Fifty-something, quirky, arty wordsmith (wyrdsmith). I live in South Wales, UK.
Illustrator for Color Me Calm and Color Me Happy, released Nov 2014, and many more since then.
Freelance artist, digital artist. Available for commissions.
Today’s vlog is all about me trying out various media on different papers, particularly the Zig Clean Colour brush pens on Fabriano Toned paper.
Exploring different ways of working is important to me; it’s how I learn and work out what works for me. Often, I’ll return to media and techniques I may have tried in the past that didn’t work for me then, but now I can see how they could work for me, particularly in the context of a sketchbook.
In my disc-bound sketchbook, I’ve assembled various kinds of paper, mostly toned. Now, I’m working out what media would be good to have in a pencil case for sketching while out and about (when I finally become comfortable with out and about again!).
The Zig brushes and Tombow markers work really nicely on the Fabriano paper.
I had a delivery yesterday of Canson Imagine mixed media paper. I mistakenly ordered A4 instead of A4, but no problem, it can be used in my disc bound sketchbook.
I wanted to see how various media would work on the paper so, I used *Derwent Inktense Pencils *Mijello Mission Gold Class watercolours *Kuretake Zig Clean Colour brush pens *Tombow Dual Brush Pens
In each case I used a barely damp brush; I’d already found out that using rather wet colours left edges of colour rather than the smooth colour I like.
I didn’t draw the designs with pen, just an 0.3mm, 2H mechanical pencil.
The inktense are Ok. The colours spread a little patchily as the pigment/ink grabs onto the paper very strongly quite quickly. As they dry permanent, it’s easy to add a glaze of colour to adjust the patchiness. The colours aren’t as bright as I would’ve expected from Inktense. Maybe the off-white colour affected them, or maybe the pigments/dyes sank into the paper more as they dried.
A dry brush technique is needed for the Mijello paints, and they move too easily on the paper with water. The paper doesn’t really grab them, which is surprising as it’s not watercolour paper. I didn’t really enjoy working with them on this paper. Also, the colours are so dull… the colour of the paper, or perhaps the colours sink into it?
I loved using the Zig Clean Colour pens! The ink moved so easily with the barely damp brush. Getting a gradient was so easy. Also, adding a bit more colour to the still damp area helped with this too. I also tried blending one colour into another, and that worked really well. The colours are so vibrant, I loved working with them. My only regret is I forgot to press record for them! However, I’m sure you’ll see more of them in future videos.
The Tombows aren’t my favourite pens to work with. But, in this instance I really did enjoy working with them. The colour grabbed onto the paper more than the Zigs. This made both blending out to a gradient and blending colours more difficult. The colours though are really vibrant.
I did write notes next to each little experiment with a 0.3 Unipin pen. It was a pleasure to write on this paper, and I think I’ll enjoy drawing on the paper too, so it will definitely be a good addition to the disc bound sketchbook.
The leaves I did yesterday afternoon, just playing with colour, wet into wet, and then adding patterns to the leaves with metallic watercolours. It was relaxing, soothing, and the way the colours flow into each other is just … magical!
The watercolour process was helped by the paper I used – 100% cotton rag Khadi paper, which I just tore into a squarish shape.
The bottom one was this morning’s play around with watercolour in a Doodleworlds kind of way.
I started off with a pencil drawing – you can faintly see the pencil lines of the rest of the design. I wanted to try adding watercolour to the pencil drawing, no black line.
But, as I’d completed add colour as far as I had, I wasn’t sure I liked it. So, I used a Signo DX .38 pen to add some fine, waterproof, lines.
The black lines do help to define the elements of the design, but the drawing ends up a bit cartoonish, which is fine as it’s Doodleworlds.
Of course, I did video this morning’s session with watercolour. When I was looking back on it, the colours looked a lot more vibrant than I thought they were to my eyes, and also the painting looked better at such a distance.
So, I’m torn between whether to add line or not! I think I need to add some more colour to this drawing, without adding black lines, to see which I prefer for sure.
Late yesterday evening, my new set of watercolours arrived. I’m now the proud owner of a set of 36 tubes of Mijello Mission Gold Class watercolour paints, and a pretty neat palette too.
It was too late last night for me to think about adding the paints to the palette and setting up some colour swatches,. So I set to that this morning with a big mug of tea and a headache.
I used them to continue adding colour to this drawing, and I can easily tell the difference between the Mission Gold and Cotman Watercolours, not just because I know where I added each colour, but from the intensity and vibrance of the colours.
I know I got more vibrance from the Cotman colours when I was adding colour to this by adding water to the pans and letting them sit for a while to soften the pigments. But, it was so much easier with the Mission Gold to do this. Indeed, I had to be careful that I didn’t use colour that was too intense!
Some insight into watercolour and me
It was, and will continue to be, an absolute joy and pleasure to use watercolour paint tubes. I’m so glad I splurged out on them after I had a memory of using tube watercolours years and years ago.
