Most often, for me, everything starts with an idea or a visual clue. Before I started this project, my excitement was piqued by a photo sent to me by my youngest daughter. It was something I’d never seen before, a large yellow spider centered in its intricate web.

Now, there’s nothing unusual about spiders in their webs, and I’ve even drawn one before, but this one was extraordinary. Not only was the web covered in a pattern created by fresh morning dew, but the spider itself was also completely covered in dew. 

I was mesmerized by the dew drops. Each one transparent and positioned side by side, dangling on the web. The spider was amazing, but those water droplets were magic. 

In the photo, as you can see, the background is green. So, I decided to do what I like best and mix it up, choosing red as the color paper that made up my background. 

I have several different sizes of white paint pens, all different brands, and took some time to learn more about their individual abilities and challenges, and mine as well. I started with the pen that had a bolder tip, resulting in wider lines of paint, and it seemed too dull. I couldn’t find the shine I wanted to show in those dew drops. 

Next, I moved on to a thinner tipped pen (so I thought) and began to create those droplets. It turns out, that thinner tip was a bit drippy and I didn’t have the control I expected, but I persevered and adjusted to a slower paced drawing style in order to have more control. 

Each time I experiment I continue to learn what to do with both materials and self-discipline. By taking my time, I began to see the clear globe-like dew drops start to develop. In a way, it reminded me of bubbles but without the colors you get using prismatic soap. 

The dew drops became a bit repetitive, drawing tiny circles over and over again, yet I found my pace and rhythm. Once I finished creating the outer rim of the dew drop, I needed to go back and go over a section at the base of the drop, while not encasing it in solid white. This was to show the heaviness at the bottom of the water droplet and indicate the consistent direction gravity was pulling them off the strands of the web, which were also flowing downward in the same way. This took concentration at first. Once I learned the natural balance, it became much easier. 

I continued until I was satisfied with the drawing (above) and then tried several others with a few variations. I tried a green background, to mimic the original photo, and it was a brilliant, beautiful color. Yet, the white of the pen on that color was too bright for my taste and was almost too white to be pleasing to the eye. I discontinued working on that project, as I learned what I needed to, and to tried again. 

My next variation was a thicker piece of paper with a rougher tooth. The visual results were good but the effort to travel the pen over the surface was too difficult, so I stopped again after learning this lesson. 

So, I went back to my first instinct and the color red, but went with a deeper shade this time. A little more purple or maroon, depending on how your eyes, and digital device, process colors. 

Testing my courageous, go-for-it mantra, I was ready to do this on film. Needless to say, it is a challenging moment when you combine everything you learn and try it out on camera for the first time. I’ve filmed many projects and classes, but it always makes me a little nervous before each one, because every project is new in its own way. 

I didn’t disappoint myself with my on-camera drawing, but to be honest I prefer the very first trial on the red paper. Something about the tones of the white worked better for me. The balance and rhythm of the dew drops seemed truer to life and were closer to what I was trying to achieve. 

I feel so happy when I think about how I saw something pure and simple in nature, yearned to duplicate it the best I could, experimented with a relatively new drawing tool, and succeeded in my efforts. Of course, I will keep practicing to get my art closer to what I see in my mind’s eye, but for my first few attempts it went well. 

Such joy comes from the road I travel to learn and share, and it is always a journey worth sharing.