I decided to add colour to this artwork using Derwent Chromaflow pencils and Gamsol with tortillons/paperstumps.
I loved the colour as it was, but the design looked rather flat; there was little sense of ‘volume’. So, I hope to bring that out.
So little of the coloured pencil is needed when it is blended out with Gamsol, and it is translucent enough that the underlying waterdrop texture is still visible.
Although I mostly used pink, purple and blue to create the background, I thought that teal would make a good addition. That was a good decision, in my humble opinion!
White dots and lines from a Uniball Hybrid Gel DX pen add highlights that show up much better on the more intense colours. Spots and lines of gold will also add some interest, but I need to be conscious of not overdoing it!
I was really nervous about using Gamsol with linework drawn with Dokumentus ink. I had no real need to be; the Gamsol didn’t affect the ink. I let out a huge ‘Phew!’ at that!. My TWISBI Eco fountain pen with Dokumentus ink and an extra fine nib worked beautifully on areas where coloured pencil and Gamsol had been added.
I have a lot of work to do until this design is complete. I am, however, in no rush to do that. I can work on it a bit at a time. I am likely to post updates from time to time though!
If you’d like to see how I added colour with pencils and Gamsol, then a YouTube video will be available to view from 16:00 UK time on Friday 2 June 2023.
I started by creating a colourful background. I think Neurographic art usually starts with the ink lines. But Bettina used the shapes and lines created in the random colour background to draw the basic structure of the design from.
Instead of using watercolours, I used Distress Inks in various shades of pink, purple, blue and blue-greens. Splashes and a light spritz of water created interesting watermarks and I preserved the dark edges of these areas by drying them with a heat tool.
Then the real fun began. I started by drawing a kind of oval-ish shape around an area at the top left. All I did next was look for shapes and borders between colours to help me draw more lines and shapes. I made sure I ’rounded the corners’ with ink as I went, though there are, no doubt, some areas where lines connect what I’ve missed.
I wasn’t only fun, it was fascinating. I tried not to think too much, to just let the lines flow and go where they needed to in a shape that seemed ‘right’.
Once I’d got the main structure completed, which took just over an hour, I started to add texture and pattern and some white highlights. There’s a lot more to do. I may even use coloured pencils to add shade to the design. And I just have to use gold ink or paint to add some luxury and shimmer and shine to the finished design!
What do I think of it? It’s fun. It’s a personal expression. I love it’s abstract nature for sure. I think I’ll be doing more of this in the future. Indeed, I plan to work on another this afternoon (it’s 14.40 here in the UK!)
I also want to try making background with other media – watercolours, Inktense and Neocolour II come to mind! And more Distress Ink backgrounds for sure! I’m also thinking that creating these backgrounds may be a way to get me to experiment more with digital painting and textures.
I absolutely love the Kuretake Gansai Tambi Art Nouveau set of watercolours! I just had to get that off my chest!
I love the texture created by the watercolours – how uncontrollable it is, but it adds so much to the final drawing and it actually makes my arty heart and soul smile a tad.
This is a drawing completed, for once, in today’s YouTube video, due to premiere at 18:00 UK Time on 29 May 2023. In the video I show how to draw the design, add colour and gold and white details.
After doing this artwork, I really do think the Kuretake Gansai Tambi’s are the watercolours I’ve been searching for. They work with me, helping me to express myself. Also, embracing the imperfections of the textures in the colours as part of my self-expression rather than searching for the unattainable.
I used single colours for each section, except for the larger leaves. And that seems to have worked out well for me.
I love how the gold and green to the right seem to glow like sunlight shining through stained glass.
The only thing I wish I’d done was coloured the paper with Distress Inks before starting the drawing. I know that so little Distress Ink is added to the background that it won’t affect the colours in a noticeable way. So that will be my next arty experiment today!
Oh, and I wish I’d remembered to erase the pencil line before starting to add the watercolour!
Again, I used Canson Imagine mixed media paper(9.5cm x 10.5cm or 3.75″ x 4.25″) and it seems to make it so easy for me and the Gansai Tambi paints to work well together.
