Template Thursday

It’s that time of the week once again – Template Thursday!

Each week during the pandemic, I’ve created a colouring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, I’ve harked back to my Doodleworlds book with cute monsters and critters. I’ve included some family portraits which hang above a background of more monsters and critters and my signature entangled style drawing for coloring books.

I got lost in colouring this template this morning. It was fun to use different styles of digital brushes and colour combinations in this one. Sometimes it’s just nice to do art with no expectations other than enjoyment, relaxation and comfort.

I drew the template with a Pentel 07 Energel pen on Rhodia dot grid paper. I scanned it in to the Surface Studio and cleaned the image up digitally. Then, I partially coloured it digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, adding a background texture that isn’t present in the downloadable image.

Lightning storm

Last night, there was the most amazing lightning storm I think I’ve ever seen. It lasted for more than an hour and there were multiple flashes of lighting most minutes. I really need to learn how to use my camera to take photos of lightning – natures very own fireworks.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to see the Perseid meteor shower this year, and I missed the Neowise comet too. I have seen amazing photos of both, though, and of course the lightning storms of the past few days that have coruscated over the UK.

Heatwave

It’s a little cooler in the house today thanks to the clouds shrouding the sun. It’s humid though as the couple of brief showers last night have been evaporating slowly.

The heat meant I didn’t sleep well again last night. But, waking early meant I had plenty of time to edit the coloring template and add colour to a section of it.

I’m not sure if it’s cool enough to take a walk this afternoon. There seems to be a bit of a breeze picking up from time to time. I really don’t do well in the heat; I wilt very quickly. But I’ll see once I shower what it’s like outside.

Monday Morning Mandala

I actually started this mandala yesterday morning, but I did most of the work on it this morning.

Black, white and craft paper, with some warm grey shading to help to bring out a sense of volume to areas of pattern.

The number five.

I chose, to start with, five-fold symmetry.

The number five symbolises balance and harmony. It also can represent freedom, independence, adventure, curiosity, intelligence, individualism, courage, and important life lessons to be learned from your experiences.

Five can also be symbolic of a problem, but there are solutions to the problem. As five also symbolises inner wisdom, the solution comes from our own inner wisdom. Once a solution is identified, then a plan of action needs to be developed through passion, emotions, ideas or work. Then it needs to be followed through.

Star symbolism

The central motif of the mandala is reminiscent of a five-pointed star.

Stars are symbols of guidance and are often considered protective symbols. They are also associated with wishes, mysteries and magic. Most often, they represent something that is good, beautiful or positive. They are symbols of hope, truth and spirit.

The colour brown

Brown is a natural colour that evokes a sense of strength, approachabilityapproachability and reliability. It is often associated with resilience, dependability, security and safety.

Feelings of loneliness, sadness and isolation can also arise with brown, especially when used in large amounts, like a vast, expansive rocky landscape or desert. But it also can bring to mind feelings of warmth, comfort and security as brown also represents a hearth, the heart of a home, and so it represents a deep connection to one’s home.

Of course, brown also represents connections with the earth and so nature. It is a wholesome colour.

Symbolism and my art

I’m finding looking into the symbolism of numbers, colours and motifs quite interesting. I don’t often think overly hard about the colours I use when I create art, especially my daily ‘warm up’ art practice.

However, it is interesting to look at the meanings of colours, motifs I choose and how they relate to what I am currently experiencing on a personal level.

Dragonfly Mandala

I woke this morning knowing I needed to draw a mandala and dragonflies. Sometimes I have no idea why, but this is what flowed from my pen.

Soft teals and lavenders colour the dragonflies and mandala. Calming, restful, meditative. The bodies of the dragonflies are ornate, but the wings are not so, which is unusual for me. Perhaps because I feel I’ve lost my ability to fly at this time, I’m doubting myself an awful lot.

Carl Jung used mandala drawing to help inform him, and his clients, about what was going on in the unconscious and needed to be brought into the conscious mind to be processed. The unconscious mind works through symbols and metaphors. So, what do dragonflies (four in number), teal and lavender symbolise?

