This was a fun ‘Draw With Me’ drawing tutorial on YouTube. Unusually, I used a lot of Zentangle tangle patterns – Arukas variation, Crescent Moon variation, Tipple variation, Quabog, Sez and Mooka. Plus a couple I like to draw – the flowers within circles and the mechanical kind of things under the hand lettering.
It is a work in progress, however. I have no idea what will appear next on it…intuitive art is a wonderful thing to do!
I love drawing mandalas. I love the symmetry, the flow, the sense of calmness that they bring when being drawn or coloured. I am fascinated with the never-ending possibilities of mandala design. They also make it easier for me to arrange motifs and patterns when my head is filled with pink fluffy and sparkly fairy dust (all due to prescribed medication).
This one was fun and a bit different, with some new kinds of motifs in it. The colour palette is soft and soothing, with the splashes of gold give those sunshiny-joyful accents that lift it.
Yes, I know I’ve not finished adding colour. But I really, really need to finish the social media stuff and then go and get something to eat!
I’ve finished adding all the main patterns on the cover page for my Entangled Samplers collection. I’m happy with the result, which is something I rarely say!
However, I needed a regular grid pattern to contrast with the more organic patterns and motifs. So, I added the gridded tangle to the top right.
At the bottom right is a variation of the Zentangle tangle pattern ‘Rixty’. The plain white paper behind it was crying out for some texture. So, I added some ‘Printemps’ spirals using a 0.1 light grey Unipin pen. As a subtle reminder to use colour and line thickness variations to bring interest into a drawing, this was a good idea.
I have a couple of things to decide before fully finishing the page. Firstly, how do I want to add shade/highlight/contrast to the drawing? Secondly, do I want to add a pattern to the wide border around the title text?
There’s no rush for me to decide. What’s the saying? ‘Act in haste, repent at leisure’? I can let these issues wander around my noggin until the perfect methods come forward.
Exploring ‘Lunaria’ by Ute Andresen and a wavy leafy pattern
I had some time and energy left to do some more drawing. So, I grabbed (gently) a fresh sheet of A5-ish paper and used some patterns from last Tuesday’s Tea and Tangle With Tracy.
The first one is based on waves with leaves. I like the very graphic, high-contrast leaves, for sure. Adding colour between them helps to make sense of the pattern as well.
The second one is my take on a tangle pattern by Ute Andresen called ‘Lunaria’. I like branching and organic patterns. In this drawing, I wanted to explore variations on the ‘fruits’ at the end of each branch. This is always a fun thing to do! No doubt I’ll do another branch of Lunaria explorations in the space beside this one at some point.
I’ve been working on this drawing over the past three or four days when I’m alert enough to do so. I’m pleased with the final version, especially as I kept to just a few basic motifs. It was in the deep, dark depths of last night that I finished adding the final textural patterns.
Is this entirely finished? I’m still trying to figure it out! It would benefit from shade/contrast to bring out the layers and volume of the various elements. I’m still determining how I want to accomplish that; part of me thinks digitally is the way to go, but another part considers pastel pencils may work well.
There is no rush to complete it. It is in an A4 sketchbook – Talens Creations, to be precise. Now it’s been scanned in, I can either work on it digitally or edit various sections, such as the too-dense patterns in the bottom centre and the fine, white strands with blobs on the ends.
I used 05 and 01 Sakura Pigma Micron pens and an 08 White Gelly Roll pen to complete the drawing.
I tend towards the digital for such tasks. I can try things out without the fear of messing the artwork up.
Emotional and Mental Wellbeing
However, I won’t be trying to do so today. This is because I’m zonked out and so sleepy. The higher dose of anti-depressant/anxiety meds is working, for sure. I know these side effects will subside as my body gets used to the increased levels of the meds and serotonin. So all is to the good, and onwards I go.
It can be hard to be gentle with myself at times. I know I’ve not done much regarding social media or YouTube for a few months. First, I had a severe injury to the muscles between the ribs. Although the muscles are fine now, I still have tenderness/soreness with some ligaments/tendons. That will heal in time, and it’s manageable.
Then, there was a decline in my mental and emotional health, followed by the new medication. I’m so grateful you are bearing with me during my trying time.
I know this time will pass; it did in the past with the help of meds and therapy. This time, just the meds are needed. I know what provoked the decline – too many changes at once and too many people-y times too. And last week had some people-y times – another funeral to attend and some serious bits of adulting in person.
Being gentle with myself is essential this week. I don’t want wonderful, grand, or amazing days. I need days of peace, gentleness and contentment. Then, with some awe and wonder of nature, I can feel alert and aware enough to venture forth for a walk.
The comfort of a good mug of tea, quiet and calming activities -drawing, crocheting (I’m faffing around with hyperbolic crochet just for fun and because I can), and tv/films that make me smile and even laugh.
We’re all under too much pressure to be ‘productive’ and have a ‘grand day’ every day. That’s not possible. Even during dark days, I can find things that bring me some contentment and peace, sometimes awe and wonder at nature and the universe. Those small moments mean far more daily than the colossal mountain of a ‘wonderful day’ or ‘grand day’.
A gentle and good-enough day. Good enough, such an important ideal, especially from an inveterate hyper-perfectionist! I’ve been learning in the last decade or more that being good enough is good enough! Perfect is unattainable. Accepting our imperfections in whatever sphere of our lives is necessary. They are part of us.
Recently, I’ve realised I wear a mask to cover up my ‘imperfections’. Quirks or individuality could be a better way of saying imperfections. But it’s exhausting to keep that mask up. That’s part of why I’m so exhausted after being around people.
