Gemma draws birds

bird project announcement

Birds! I like seeing them hopping around, I like hearing them sing and I like watching them fly past my window. I am a nature enthusiast and I really want to learn more bird names. I also really want to do a big project. So I decided to draw all the bird species from the Netherlands! (that is where I live)


I will post one bird-painting on my Instagram every day. So if you want to follow along be sure to follow me there 🙂 They will all be gouache paintings on A5 paper. And a really fun part is that they will all be for sale in my etsy shop (coming soon!).


I think the project will take me about a year to complete. And after that I hopefully know a whole lot of bird species, mastered my gouache techniques and be a bird drawing expert!


Let's see where this project takes me 🙂


PS. I have decided to use this page as a news place where I document my newest achievements and goals. For drawing tips and sketchbook flip-troughs please check out my YouTube channel.

How to make time for drawing

HEY guys!

I did it! I made a whole talking video, I was kind of nervous about this but I really wanted to do this in video instead of in text because I personally enjoy watching videos way more than reading blog posts. And it came out quite alright! I want to do a whole series of faq's and this is number 1. Some other topics I am thinking about are how to come up with things to draw, how to find a style etc. If you have any topics you'd like me to talk about


Download the background for your phone here (the one with the pencils)

And the desktop background here (the one with the girl)

why not draw by gemma driessen illustration

sketchbook flip through 3

It is time for flip through number 3! I filled this book during the summer of 2015. This time I decided to narrate the video to give it some more personality 🙂 I hope you like hearing my ramblings.


If you have seen book 1 and book 2 as well you can really see my progress. During the process of making these books I learned that working on your skills every day for a short amount of time (I think I have spent 45 minutes drawing everyday on average the last year) can really make a big difference in how good you are. But on the other hand the it goes pretty slow. I mean I have spent over 300 hours on drawing since book 1. That is a lot.


Anyway I feel like I am much more developed as an artist now than I was when I filled this book. I am currently in de middle of book 5. And when I was flipping through all of them last night I was kind of overwhelmed about how many paintings I have done in the last year and a half.


I hope you enjoy the video and please tell me which drawing you liked most in the comments.


My favourite art videos

best youtube videos for art lovers

I have been addicted to watching/listening to art related videos on YouTube, and today I want to share some of my very favourite ones with you. I devided them up in two categories, art-advice and techniques.  I did my best to make this list a bit compact, I don't want to flood you guys with stuff to watch 🙂 The ones featured are ones I really enjoy myself.



I often listen to these while I am drawing or photoshopping or doing some other activity that doesn't require to much brain power, otherwise they might be a bit boring. Anyway here are my favourite advice videos/channels:



Learning new techniques is super inspiring to me. It does make me want to buy all the art supplies though. Here are a couple of tutorials that I liked a lot.


YouTube is the best tool for learning new skills for me. As I am dyslectic, but I think this also goes for 'normal' people, It is so much less effort if someone explains it to you verbally with some nice images than if I would have to read it. Also isn't it wonderful how much you can learn online without even having to pay money for it!


Do you ever check out art videos on YouTube? what are your favourites? please share your tips in the comments, I would love to get to know some new channels!

sketchbook flip through 2








With this sketchbook I was struggling a bit in the first pages. I started doing a drawing every night before going to bed but I didn't really liked most of the things I drew so I quit. I do really like the first image though, even though I messed it up by tracing one of the people with a thicker fine liner. After a while I had some inspiration again and I painted some weird things to go with some spinvis quotes (spinvis is a Dutch musician who makes awesomely weird music). at 00:42 you can see a drawing of the kayaking holiday me and my boyfriend were planning and a drawing of my Dopper water bottle, I really like that company, they donate money to drinking water projects, their product is cradle to cradle certified and helps you reduce your waste, so its super cool. It was obviously spring/summer when I was making the next drawings, I get really happy when I look at them. Spring is my very favourite season so I can't wait for it to be here again. This was when I decided that bumble bees are my favourite animals 🙂


I really like how you can see the improvement in my drawing skills when you flip trough these art journals. The change is less dramatic than in book 1 where I kind of found my own style. But in this one I definitely develop my style a lot. Let me know what page you liked best! I think my favourite is the blushing in different colours and infinity hair ones at 0:33.

