It’s become my own personal tradition that each year, I draw my daughter’s Christmas stocking: a record of all those gifts of chocolate, stationery and small toys that Santa brings. He’s a clever man, that Santa: each year, his choices seem to accord directly with my daughter’s changing fads and preferences.
In this, her 13th year, I can’t help noticing that colours are duller and much less exciting to draw: less hot pink, more black.
Click the image if you’d like to see it slightly larger.
In the ultimate mash-up of looking a gift-horse in the mouth and being a bad workman blaming my tools, I might also say that I got the most amazing box of watercolours for Christmas. They’re so good that the colours are deeper and more vibrant than I’m used to, and the whole picture came out a bit darker than I intended.
For comparison’s sake, here are previous years’ paintings:
This is the third year running that I have drawn everything my daughter received from that very generous old fellow, Santa Claus.
It’s a great way to fill the days between Christmas and New Year, and while I know it’s not exactly Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, it’s also the closest thing I’ve got to a recurring theme.
If we remove Santa from the equation, it even becomes a great chance for me to meditate on over-indulgence. Yes, since you ask, she is an only child.
As I always draw these images from a photo, they sometimes feel a bit less like drawing and a bit more like copying, especially with all the lettering and branding to be drawn. Still, copying can be educational, a lesson I learned anew by reading Linda Barry’s fabulous book Syllabus this year.
When drawing the contents of an 11-year-old girl’s stocking, what you mainly learn is how to make things look cute, but that’s a valid lesson too.
Click if you’d like to see it larger.
And here are the previous years’ ones. As you can see, the quantity of goods, and my concerns, haven’t changed much year on year. Nor, I note, has the time of waking on Christmas morning, sigh.
If you do something two years in a row, does that mean it’s an annual tradition? If so, I seem to have landed myself with a very fiddly one!
[Click to see bigger]
For comparison, here’s last year’s drawing:
[Click to see larger]
Father Christmas did a really good job this year – it’s almost as if he knows my daughter personally.
Her stocking contained, amongst plenty of other things: a suffragette brooch, detangler spray for long hair, a glasses case – ideal for this newly-bespectacled girl – and patches spelling out her name. Well done, Santa.