should probably call ‘Reasons I Am An Idiot Episode 437’.

I have a good friend called Ritu, who is amazing DJ and broadcaster. You should take a minute to check out her website and follow all her socials. We met in the late 1980s, when I was working for Our Price Records and struggling to find the time to be creative, and she was DJ-ing evenings and weekends around her ‘day job’. We bonded over (among many other things) music and art and she was pretty much the only person I knew who was supportive of my ambition to be a full time artist one day. She gave me a beautiful Rotring pen set for my birthday. Artists just did an intake of breath… those things are not cheap. Shortly after that I changed job and moved house. Awful grown up stuff happened and I downed my art tools for many years until I met Luce, who encouraged me to pick them up again and start arting full time.

Fast forward to 2019 when I set myself the challenge of getting back into ink drawing. I quickly graduated from biros, my old standby, to fineliners. As I remembered how to draw(!) I also remembered the struggle to find the perfect pen. I bought better pens, with finer nibs that didn’t blot. Then more pens, because I was getting through them so quickly. I fretted about the environmental impact of disposables and researched pens that would last longer, might be refillable, might have impossibly delicate nibs that wouldn’t break. I talked for hours to other people who obsessed about pens and were constantly disappointed.

Fast forward again to last month when, after three years of pen-related frustration, my brain (see above) finally stopped thinking about wombats and 1980s song lyrics for five minutes and went “hang on”… Sure enough, about 20cm away from my battered little knees, carefully placed in a drawer of the desk I sit at Every. Single. Day. was the Rotring drawing set, in prisine condition after 30 years. I just needed new ink, which cost me £5.99 with free delivery. Take a bow, ‘Weasel, you absolute lemon.

On the plus side, it was a lovely surprise, I’m now using this glorious thing every day and I’ve probably just given Ritu a laugh.

There’s almost certainly a lesson to be learned from all of the above. Don’t ask me what it is though, if my life wasn’t a constant parade of nonsense and bobbins I’d have nothing to write about.

Bonus Music Video

I will always love Siouxsie. Can you tell it was 1979? The clues are there… Kids, ask your mum.

Hello again! This week I am an overexcited ‘weasel, because The 100 Day Project 2022 starts on 13th February and my theme is… *does a quick drum roll with a couple of paint brushes*… Imaginary Menagerie! Yes, I am going to draw (or paint, or sculpt) All. The. Animals.

For anyone who is not familiar, the idea is to choose something broadly creative, commit to doing it for at least 10 minutes a day for 100 days and share it on social media as you go along (if you want to) using the hashtag #The100DayProject and a hashtag for your own project, so mine will be #ImaginaryMenagerie. There are no hard and fast rules, but you can find more information on the website: www.the100dayproject.org

I have several reasons for choosing an animal theme for my project this year. Last year was about getting back to basics and sketching every day. I never like to make things too easy, so I chose to get out of my comfort zone and set myself the technical challenge of drawing people, which I hadn’t really done since college, using the unforgiving medium of black ink. Despite being frustatingly rusty when I started it went well enough that you can see the results here. I love ink or graphite drawing and I can get very carried away with it. I well remember Jenny, my sixth form art teacher (the best teacher I ever had) forbidding me to use black for a while and actually confiscating my pens… The horror.

This year is about getting out of my comfort zone in a different way and loosening up. I’ve been doing some practice sketchs with ink and watercolour pencil to start to wean myself off the black stuff. Here’s one to celebrate the year of the tiger, one to celebrate National Hedgehog Day and an otter, just because.

The idea is to experiment and have fun as I go along, to use more colour and different media, I might even get my clay out again!

Which brings me to the other reasons I’ve chosen this project. I absolutely loved last year’s ‘100 Days of Women in Music’ and I’m still keeping it going. It got some lovely feedback, but it was mainly about me taking time for myself and doing what I needed to get back to being creative after various ‘life stuff’ kicked me to the curb for a while. It also took longer than I’d hoped to recover from my latest spinal surgery in June 2021, but I’m mostly upright again now and this year I want to get back to connecting with the big wide world.

It’s easy to become isolated when you’re self employed and working alone, and the pandemic (not to mention the absolute STATE of things generally) hasn’t helped. I haven’t had much new work to show over the last few years so I haven’t spent as much time interacting with people on social media and it’s made me properly sad and grumpy. I’ve made a conscious effort to ‘reconnect’ a bit recently and realised just how much I’ve missed the random chats and daft jokes I share with my little community of like minded folk.

