All Bottled Up

Don’t worry, it’s not what you think! Little One is safe and sound. This image is actually about this “doll in the bottle” I found at some spiritual healing shop in Amsterdam many years ago. It was a mini Barbie doll in a bottle, sort of like those ships in the bottles except it’s a doll instead. Doll is dressed as a fairy or angel in a sequin dress. I remember wanting it so much but the shop was closed. In fact it was never opened every time I walked by and visited.

Dolly in a Bottle

A passer-by told me it was occasionally opened on a Saturday afternoon, but I never ventured out on a Saturday afternoon in Amsterdam because that street is so packed with stoners and tourists. That was back in 2017. Each time I passed by during the years, the item was still sitting by the window, but that shop was always shut. Then some months ago, I happened to walk by and the item wasn’t there anymore! It may have been sold or placed somewhere else in the shop. In fact, I am not sure if it was even for sale or merely a decoration as there was no price tag with it.

Drawing About It

I put it all behind me and moved on, although the image of it would occasionally cross my mind. Then one day, I was in the mood to use my Copic markers and found a pad of Strathmore paper for Markers, both of which by the way are quality stuff. First thing that came to mind was that doll in the bottle! I then just firstly sketched it lightly with graphite pencil. As you will notice, I made some variations to the doll in the bottle, ie., the pink outfit as opposed to sequins and the lack of embellishments on the bottle. This is because I didn’t look at the photograph to “reproduce” the image but went by my imagination.

Pencil Sketch

Using My Markers

I mainly went for my Copic markers. The quality of the paper is wonderful too. It’s thick enough for my liking at 190 gsm, does not bleed to the page beneath it and is not too porous that you waste a lot of ink. Once I was done with the Copics, I switched to Pebebo’s Deco markers in gold for the halo. I love this marker for metallics. Apparently it is acrylic-based and although I am happy with my set of Molotow markers, I don’t have any in metallic shades. Then for the whites of the eyes and polka dots, I went for the usual Molotow marker in white. Seeing that the drawing could have a bit of background, I spontaneously drew in some leaves behind the bottle.

Using my Markers

Coloured Pencils

I wasn’t planning on using coloured pencils in the beginning. It was now a good time to experiment how they worked together. Using the coloured pencils for the leaves would add a subtle background whereas had I used markers it would be too harsh and distract from the subject. I also added some details to the bottle so it would look more like a bottle. Although I was trying to decide whether or not to add more to the background like more leaves, I thought I would leave as is. Perhaps another time I may go back to it but I think for now I’m pleased with it.

All Bottled up

This time just a simple drawing using markers and then adding coloured pencils. Nevertheless, drawing about it made me let go a bit about losing the chance to get hold of the original “doll in the bottle” from the shop. And to be honest, once I drew about it and looked back at the photograph of the item, I’m not as sad and in grief anymore. And funny how I called this piece “All Bottled Up” as I likely was bottling up my emotions. Of course it’s just a material item but it must have meant a lot to me.  It could have some implications about my happy childhood which I miss so much. I see why art is so therapeutic. Perhaps one of these days, I could develop this image to a painting, such as mixed media acrylic or a simple watercolour piece…

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