Do you know the kind of days where it’s hard to get out of bed? Days when your body and soul need a day cwtched up safe and warm in bed? Well that was today for me.
A day spent doing very little. A bit of art. Watching geology videos on youtube. Playing games on my phone.
I’m now vertical, at my desk. I’ve scanned in one of my little drawings (approx 3¼” x 4″, or 8cm x 10cm) and digitally added a background, shadow and highlight. The shadow and highlight are a tad patchy, but they do help to bring the drawing to life.
I realised that I haven’t drawn a mandala in quite a while. So, that’s what I did! Intricate, geometric and organic repeating patterns. It was a pleasure to do.
I’m quite happy with the highlights and shadows on this one, and keeping it all monochrome works for me today as well. A calm and soothing green – just what I need today as I’m still recovering from the stress from earlier in the week.
Tools – Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
This week, it’s a bold, entangled design. Lots of botanical motifs and some geometric patterns in there. I chose to fill the image with flat colours this week. The color palette I’ve used reminds me of the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau.
It’s both unusual of me to use flat colour, or colours that are also muted. Some shadow and highlight would serve to add dimension to the design, but there’s something quite nice about it as it is. Something that I can’t put my finger on.
If you’d like to print and colour it, you do need to be a member of the facebook group. Membership is free, as are the templates to members. There’s just a few reasonable terms and conditions that need to be followed to use them.
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.
This is another piece of abstract art I’ve been working on over the past few days. I think most of the line work is now done, so I’ve started adding colour, shadow and highlight to it.
It’s taken a good two or three hours to colour the little bit done. I was tweaking digital brushes and effects layers to get the ‘feel’ I wanted, along with setting up a limited palette of browns and greens.
It’s working out OK.
Other arty stuff
I’ve been taking time for some ‘comfort art’ as well. Indulging myself in drawing Zentangle patterns in my sketchbook and adding colour with graphite, charcoal and pastel pencils. It’s been a lot of fun, and some of this has spilled over into my art, which is no bad thing at all.
I still have no idea why faces are appearing in my artwork at this time. They’re stylised for sure, but I always shy away from human figures, faces especially.
I did do life drawing many years ago. I enjoyed it too. But hands, feet and faces vexed me. I realised that I saw architectural forms in the shadows and highlights of the human body, and as interesting as that was, it wasn’t as interesting as my love of architecture, patterns, nature and so on. So, I stopped going. I don’t feel the urge to take it up again either.
But faces appearing in my artwork … weird. Still, I’ll roll with it as there may be very good reason why.
It may be to do with me wanting to get back to typographic portrait drawing at some point. I know my mind is working out how I can do this in my own way, but it’s not quite ready yet divulge it’s secrets to me so I can put them into action. Perhaps these faces are part of the process of reassuring me that I can ‘do’ faces, in my own way.
As always, time will tell.
For now I really need a mug of tea and to prepare myself a meal. No doubt I’ll be doing some more comfort art before it’s time for bed.
This has been drawn with a Sakura Micron 05 pen on smooth, heavyweight cartridge paper (acid-free of course). I’ve added the background and colour digitally, keeping to a wintry, night-time kind of theme. Of course, this will work for any season at all, and any time of day.
As always, I look forward to seeing all the amazing, colourful interpretations of this template.
Taking a big of a break
I may not be as active on social media over the next few days. Christmas and New Year are difficult times of year for me emotionally and mentally and I know taking myself off into a largely Christmas-free bubble helps me drift through this time, as well as deal with anything that may creep in and cause some upset in me.
I know I’m not the only person who has difficulties with their emotional and mental health this year. Given all that has happened in the world this year, the huge number of people who have passed away during the pandemic and measures taken for people to keep themselves and their families free of Covid at this time, many more than usual will be struggling.
Being by myself at this time of year is not new to me, nor is withdrawing from the world at this time. I find it exhausting to keep up a mask of seasonal jollity when I feel anything but that. I find it easier to deal with whatever finds its way into my safe-bubble. It’s easier to deal with being alone if I do my best to carry on as normal.
I’m aware of what things I can do to self-care and self-soothe. Art. Music. Books, Films. TV. Naps. Nice food. Meditation.
Do you have a list? Have you learned to give yourself permission to take care of yourself, give yourself time and space to self-soothe?
Learning to give yourself permission to look after yourself, even if it means saying ‘no’ or setting limits, is one of the hardest things to do. And it takes a lot of practice. But it is one of the most important things we can learn to do.
I remind myself this is for just a few days a year, and that soon after the celebrations are done, life returns to ‘normal’, whatever that is in these pandemic times.
I’ve been drawing this over the past couple of days, little by little. The drawing is now done and it’s time to add shadow and highlight.
I like the colours I’m using for this, though I’m not too crazy about the slapdash way they seem to have been applied. That’s a function of me trying to alter digital brush settings to get the texture I like. I’ll get there, maybe when I’m more awake and with it. I’ve had a very disturbed night’s sleep and have been up since stupid o’clock.
Anyways, I have so many of these kinds of drawings to complete with shadow/highlight, yet I keep drawing more and more! The lure of pen and paper is irresistable at times; they’re also a lot more portable than the Surface Studio! I like drawing mandala’s digitally. I’m happy to ink in sketches digitally.But when I try to darw like this digitally, I lose all sense of proportion and perspective. I have no idea why that is. Perhaps because it’s all too easy to zoom in to work on an area. I don’t know.
As hard as I try to create pen brushes that mimic the way pens draw on paper, the lines look too perfect. I’m still working out what is the best way for me to work and I keep circling the idea of using both traditional drawing with digital wizardry. I really am unsure as to what I’m doing is ‘right’. It’s like I need to give myself permission to work this way, to reassure myself it’s art so it’s fine to work however I want.
What I do know is that I will eventually work it out. I will.
All the best of the blessings of the season to you one and all!
Today, the Sun passes into Capricorn, marking the astronomical start of winter. It’s one of the shortest days of the year as well, and so it seems right that as the days get longer, the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth in the Northern Hemisphere strengthens, that it is seen as the ending of one orbit around the Sun, and the start of a new one.
Of course, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy Summer Solstice!