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.
After getting my daily quota of sketches done for the next Creative Haven book, I turned my attention to some sketchbook work. This time I chose to do a tangle pattern exploration of Kangular by Tomàs Padrós CZT.
I love all of Tomàs’ patterns, and Kangular is no exception! It’s a charming, geometrical pattern with lots of possibilities for variations. And there’s only a small number here.
Adding shading really brings volume to the individual fragments and overall pattern, as does the use of fairly high contrast.
I had the hand-lettered part of this sketchbook page completed a couple of days ago. I didn’t really know what else to do with it. I knew adding colour with traditional media was likely to be a disaster.
This morning I woke up knowing what to do with this, along with other things. So, I spent some time adding a border around the lettering and starting to add patterns and motifs. And arches, lots of arches!
I then thought it would be nice to share some of the drawing process through a video, which you can see by clicking this link.
It feels like a long while since I did any entangled style art. The hand-lettering isn’t perfect, nor is the frame around it. But that’s OK. I think it goes with the ‘chaos’, the imperfection, the touch of an imperfect human hand.
A couple of months ago, I may have tried to do something like this, and would likely have been really dissatisfied with the result. Mainly because I wasn’t at all happy with my hand-lettering attempt. But now, after just a couple of months of working in lettering sketchbooks, working with different ways to form letters and finally accepting that whatever lettering I do doesn’t have to be perfect – good enough is good enough!
I’m using variations in the density of pattern and ink to create shadows and highlights in the design. I have no intention of using pencil or markers to add grey shadows to this one. If I decide to add colour, it will be in the style of a linocut or hand-coloured print, perhaps with some extra shadow and highlight added by the depth of colour. Perhaps. Maybe. And if I do, digital is the way I’ll go! First, though, I have to finish drawing this design.
In today’s video, I draw these three cute, happy, whimsical houses, and I always feel I mess them up when I add colour.
The first part of the video is a chat about organising artwork, using a dot grid notebook as a visual reference/collection of my favourite patterns and motifs and variations. I also talk about some requests/suggestions made.
But the very, very first part is a huge thank you to all my subscribers on YouTube for clicking that Subscribe button (which is totally free to do!). I hit 750 subscribers a couple of days ago and I’m amazed, surprised and a tad humbled by this. So, if you’re one of those subscribers, thank you so much!
Day 3, shell 3. This time a little more complicated, or so it seems. I took some imaginative liberties with this one, and that’s fine! I’m not trying to accurately draw these shells, just get the essences that make the shell identifiable. Then, I want to add my own ideas of patterns and colours and alter things a tad.
Making those imaginative changes was an enjoyable thing to do. I hadn’t realised how much I do this in my art generally. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to have that kind of insight – this one took about 20 years!
I’m also really chuffed that my YouTube channel has hit 750 subscribers! I was amazed and humbled when I achieved one subscriber. 750 is beyond what I imagined. I’m both amazed and humbled by this. So a huge thank you to all who have subscribed.
In today’s YouTube video, I show and try to explain verbally, how to draw a different kind of shell, one step at a time.
This shell is, perhaps, a bit more challenging than yesterday’s. However, when broken down it’s not much more difficult.
Again, I add shadow to the drawings using a graphite pencil and a paper stump/tortillon or, in the case of part of the second shell, pen lines and density of pattern.
I also added some colour to the second shell, using a damp brush and lime green and turquoise Karin Brushmarker Pro pens. The graphite shading shows through the transparent watercolour inks from the pens.. I think this combination makes the image look quite metallic. Not surprising as graphite, as an element, is rather grey and shiny and metallic looking! Actually, it’s just the cool grey tones of the graphite that makes this so!
It’s really a lot easier to show than to explain in words, spoken or written. This is why I’m creating videos. It also makes that part of me that is a retired science teacher happy to use my teaching skills and feed my passion for helping others learn and grow.
In today’s YouTube video tutorial, I do my best to describe and show how I draw a stylised seashell or two from reference photos.
I had a request from one of my subscribers to do this. I find it hard to put into words how I do this, I don’t have conscious thoughts/words about it – I just do it. So, this forced me to slow my mind down and put into words what goes on. And I do hope those words make some sense.
The end results are good enough for my sketchbook, and the spiral shell is perhaps my favourite of all time that I’ve drawn, including realistic, diagrammatic, whimsical and stylised.
I’m particularly fond of stylised drawings. The spaces within them are perfect for adding pattern and texture. All my favourite things combined! Shading, highlight and/or colour can be the icing on the cake or shell.
This was a nice diversion from the lettering projects I have on the go. It was also something quiet, relaxing and soothing and perfect for me. Today, I’m exhausted after a stressful yesterday. It was a good kind of stress, but still stress/anxiety. I knew I’d be doing something yesterday a week ago, and so the stress built up gradually over the week. I’ll gradually recover, but today is a quiet, down-day with plenty of self-care, but not any naps as I’ll need to sleep properly tonight.
I had fun creating this design in my lettering sketchbook, well one of my lettering sketchbooks!
The main quote is something I’ve found difficult to accept throughout my time exploring and developing my art. I’d bought into the belief that for something to be good it has to be ‘perfect’.
I’m finally accepting that a piece of art I create only has to be good enough, and that means it’s OK to be perfectly imperfect. Just as I had to accept that I am good enough as a person, imperfectly perfect as we all are, then I’m recognising that I’m doing the same thing for my art.
I can accept now, most of the time, that it’s fine if there are imperfections in it, even mistakes that become part of the design. These imperfections, rather variations, add character to the work and make it uniquely mine. Even if others work in a similar way, each is unique.
Art is a practice, a life-long process of learning and developing, and self-discovery too. Is perfection possible? I don’t know, but I’m happy to settle for this is the best I can do now and it is good enough.
This drawing is finished, with cool grey shadows added. Now, I have to decide whether to leave it like this or add colour. If I add colour, do I go with alcohol markers or digital art? I’m not sure, yet. But there’s no rush to decide.
I had a request on YouTube from a subscriber to show how I would add shadows to this design. So that’s just what I did, and of course filmed the process.
I used three shades of cool grey alcohol markers. Using alcohol markers is a bit of a dance from light to dark and back to light again, usually. Today, I did some really simple blending, so streamlined the process a bit.
It never ceases to amaze me how much such subtle shadows add depth and volume to the design.
My next conundrum is whether to add colour. I could use alcohol markers, or I could do that digitally. I’m not quite sure what I want to do, yet. I have digital images of both the un-shadowed and shadowed versions, so whatever I do I’ll always have a copy of the original.
I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this ‘I’ in today’s video. The combination of hand lettering and using various patterns and motifs… well it’s a match made in my idea of arty heaven!
The pencilled letter is just a space to add patterns to, and they can spill out of the lines just a little.
Drawing with a fountain pen (EF TWISBI Eco pen filled with dokumentus ink by Rohrer and Klinger) was an absolute delight! The paper I used was nice and smooth, and even though there was a bit of feathering, I was fine with that; it adds character and a human touch.
The more I do letters like this, the more I become comfortable with this kind of hand lettering.
For now, this will live in one of my lettering sketchbooks, along with, eventually, the rest of the alphabet. They’ll be a resource to dip into for some inspiration at later points in time.
I’ll also need to work out if I leave the letters as they are or whether I’ll try adding shadows and/or colour. I’m undecided on this.
The letter may be a bit on the wonk, but I’m quite happy with it. It makes me smile when I look at it and remember the process of drawing. That means it’s good enough!