I’m absolutely amazed that I’m embracing imperfection! I never thought I’d get to that point, or let it be part of my artistic voice.
I’m actually smiling here. I really am. And a smile that is felt in my heart and soul too; something I’ve not done much for a long while.
A sudden realisation
I had a sudden revelation today, of a practical nature. I suddenly realised I tend to create art in sizes that require custom made frames and/or mats. So, I thought I should try to get a selection of ready cut mats in standard sizes and use them to cut paper and create the right sized art to fit the mat. So that’s what I did.
I can be such a numpty, feeling quite daft it had taken me this long to work that out! But then again, perhaps the time wasn’t right before now. I’ve thought for a while now that I could sell my art, particularly the more abstract, flowy, intuitive art. Next step is to work out how to do that and ‘promote’ it/me. And that is the problem, the promotion… it fills me with horror. But maybe I’ll work it out. Time will tell for sure.
It’s been a funny few days here, culminating in a bit of shopping therapy yesterday. One of the items I bought was a set of the Art Nouveau Kuretake Gansai watercolour paints.
I’ve been eyeing them up often since I knew they were a thing. Yesterday, I finally splurged out on them, as well as various metallic (mostly gold) acrylic paints and inks and some beautiful ramen bowls. Well, even an artsy person has to eat!
This little drawing was done in my latest video, all for the purpose of trying out the colours and the paints.
I absolutely love the colour palette and I need to recreate it digitally for sure!
I get so frustrated with watercolours, perhaps because I’m trying to do it the way other people do watercolour rather than trusting my own way of expressing myself with colour. So, I did my very best to let go of any preconceptions of these watercolours as I worked with them.
I love the way some delicious textures appear spontaneously. How different for me to like this compared to my usual very smooth colour blends. I find the randomness, the spontaneity and magic with which they appear quite fascinating. It’s something I can’t control, and I find that I don’t want to control it. I want to be surprised!
Oh, before adding the Gansai Tambi, I used a Payne’s Grey Inktense pencil and a waterbrush to add some shade to the areas I’ve added colour to.
The Gansai Tambi colours are transluscent enough to let the shading show through. Indeed, they fade gradually and wonderfully as they are blended out in an area.
The other thing I did, well one of them, was to add colours to the sections before adding any texture patterns. That worked nicely; the paint does seem to have a chalky residue that shows up on the black lines. Must remember to make the gaps between lines big enough for my favourite paintbrush! Or, just use traditional brushes and a jar of water; but with that comes the danger of clumsy me knocking the water over…
I tried out a white pigment ink gel pen (Pilot choose) to draw with, as well as a gold Pentel Hybrid Dual Metallic pen.
This drawing really is an opportunity for me to try things out, with no stressing about wrecking an original drawing. I’ve already managed that with one drawing that will now be kept for trying out different colours, media, mixes of media and so on. Luckily, I had scanned that one in before I attacked it with Inktense pencils and gold acrylic paint! Tradigital it is for that design then …
It’s so nice to feel comfortable with a medium I’ve struggled with so much -watercolour. Doing it my way seems to be somethign I need to accept as being acceptable. Art is a personal expression, as such is there a wrong or right way to create? I know in my videos I often mention ‘this is how I do things, it’s not the only way and if it helps you find your way, then that’s fantastic!’.
I think we have to try lots of different things and eventually we circle in to what are the ways that really express something of ourselves creatively. It means many attempts that end in frustration or disappointment or failure. But these aren’t really failures; the lesson is that this may not be right for us at this time, if ever. They aren’t a failure if they spur us on to try out something new.
And that is why it’s important to take time to create more personal art, just for the joy of creating and exploring and trying things out. It freshens us up, even if, as I have done recently, we return to way of drawing that is is so familiar it’s comforting to do.
