Since I’ve got the gift of time on my hands, I decided recently to embark on a drawing course given by Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson. I fell in love with Mattias’ illustrations when I first saw them on Behance. His work inspired me to do my sketches in a Moleskin journal instead of on random scraps of paper. Even though Mattias’ drawing style is radically different from mine, we do share some similarities with how we use watercolor. We also share a preference for creating our drawings free-hand without using pencil under drawings.

Mattias’ Drawing Course…

Is beautifully organized into 5 units. (One look at Mattias’ art will tell you that you’re dealing with an organized mind!) I’m also loving his calm demeanor and the fact that he takes the time to comment on everyone’s work. At last check, there were 10,915 students enrolled, so personal comments from the instructor wouldn’t exactly be a given. Although each unit contains multiple steps (requiring lots of individual practice), certain steps (or projects) are shared with the rest of the course participants. I find it fascinating to see the other students’ styles and how they are interpreting the various projects.

The First Project…

Was an exercise in drawing from reality. I do prefer to draw from my imagination, but I figured this was a good way to see if I could still draw what I saw before me.

Ink drawing of pencil box and drawing implements by Joana Miranda
(Free-hand ink drawing of my pencil box and favorite drawing pens)

The Second Project…

Involved drawing from imagination and bringing inanimate objects to life.

(My favorite drawing tools come to life in these free-hand drawn illustrations!)

The Third Project…

Almost stumped me. This project involved drawing yourself as a simplified illustration. To be honest, although I’ve cartooned myself as a child a lot (Little Jo), I haven’t felt very successful with coming up with an adult version of me that I like. Fortunately, after squeezing in quite a few little Joana heads into whatever blank spaces I could find in my Moleskine notebook, I finally settled on something I quite like.

Meet Joana…a somewhat quirky, 40-something-year-old woman who wears striped shirts and jeans.

Joana drawing cartoon self-portraits.
(Self portrait drawn free-hand with permanent colored pencil and watercolor)

By the way…

One of Joana’s quirks is obsessing over whether or not she should cut off all her hair.

Colored pencil and watercolor cartoon self-portrait series by Joana Miranda

As you can see, I’m having a blast with this drawing course. And I plan to post more of my projects as I complete them. If you’re interested in exploring the creative offerings on Domestika, you can do so here.

Stay home. Be Safe. Stay Creative!


  1. MM says:

    ooh ooh, I like the haircut! (40 ISH????) ahem ahem, I guess I’m 69 ISH then. xoxo mm

    • Joana says:

      I’m so glad you like my (virtual) haircut. (It’s easier to draw, too!)

      I lurve you!

  2. Helen Reich says:

    I love the partying watercolors! Sounds like a fun course. Yuko Shimizu is offering a free pandemic course through Skillshare, I believe. I think I’d take it, but I’m busy. I see all her students’ submissions on her Instagram feed.

    So, you’re 40-ish? Echoing your mother, does that make me 51-ish?

    • Joana says:

      Ok, ok…I’ve changed the “40-ish” to “40-something-year-old”. 🙂 That’s what I meant anyway. (But I didn’t really want to say “almost-fifty-year-old” since I have a YEAR and 10 days left til that milestone.) There, is that clear enough?;-)

      Last night I ordered a new flexible nib fountain pen for a whopping $23. It felt like a bit of a splurge, but I rationalized that I’m helping the economy.

      Sounds like us New Yorkers will be bunkering down for quite a while longer. Cuomo said “months” so maybe I’ll be able to get a haircut in July?

      Happy Sunday!
      xox – Joana

Leave a Reply