Mock Duck (mockduck) wrote,
Mock Duck

Thoughts about the November clothes project

So, I did 60 drawings. Well, 59 actually, since there was one that featured Item and me together. I enjoyed it. It's given me a lot to think about; at the same time, I'm rather glad it's over, as it did take up a large portion of every evening.

It's really lovely to have a sketchbook that's full of drawings, full in a tangible sense, because the pages have gone from being all orderly and flat to crinkling up a little and pushing the covers apart. I can flick through it and think, what lovely colours, what a lot of drawings, don't they all look nice together.

And you get a similar effect on Flickr, if you put everything in the same set, only without the tactile experience of flicking through the soft pages.


At the beginning, I vaguely thought, oh, this will be good for my drawing - and it has been, I can see the improvement. I can expect a higher hit rate of pictures I'm not ashamed of. It really makes me think about what standard I could reach if I was doing this daily forevermore.

One of the hardest aspects has been what I also find hard about producing any art to a deadline - the idea that I have to (in this case only because of my own rules) put up whatever I have drawn, whether it's good or bad. That sometimes makes me panic. It's counter-productive.

Someone I respect very much told me, a long time ago, when we were teenagers actually, that out of a roll of film (and that in itself shows how long ago this was) you are doing well if you have two really good photos. If this project were a couple of rolls of thirty frames, by those guidelines I would be happy enough. But it did hurt to put up the pictures I really hated (and those made garish by my poor colour-matching scanner).

And as I mentioned on the 19th, when Item occasionally joined in with the painting, her fluidity and looseness really slayed me. To some extent you can never escape your own style, but I do seem to start with a terrible predisposition towards tight lines and attempted accuracy, and just a tiny little ounce of Item's freedom would do me so much good.

People have been nice about this project - in real life, on Facebook, Twitter, and here (thank you). Because it has happened every day for 30 days, I've noticed my tendency to reply to a compliment with 'Thank you BUT it's/you're wrong in ways x, y and z'. I know that this is probably slightly annoying, but it's the truth, and I find it hard to reply anything but truthfully. There are some pictures here I'd be very glad to see published or put on a wall. There are also many more which I'd cringe about.

Which pictures do I like best?

10Nov12 Tabs10Nov12 19Nov12 21Nov12 28Nov12 Tabs29Nov12 Tabs30Nov12

And I think my absolute favourites are:

Tabs4Nov12 and Tabs14Nov12

the last one for its colours and background, mainly.

There are four types of drawing across the month. There are ones drawn from life, like those ones of Item, directly above. There are those of myself drawn in the mirror, like the 19th, 21st, and 28th, above. There are ones drawn from a photo I snapped on my phone, like the 30th. And there are those drawn totally from my imagination/memory.

That's the order I like the results in, too - life drawings first, imaginary ones last. The 10th (of me) is the only one in that category that made my favourites list, and one picture drawn from imagination is the one I had most trouble sharing with you across the whole series, so ashamed of it was I - which is a lesson in itself to me, really.

The images I like best are in many cases different to the outfits I like wearing best. It has been great to dig through the back of the wardrobe and pull out clothes like the Noa Noa skirt that I haven't worn in months (and then remember why - in this case because it's slightly too small!).

The other thing I should say about the drawing is that inks are an absolute revelation. I asked The Boy for a set on my birthday, so the ink drawings kick in from the 10th. They're excellent, because they have a dropper and so you don't have to dip a brush in and get them muddied. They mix really well too, and are so nice to layer. Then they just dry dead quickly. I couldn't be happier with them.

It's interesting to me that these pictures don't represent a normal month of what I wear. I was conscious of choosing, in the morning, the clothes I wanted to draw that evening, and of putting aside garments I'd already drawn enough times that it'd be dull to do them again. In an ordinary month, as I mentioned to a few people in comments, it's far more likely that I wear the exact same outfit three, four, five times in a row because it's still hanging on the back of my chair when I wake up in the morning, and I work from home, so why not.

