Sketchbook Pages

Today, I share a glimpse into my current sketchbook. It’s an Arteza watercolour A4 sketchbook.

I’ve completed all the drawings in boxes now, and am adding colour to them using watercolours, graphitint watercolours, graphitint pencils and/or inktense pencils.

The paper is rather nice to draw on with Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens or a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen.

On the cover page I swatched my collection of Inktense pencils, using a damp brush to bring their true colours out.

Inktense pencils are intense in colour when activated with water. Also, once activated with water and dry they are permanent.

I like all the media I’ve used so far on this page. Which I use does depend on my mood. Today, I wanted to choose an inktense palette of colours that is like the rusty colours I’ve been using with watercolours.

I really am drawn to this colour palette in my work at the moment. The dark blues, rich red-browns, blue-greys, earthy-dark greens and the vibrant mustards. One day I’ll look up the psychology of these colours and see how they relate to my mood/life at this time. But not today.

Today, I need to focus on adding colour to some templates for the Entangled Gardens colouring book that will be released early next year.

Monday Mood

Drawing done with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens.
Arteza Mixed Media Paper coloured with Distress Oxide Inks (Stormy Skies, Chipped Sapphire, Dusty Concord, edged with Hickory Smoke).
Paper measures 3″ x 8.25″ (8.3cm x 21cm).

“I make art to show my soul I am listening.”
“This, too, shall pass.”

Art is my solace, my form of expressing my soul, my inner self.

Sunday mornings…

This morning I created some tall, thin (or short and wide) backgrounds using Distress Oxides on some Arteza Mixed media paper. The paper is 8.25″ x 2.87″ (21cm x 7.2 cm) in size.

I chose this one to draw on for no other reason that it was the one that appealed to me at this time.
I started with the seed pods and foliage at the bottom, and worked my way through some hand lettering / hand-drawn typography to more abstract line-art.

I drew with a M Pitt Artist Pen from Faber-Castell, though I added the stippling with an XS Pitt Artist pen.

No glitter or glitz on this one, nor any highlights. Not yet. I’m not in the mood for any, not today.

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!

Template Thursday

It’s Thursday again, so that means it’s time for a new coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I said that during the pandemic, I’d create a template a week for group, free of charge, to help people relax, calm and take their mind off all the awful things that are happening in the world for a short time.

This week, I’ve combined some typography my familiar entangled style of drawing. Botanicals, crystals and stars along with some repeated ‘zentangle’ style patterns. Some of my favourite things to draw.

To draw this template, I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens (F and S), Copic Fineliner SP pens (05 and 025) and a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen with Rhodia dot grid paper.

Although lockdown has largely lifted in the UK, we still need to practice social distancing and wear face coverings when it’s not possible to do that, or in enclosed spaces. The Covid-19 virus has not gone away, and though the number of cases are falling, as are deaths, that’s due to people being sensible and following the guidelines for limiting the spread of the virus.

I’m very, very anxious about going out and about, and I know I am far from the only one. I mostly stay safe at home. Mind you, that’s not unusual for me. Even before the pandemic I wasn’t someone who was out and about all the time. I did pop out and about more often than I realised, however. But I’m still usually quite happy to stay at home and focus on my arty, creative activities. But, I know that’s not the case for everyone, and not everyone is able to work from home either, nor wants to.

Wednesday Wisdom

This was a perfect, small and quick project to do this morning as I was waiting for my weekly delivery from Able & Cole.

Some practice of hand-lettering /hand-drawn typography practice, starting with roughing the design out in pencil on dot grid paper. Then, inking it in digitally in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

The addition of a rainbow background was the perfect way to bring a smile to my face this morning. When don’t rainbow colours cheer a person up? The bold, black letters on top of it really make the colours glow bright.

The quote is a perfect bit of wisdom for Wednesday, not that it’s a bad day for me at all. Apart from me suffering from a lack of sleep once again. The morning sunshine has lifted my mood, and the cool air flowing in through the open window is both beautifully fresh and wonderfully refreshing. I have bright and happy music on as I work, just to add to the upbeat start to the day.

