World Kindness Day

Art and health

My day so far has not gone to plan! Do they ever?

I didn’t sleep all that well last night. I’m still not feeling quite right. My abdomen is still uncomfortable, though I have eaten. I’m still tired and I can feel my brain starting to get a bit fuzzy.

I had wanted to settle to drawing for the next colouring book, but other things happened and my mind is a bit scattered. I thought some art for the sake of art may help and this mandala was the result.

I had no idea what I was going to create, but warm, autumnal colours were calling to me, along with evergreen leaves and bright red berries.

It’s simple, stylised and I’ve not spent a lot of time adding shadow/highlight. It is really just a play around before I do my best to settle to drawing. It’s achieved a bit of calming and focus, though I could go back to bed.

World Kindness Day

Kindness is the thread that connects all sizes and types of communities and families. It’s what connects us all, one to each other.

This year has been a difficult one and kindness has helped people through it.

A big shout out to all those who have made the world a nicer, kinder place in such a time.

Thank you.

Template Thursday

It’s that time in the week where I post a coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week’s offering is a typically Entangled design, with some inspiration from Hundertwasser – the lollipop trees and pillars particularly.

I bore in mind my musings yesterday about me and straight lines and left a wiggly, wriggly, wobbly border around the design. I also made some of my arches deliberately wonky and wobbly too.

I drew the design with Rotring pens on cartridge paper. After scanning in, I edited and coloured the design in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

It was a nice way to spend some time yesterday. I didn’t feel too good when I woke up, but as the day went on I distinctly felt unwell. The recurrence of the fatigue, upset tummy, lack of focus. Overnight, my sleep was really disturbed by dashing back and forth the loo.

As I’m finding it hard to focus for a couple to a few days at a time, thanks to these recurring bouts of illness, I’ve decided to take a break from the weekly templates until the end of the month. The book I’m working on is due to be finished by then and I need to use what energy and focus I have on that.

I’ll try to blog daily, perhaps with sneak peeks or sketchbook work, or blasts from the past. But if I miss a day, it’s because I’m either overwhelmed by work or fatigue as I go through another cycle of this illness.

I do think it has everything to do with the illness I had back at the end of December 2019. Sickness, diarrhoea, extreme fatigue, loss of taste and smell, brain fog, loss of appetite. I get repeats of the illness, albeit it much less severe.

I know it’ll pass in a day or two and I’ll be back to my usual self. But for now, I need to look after myself, and make sure I get my work done too.

Sketchbook Musings

Over the past week or so I’ve been gradually adding to this sketchbook page. It is entirely what a sketchbook should be, in my opinion. Pages full of ideas, sketches, unfinished drawings, practice of techniques, written notes… a visual zibladone for the creative soul!

It is a reflection of what is catching my attention in my world. That world encompasses the inner worlds of imagination and emotion, as well as the outer world of books, nature, architecture, photographs, and so on.

This page includes inspiration from Mayan glyphs/sculpture, rocks, nature, mushrooms, magic wands/staves/sceptres, pen textures and some inspiration from Hundertwasser.

Everything on the page is a bit wonky (not perpendicular), and I’m OK about that – it’s a sketchbook! But then wonky art, particularly colouring pages, seems to be part of my signature style. Perfectly straight lines just don’t look right to me, nor do sharp corners. Perhaps that’s why I like Hundertwasser so much.

The English gardener William Kent said, “Nature abhors a straight line”. Hundertwasser said, ” The straight line is godless and immoral.”

A sketchbook is always a work in progress (WIP), even when every page is full, it’s full of incomplete drawings and ideas, sketches and notes, jottings and doodlings. Nothing has to be perfect. Not a single thing.

A sketchbook is a place to try things out, experiment, just see what happens. With that comes an acceptance that not everything will work out, and where surprising things happen and discoveries are made that may otherwise never happen.

Sometimes the gems of ideas and colour combinations and ways of using media remain hidden until much later. A sketchbook is a place to practice and learn, to note down what is of interest at this time, what needs to be expressed, without any pressure to produce a finished, polished artwork.

That doesn’t mean, however, that a sketchbook can’t be something interesting to look at, even with it’s own kind of beauty. They are a reflection of the artist that creates them and so is a window into their arty heart and feelings. They are very personal things.

A sketchbook encourages me to use media that are gathering dust because I do so much art digitally. In a physical sketchbook, if I want any colour, then I have to use some of these media.

On this one page I’ve used Pilot Hi-Tec C4, Pilot Maica, Rotring Rapidograph and Uniball Unipin pens. To add colour, watercolours, Tombow Dual Brush pens, Derwent ColorSoft pencils, Derwent Procolour pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils have been used.

Quote

If the quote applies, I have no idea what my morning drawing says about what my art says about the world! Perhaps it says more about my inner world – imagination and emotions. I’ll let you decide that one.

All I know is that my Tuesday morning art has been influenced by the drawing I’ve been doing for the coloring book I’m currently working on. Cute. Doodle-y. Fun. Using colour for the sake of colour. Lots of colour.

I drew the design with an 0.5 Rotring Rapidograph pen on Rhodia dot grid paper. Next, I scanned it in, cleaned the drawing up and added colour digitally. Finally, background, texture and quote were added.

A nice way to spend the first three hours or so of my day before I turn to other things, like breakfast, shower and maybe even a walk if the weather keeps dry.