Clothes are a great thing to blog about though. There's a lot to say about clothes, whether it's about self-image, or the reasons you bought them, or the things they remind you of. So many garments have a story, from the miscarriage slippers, to the top that was a gift from an LJ friend, to the art exhibition t-shirt.

Lots of people have been nice enough to comment that they like the mixtures of colours or patterns or clothing types. You will probably think I'm mad for saying this, but it honestly never occured to me that I'm a particular lover of colour and pattern in clothes, or that I put them together in particularly interesting ways. I mean, it makes sense that I would - my formative teenage years were mostly spent at jumble sales or cutting clothes up and sewing them together in odd configurations to wear to nightclubs, and at that age I considered it a priority to be different. So maybe my underlying subconscious mission is to somehow perpetuate that into middle age. That sounds hard...

Many aspects of this project have surprised me. I am really surprised by just how many garments I wore during the month (72, though that does include tights and socks, wherever I actually mentioned them on the drawing) - and I have plenty I didn't wear, too. That is more clothes than anyone needs.

I didn't do a count for Item (well, I did, but I discovered errors in it tonight, and I'm too tired to start again) but she obviously also has a massively extensive wardrobe, far beyond anything I had when I was a kid. I worry sometimes that I'm doing her a disservice, setting her up with this as a norm.

There were other surprises, too. For example, if you'd asked me whether I mainly buy stuff new, in sales, or second hand, I'd probably have said mainly in the sales by a long way. But look:


This chart counts each garment only once, no matter how many times it was worn. Then I realised tights and socks were probably skewing that, too - of *course* I buy them new, who doesn't - so I did this:


I had no idea I bought so much new. Blimey.

Fewer surprises in the colours I wear:


This time I counted each wear of a garment - eg the red is almost all from the red cardi I wore several times - and I calculated it based on the predominant colour of each garment, eg the velvet skirt I wore yesterday counts as cream/white. The only thing that I wouldn't have predicted is how small a part green plays. Blue is mainly jeans, I think.

I remember a women's magazine used to do this ludicrous page where they'd put a picture of some dress or handbag or something and 'do the maths' - like, if you wore it twice a week for a year, it would work out at a very reasonable £2 a wear, or something. A print version of the kind of enabling we sometimes do for our friends.

Well, which purchases have given me the best value? My most-worn garment was the tight stretchy black jeans I bought in an emergency when I fell in a puddle in Hastings - I wore them 5 times. That was a surprisingly good buy, then.

Also worn 5 times is my very sheer black top from Cos, which is just a versatile thing to put under other things, then at 4 wears each comes the red cardi, and my blue Kuyichi jeans, which in an ordinary month probably get more like 10 or 12 wears.


Here are the brands I wore (each garment counted only once, no matter how many times it as worn) - White Stuff coming out on top, unsurprisingly, though I am surprised to see so much H&M, especially as I thought I generally avoided them due to sweatshop suspicions. I didn't count here whether stuff was new or second hand, though.

Item wore repeats of garments more often than I did over the month. Her most-worn things were:
Blue Boden boots (5 times); green Boden boots (4 times); lime green cardigan, H&M patched blue jeans, Junior J patched dark blue jeans, 4 times each. I think it's biased towards jeans because on PE days we make sure she has clothes she can get into and out of quickly - no tights, basically, thus, no skirts or dresses.

Here are Item's breakdowns:




The significant brands are, unsuprisingly, H&M and Boden.

You know what? I think I'm really going to enjoy getting dressed tomorrow.

See all the pictures here or see them with all the accompanying blog posts in order, starting here.
Tags: baby, clothes, drawing, me

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  • A true Neolithic experience: lots of mud

    I got my day's digging yesterday. It wasn't entirely dry: in fact, by the end of the day, there had been two heavy downpours, although these…

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