With that in mind, I want to make this project a collaboration with anyone who enjoys my nonsense and bobbins, and a way of saying thank you to those who have stuck with me over the last few years. I want to throw this open to everbody, so I’m asking which animals you would like to see in the Imaginary Menagerie. What would they be doing? Or wearing? Because the menagerie is imaginary, you can be as imaginative, ambitious, or just plain daft as you like.

This whole thing started years ago as a private joke with my best mate, who I shall call Sandra (because that is her name). After far too much red wine, she decided she wanted a great white shark as a pet. I pointed out that her bathroom was far too small, and offered to build a suitable water feature in the garden. We started texting whenever other animals wanted to join in, with their particular/peculiar living arragements and requirements. Most of our exchanges are not suitable for publication (because wine) but over time it evolved into something that also amused our friends and led to escaping hamsters, glaring shrews, photoshopped cats and all kinds of other nonsense.

Your suggestions could be animals you find inherently funny, or animals doing funny things. They might be animals that don’t get their fair share of attention that you would like to see someone draw. Or just your favourite animal, for any reason at all. Feel free to get your kids involved, this project will be kid-friendly and I would love to hear their ideas/requests and see their drawings. Share your own artwork, share photos of your pets, share your favourite animal charities so we can raise awareness… there is no limit to what we can do with this if it really gets going. There could be prints, prizes, merchandise, maybe even a book! There could be animations on my (woefully under-utilised) YouTube channel. My plan is to run with whatever people want, as long as it’s creative and/or hilarious, and I’m hoping the 100 days will kickstart something much bigger.

I will figure things out as we go along, but for a start I am going to try and apply my not-especially-technical little ‘weasel brain to making a space here on my website where we can chat. I will be sharing the project on Instagram and Twitter as usual and this year I will also be using my Facebook business page as it should be interesting to my ‘doggy’ audience. You can’t have a decent menagerie without dogs after all. I will also be using my arty farty Facebook chat group to share extras like rough sketches, ‘work in progress’ photos and no doubt some mistakes as I struggle to remember how to use anything other than ink. It’s a ‘closed group’ so only members can see what’s posted there, but that’s just so I don’t spam people who follow my main page for the doggo content with more general art/music/culture stuff. Anyone is welcome to join and it’s a quieter space for anyone who wants to share their own work with a smaller audience.

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS! Look at me shouting in all caps! That’s how excited I am. Right… now I’m going to brew an enormous pot of coffee and learn things about website chat forums. Wish me luck.

Bonus Music Video

But Why ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’ when I haven’t drawn a monkey yet? Because Kim Deal, that’s why.

Happy New Year! A bit late I know, but I’ve been busy cleaning and tidying my work space, drinking a lot of coffee, shouting at the news, and avoiding all the new year’s resolutions I should probably make…

My only real ‘resolution’ for this year is to get back to work and open up my shop again. I’m still struggling with various dull health issues but with the state of things at the moment (a woefully underfunded and overwhelmed NHS in particular), I very much doubt anything will get done about that this year. All I can do is try to get myself as fit as possible with a view to being able to work part time. I need to keep being creative for my mental health and wellbeing. I also need to earn some money, because I’m absolutely skint and art materials, websites and such are expensive. Even more so this year because of the absolute STATE of things…

Anyhoo, this blog is just a quick update to show you a few recent bits of work I’ve done and to share a rather lovely Twitter thing, for anyone else who’s been struggling with motivation recently.

This was Luce’s Christmas present from me and I had a lot of fun drawing it. We are both big comic nerds and Tank Girl is one of my all time favourites. Lola the dog is affectionately known as ‘Tank’ for obvious staffie-related reasons. You can see how this was always going to happen, can’t you? Bork! Bork! Bork! Bang! Bang!

I’ve also added a few more ink sketches to my ‘Women Who Rock’ project. Here are Debora Iyall, lead singer of Romeo Void (do yourself a favour and click that link if you remember the 1980s. Or even if you don’t. Debora ROCKS) and Pauline Black of The Selecter:

Debora Iyall
Pauline Black

This is Debbie Smith, one of my favorite guitarists, probably best known for playing with Echobelly (gratuitous link to my favourite Echobelly song with a little bit of live Debbie footage, because you get ALL the bonus music today).

Debbie Smith

I took a month or so off over Christmas and new year and this was my first ink sketch of 2022, inspired by the sad loss of Ronnie Spector on 12 January.