They were such a pleasure to use, both to create the swatches and in adding colour to this drawing. Bear in mind that this drawing wasn’t done on watercolour paper, but on creamy coloured Arteza mixed media paper! Also, I created the swatches on SeaWhite all media cartridge paper, which is a lovely bright white colour.
Now, I realise that a lot of my frustration with pan watercolours is with getting colours intense enough for my taste. That won’t be a problem with the Mission Gold set I’m sure.
I also feel that exploring and learning more about watercolour and colour mixing is something that I’d like to do now, and that I may not be quite so frustrated as I have in the past.
Coloring Template doubts and frustrations
Yesterday, I got a couple more templates drawn and edited, so I now have ten out of the thirty-one I need completed, editorial team’s feedback allowing that is.
However, I was really doubting whether what I’d done would work, was good enough. So, I thought I’d try colouring the template I was least happy with to see if that made a difference to how I viewed it, and hopefully the others.
That really did the trick! Just by adding a background colour/texture first, I started to feel better about it. Once I’d added colour and the line-art started to come to life, I started to feel even more confident.
This is something I need to remember going forward, when I doubt my ability to create colouring templates. All I need to do is see if they work with colour!
A bonus was that I really enjoyed adding colour.
Vlogging along …
I touch on all these things in today’s vlog, as well as showing the swatches and adding colour to the drawing.
I’ve also decided that I’m going to mostly keep my vlogs to no more than around 20 minutes, whether that’s real time or a time lapse version. I think they may work the best, though I may still record longer ones if there’s a need to do so.
This morning, I started to add watercolour to the abstract drawing I started yesterday.
I spent over 45 minutes doing this, but I’ve sped it up and added music.
I’m not at all sure about the colours used. It may be the Distress Ink from the background interfering, or it may be that the Arteza mixed media paper is a creamy colour rather than white.
It led to me experimenting with colour, working out how to get more intense colours from the pans. Knowing that is what I’ve done is likely to mean I will put this to one side as a learning experience, some time to relax and enjoy being creative and not worrying too much about mistakes.
Still, I may persevere with this. Though it is yet another artwork that isn’t finished. I seem to be collecting art that I’ve not finished adding colour to.
I may have to question myself as to why I start but never follow through with so many pieces of artwork when it comes to adding colour. I never have a problem working on drawings that may take several sessions and many hours to complete.
Is it that I fear failure? Or is it that I loose the oomph if I don’t finish it in one session. Or is it that I worry I won’t remember what colours I used and how I mixed them? Perhaps it’s that I doubt my colour palette? Maybe it’s that I doubt my ability to work with colour? Or maybe it’s a combination of some or all of these.
For now, I don’t know for sure. But I do persevere, even in the face of the bleedin’ obvious yeuchy colours!
Yesterday, I managed to focus and get plenty of art done for the book I’m working on. Not only did I scan in and clean up the drawings I’d already done, but I have two new ones almost completed. I just have to finish inking in the second, then I’ll scan them in and clean them up and get them sent over to my editor for the team to critique/approve.
I really enjoyed the work I got done yesterday. It was easier to settle into it now I’ve decided that I’m going to work with pen on paper and use digital tools to clean up and edit the images. Except when mandalas are concerned, I’m still going to draw them digitally!
I felt really good about the amount of work I’d got done, even though I’d not had much sleep the night before and I still wasn’t feeling 100%.
I was hoping for a good night’s sleep last night. No such luck. I was awake again after just a couple of hours, all hot and bothered. So, I drew until I was ready to sleep again. And I only slept for a couple of hours then, waking headachy and tired again.
I started my morning off with a big mug of tea and some time to just watercolour, even with all the frustrations it can bring me. It’s about learning and practicing and experimenting with the medium to work out how it can work for me and my style of art. As always, it’s the choice of colours that seems to vex me so much.
Still, despite me often saying I’m giving up on watercolour and sticking to adding colour to drawings digitally, I keep going back to it, and other traditional media. This is, I think, as I do want to get out to sketch in old churches and abbeys, in nature, and museums. Although I’m happy to photograph what I see, there’s nothing quite like sitting with sketchbook, pens and/or pencils and taking quiet time out to just observe and draw for pleasure and relaxation. And I’d like watercolour to, perhaps, be one of the tools I can take with me.
I remembered yesterday, as I was playing with watercolour yesterday after finishing the drawing I started yesterday, that I found working with watercolour from tubes so much easier than the pans. Duh go me! So, I’ve ordered a set of Mijello Mission Gold tube paints and a palette that should arrive today. They’re not the top of the range sets from Mijello, but they should be good enough for me to work out if this is the way I want to go, and not too pricey either!
Then, my plan is to work out which colours would be useful for me in a travel palette and create such a thing.
Looks like I’m going to be spending some time setting up the palette that arrives today and swatching out all the colours. That’s kind of exciting!
First, however, I need to get these colouring templates inked in, scanned in, and edited before starting work on some more templates.
This one contains some zentangle patterns, some of my typically entangled designs, and some cute and whimsical elements that are reminiscent of Doodleworlds.
I posted somevideos yesterday showing me drawing this coloring template, or colouring page.