Monday Mandala

Weird kind of patchwork going on here. In violets.

I woke with an idea about using digital art tools this morning, in relation to mandalas, and I wanted to try it as my morning warm-up art.

As odd as the completed mandala is, I’ve gained a bit more understanding of digital art tools.

As soon as I’ve finished my morning social media postings, it’ll be time for some breakfast. Then, it’ll be creatively wielding some pens to work on colouring templates.

Remembrance Mandala

In Flanders Fields – John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

Today is Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, 11 November 1918.

Armistice Day marks the end of World War I, at eleven minutes of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918.

In the UK it is held to commemorate the contributions of British and Commonwealth military and civilian service men and women during both World Wars, as well as in later conflicts.

Saturday Mandala

It’s Saturday. I woke early and got to work in one of my sketchbooks where I’m drawing thumbnails and design elements with a focus on things starry. I needed a break from that, so turned my attention to creating a mandala.

Pink seems to be a bit of a thing at the moment, today it being a dusky shade of pink.

Oddly, the mandala has a star-shaped motif in the centre. That was not a conscious decision!

Anyway, it’s been a nice way to spend an hour or two while listening to podcasts. But, after another mug of mocha, I’ll be going back to work in my sketchbook. Which is also pleasurable, but in a different kind of way. My drawings are definitely sketchy, but that’s the whole point! Just getting ideas down. A nice way to spend a lockdown day.

In the pink

It’s funny how colours seem just right one day, and the next day I wonder what on earth I was thinking at the time.

Yesterday’s mandala, with it’s kind of yellow-brown background just doesn’t seem ‘right’ today.

I often mention about how I feel I really struggle with colour at times, but feel much better if I stick with simple color palettes, even monochrome ones, more or less.

So, this morning I wanted to draw a mandala, as is so often the case. They give me a chance to practice drawing digitally and using pattern and texture within them too.

The drawing was just fine and dandy, nearly always a pleasurable experience and I end up with a design I like well enough.

Then, there’s the coloured background. Today I wanted a soft pink colour. I like the colour I’ve chosen. Black lineart would look start on it, to my mind, but a soft, warm, cream was just perfect. It looks almost like lace.

And I can breathe a sigh of relief as my faith in my colour sense is restored somewhat. Monochrome is the way to go, unless it’s coloring templates. Though perhaps I should try a monochrome colour scheme for them, or at least analogous colours with a pop of complementary here and there. I’ll see what happens.

For the rest of my day, I’m going to be gathering sketches of ideas and elements for the coloring book I’m working on, and creating a mandala has got me somewhat in the right frame of mind to do this.

Template Thursday

I was in the mood for a mandala this sunshiny morning in the Valleys of South Wales, so that’s what I created for this week’s coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

Some Mayan-style glyphs have been appearing in my sketchbook lately, and I felt I needed to incorporate them into a mandala design. So I did.

I also chose colours that reminded me of golden stone and primary coloured gems/paints/inks, including the golden-sand coloured kraft paper background. It has lovely warm, desert feel to it.

As usual, the uncoloured template is available to members of the facebook group. Membership is free, as are the pandemic templates, just some simple terms and conditions of use need to be adhered to.

WIP Wednesday

As it’s work in progress (WIP) Wednesday, I’m sharing my current sketchbook page. A sketchbook is always a work in progress.

At the moment, I’m being inspired by a couple of books :
“Fantasy Genesis” by Chuck Lukacs
“Fantasty World Building” by Mark A. Nelson

I’m using an Art Gecko sketchbook that is almost 12″ square along with Pilot Hi-Tec C and Pilot G-Tec Maica pens and Tombow Dual Brush Pens.

I’ve said it before – I’m not really into characters (unless they’re cute, whimsical, fun ‘doodle’ kinds of characters, usually non-humanoid). However, I’ve always loved to draw plants and patterns as well as designs from architecture, nature, machines and even animals (patterns, textures and such more than the animal itself).

My ‘Entangled’ drawings bring together these various elements to create more abstract or whimsical designs. But to put them together to create entirely new things isn’t something I’d ever thought of.

I’ve always admired fantasy and sci-fi artists, but never considered myself capable of anything like that. However, trying new stuff out is how you grow and develop as an artist.

Not that I’m going to become a fantasy artist, but maybe exploring these avenues will allow me to add new things to my art in ways I never expected. In much the same way my adventures in cardmaking, mixed-media journaling, watercolour and other such things have helped me to develop my digital art and drawing.

I’m also realising how important sketches are for my digital art – be it drawing or painting or just colouring in line-art of mine. I think it has to do with me being able to have a good overview of the whole design, something I seem to be unable to do when working digitally, even when I zoom out entirely. I’ve mentioned it before, but I do have a bit of a problem relating to size and scale even in everyday life.

There’s a different kind of sensory pleasure in working on paper – the tactile and sensory feedback is quite different to that gained from digital work. That’s not to say I don’t get pleasure from working digitally, it’s just different.

There’s also the fact that each page doesn’t have to be a complete or finished piece of work. It’s a place to try things out, explore, experiment, and just let the pen/pencil/brush take a walk across the paper to see what happens. Serious work and not so serious work all have a place in a sketchbook.

As do written notes, ideas, observations, sources of inspiration, lists, reflections and more.