And perhaps art that gives us that comforting, satisfying feeling along with true self expression is the place where our arty heart wishes to reside, with trips out to add inspiration and blow the cobwebs out of the vault of motifs, patterns, textures, themes, techniques and materials. And that trip out can be physical or through looking at books or online or even through dreams and daydreams or the view from a window, music or stories, films or tv programs, and more. Not all journeys are physical ones, are they?
My brain now hurts, so I need some tea to drink soon! Just some social media posts to finish first…
The last couple or so days I’ve been immersed in drawing intuitive, abstract art. I really wanted to bring one to life with colour, but the ones drawn on A4 paper just felt too much to do.
My solution? Cut some paper into smaller pieces and use one of them! So I did. The paper is 14cm x 7cm and is Canson Imagine mixed media paper. To draw the design I used a TWISBI Eco filled with black Dokumentus ink and fitted with an extra fine nib.
I just let the lines flow as they needed to, each one leading to the next, doing whatever felt right.
Then, it was time to add colour and I dug into my Inktense pencils. This time, I layered colours to get the intensity of colour I wanted and added highlights with a white pigment gel pen from Pentel.
Oddly, I didn’t want to add much in the way of patterns or details in the sections. I just thought they were just fine as they are.
I’m left puzzling a little as to why eyes so often appear in my intuitive art. I don’t even realise I’m drawing or have drawn them until the drawing is done!
As it’s intuitive art, it speaks for what is going on within me. The shapes and lines and colours chosen represent my inner wellbeing in terms of my mind and emotions. Or maybe they speak about what I need at this time. Blue for peace, calm, tranquility. Pinks for gentleness, compassion and kindness towards myself. The purple is more to do with the wonders there are in nature and the universe and life. The threads of gold … well … light, warmth, sunshine that supports the vast majority of life on this planet…child-like joy, pleasure, wonder with what I have in my life, the things that are precious, golden, to me.
It’s easy when the traumas of the past rear their heads and do their best to drag me down into a dark abyss of the heart and mind. I think I needed to do this drawing today to help remind me of what there is in me and what I need at this time.
My intuitive, entangled, abstract art is perhaps the most personal kind of art I share with people. It comes from within, from my heart and soul, not my head. And today was the day I fully realised that this is why I create art like this, and almost face palm at how long it’s taken me to realise it! Almost facepalmed…as I also know these insights and realisations come when we’re ready for them.
All the same, I feel kind of exposed when I share this kind of art as you get to see past the mask I wear to try to fit into a world where I feel out of step, awkward, clumsy, weird, different, a square peg in a world that only has round holes for round pegs. I’ve always felt that way and I’m on a journey to discover why that is.
Through this kind of art, I get to express my sense of wonder and emotions that aren’t easy to access. The visual-hoard of patterns and shapes and forms that is stored in my subconscious flows out naturally and easily in ways that are pleasing to me, and I’m really chuffed if you find them pleasing too!
I so love Inktense pencils! However, I noticed that a lot of graphite was picked up by the brush and dissolved Inktense when I was adding colour. I had a sudden flash of insight; try using a grey Faber-Castell Pitt Artist brush pen to put in the shadows. So I did.
The Pitt artist brushes have india ink in them; when the ink dries it is waterproof. If I was working on larger areas, I’d use a damp brush to soften the edge of the shadow before the ink dries. That wasn’t an option for me with this small drawing.
As I added Inktense, I could tell the colour was much more vibrant, but the shadows subtly show through. There was such a difference between the latest sections added and the ones in my previous video/post that I went back and added another layer of colour to these areas. That then matched the vibrancy and clarity of colour across the whole coloured area.
I decided to add some jewel-toned blue. Though I’m not sure that was a good idea at this point, it kind of works as it is kind of a complementary colour to all those yellow-orange-red tones! I also added the blue to the green areas, which seemed to make them more vibrant too.
I always find it easier to add colour to more abstract artworks, using a fairly limited palette too. I have started adding colour to the Entangled Botanic drawing in my previous blog post. I’m really not sure about the colours at all. Fortunately, I scanned the drawing in before setting to it with Inktense pencils and waterbrush. I also know that if some of the colours are a bit garish, I can always tone them down with a layer of another colour. I also think I may add some golden texture/dots to the design too.