I hope you liked it 🙂


4 ways to paint stars

4 ways to paint stars

Stars are really cool! I think we all agree on that. A couple of days ago my boyfriend and I decided to sleep with our head at the other side of the bed, now we can see some stars trough the skylight window when the weather allows it. Besides looking at them I also really like painting them. So I thought 'lets share 4 different techniques with you guys to paint stars' using watercolour paint. Here we go:

1.Masking fluid.

        This is my favourite technique because it gives the best contrast although it takes a bit of time. Masking fluid is strange stuff. It is grey, it smells weird and when it dries it becomes rubberish. I have this one. Ok, but how does it work? Well you take a brush and paint your stars with it. When it has been dried up (it takes a while) you can paint over it with your sky colour. The masking fluid masks your paper from the paint so it stays white. When the paint has dried up you can rub off the masking fluid. And your done! You can find some more detailed instructions on how it works in this great video.

        here are some tips: Masking fluid is also known as liquid masking film or maskeervloeistof in Dutch. Don't use your nice brushes with this stuff when it dries it becomes rubbery and that is really hard to get out of the bristles of the brush, I use a different brush for it. You should wait until the masking fluid is completely dry before adding paint and then wait until your paint is completely dry before removing the masking fluid otherwise you might rub some paint on the white areas. Masking fluid isn't only great for stars, google around to see what else you can do with it.

2. oil pastels

       You can also use a white oil pastel, this technique is really fast because the oil pastel doesn't need to dry or anything. So you just make some dots with the pastel and paint over it. You can also add the oil pastel after painting. It is kind of a mixture between technique 1 and 4 actually. My oil pastel is kind of big so I can't make fine details with it and I also have less control over the shapes of the stars than with the other techniques so I am not the biggest fan of this one.

3.Paint around them

        This takes a lot of time and to be honest I don't really like the result either. But it doesn't require any other product besides the paint of course :). I tried two different thing in this image for some stars I first painted little circles around them and then filled up the space between them later. Than you get that halo-like thing. I also just spared out some white while painting. That effect is more subtle.

4. white paint.

        This is a technique a lot of people use. I used cheap white acrylic paint. So maybe if your material has a higher quality the result is better. Apply the white only after the background has dried up. This is much faster than 1 and has better control than 2 so I think this is my second favourite. You can also use a tooth brush and splatter your paint over the paper to create the stars, this way you will get some very tiny stars and its super quick. However you do not have a lot of control.

I hope you liked my little list! Do you know any other techniques that I missed? please let me know in the comments 🙂 If you would like to see some starry paintings I did  you can checkout #gemmapaintsstarrythings on Instagram, I just tagged all everything starry and some are really old so don't judge me on them 😉 .



Sketchbook flipthrough 1








In the video you can see my very first filled up sketchbook. Of course I already had been drawing a lot before that, In art class and during other courses at primary and highschool. But I'd say that this sketchbook was the beginning of being more serious about my art. I had this pretty booklet that I got from my mom who bought it when she was young. And I challenged myself to do a drawing every night just before going to bed. I did it almost every evening, if I was really tired I would just make something really quick. It was more important to have something down than that it would be super pretty. This really helped me with finding a way of drawing that really fits me and developing my own style. Not all of them are really fancy, and there are not many I really like in isolation but together I really love them. It is so fun to see how much I have grown since that first page. I have 4 more filled up books to share with you guys so I hope you like them 😉 I would definitely recommend doing a drawing a day to everyone who wants to develop their art. Also by giving it a certain time of the day you won't forget it that quick.

I think the hexagonal guy by the water is my favorite, what is yours?

(click the title of the post and scroll down to leave a comment.)



a new start


welcome! I really appreciate that you are reading this. In this first post I will tell you about what my plans are with this blog and why I chose to make one.


I have blogged a lot in the past (here and here) but I kind of lost the drive doing it. That was because I wasn't always writing about things I was passionate about. Since a little over a year I have been drawing on a daily basis and sharing my progress on instagram. I really like sharing my work because it helps me connecting with other creative minded people. This is extra fun since I don't know many people in real life that are as passionate about making art as I am. This blog will be an addition to this experience where I can share more lengthy pieces of information. But it will also serve for me as a place to practice making illustrations to fit articles.


what I am going to post about? although I am not sure yet I think of tips on drawing, tips on random other things I think to be cool, sketchbook flip troughs, my personal experiences with drawing on a daily basis, maybe interviews? In any case I will be sharing things I am passionate about (mostly art related) with some quirky illustrations.

I hope you and I will both enjoy this new adventure!