The mask I wear is from very early in childhood from the ‘don’t do that’ and other messages that made me perceive I was not good enough and just plain weird. How many of us have experienced that? So the mask was to help me fit in and not receive those criticisms. It had layers added to it over my lifetime, so much I don’t really know who I am; always trying to be the person everyone else wanted me to be rather than myself.
Again, how many of us are like this?
I discovered during EMDR that I am good enough, warts and all. So, I started to uncover the real me and show it to someone I’d built trust with. But it was just a start. Now, it’s time for me to discover more about myself and what my mask is hiding from me and learn that there is nothing I need to be ashamed of. If I can embrace my geeking out over Star Wars, steam locomotives, art, and many other things… Well, I can start to embrace those parts of me that have been hidden as they were deemed different, weird, odd, and quirky to others in some way.
It’s a process, and I’m still determining how much I’ll achieve it. But if I can accept my style of art is good enough and an expression of what goes on in my mind and heart, then I can discover and accept the other bits of me.
A genuinely unsettling time, yet one with the hope of finally answering some questions about who I really am, which is not really the person I’ve been forced to be by other people’s expectations. It’s both causing me anxiety and depression, but also it’s exciting me. Yes, we can hold more than one conflicting emotion at any time!
And, again, how many of us are like this? I do know I am not alone in such a journey.
I always enjoy drawing a mandala. It’s not often that I completely colour one in, but I’ve managed to do so with this one!
I’m not so sure about the colour choices in some places. I haven’t added enough contrast or shade in other areas. However, they’ll have to stay as they are for now. I can feel my ability to focus sliding away again as I type. It’s actually amazing I’ve done this much today.
The problems with focus are a side effect, temporary, of the medication I’m taking for anxiety/depression. This will pass; it did when I was taking them years ago. I still get some wobbly times, and surprisingly, I can still cry this time around with the medication. This is a good thing, as any upset/distress/happiness/wonder/joy still needs to be expressed!
I may have said too much here, but I know that it’s important for others to know they’re not alone when experiencing mental or emotional or physical ill health.
For me, art really helps me. Though when the ability to focus goes, it is time to nap. It’s nearly that time now, it seems.
In today’s #DrawWithMe video on YouTube, I recreated some of the patterns and motifs I’d drawn for the title page of Entangled Samplers. With some variations! As I work on the top page, I’ll include some of these filler patterns! The idea for each page is to have a drawing that has examples of motifs and patterns with variations, all to spark creativity by being a source of inspiration and ideas.
My hand-lettering isn’t perfect; the letter sizes diminish towards the end of each line. But it may probably be good enough.
I like the bold shading in the recreation at the bottom of the image. I’ve yet to add any shading to the title page; first, I’ll finish drawing it.
I decided today to get all the pages done in a discbound format, hence the little mushroom shapes to the left of each sheet!
I’m rapidly filling up an A5 sketchbook with drawings like this. Some have hand lettering in them, while others do not. This style of illustration is familiar to me. It comes naturally, and so is something I can cope with now. The familiarity and repetitive nature of the motifs and patterns are soothing. As I’m working in a sketchbook, there is no pressure on me for things to be perfect. And that is what I need at this time. I just need to create for the sheer enjoyment of creating. Then, there will be enough time to continue exploring other things when I’m back on form.
Mental and Emotional Well-being…
I’m often told that trust is a more positive word than hope when used in conjunction with wanting things to improve. So, I am doing my best to trust that my emotions and thoughts will improve and I won’t feel so darned sleepy and tired all the time.
I suspect I’ve been trying too hard for too long to keep up a mask of contentedness, and all is fine with me when interacting with others. But, unfortunately, it’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. It probably contributed to my two intense and lengthy bouts of anxiety and depression, eventually leading to me leaving teaching around 9 or 10 years ago.
After years of EMDR therapy and reflecting on the past, I thought I’d learned my lesson about not letting things get worse and worse and refusing to admit to myself I’m struggling with my mood and thoughts.
It seems that isn’t so.
However, I did reach out for help last week. So now, I have to give myself permission to ease off and give the meds a chance to work.
I had tried so hard to help myself lift my mood and dispel the dark thoughts. They wouldn’t go. Waking up in the night with my mind racing and catastrophising wasn’t good. I couldn’t do this by myself this time.
I know what has led to this state of affairs, and it’s not just one thing.
So, eventually, I worked out I needed help before I ended up in a state similar to how I was all that time ago when my Doctor told me, ‘You’ve nearly broken your mind. It needs a rest. A long rest. And these little pills will help, honestly.’
Those words got through to me. And soon after taking the first dose, my mind was magically quiet, and no longer was I being mean to myself.
There should be no stigma or discrimination about medication to help with mental and emotional ill-health. However, there is none if you need antibiotics for an infection or a plaster-cast to help heal a broken bone.
So, I’m in the process of getting the level of medication to a steady level and the side effects to subside. But, until that happens, I have no choice but to be kind and gentle to myself and not push myself to do more than I’m capable of doing.
I have had a little period of using hand lettering along with my style of entangled drawing. I love words, and aliferous is a word new to me. It comes from the Latin ‘ala’, meaning wing, and the word’s first known use was around 1726.
Over the past week or so, I’ve been losing myself in A5-ish-sized drawings, all Entangled art. The peaceful, quiet time has been and continues to be what I need. I’m sure I’ll find a new equilibrium point regarding focus, a clear mind, and calm emotions and mind. How long that will take… I don’t yet know.
Until that point is reached, I’ll be doing what I can to be gentle and kind to myself. As we all need to be.