Today, I spent a rather lovely couple of hours swatching all my Inktense pencils, including the new set of 24 released this year. There are some beautiful colours in that set and they fill in some holes in the original colour palette. I may very well scan my swatch in and use it to create a colour palette in Clip Studio Paint.
The pot I keep all my Inktense in is a tad small for them all, so I’ve splurged on a case that will hold all of the Inktense and my set of Chromaflow pencils (as long as I weed out the duplicate Inktense pencils). Putting them in order in the case will reduce the frustration of not being able to find the pencil I need in the pot they’re in now!
The need came over me to draw something botanical in nature. So, I picked up an 01 Sakura Micron Pigma pen and a piece of Canson Imagine mixed media paper approx 10cm x 21cm (4″ x 8.25″). I let the ink flow from the pen to form all the various stylised, imaginative botanical motifs.
It has been a lovely few hours drawing this small (in size) and intricate design. I now need to decide how to add shade and colour to it. But there is no rush on this. I’m accumulating a sizeable number of drawings that all need to be coloured either traditionally or digitally. This drawing I really do want to scan in before I start to attack it with traditional media, just in case I seriously mess up.
My favourite medium to use on the Canson Imagine paper is Inktense by Derwent. I love the vibrancy of the colours when they are activated with water. Tomorrow, I should have the new colours in the range delivered. So, I will definitely hold off adding colour until I’ve familiarised myself with them.
For now, it’s on to the next piece of small art, probably with a botanical theme, though who knows what kinds of patterns will fill the space too!
The design was drawn with a medium nib TWISBI Eco fountain pen filled with Documentus Ink on an A4 sheet of Canson Imagine mixed media paper.
I’ve added colour digitally, so making this tradigital art! Why digital colouring? Well, partly because I can, but also I can try different colours out.
Adding colour was interesting it seems. I started thinking I’d use softer, more muted, less saturated colours. But that soon changed, without any conscious decision, to richer and glowing jewel-like or metallic colours.
As I tend to work very intuitively, whether drawing or adding colour, what appears in my creation is an expression of my unconscious, inner self. I’m sure there’s a message of some kind here for me about me!
I easily forget how much I enjoy drawing ‘small art’. A small piece of paper is less overwhelming, and the creativity is no less soothing to heart, soul and mind.
Drawing with pen on paper is never overwhelming. It is a contented, peaceful, delighted experience for me, especially when I work intuitively. The flowy, abstract patterns, with various patterns and textures are always a joy to draw and work with. Starting with just one shape and allowing the design to form, not knowing what will appear from the nib of my pen, is a think of wonder, surprise and magic.
I lose myself in the intricacy of the drawing. then, there’s the addition of colour and contrast to bring the drawing to life. What was flat now appears to have volume to it. The colours may evoke emotions or memories. There is a story to be told in the drawing, but not one that is obvious as an illustration would make it. This is an inner story, an inner expression of my creativity, emotions, thoughts, and what shapes, lines, patterns, textures and items that make me smile.
If my art makes you smile, or brings you joy, peace and/or calm, then it’s done it’s job. There is enough in this world to make us think, to make us feel uncomfortable. We’re assaulted by such things constantly through the media. Time and space to have a break from all of that, to remind us that there is still wonder and beauty, kindness and compassion and creativity in this world is important. It’s also important to remind ourselves that us humans have a great capacity to create these important qualities that heal and soothe and connect us, help us to feel we belong as a member of humanity.
I’m not sure I got all the words I could say out there. Hopefully you’ll understand what I’m trying to get across.
I think what I’m trying to say is that I hope my art reminds you that beauty and wonder, times of peace and contentment, joy and belonging are essential to each of us. That’s still not right. Perhaps once day I’ll manage to express these feelings succinctly in words.
