Get Crafty With Your Favorite Ladies

Feel like staying in this weekend? Read on for some serious activity inspiration, brought to you by three best friend artists.

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Project No. 1: Design Your Own Font

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New York City-based illustrators Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Rachel Cole packed their new book Ladies Drawing Night with tons of inspiration for beautiful projects you can create in tandem with friends.

From the Illustrators: "Just like any other art form, the way letters, words, and numbers look can convey a mood or meaning. Everyone has a handwriting style, and chances are it says something about you. Incorporating your handwriting into your artwork can add another layer of expressiveness."

Cole's colorful final product.
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What You'll Need:

  • Paper, pens, pencils, and paint.

How to Do It:

  • Write your name in every medium you possibly can. Imagine your letters as shapes, not as letters.
  • Copy or trace a font you like. Your version will come out handmade-looking, but it will help to provide you with a structure.
  • Write out a phrase, poem, or saying you like.

Project No. 2: Fashion Illustration, Your Way

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From the Illustrators: "These outfits are unlikely to hang in our closets, but this is an imaginary way of trying on those clothes. It's like playing dress-up."

Leah Goren's stylish watercolor renderings.


What You'll Need:

  • Books, magazines, catalogs.
  • Watercolor paper, watercolor paints, brushes, and ink pens.

How to Do It:

  • Look through catalogs, books, and magazines for figures to inspire your fashion drawings.
  • Some people find it easier to start with drawing blocks of color, others with lines—try both!
  • Search for shapes, patterns, and textures in clothing that can add interest to your drawing. By focusing on these decorative elements, you don't have to worry as much about getting the proportions of the figure exactly correct.

Project No. 3: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

From the Illustrators: "We set up our stuff all around one long table in the middle of the studio. We sit very close to each other so we will be able to pass drawings back and forth easily and see what each other is doing."


Goren adding her own touch to the shared painting.


A collaborative drawing by Cole, Goren, Levit, Ramos, and Rothman.

What You'll Need:

  • Watercolor paper, watercolor paints, brushes, and pencils.

How to Do It:

  • Gather ten sheets of equally sized paper.
  • Choose ten themes, one for each sheet of paper. Write the theme lightly in pencil at the bottom corner.
  • Pick four colors that compliment each other, and use only those.
  • Have everyone pick a drawing and start working until you find a stopping point. (If you're not sure when to stop, try using a timer.)
  • Swap drawings, adding to each other's marks and trying to complete the picture.
  • A drawing is finished only when everyone agrees it's done.

Project No. 4: Cut and Paste

All you need is paper, scissors, and glue.

From the Illustrators: "With collage, you can instantly change a composition and see new shapes form, just by moving around cut pieces of paper. Even the seasoned draftsman may find new, unexpected ideas. It is satisfyingly tactile and immediate."

Cole makes sure to have plenty of tea and biscuits at the ready! A crucial part of any creative process.


What You'll Need:

  • Lots of paper, scissors, and glue.

How to Do It:

  • Collect colored paper, photos, magazine pages etc.
  • Cut into your collage material using scissors or an X-Acto knife.
  • Place your cut pieces on your foundation paper. Try arranging and rearranging the composition in a few different ways before settling on one.
  • Affix your pieces with glue sticks or tape.

Project No. 5: Draw-a-Friend


Goren's painting of fellow artist and friend, Andrea Pippins.

From the Illustrators: "Figure drawing. It feels like the oldest exercise in the book, from figures depicted in prehistoric art to the six-hour-long required drawing class in the first year of art school. And still, we love to do it and find something new to see in the form and movement of the body."


What You'll Need:

  • Paper, paints, brushes, pens, pencils.

How to Do It:

  • Take turns posing for each other. Start with shorter poses and gradually increase them.
  • Study your subject thoroughly. Try to capture an essence of a person and don't worry about it not looking like the subject.
  • Get experimental. Try overlapping your drawings. Use your mistakes and let body parts appear disproportionate. Add color and texture after the timer runs out.

Ladies Drawing Night: Make Art, Get Inspired, Join the Party by Julia Rothman, Leah Goren and Rachael Cole (Chronicle Books), $24, is available at amazon.com.

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