It was one of those nights. I woke way too early feeling way too hot, even though the windows were open in the Welsh Winter. Hot flashes, again. So, the only thing to do was to draw until I was cool enough to get back to sleep. That took until nearly 8 am, GMT.
These are the little drawings I completed during my insomniac hours. My Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen is nearly done – either the nib is too worn to work properly or the ink is mostly gone, I’m not entirely sure which. I know I have a heavy hand with pens and tend to wreck them before all the ink has gone.
Anyway, I witter. I’m still trying to figure out how to add words into my drawings. I’m not entirely sure I’m being successful in this. No doubt I’ll keep on trying though!
These were drawn on A4 acid-free cartridge paper in one of my current sketchbooks. I added the background colour digitally.
After doing some admin work this morning, I felt the need to create a mandala.
I decided to use one of the stylised bird heads from my recent drawings as a starting point, and, well, the design just grew from that.
There’s some zentangle-style patterns, and some that seem to be inspired by Meso-American architecture.
I think the drawing is done, just the shadow/highlight work to be continued with and completed. The small area I’ve done really lifts the design. It’s just working out how to get the digital brush settings just right!
I’m quietly pleased with it, so far, but I need to put it to one side for a while. This afternoon I need to work on the cover for my next colouring book for Creative Haven. The one thing both projects have in common is that they make me smile. And that is a good thing, a very good thing!
Do you know the kind of days where it’s hard to get out of bed? Days when your body and soul need a day cwtched up safe and warm in bed? Well that was today for me.
A day spent doing very little. A bit of art. Watching geology videos on youtube. Playing games on my phone.
I’m now vertical, at my desk. I’ve scanned in one of my little drawings (approx 3¼” x 4″, or 8cm x 10cm) and digitally added a background, shadow and highlight. The shadow and highlight are a tad patchy, but they do help to bring the drawing to life.
What isn’t typical is, perhaps, the colour palette. I chose the colours rather intuitively, letting my emotions guide me. I started with cool, calming blues and greens in the centre. All the colours are quite soft and gentle, until I got to the outside border where I used brighter yellows and oranges and complementary blues and purples. The brighter colours appeared as my anxiety ebbed and the clouds parted to let some sunshine through.
I had a weird night’s sleep with both hot flashes and disturbing dreams. I often feel out of sorts for a long while after such dreams and they may be the source of my anxiety. I’m feeling calmer now though. Art has worked it’s magic, and the intermittent sunshine is helping.
I think it’s forecast to be cloudy with sunny breaks for the rest of the daylight hours, so I may very well get myself out for a walk in a short while.
I realised that I haven’t drawn a mandala in quite a while. So, that’s what I did! Intricate, geometric and organic repeating patterns. It was a pleasure to do.
I’m quite happy with the highlights and shadows on this one, and keeping it all monochrome works for me today as well. A calm and soothing green – just what I need today as I’m still recovering from the stress from earlier in the week.
Tools – Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
I took a 6″ square Strathmore artist’s tile and coloured it with Distress Inks. Next, I used Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 and Pigma Micron 01 pens to draw the design. Finally I added some graphite shadows.
This zentangle inspired drawing contains the Zibu symbol for ‘nurture’. Nurture is all about growth and expansion which involves encouraging, nourishing, protecting and caring.
I certainly need to care for myself today. For the past few days anxiety gradually increased as I got closer to meeting my accountant to hand over my paperwork. I was left exhausted after the essential business trip to meet her in a car park to do this. I’m still feeling exhausted, fuzzy headed, and not with it today.
Nurturing myself was an important lesson to learn through EMDR therapy. It’s not an easy lesson for any of us to learn, but it is essential. It’s not just about taking care of the basic needs, it’s about the whole of your being.
Yesterday, this involved quiet time with art, or just sitting and being, and some comforting, as well as nourishing, food. An early night was in order.
My nights sleep was broken and I’m still feeling the effects of the post-stress come-down. But these will pass as the cortisol and other stress hormones gradually leave my body.
On the good side, I was up to creating the cover for the next colouring book after Entangled Starry Skies. So, if the sketch is approved, I can get to inking and colouring it over the next couple of days.
I spent yesterday colouring yesterday’s drawing in. That was an interesting experience!
I started out with graphite and coloured drawing pencils. But, as I coloured more and more I got frustrated with them
So, I switched to Inktense pencils and paints and a water brush. That was better, but the results were rather chalky and obscured the black lines a little. So I tried some watercolour paints. Better, but still weren’t feeling right.
Finally, I dug out my set of the Kuretake Zig Clean Colour Real Brush pens, and they hit the spot!
With each type of media I did my best to remain true to the limited colour palette of earth tones, but the more organic parts really did need that muted olive green for some variety. That decision really has helped to tie everything together in this design.
Surprisingly, The whole variety of media seems to work well together. I expected a whole hot mess from my messing around with media. Whatever I did, it’s brought the drawing to life, and there’s a lot of interest in the variations of intensity and vibrancy of colour throughout it.
I’d expected the mixed media paper to be a bit difficult to work with Inktense, watercolours and the brush pens. It wasn’t, it worked really well! Perhaps because I didn’t do much in the way of working in colour layers.
I still have some work to do to this. I want to add some gold accents in places, as well as using a white Gelly Roll pen to add dots of bright white here and there. Oh, I need to remove the margin guidelines, as well as that pesky bit of dirt that is on my scanner!
I really am smiling when I look at this piece of artwork. There’s lots of open space, yet it works. I think it’s done, though I may add some ‘ruins’ peeking above the froth of vegetation. I’ll see what happens over time.