Adding colour, however, is a another tale. I get overwhelmed by the process at times. I doubt my choice of colours, and soon regret what I’ve decided to do. I always try to remember to scan my drawing in before I start to apply colour with traditional media; if I mess up at least I have a clean copy I can add colour to digitally.
Also, there are many times where I just get fed up of the process of adding colour and give up before completion. I can find it a very tedious process. Yet, when I complete the process and it all comes together I’m often really surprised and pleased with the end result. The frustration comes in because it takes so much longer to add colour than it does to draw a design!
Having said that, there have been a couple of pieces of artwork I’ve done recently where I’ve partly coloured them and I really like the effect, especially one where I’ve added shade first. That is something for me to consider going forward for sure.
There is a ‘Draw With Me’ video on my YouTube Channel, available to view from 1900 UK time this evening (19 May ’23).
Here’s a list of the materials I used in the video.
Canson Imagine mixed media paper – 6.3cm x 21cm (2.5″ x 8.25″)
TWISBI Eco fountain pen, extra fine nib
Faber-Castell Pitt Graphite Matt pencil, 4B and a paper stump (tortillon)
Derwent Inktense Pencils – Madder Brown, Red Oxide, Sienna Gold, Willow, Mustard, Shiraz, Poppy Red, Leaf Green and Fern.
I had a lovely couple of hours this afternoon drawing and then adding colour to this small artwork. And small it is; the paper I used is an approx 10cm x 10cm (about 4″ square) piece of Canson Imagine mixed media paper.
I chose this paper as I enjoy drawing on it with a fountain pen. Today’s pen was an extra fine nibbed TWISBI Eco pen filled with black Documentus ink. This particular ink is archival and waterproof. Perfect as I had decided to add colour using Inktense pencils and a waterbrush.
The more muted, earthy tones do suit my present mood. I’m feeling rather tired, flat and disconnected from everything. Perhaps the earthy tones represent a need to spend more time with the physical world rather than in my head, imagination and creativity?
I do know what has caused this mood – too much adulting, people-ing and a couple of other things that I’m not going to share (sorry!). Out of sorts is what I am and have been for a while. I know it’s a temporary thing for me, a readjustment to changes that are ongoing.
The daily dose of anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds keep me from sliding down into a dark pit of despair and tsunamis of tears. I know they only mask the anxiety I feel when I’m around people, whether one or many. My hands shake, my vision is different as the hypervigilance kicks in. Getting home means time relax and rest and it can take me days to recover from each people-ing.
All I’ve wanted to do for the past couple of weeks (or even few months) is to lose myself in art, audiobooks, music, and interesting tTV.
And, to circle back, my art tends to reflect this in one way or another.
I am learning to embrace the imperfections that appear as I use Inktense pencils and a water brush to add colour. I’m starting to accept that the imperfections create intriguing textures.
Discovering interesting shapes and patterns in my drawings is also fascinating to me. I need to remember to use a ‘viewfinder’ as I did two decades ago when my art journey began. Isolate a section of a drawing to re-draw on a bigger scale and work on developing it as a new work.
Hanging on my walls are three oil paintings I did about twenty years ago. They are abstracts of patterns from the robes of a Romanesque angel sculpture, the cogs from a diesel locomotive and the worm screws from a steam locomotive. I used a view finder to isolate the sections of my photographs/drawings to enlarge and recreate as abstract paintings. The colours I used for each painting reflected my emotional response to the original items and places where I found them.
Each of these oil paintings have a lot of contrast and trick the eye into thinking they are three dimensional. I didn’t realise I’d done that until the art exhibition at the end of my AS course. People kept touching these paintings and I didn’t know why. So, I asked a friend. She said she expected to feel ridges and valleys and was surprised to find they were totally flat and the illusion was purely optical.
Once she’d pointed it out to me, I could see what she meant!
That love of using high contrast to bring out dimension hasn’t left me. I’m not sure I’ve achieved a great level of contrast in this small drawing; there are some areas where shapes appear to curve up or down and where layers are more apparent. I may revisit this little artwork to increase the contrast at some point in the future. Maybe.