Winter is still in full tilt here in Norway. Well, kind of. One minute it’s freezing and snowing, and the next it’s relatively mild and sunny. Having a hard time making up your mind, Norwegian weather? But no matter. We’ve had so little cold weather in Western Norway this year that I’m actually still in a winter sort of mood. The kind of winter sort of mood that inspires warm winter cookies. And what could combine warm, winter, and adorable better than owls in hats?! I love drawing on cookies with edible pens, so in addition to talking specifically about these cookies, I thought I’d go over some of my favorite tips for making awesome hand drawn cookies such as shading with an edible pen, and how to create awesome drawings even if you’re not very good at drawing (trust me, I’m actually a terrible artist).
Hand Drawn Owl Cookies
Makes however many cookies you want to decorate
What you’ll need:
Cookies iced with royal icing
Black edible markers with a fine tip (I use Rainbow Dust’s double ended pen in jet black)
Since this tutorial is going to be about creating the design and drawing in general, I’m going to be starting with already iced cookies. If you have questions about how to ice your cookies with royal icing, you can find my tutorial on that here. To get super straight and right up to the icing edges, I simply used a fine grater to grate the sides of my iced cookies.
Since this design requires drawing, I want to start with some tips for drawing on cookies with edible pens:
Tip #1: Start with a good edible food pen. This may seem like common sense, but you really want a good pen with a nice fine tip (remember, you can always make the lines thicker, but it’s hard to make them thinner). Most of the food pens I’ve come across have a relatively fat tip, which is why I like the double ended Rainbow Dust pens so much.
Tip #2: My favorite way to create lighter lines and shading is by using an old, worn down pen. With the Rainbow Dust pens, the more you use them, the more that fine tip gets worn down. This means that you’ll eventually be able to turn your pen so that the metal around the tip touches the cookie and raises the actual tip up off the cookie just enough that only a small part of the tip touches. This creates a much thinner, lighter line and is perfect for shading. I often work with two edible pens simultaneously: one that I’ve worn down and a new one (that I’m in the process of wearing down).
Tip #3: I have a confession: I’m not actually a very good drawer. Seriously, if you asked me to draw something on the spot, it would be terrible. This means I have to work extra hard on hand drawn cookies like these to make them look good. A couple of tricks if drawing isn’t your strong suit: look for references when creating your designs. This will help you get proportions that look right. If you want to freehand the designs like I did with these cookies, I recommend practicing your design with pen (or pencil) and paper until you can draw it the way you want. I draw most designs like these 5-10 times each before I put them on a cookie. You can also transfer the image from paper to your cookie if you don’t feel comfortable freehanding it. You can find a tutorial on that topic here.
So onto owls in hats! For these cookies, I started with the eyes and then moved onto creating the head or hat, depending on how much head space the hat took up (you can see some of the hats sit low on the owls’ heads, and in those cases, I drew the hat after the eyes and before the head). For outline lines, like those outlining the head, hat, body, etc. I used my new pen. For all lines inside the outlines and for shading, I used my old, worn down pen.
After creating the heads, I did any shading or designs before moving on. If you’re right handed, it’s best to work top to bottom, left to right, so you don’t run the risk of running your hand over your design and smudging it. If you have to work on an area that requires putting your hand over a part you’ve already drawn, you can protect the design by placing a piece of paper towel between your hand and the design. From the head, I moved onto the body, creating the outline and then filling it in with shading and the pattern for the wings and chest. Once the whole design was finished, I went back and gently smudged areas with my fingers to soften them. When smudging these areas, you’ll want to make sure to give them a little time to dry so they’re not completely wet, but if you wait too long they’ll be too dry to smudge. 20 minutes- 1 hour is a good time to do smudging.
And there you have it! How to draw on cookies, even if drawing isn’t your strong suit! I promise, if I can do it, so can you!