Dragonflies are said to symbolise wisdom, change, transformation, light and adaptability in life. They are also a symbol of the realm of emotions and so invite you to dive deeper into your feelings. They also symbolise a change in perspective of oneself by removing the doubts that we cast on our own sense of identity in order to reveal our authentic self.

When they appear to you, they are a reminder that there is a need for lightness and joy in your life.

As I’m delving into the realms of symbolism, what about the colours?

Teals are calming and emotionally healing. They also represent self-awareness. This colour promotes an open communication between the heart and spoken word, in both directions.

Lavender represents gracefulness, calmness and creativity. There is also a sense of fragility, sensitivity and vulnerability connected to this colour. It is also considered a grown-up pink.

The teals and lavenders I’ve used in this artwork are both quite subdued, which actually does describe how I am feeling at this time.

And what about my choice of four dragonflies? What does the number four symbolise?

Four symbolises what is solid, what can be touched and felt. It also represents the justice and stability that you need in your life. It also resonates with loyalty, trust, wisdom, determination and patience. It is a reminder not to give up on your goals and to reflect on your passions and aspirations. Believe in yourself, your abilities, your talents and show them to the world. It is also a number that symbolises the protection and guidance of angels.

It seems my mandala has drawn concerns from my unconscious mind into the light of day. I find it interesting how the symbols and colours I used relate to what I am working with on a personal level at this time.

It is said that all artists reveal a lot about themselves in their artwork. I think I do that a lot more than I realise.

Mandala

Black and white mandala.

This morning was a morning that I needed to do some art that was familiar, calming, soothing and intricate enough that I could lose myself in it. A mandala always fits that bill. Always. It doesn’t matter if it’s drawn with pen and ink on paper or digitally. The mindful, calming effect is the same. It’s the process that matters, the repetitive shapes and patterns that are drawn that contribute greatly to the soothing effect.

I do tend to gravitate towards digital art, and I find the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro helps to save a lot of time. The ability to erase ink removes the frustration that a mistake creates for the hyperperfectionist part of me.

Other than those time-saving (and frustration-saving) tools, the process of mandala drawing is the same for me.

It starts by using a compass, protractor and ruler to set out the circular grid. Then, it’s digital pen on screen to draw the mandala in exactly the same way as I would on paper, just without so much repetition of sections.

However this was created, it has served it’s purpose – given me some time and space for inner peace and contentment.

Hello August!

The calendar page turns over and we’re into a new month.

August always heralds the end of summer and start of autumn, my favourite season. It is the last full month of summer here in the Valleys of South Wales. The evenings come noticeably earlier, always a sign that the year is continuing on its endless cycle of seasons.

We have a grey, damp and blustery start to the first day of the month. There are shafts of sunlight finding their way through gaps in the clouds, but there’s a deliciously refreshing snap to the cool and fresh air after the night-time rain.

I thought I’d create a really simple mandala design for the start of this month, one that is full of warm colours, but that hint of autumnal tones in the background.

I kept things simply stylised in the design. If nothing else, working on it made me smile, inwardly as well as on my lips.

I woke early-ish today and did some work on one of the typographic portraits I’ve been doing. Then, in my rush to get to the shower, I clicked the wrong button and lost my work. Thankfully, it’ll be easy enough to do it again. I also think that with the version I’m working on, I’m finding my way with the process. I have a lot of the portrait left to do, but I feel less frustrated with it and have a clearer idea of what I’d like to achieve now I’ve taken a few days break from this kind of work.

Before I settle back to the typography, I am going to take a walk in the fresh air of the morning. Well, after I’ve done my social media posts!

Typographic Portraits WIP

I’ve been working on another portrait of Nye Bevan while I take a break from the first one. I really think I’ve gone over the top with detail in this one. I wanted to do one of him in one of his typical oration-giving stances, but I really do feel I’m messing it all up. I really think that’s because I am trying to get too much in the way of quotes into the portrait.

So, I’ll be going back to the drawing board (or in my case, the Surface Studio screen) to try this one again.

Having said that, I’ve had a lot of hand lettering /hand drawn typography practice and have played around with the brush settings to find one that will work for me!