Hand-drawn typography practice

This morning, I decided to leave portraits alone for a little while. I woke with the idea of using typography to fill some typography!

So, I drew the outlines of ‘Nye’, for Aneurin Bevan. I then used wavy lines to split the outlines into interesting sections. Then, I pencilled in some quotes by Aneurin Bevan. This let me adjust size/ spacing so that the quotes fit and made sense. In some places I’ve stretched the letters as there wasn’t enough space for the next word. I could’ve made all the letters in the line wider, but thought the wider letters would add some interest and flow. Of course, I now realise I could’ve stretched some letters at the start of the lines too, but I can always do that as I ink in the lettering.

Anyway, my next step was to scan the sketch into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro so I could do the inking digitally, and you can see what I’ve done so far. I do need to adjust some letters, like the B at the start of the line I’ve started to ink. I will also need to go back and clean up some of the edges of letters.

It’s a nice project for me to do today. I didn’t sleep at all well last night; I was up and down to the loo. I had a sudden attack of anxiety yesterday, a really intense one. The pilot light on my boiler had gone out and I couldn’t light it, so I had to arrange for a breakdown visit. There was the stress of ‘what if they can’t fix it’ as well as a stranger in my home for the first time since most probably February.

Panic mode! And it didn’t abate all day, no matter what I tried to do. This kind of anxiety/stress always hits me in my digestive system, so it was an unpleasant night for me.

All needless of course. The gas engineer arrived this morning and he lit the pilot light first go. And it’s stayed lit. I felt like a right numpty. However, all is well, as I have now booked it for a service too.

I’m still feeling on edge, as well as really tired. So, working on a portrait wouldn’t be the best idea for me as at the moment they are frustrating and overwhelming me.

So, I thought I’d go for some hand-lettering or hand-drawn typography practice. Just practice. No pressure. However, the idea I had may turn out to be a fairly good one. Maybe.

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!

Practice, practice, practice!

I did spend some time working on a second typographic portrait of Aneurin Bevan yesterday, using a photographic reference that had more detail in it in terms of grey scale.

Before bed, I wanted to relax with some colour (1). For some reason, I pulled out my set of Tombow Dual Brush pens and tried working with them on an A5 piece of Arteza mixed media paper. Hand lettering with gradients, with and without black outlines resulted, and then I wanted to try drawing with colour gradients.

To create gradients, I held the tip of one pen on top of the tip of the other. I then used the lower pen to draw or write with. I used the bullet nib for the lower examples. I used the brush nib for the larger lettering and also the leaves and flowers and so on.

I made some notes as I went, to remind me what I did and what I liked about them. I used a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 pen to do this, which is also waterproof. So, I used it to add lines.

This morning, I wanted to start my arty day experimenting with alcohol inks, once again (2, 3 and 4). All because I’d watched a YouTube videos where people use a straw to blow the ink and alcohol blending solution/rubbing alcohol/isopropyl alcohol/propan-2-ol around the yupo paper.

One helpful piece of advice I heard along the way was it’s best to use only a small amount of alcohol ink. Which is what I did. One drop to start with and then add more ink of the same or different colour(s) as needed.

It took me a while to work out not to blow as hard as I could, and to try different angles to hold the straw at, as well as moving the ink in different directions.

I’m much happier with the results this time, though the scans have bleached the colours out a little. I really must work out the best settings on my scanner so that this doesn’t happen.

Anyway, I need to find a way to seal the alcohol ink so I can draw on top of it without wrecking the pens. I also want to do some better scans so I can make use of these alcohol ink backgrounds in digital art.

Today I want to continue work on the typographic portrait. This second one seems to be building up more quickly than the first one. I think that’s all due to me becoming familiar with the process and accepting that my hand lettering based on my handwriting is good enough. I’m also working out my own ways to fit letters to curves and the shapes at the ends of the sections.

So, all of these activities – using waterbased media, hand lettering, hand drawn typography, and alcohol ink backgrounds all have one thing in common – practice, practice, practice!