The good news bit is that Lacy Mucklow, the art therapist I worked with for the Color Me books, alerted me to the fact that our “Be Stress Free and Color” book is one of the best adult colouring books listed by The Independent, a UK newspaper. The book contains illustrations and text from the original books in the Color Me series.
Yesterday, I wasn’t at all well. The usual upset stomach followed by a headache that needed sleeping off. The upset tummy had kept me up most of Monday night. What had caused it this time, I dunno. All I know is I slept a bit better last night, though I’ve been awake since 4:15 am and I’m beginning to feel rather tired again and my digestive system is still a bit tender. I’m sure I’ll be tickettyboo once again tomorrow.
It was lovely to spend some time this morning drawing just for pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy drawing for my publishers, but it’s different as there’s a lot more pressure on me to create templates that fit into a particular theme and their guidelines.
My weekly templates have no of those limits on them, so it’s a different kind of enjoyment.
There’s a lot of whimsical and cute elements to this weeks design, and I think that’s something I need to lift me up as I’m feeling a bit under the weather.
It was also a great pleasure to draw with pen on paper, and I think I’m going to have to do that with the templates for the book I’m working on. I get a much better sense of scale and overview of the design. Even when I scan a sketch in, I’m not all that happy with the digitally drawn version of it, usually.
So, that’s what I’m going to settle down to do for the rest of the day, once all my social media posts are done. Pen on paper, without the frustration I can feel when drawing digitally. Simple tools to focus on drawing ‘life size’ coloring templates.
And lots of tea is called for today, I think. Lots of good tea.
My morning warm up drawing was to do some more work on the entangled, abstract frame I started yesterday.
With fresh eyes, I could see I wanted to make the width of the design more consistent around the frame. So, my first job was to do a little bit more pen drawing.
Then, I could carry on with adding colour with Inktense pencils, the same colour palette as I used yesterday.
As is becoming my daily…habit? practice?…I also filmed the process and chattered away as I did so. And my chattering, rather, my thinking out loud actually helped me make some connections between my experiences of art from childhood through to the present day. And that helped me understand my perceived problems with using colour in drawings from real life.
I will need to spend some time with these memories and insights and journal later on. I can then work with them to help, hopefully, to overcome some blocks and difficulties in how I feel about my artistic expression. And then, hopefully I can become accepting of and comfortable with the way that I work.
I’ve been following a few courses on Domestika, and one of the common themes in the introduction by each artist is what has influenced them. Many go back to their childhood passions and how they have influenced their artistic voices.
That, I have discovered today, is so true!
Perhaps I’ll condense my words from today’s video at some point, once I’ve processed them myself. However, if you’d like to hear my thinking out loud while drawing/colouring today, then here’s the link to the video.
Having a bit of a break from the weird fish today. Instead, I drew this abstract, entangled frame and started to add some colour to it.
I’m working on A5 Arteza mixed media paper which has been coloured with Aged Mahogany and Rusty Hinge Distress Inks. The pen drawing was completed with a 0.38 Uniball Signo DX pen, which is both a consistent, fine line and is waterproof. I’m adding colour with Inktense pencils ( Red Oxide, Baked Earth, Crimson, Deep Blue and Sienna Gold).
I may add some more pen work as I work out if I’m happy with the inner space; I hope to add quotes to that space once the design is finished.
As far as the weird fish go, I have scanned them in and re-drawn them digitally using the vector drawing option in Clip Studio Paint. I’ve been experimenting with adding the shadows and highlights first then using different layer to add colour to the sections. I’m bumbling around with this at the moment, but I expect I work out how to get it to work in a way I like.
Yes, I know there are going to be tutorials out there that will show me how it can be done, and lots of ways of doing the same thing. However, by me bumbling and bimbling around the software, I’m learning more about it on my own terms.
Oh, I also filmed my drawing and adding colour this morning and the video is below. If you do choose to watch the video, then please choose to view it in YouTube as your view then counts to the channel stats, along with thumbs-ups! Cheers!
I’ve spent some time drawing a third weird fish and intensifying colour on the two original ones.
For the top fish, I used Derwent Colorsoft pencils to increase the colour. The watercolour underneath does add to the colour in a subtle way.
I used Derwent Inktense pencils and a damp brush to add colour to the central fish.
Finally, I’ve been adding colour to the bottom fish with Inktense pencils too.
As pretty as the watercolours were, they were a tad too subtle for my liking with not enough contrast. So, I used them as the underpainting and then added layers of more intense colour over them. It seemed to work out just fine and well.
I’ve kept the color palettes pretty similar for each of the fish.
Also, I’ve re-drawn them digitally as vectors and I’ve just started colouring one of them.
No matter how I add colour – digitally or using traditional media – it takes me a long time. I fuss around until I get things looking as I like.
This is very much a fun project, and I have no idea where it will lead, if anywhere. The important thing, however, is that I’m enjoying working with traditional media and I’m doing something a bit different too that I can learn from.
Here’s the video of today’s art. I’d appreciate it if you open it in youtube as then your views get counted.