It was tough getting back to my drawing table after the Christmas break, even if the soundtrack was excellent. Which brings me to a nice Twitter thing that’s happening right now. My Twitter friend Dr Mand (https://twitter.com/mandapen) came up with the rather marvellous hashtag #MyOneThing. Here’s an explanation in her own words:

Anyone can join in by just using the tag and I absolutely recommend it as a way to move forward when the blank page or the massive ‘to-do’ list, or just the housework seems overwhelming. Just do one thing, even if it’s a very small thing. Then do the next thing. And give yourself credit for doing the things. I’d be really interested to hear how you get on if you give it a go, and there’s a lovely group of supportive people tweeting about it.

A nice thing on Twitter? Whatever next… That seems as good a place as any to wrap up for now. At the risk of making another resolution of sorts, I will try to be a better correspondent this year, one post at a time.

Bonus Music Video

Regular listeners will know I *love* a cover version, the more obscure the better. I recently became aware that Juliana Hatfield had done an album of Police covers and I am the sort of musical nerd for whom that sparks deep joy. So here’s something for anyone else who’s feeling a bit existential right now.

Honestly, I don’t know why I bother making plans any more…

As the nights draw in, a chill in the air and a blaze of autumn colour usually heralds my annual failure to complete Inktober because I’m not necessarily in love with the prompts and I’m easily bored. This year, still a bit giddy after completing the 100 Day Project, I decided to make things more interesting/challenging for myself by attempting a #Halloweaselchallenge to do an animal themed drawing every day, using two prompts from Inktober, Drawloween and Handcrafted Uniquely, a fabulous community of artists on Facebook.

It was all going brilliantly. It really was. Look! Here are some drawings I did and the prompts I used:

Then we noticed that a worryingly firm lump had appeared on one side of Lola’s belly, and the rest of October was all about fixing a wonky dog.

To put this into context, we rehomed Lola and her sister Ruby in 2019 after they lost their owner and ended up in rescue. It soon became obvious that, although they had clearly been loved to bits, they both had some health issues. Despite doing everything we possibly could to save her, we lost poor Ruby to ‘leaky gut syndrome’ in December 2020. In 2018 we lost our beautiful Lab/Collie boy, Boswell, very suddenly, to kidney cancer. They were both just shy of ten years old. Lola turns ten in February.

Long, panicky story short, we whisked her to the vet for a scan and she came back minus her spleen and 1.6kgs of tumour. Here she is getting vetty snuggles, and wondering what the flip heck happened:

” Excuse me? I only came here for a bit of fuss and a gravy bone”…

Thankfully, tests confirmed the tumour was benign and she’s absolutely fine now. Once again, I cannot say enough nice things about our wonderful vet, ‘Auntie Sarah'(!), at Tern Vets in Market Drayton. She has looked after all our dogs with exceptional care and compassion since we moved here and we are very, VERY grateful to her.

Lola has made an amazing recovery and clearly feels much better for getting rid of the extra cargo. We noticed her belly was quite round and very firm when we first adopted her, but she has never shown any symptoms even when examined at the vet. I’m just glad we caught this before it caused anything catastrophic. The X ray she had prior to surgery also showed the start of some degeneration in her spine, so we’ll be looking after that too.

Tanky Dog don’t care though. She is living her best life and as long as she’s happy, that’s all that matters.

It’s November now and I have No Plans Whatsoever. Fool me once, and so on. Let’s just wing the rest of 2021 from here.

Bonus Music Video

‘Time of the Season’ was originally recorded by The Zombies, but I love this cover by Tanya Donelly.

Well it’s all been happening here.

If you read my last entry, you’ll know that I finally got a date for the back surgery I’d been waiting (not-exactly-patiently) for since 2019, then I was told it was going to be delayed. Happily, the surgeon stepped in and advocated on my behalf and it ended up going ahead after all. With four days notice.

Needless to say this made it a little more stressful than it should have been, but everything went well and now I’m able to sit at my desk more comfortably with both sacroiliac joints singing from the same hymn sheet. Hilariously though, my pre-op revealed some reflex/balance issues which the surgeon suspects are being caused by wear and tear in the vertebrae either side of the C6/7 fusion in my neck. Yep, my spine has reached the ‘Forth Bridge’ stage… just as I’ve got to the bottom, the top needs fixing again.

