After doing some admin work this morning, I felt the need to create a mandala.
I decided to use one of the stylised bird heads from my recent drawings as a starting point, and, well, the design just grew from that.
There’s some zentangle-style patterns, and some that seem to be inspired by Meso-American architecture.
I think the drawing is done, just the shadow/highlight work to be continued with and completed. The small area I’ve done really lifts the design. It’s just working out how to get the digital brush settings just right!
I’m quietly pleased with it, so far, but I need to put it to one side for a while. This afternoon I need to work on the cover for my next colouring book for Creative Haven. The one thing both projects have in common is that they make me smile. And that is a good thing, a very good thing!
What isn’t typical is, perhaps, the colour palette. I chose the colours rather intuitively, letting my emotions guide me. I started with cool, calming blues and greens in the centre. All the colours are quite soft and gentle, until I got to the outside border where I used brighter yellows and oranges and complementary blues and purples. The brighter colours appeared as my anxiety ebbed and the clouds parted to let some sunshine through.
I had a weird night’s sleep with both hot flashes and disturbing dreams. I often feel out of sorts for a long while after such dreams and they may be the source of my anxiety. I’m feeling calmer now though. Art has worked it’s magic, and the intermittent sunshine is helping.
I think it’s forecast to be cloudy with sunny breaks for the rest of the daylight hours, so I may very well get myself out for a walk in a short while.
I spent yesterday colouring yesterday’s drawing in. That was an interesting experience!
I started out with graphite and coloured drawing pencils. But, as I coloured more and more I got frustrated with them
So, I switched to Inktense pencils and paints and a water brush. That was better, but the results were rather chalky and obscured the black lines a little. So I tried some watercolour paints. Better, but still weren’t feeling right.
Finally, I dug out my set of the Kuretake Zig Clean Colour Real Brush pens, and they hit the spot!
With each type of media I did my best to remain true to the limited colour palette of earth tones, but the more organic parts really did need that muted olive green for some variety. That decision really has helped to tie everything together in this design.
Surprisingly, The whole variety of media seems to work well together. I expected a whole hot mess from my messing around with media. Whatever I did, it’s brought the drawing to life, and there’s a lot of interest in the variations of intensity and vibrancy of colour throughout it.
I’d expected the mixed media paper to be a bit difficult to work with Inktense, watercolours and the brush pens. It wasn’t, it worked really well! Perhaps because I didn’t do much in the way of working in colour layers.
I still have some work to do to this. I want to add some gold accents in places, as well as using a white Gelly Roll pen to add dots of bright white here and there. Oh, I need to remove the margin guidelines, as well as that pesky bit of dirt that is on my scanner!
I really am smiling when I look at this piece of artwork. There’s lots of open space, yet it works. I think it’s done, though I may add some ‘ruins’ peeking above the froth of vegetation. I’ll see what happens over time.
This is the result of last night’s attack of the insomnias as well as this morning.
I’ve been drawing with a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen on A4 natural coloured Claire Fontained mixed media paper.
I like both the Pigma Sensei and Micron PN pens for their much more durable plastic nibs. The texture of this paper makes quick work of the the fibre tips of Unipin or Pigma Micron pens.
I’ve started added some colour, shadow and highlights using a mixture of graphite and coloured drawing pencils, as well as a white Gelly Roll pen. Just the grey and sepia toned pencils start to add depth, dimension and life to the drawing. Oh, and a Tombow Mono micro eraser to remove the pencil from where it may have strayed.
I could’ve done this digitally, but at the moment digital coloring is just irritating me. I have no idea why; it just is. I go through phases like this. It’s the ups and downs, twists and turns of both my emotional health and my creative instincts and needs. At the moment, it also means I’m really limiting myself to the colours I can use, something I do tend to struggle with when I have the infinite digital colour palette available to me.
Adding colour as I work lets me bring out particular areas of the design, as well as finding ways to make areas I’m not happy with either work or fade towards the background.
There’s plenty more work to do with this drawing, mostly in the bottom right area. I like the light and airy features towards the top and want to keep them that way.
I had a couple of relatively good night’s sleep. But last night was a broken night’s sleep, waking around 3am and drawing until I was ready to sleep again – around 6am. No point tossing and turning as it just makes matters worse for me.
I’d started this drawing yesterday afternoon, after I’d completed the coloured templates for Entangled Starry Skies. I got a fair amount of it done when I woke in the night. I completed it this morning, after I woke around 8:30am, with a threatening migraine-type headache. I’ll be back to bed soon once the headache pills have kicked in; I often feel very tired with this kind of headache.
