Mouse’s Marriage (ネズミの嫁入り) and my New Year’s resolution

Click for larger version (PNG):page 1, page 2; click for PDF version: page 1, page 2. Click here for the list of dolls.

I drew this for my mom for Christmas, and she gave me permission to post it. I hope you all like it as much as she did! I’m still learning the ins and outs of kimono drawing, so please forgive any inaccuracies. The original Japanese story can be read here: ネズミの嫁入り (Mouse’s Marriage). I’ve been in contact with the maintainer of that site, actually, and she’s given me permission to translate the other stories there, so I plan to do a lot of those in 2011.

Speaking of 2011… Sometimes, people will e-mail me and ask how to draw dolls, and the advice I give is essentially just to keep practicing, using resources like SenshiStock and library books on figure drawing. That makes me feel like a fraud, because I myself am lousy at drawing humans, and it really shows in my dolls. (I’m happy with Ivy for now, but drawing her took days.) I look at the work of some of my internet buddies like Lys, who does this great daily fashion journal and Boots, who draws dolls in really natural, comfortable poses, and I think, wow, if I could draw dynamic poses like that, or if I could draw great faces like that, or if my hands had that much expression… But then, to borrow a phrase from Jane Austen, I have always supposed it to be my own fault—because I will not take the trouble of practicing.

I don’t have a great track record with New Year’s resolutions, and I believe last year I had none at all (which, really, I rather enjoyed). But I’m going to try one this year. I resolve to spend 20 minutes each day – or, perhaps, each day I can, let us not raise the bar too high now – sketching people. I know this is one I can do, because actually I have already been doing it off and on for a few weeks now.

Two questions for you all. First, would you like me to post the results of my progress? It might help keep me on the straight and narrow to just scan my sketches and link to them at the end of posts, but I can’t imagine it would be very interesting. (Plus, the idea is slightly frightening – I do these sketches of hands that look more like dead sea anemones, and my pride tells me “better hide those, Liana.”) Second, since I’ll just be using freely available reference and stock images and possibly a book or two from the library, would anyone like to adopt my resolution and join me? I was thinking, if there’s interest from a couple other people, we might set up some sort of blog or forum, pick out the day’s pose, share our sketches and keep each other motivated. It’s just a thought, but if you’re interested, whatever your skill level is, e-mail me or post a comment.

My next post will be on the 4th. Happy New Year!

25 thoughts on “Mouse’s Marriage (ネズミの嫁入り) and my New Year’s resolution

  1. Happy New Year!
    Even though I’m only the second person to post, I feel quite honored. (Ish.)
    Since the only thing I can draw and be satisfied with is manga, I wouldn’t be able to help you in the people category. Quite sorry. If I had any skill as an artist, I’d try, but I surely don’t.
    Anyway, I love Japanese wear. It’s just much more colorful and formal than in America. I quite like this!

  2. Aww Liana, thanks for the link and kind words! I’m honoured to be counted among your internet buddies :D You’re right about practicing—it really is the only sure way to get better at drawing or at anything. I like your idea of creating a people-sketching group-project for accountability. It might do me some good to join in, to get some variety into my system. I worry that if I keep up drawing for my blog and little else, soon I won’t remember how to draw people that aren’t me!!

    I love this mouse doll and the story to go with it. What a sweet gift for your mum :D I think the “wall” kimono is my favourite—that flower pattern is the cutest!

    Happy New Year!!

  3. Liana, your drawings are SO TOTALLY AWESOME!!!! My best friend and I have always loved paper dolls, so when I found your blog, we printed out almost every dress and every doll from both your old, and new blogs. ( Using up half of the ink in my printer at the same time-oops!)

    Anyways, I’m 12 years old, so not the best artist-by a long shot-but I’d love to join your drawing blog thingy. :P I could use a few tips. XD

  4. I love the mouse paper doll. She’s darling. I remember when I was a kid I had a set of Victorian Mice Paper Dolls… I think they are still in my collection somewhere… Anyway, this made me think of that.

  5. First off, I love all of your paperdoll designs. It’s really interesting to see what new things are here whenever I check back. Not to mention they are always so beautifully drawn and colored.

    Secondly, the drawing blog idea sounds wonderful! I really need to practice figure drawing myself but can never find the motivation. ^^; So something like this would be wonderful.

  6. i have to say WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO MERMAID MONDAY??? i’m sorry but I’ve been coming to the site a lot and i noticed there haven’t been any new mermaid sketched :'( what happened to them?

    btw this is an interesting sketch :)

  7. Of course everyone wants to see your sketches! Plus that way you can get some constructive criticism. I haven’t drawn much since high school & I was pretty good at it too- now I usually sketch anime characters & dresses & doodles w/ pen. I think once I get a computer & internet again ill make my own website too & hopefully get the awesome visitors & fans you get! ^_^

  8. I agree with Oceana. WHAT HAPPENED TO MERMAID MONDAY? :) i really think the mouse is cute and maybe if the sketches are really good, you should post them… :)

  9. I treasure my pdf printed on card stock. The translation is beautifully done. Happy New Year Liana. Thank you for it all.

  10. These are so cute, and I enjoyed the story you based them on.
    I’d say I’d join in on a challenge too, but every time I do something like that to practice drawing so I’ll get better, I get frustrated with how bad I am and quit.

  11. Liana, I would love to do this people sketching thing with you. I have a whole book of people sketches I’ve done throughout 2010 :D I have no idea how to show them to you, but I’ve got them. And pleeeasse post yours they would be just so amazing, like your paperdolls, I know everyone would love them! My favorites of your paperdolls are any of the mermaids, I just love them :)

  12. liana ~ !

    thank you for the nice comments!

    truth be told, i have no natural aptitude for drawing whatsoever. what i can get away with now is the result of painstaking practice over the last three or four years. i decided i wanted to learn and little by little have been hacking away at it.

    20 minutes a day and you’ll be bopping along in no time at all! ~ and i would love to join any forum or blog you set up and share my own work as i continue to learn. you know where to find me!

    : D

  13. Count another one in for the group sketching thing. I need to practice drawing people as well, and I just got a really great art book for christmas, so if I don’t I’ll feel bad for wasting a really nice gift. And my boyfriend will give me all sorts of poo for not using his gift.

    So, how would we go about setting up “Liana’s Artsy-Fartsy Procrastinators’ Sketch Group”? ;)

  14. Thanks, everyone, I’m glad the mouse is a hit ^^
    For everyone who’s expressed interest in the drawing group, I’ll be e-mailing you soon. Brian’s setting up a forum for me on that we can use.
    As for Mermaid Monday, I officially dropped it when I moved to drawing three days a week, since I didn’t want to lock 1/3rd of my drawings into being one thing.

  15. I would be interested in joining your drawing group. Although I am young and do not have good drawing skills. Cute mouse by the way!

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