…*sigh*…

In other news, speaking of wear and tear, Luce turned 50 in July! As we’re basically living on a plague island, we kept our celebrations Covid safe. That was pretty much all Luce knew about what was coming, until she walked into the garden to find our best mate and master mixologist, Sandra, making cocktails at the (poorly constructed) Cheeky Tiki Bar on the patio:

No it’s not your eyes, the photo of Luce is a bit blurry, having been taken by a drunkard… *ahem*…

We placed a drink in her hand, chucked a lei around her neck, popped on her ‘delightful’ new Hawaiian shirt, and she was ready to go. Turns out you *can* have a party with three people if they are the right three people. Spiced rum, a disco ball and a 1971 playlist help enormously with this.

Let’s see, what else have I been up to that hasn’t involved drinking or attempting to walk with – and then without – crutches? Umm, not much if I’m honest. Much more exciting news from my brother in law, Paul, who has recently opened a doughnut shop!! Sadly for us it’s in Belgium, although I suppose that means there’s less chance of us having to be winched from the house through a window because we no longer fit through the doors…

If you are lucky enough to live near Chaussée de Bruxelles 195, 1410 Wat erloo pop in and see them! You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Paul is a massive fan of ‘The Sandman’ by Neil Gaiman*, so I got out All The Colours and had a play with his logo. He was a bit pleased. I’ve got form for this, having previously drawn him as Dream with Luce as Delirium. We took that one on a visit to Edinburgh to see ‘An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’ and they were both kind enough to sign it. This is literally the only way to get something for Paul that he hasn’t already seen and ordered!

*If you are not familiar with Mr Gaiman, stop reading and Google him immediately. In fact just pop to your local bookshop and buy everything they have in stock. I’ll wait.

I had such a good time with this. When I finished, I needed to replace a few of my watercolour pencils and couldn’t resist treating myself to some new colours. Fear my mighty pencil rolls!

And finally, speaking of being creative (and a bit cheeky)… now would be a REALLY good time to support me if you can. It’s been a rough few months and my ongoing health issues mean I will probably have to stay retired (ugh) from running a full-time business. I will never stop making art and I would love to get back to offering things for sale, but art materials are expensive. Maintaining a website, promoting a business… everything is expensive! Above all, I really want to keep connecting with the fabulous community of like-minded creatives and art lovers I have met over the years. If you can spare a few pennies, hit the ‘support’ button above. If not, sharing this blog or anything else I do is free and always hugely appreciated.

BONUS MUSIC VIDEO

Neil Gaiman sings the occasional song with his wife, Amanda Palmer. This one is from a project they did with Ben Folds and Damian Kulash, called ‘8in8’. They attempted to write and record eight songs in eight hours. Neil wrote these lyrics and the story goes that, at around 3.30am and much to his horror, they realised it had to be sung by someone with an English accent…

I love this perfect little video, made by Hey Crystal Makes (subscribe to their YouTube channel here!) in eight hours. You can download the whole 8in8 album free/name your price via Amanda Palmer on Bandcamp:

8in8 Nighty Night

BONUS MUSIC NERDERY

The title of this entry is a lyric from ‘Broken Flag’ by Patti Smith, from the album ‘Wave’.

“What will rend will also mend
The sifting cloth is binding
And the dream she weaves will never end”

You Didn’t Think It Was Going To Be That Easy, Did You? You know, just for a second there, yeah. I kinda did.

Remember my good news last week? Not so good now. Turns out my surgery is going to be delayed because somebody didn’t order the MRI I need beforehand. Which begs questions such as ‘who messed up?’, ‘how the flip heck did I get a surgery date without it?’ and ‘will it go ahead before July?’, because that’s as long as the pre-op is valid.

To say I am furious about this appalling carelessness after three years of waiting quietly and patiently is quite the understatement. I am… really very cross.

A bit more good news though; despite ending last week a small, spitting ball of fury (and despite DPD doing their usual bang up job and failing to deliver on the right day) I managed to acquire and set up a new laptop. After spending the requisite couple of days wrestling it from the grasping clutches of Microsoft, it’s now much easier for me to work on my website. Hurrah!

The first new feature I’ve added, as promised, is a gallery of all my drawings for #the100dayproject. You can find a permanent link in the main menu above. I’m so pleased to have started something I’ve had on a ‘back burner’ for years and I will add more to the gallery as I continue.

This is one of my favourite drawings so far and I thought some of you might be interested to see a few ‘work in progress’ photos:

Would you like to see more work in progress photos, generally? Let me know if you’d find it interesting and I’ll attempt to remember to take some…

This is Marissa Paternoster, who you might know from her bands Screaming Females/Noun or her collaborations with other musicians, including Garbage. Fangirl squeal moment: I shared the finished sketch on Instagram and this happened:

Pleased ‘weasel. Especially as Marissa is an awesome visual artist as well as a brilliant musician.