I also have just noticed that there’s not much differentiation between the different weights of text in the second version, and that adds, I think, to the more confusing appearance of it.

I was struggling with the values of the gesturing fist in the second image. So, I put the photo into Affinity Photo and used the Posterise tool to simplify the areas of shade for me. There’s still a personal interpretation to be done on how I translate these areas into spaces of text.

Hands, feet and faces. These were always the parts of humans I struggled with when doing life drawing.

Drawing typographic portraits is a new endeavour for me. I’m learning, experimenting. One of the main lessons I have to take away today is to not over complicate such a portrait! But there is a fine balance betwixt having enough detail to capture the essence of the person, and having too much so that the essence of who they are is lost.

The first portrait I did, on the left, does look better, but I do think it lacks a bit of detail in the face.

The second one, on the right, is way too busy!

So, my task is to find that point where less really is more.

So, I’ll take a break from them, again, and regroup and try once more!

Typographic Portrait WIP

Phew! This has taken me many, many hours to do, along with a lot of frustration and alterations. However, it’s getting there, possibly.

This is both the first portrait I’ve done, as well as the first large typographical project.

I’m following a Domestika course – “Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait” by Sara King.

I’m not entirely sure that I’ve fully succeeded. I seem to have a lot of white space, and that is all to do with the photograph I used. I thought it had enough detail in terms of tones of light and dark. I guess not! Or maybe this is just part of my style.

There are areas on his jacket to the bottom left and right that need pattern or image put there. I have yet to work out what to do about the shirt. Also, I need to try removing the lines around the jacket and collar too.

Aneurin “Nye” Bevan was the main architect of the UK’s National Health Service after WWII. He’s also considered one of the best political orators of all time. There’s an Aneurin Bevan website if you’d like to know more.

While this is hand-drawn, I chose to work digitally. My Surface Studio allows me to work with a digital pen directly on the screen as if I was drawing on paper. This makes it easy to edit as I work.

I now need a break from this particular artwork, so I can look at it with fresh eyes (and any feedback people offer on it) and then return to it another day.

Mandala

Today’s artistic offering is a mandala with a quote about meditation.

The simple typography was done in Affinity Publisher. I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create the mandala.

I just needed some quiet time this morning. I spent quite a while meditating before breakfast. Then, my attention turned towards art.

I knew I wanted to include a quote in today’s art, and I found this quote about meditation that resonated with me.

Meditation and mandalas go together like bread and butter!

The mandala design is quite simple and bold, in quite subtle colours, for me.

It’s going to be a quiet day for me today. A self-care day. I may not get anymore work done on my typographical portrait, but I will be immersing myself in arty and/or creative activities for sure.

Typographic Mushrooms

Just a little something I wanted to try out – using hand-drawn typography to create illustrations. I chose a mushroom, for no other reason than I like mushrooms.

It’s more about practising the hand-drawn typography or hand lettering than anything else.

What I realised, when I completed the black and white version, is that I could’ve varied the weight of the letters to produce highlights. That’s for another day, I think.

I also had to try adding colour, and in that way adding highlight and shadow.

I like both versions, but I think I like the coloured one a bit more.

I mentioned I’m following the Sarah King Domestika course – Hand-Drawn Typographic Portraits. I have started work on my first portrait, but it’s going to take me a while to do. In the meantime, little projects, like the mushroom, will give me plenty of practice as well as a chance to work out my process and way of working, as well as how I’d like to use it so it adds a note of harmony to my artistic song.

I started with a pencil sketch of the mushroom. Then, I added the words in rough with pencil. I scanned the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I then used my Microsoft Surface Slim Pen, to hand-draw the typography. Even though I’m using digital media. Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is a lot like working on paper, but it streamlines the process and allows me to skip a lot of the tedious steps. It also lets me take a black and white drawing and add colour quite easily.

I’ve done this while I’m waiting for a migraine-type headache to subside enough that I can return to bed and sleep the dregs of it away. I’m nearly at that point now as I’m beginning to feel tired and sleepy. So, I’ll get the rest of the social media postings done, and then crawl back into bed to sleep.