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How-Tuesday: Eye Dropper Drawings handmade and vintage goods

Sometimes you hit a creative roadblock and just need to try something totally out of your usual routine to make a breakthrough. At a recent Craft Night with artist Carla Sonheim, I saw this breakthrough happening left and right as participants intently dripped ink with eye droppers and experimented their way to some unexpected results. Even if you don’t consider drawing to be the reason you get up in the morning, I encourage you to give this project a shot. It’s a fun opportunity to break out of your creative habits; how seriously can you take yourself with toilet paper as a key material?

Carla Sonheim is a Seattle-based illustrator, Etsy seller, and author of the book, Drawing Lab. In addition sharing this how to make paper dolls post with us and joining us at past Craft Nights at the Etsy Labs in Brooklyn, Carla teaches an online drawing course called The Art of Silliness, which helps adults and children tap into their own creativity by encouraging the happy accidents and outcomes that occur when we allow ourselves to play.

Find your own copy of Drawing Lab on Amazon or an independent bookseller near you.

“Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”  —Camille Pissarro

For this project, we’ll draw a series of faces from a photo reference, using only an eyedropper and toilet paper. Find an interesting face image from a newspaper or magazine. Here, I used a fashion ad as my inspiration.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • 140 pound (64 kg) hot-press watercolor paper, cut down to 5″ x 7″ (12.7 x 17.8 cm) sheets
  • Black acrylic ink
  • A roll of toilet paper
  • Eye dropper


1. Load the eyedropper and squeeze the ink out gently onto your paper. Draw only the basics: face shape, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, neck.

2. Quickly take a piece of toilet paper and lay it on top of your drawing. The ink will soak into the toilet paper and spread out underneath.

3. Quickly lift the toilet paper off and set aside. Let dry completely.

Taking It Further: Working this way will probably provide many “disasters.” Once the ink has dried, you can go back into the pieces you don’t like, and see if you can pull them together with markers, colored pencil, charcoal, or collage additions.

Left: Pencil, white gel pen, and a light wash of black watercolor were added to save this one from being too cutesy.
Right: Watercolor, colored pencil, Copic markers, and a white gel pen were added to this face, which at first seemed to lack character.

Examples from Craft Night at Etsy Labs:


Here are more examples from Craft Night. If you make your own eye dropper drawings, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group.

More Things to Make | Art on Etsy