Bonus Music Video

Anyone who knows me even slightly will have read the title of this entry and skipped straight here to see if I am really a fan of Taylor Swift. Newsflash: I’m not. But I think this is one of the best covers of Anything. Ever.

You should go check out all things Marissa Paternoster, Screaming Females and Noun. Do it now, you can thank me later.

Well what do you know? I’m here with a quick update because I have some Very Good News. Several bits of Very Good News actually and that’s surely worth shouting about when good news seems to be in very short supply.

Firstly, I finally have a surgery date in June! June this year! This will be the second of two surgeries to fuse my sacroiliac joints and relieve some of the pain from my chronically dodgy and degenerate back. I had the first op in April 2019, after waiting for a year. Second op should have happened around six months later, but NHS waiting list and global pandemic means I have been lop-sided and struggling since then. So… Very. Good. News.

Of course I got the call a few days after I decided it wasn’t going to happen and I would just have to make the best of things, to which end I purchased this instrument of torture…

Nerve damage in my right leg means it randomly stops working from time to time, so walking outside is risky. I figured I couldn’t hurt myself too badly falling off this onto the carpet. Haven’t fallen off yet, and I’m already feeling stronger and fitter after four weeks, which should help with surgical recovery.

Secondly, thanks to some very generous folk donating through Ko-fi, you may notice that (after we did a great deal of swearing and faffing with my domain) you’re reading this via poochweasel.com. That’s right… this is now my website as well as my blog!

I still have a lot of work to do, but I’m really looking forward to building galleries etc. and reinstating my shop. My old website was always pretty clunky to manage and update but WordPress have some great tools that seem reasonably idiot proo… umm… ‘weasel friendly.

Luckily, Lola is available to provide technical support and ensure there is always a bol in my slippers.

Finally, today is the last day of #the100DayProject. That’s not good news, the good news is that I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and I plan to carry on with the project as a ‘hobby that might even develop into something’ now that I’m back in the habit of daily drawing. I failed dismally at the posting on social media every day part of the challenge but I will be adding a website gallery page so that you can see all the drawings I completed and I can add new work occasionally. Did I mention that I’m loving having my website back so I can share ALL THE THINGS? Because I am.

Here’s a sneak preview of the #100daysofwomeninmusic drawing I’m (probably) finishing today. It’s Amanda Palmer and I like this piece so much I’ve reached the ‘terrified to add another single line to it’ stage… Artist fun times!!

I’m pretty pleased with these drawings overall (very pleased with a few!) and I’m delighted and slightly astonished to have kept up with the whole 100 days. I think this is the first time I’ve managed to finish a challenge like this. I’m starting to grudgingly admit that I’m probably ‘semi-retired’ now (ugh), but it’s really encouraged me to keep going creatively, which is also Very. Good. News.

Bonus Music Video

As usual, the title of this blog entry is from a song. Keep on Livin’ by Le Tigre is one I play LOUD any time I need to remind myself just to keep going. If you enjoy it, I strongly urge you to watch The Punk Singer documentary. If you pause the credits and squint, you might even catch my name as a Kickstarter backer for the film…

THIS IS YOUR TIME THIS IS YOUR LIFE!

Look at me keeping up with #the100DayProject like a champ! And not keeping up with social media at all… Oh well, if something’s got to give it’s better that way round. Here’s another update on my 100 Days of Women in Music, which I’m also using as a hashtag for the project on Twitter and Instagram. I’m so pleased that I’m still enthusiastic about the whole thing and I’ll definitely be carrying on and seeing where it ends up after the 100 days.

I’ve now finished eleven drawings, an average of one every three days, which is pretty good going. Here’s the one I was just starting when I last blogged:

I loved doing this. ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot, best known for being in The Mamas & the Papas in the mid 1960s. She has been one of my favourite singers since I was a little girl. Even before I developed a love of California folk-rock, I saw her playing a character called Witch Hazel in the 1970 film version of an unhinged US children’s show called HR Pufnstuf. Don’t do drugs kids, there’s no need! You can safely experience all the thrills of not knowing what the flipping heck is going on or why by watching the video clip below…

I actually did a really quick sketch of her character for Inktober a few years ago.