I think that fuzzy headed, weird-mind-set shows in some of the drawing. The weird texture on the bottom right face. The very organised, block-like areas of organic textures at the top.
As I’ve now scanned this in, I may take some time to add shading and highlights, perhaps some subtle colour, to the drawing in the sketchbook. If I do use colour, I’m going to keep it monochrome, maybe with a complementary colour for some little pops here and there. If I use too many colours I feel it loses cohesiveness and… some elegance, I think that’s the word I’m hunting around in my headache addled brain for.
I may try printing it out on some coloured paper. Not sure how the laser printer will cope with that, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know!
Oh, I used 05 and 01 Unipin pens in an A4 Artway Enviro sketchbook to create this art.
I’ve been working on this drawing for the past three days. I’m not sure if it is finished yet; I’m undecided about all the open spaces to the right. I’m beginning to understand the need for some space for the eyes to rest on, but my inner inclination is still to fill my drawing with pattern and complexity.
This one has been drawn with a black Uni Emott pen in my A4 Artway Enviro sketchbook. The Emott pen has a hard plastic tip and although it has become worn during the work of drawing, I’ve found the uneven, patchy, varying line widths that result most useful in achieving different weight and character of line in the drawing. Not that this shows up well in the reduced size and resolution image of the work. Neither does the texture of the colour applied digitally.
I’m quite heavy handed with pens and tend to wreck the more delicate Unipin and Pigma Micron pens (and others of a similar ilk) rather rapidly. The Pigma Micron PN pens weather my heavy-hand better as well. I don’t favour one over the other. I just choose what pen I feel like drawing with at the time – be it Unipins, Microns, Micron PN, Rotring Rapidograph, Tombow Fudenosuke, or traditional fountain pens.
Digital drawing is a challenge for me, even though I love the Surface Slim Pen and the way it glides on the screen of the Surface Studio. The challenge for me is the sense of scale, proportion and perspective. A sheet of paper gives me a well defined shape and size and as I can’t zoom in, there’s a limit to the tiny details I can add.
Saturday night into Sunday was another very broken nights sleep and it left me wiped out yesterday. I had various meetings to attend online during the day and evening as well. In between them, I had to sleep. I was overtired and that makes me emotional and teary. Sleep is the only cure for tiredness. Hence no blog entry yesterday.
So, this meant little time for art and stuff yesterday.
I did have a better night’s sleep last night, though I woke part way through. These night ‘sweats’ (I just get incredibly hot, no sweating as such…yet) are no fun! I wake up absolutely blisteringly hot, and it takes me ages to cool down, even though my bedroom is really cold. If these carry on into the warm/hot months when sleep is difficult anyway, I don’t know what I’m going to do! It seems perimenopause is moving along with me; age doesn’t come by itself. As well as the hot flushes during the night and day I’m finding more periods of fuzzy headedness and difficulty concentrating.
As I let the house go cold during the night in an effort to better cope with these night sweats, and I don’t know when I’m going to wake up in the morning if I do get back to sleep, I don’t have my heating turn on at a specific time. So I wake up to a cold house. Which is great if I’m in the throes of a hot flash. So, on these cold mornings, my habit is to go put the heating on, make breakfast, and take breakfast back to bed. That way I can keep warm while sitting in bed, having breakfast and faffing around with email and so on as well as my personal drawing projects.
What I’m realising is that I’m going to have to change my approach to working hours as perimenopause affects how my mind and body functions. I have no idea how long it will last; a year to many years apparently. I hope this will settle down into a pattern that I can work with, or that I can be more flexible with myself about when I work and when I don’t, and recognised when I need to take self-care time.
It won’t last forever, thank goodness. One of the plus sides of it is that I don’t feel the cold as much as I used to, at certain times of day anyway.
What do I do when I wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep. I draw, sat all cwtched up in bed, until I’m ready to go to sleep once again. Usually I manage to get back to the land of nod again, mostly. I did last night. I find it’s better than tossing and turning and fretting about not sleeping.
This is a weird mix of zentangle-y patterns and the more abstract lines and shapes that have appeared in my work of late.
I’ve digitally added some shadow and highlight to the drawing, rather clumsily. I’ll eventually work out how to do this in a way that pleases me digitally.
Original art – A5 in size, drawn with a 05 Unipin pen on acid-free cartridge paper in an Artway Enviro sketchbook.