After that I struggled a bit. I did two sketches I wasn’t entirely happy with, but I’m taking a deep breath and sharing them anyway because as well as commitment, this project is also about about sharing your ‘process’. I’m not unhappy with them exactly, but I think the shading on both is a little overdone, probably because I found myself thinking about how many drawings I might manage in the hundred days and subconsciously rushing to finish.

That’s part of the reason I committed to black and white ink drawings though, at least or this first bit of the project. There’s nowhere to hide. I’d already planned to do more than one picture of both, and I’m still improving my rusty people-drawing skills, so I’m happy as long as I’m generally going in the right direction. This week I had a stern talk with myself, slowed down, gave myself lots of detail to faff with and waddya know… I’m much happier with this!

Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Note to self: no more 1980s fishnet gloves. I was seeing those in my sleep. I’ve drawn a lot of dark hair recently too, maybe I’ll go for someone bald next? I have a couple of candidates for that.

Bonus Music Video

Seeing as I shared the Witch Hazel clip, I think it’s only fair that this week’s video is Cass singing live. Not the best quality visuals but that voice still give me goosebumps.

Quick update on my sketches for #the100DayProject. The first four drawings I did are on my previous blog entry, which I utterly failed to publicise, because… well, I’m a bit rubbish at that sort of stuff. I’m doing 100 Days of Women in Music (which I’m also using as a hashtag for the project on Twitter and Instagram).

First up last week was Joan Armatrading. Took me two attempts, but I was really pleased with this in the end:

Over the weekend I did Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage. I fancied doing something a bit looser/sketchier and managed to get this finished over a couple of sessions.

I was speaking to a friend in the US on Sunday night (at about 1am, when Luce and I had celebrated Valentine’s Day with a disgraceful amount of Belgian beer) and I asked who she’d like to see me do next. She suggested Joan Jett, so I embarked on this.

I stupidly pushed myself to get it finished on Wednesday, so of course my back said “no” and it ended up taking me most of the week… Will I ever learn? Probably not. But hey, Joan looks good and it really boosted my confidence.

Yesterday I started on someone who has been one of my favourite singers since I was very small… as well as being in a really well known California folk-rock group, she played a witch in a US children’s show in the 60s. Any guesses? Go on, I’ll be *thrilled* if anyone gets it right!

Bonus Music Video

Only one song it could be this week…

Ten days into #the100dayproject and I am having an absolute blast! After much umm-ing and aah-ing, I finally decided on 100 days of Women in Music.

Fondly (and humorously) known here at Poochweasel Towers as my ‘rock chicks project’, I’ve been wanting to do something like this for ages. Last year I indulged myself with a few days of graphite pencil drawing, but then last year went nuts and I never got any further…

I like to set myself a challenge and I rarely draw people. I’ve chosen to start with ink drawings, even though I’ve been doing a lot recently, because ink is less forgiving than graphite so it requires some bravery and confidence. It also stops me faffing about with shading for days, just because it’s comforting… the whole idea is to get out of my comfort zone and improve my rusty people-drawing skills.

It’s also about making a plan and sticking to it. The idea of the 100 day project is to commit to something creative, work on it for at least 10 minutes a day for 100 days and share your process online. I started by making a list of 100(ish) women who have been influential/important to me, musically. It’s a very personal list, so there will be a lot of punk/post-punk, Riot Grrls and alternative/indie in there and it will most certainly reflect the fact that I worked for Our Price Records in the 1980s.

My first couple of drawings were a bit small and tentative. Here are PJ Harvey and Poly Styrene. I started Poly on a similar scale to PJ, then made the decision to start again and concentrate on her face.

At that point I realised I’d been putting unnecessary pressure on myself by trying to produce a finished drawing every day. I already do a lot of quick sketches and I reminded myself that this was about working on something every day and sharing the process. I won’t end up with 100 drawings, but this is only the start of my Women in Music project.

Having decided that doing larger, more detailed drawings was a good decision, I embarked on Joni Mitchell (a young Joni; I’m going to have to draw several of these women at different ages). I was much happier with this:

A couple of days ago I finished (legendary rock drummer) Patty Schemel. I think I’m already seeing some improvement and I’m starting to feel confident again. More importantly, I’m having fun!

Today I’m finishing Joan Armatrading, I’ll share that one next week. Now I’ve just got to keep on going. 10 days down, 90 to go… If anyone else is doing the challenge, I’d love to see what you’re up to. Come and talk to me!

Bonus Music Video

If you’d like to know a bit more about Patty Schemel, I love this (4 minute) video of her talking about how she started out as a drummer. And here she is hitting stuff: