“Draw With Me” … Trees No.3

And the third day of trees. Why? Because I can! And there’s so many variations on the theme I can share. It can be difficult to work out which to do so.

For this series of videos, I have drawn lots, and lots of trees in my A4 sketchbook (two pages full, near enough). Some are successes, others not quite so. Indeed, there were a couple of “Oh, that didn’t go so well” trees in today’s video.

All of this, however, is sketchbook work. It’s OK to try things out. It’s just fine that things don’t always work out the way you thought they might. It’s quite okay that what may have seemed like a good idea in the head doesn’t translate too well onto paper.

In fact, it’s the ‘oops’ trees (and other drawings) that lead to artistic growth. They make me work out what’s not right, what I don’t like about them, and what I can learn from this. Sometimes I have another go at the idea, but better informed from the first version. Sometimes I realise it’s a lost cause…for now perhaps. Other times, it’s worked out, but it’s not just my thing. And that too, is perfectly OK.

Without trying things out we won’t know what we do and don’t like. It’s like cooking and tasting to see if the seasoning and spices are right or need adjusting. And just like cooking, sometimes things just don’t work, and occasionally can’t be saved!

The only difference is I’m not likely to make someone ill by drawing in a sketchbook!

Today’s video really brought home how important colours is in artwork. And shadows/highlights. But colour especially. Colour serves not only to bring life to the drawing, but to lift it from the background.

Yes, that can be done with various ways of adding shadow – cross hatching, line width, stippling, and so on. But there’s just something about colour, even simple colour, that just helps things along.

Indeed, simple colour seems to be my kind of style. At the moment. And looking at the upper picture, mixing coloured elements with monochrome is an interesting approach too. That may be a way I can move forward adding more colour to drawings, but only to parts that are focal points or where colour would really help with the composition. Otherwise, shading is the way to go.

And not just graphite pencil shading. I need to spend some time experimenting with other media – alcohol markers, grey watersoluble media, Pitt Artist pens, and so on.

Lots of things to think about and consider today. All insights I may have missed if I wasn’t making videos and having to talk about what was passing ephemerally and abstractly through my mind. Giving those passing thoughts words results in awareness, understanding, and, perhaps, learning.

Talking of videos, here’s todays!

Draw with me … Trees No.2 | 04 Dec ’21

After several hours digitally inking in colouring templates for “Adorable Dogs”, I needed to do some pen drawing, on paper. So set to drawing … more trees. Even a couple of gravity defying ones!

I had a lot of fun with these. Some of them, I realised, would make fab earrings. Shame I can’t make jewellery! Though I would love to design jewellery, for someone else to make!

Of course there’s a video showing how I drew these trees, and here it is!

Draw with me … Trees | 03 Dec 2021

Draw with me …

In yesterday’s vlog, as I was drawing the last part of this week’s template, I commented that the leaves in the top right reminded me of trees. That was followed up with a statement that it’s an idea I need to explore more.

And so I am! I spent sometime messing around with quick pen drawings to figure some things out. Then, I drew the best of the mini-forest to create a small copse in my A5 pattern explorations sketchbook. Which I filmed.

Of course, as it’s a sketchbook, I can try out variations as I go. Some of these worked, some didn’t. And others I got totally confused on.

Adding shadow with matt graphite pencils, then colour with Ecoline Watercolour Inks, helped to give volume and some life to these trees. I still think I should’ve done one pink and purple! Maybe the next seedlings in my copse will be such colours.

And yes, I’ve already been doing more variants in my larger, A4 sketchbook. That has surprised me as I got so frustrated with the A4 size when I started this long term project of pattern and motif explorations.

Behind with work!

I’m so late doing anything today. I woke with a migraine-y headache. The result of yesterday’s anxiety-provoking/stress-inducing trip to the pharmacy and then a small supermarket. So, headache tablets taken, a return to sleep when the pain began to wear off meant I didn’t wake up until gone 11am UK time.

I wasn’t going to risk starting a headache up again by working on digital inking of the Adorable Dogs templates straight away. So, I filmed a drawing session instead. That gave me time to drink tea, let some of the fuzzy-head, drifty-floaty feeling subside. So, once I’ve finished all of this I can settle to work for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.

I’m not so behind, really. It’s just that I prefer to work in the morning and early afternoon, then I can relax with other projects, like my vlogs.

Today was just one of those days where other things happened. That is life! I know, from past experience, there will be other days where it’s easy to work and a lot more gets done.

Today’s Vlog

Template Thursday! 02 Dec 2021

I finished drawing this Entangled-Doodleworlds template this morning (and videoed the process too).

It’s full of whimsy and cuteness, patterns and critters, plants and other items. I always enjoy drawing templates like this, ones that have little stories in them (or so I discovered yesterday while videoing!).

The nicest thing, however, is that there are lots of areas, so it’s easy to choose one place, one arch, one motif to colour if you don’t have much time or are just overwhelmed by the overall task. This way, you get the satisfaction of completing one part of the design – whether it be a tiny heart, or one of the little worlds under the arches.

I enjoyed adding colour to just a few sections today. It’s always a good thing for me to work with Clip Studio Paint regularly so I can become familiar with the tools, and to learn new ways of working with it.

I always look forward to seeing how people use colour to bring my templates to life.

Here’s today’s video. It’s over an hour long … just a little warning!

Semi-Circular-ish Motifs | Draw with me

This page is getting fuller by the day! What started off as semi-circular botanical motifs has taken a direction of it’s own. Oh, the starting shape is basically the same – an arch. But some of my arches are now tall and thin!

They’re not all botanical anymore either. Some feel distinctly mechanical, others more coral-like. The more semi-circular ones look like fancy fish scales. The tall and thin ones look a bit like feathers.

Hence the name change. However, what is the same is the idea of exploring patterns/basic shapes and seeing where that leads. What happens is the page becomes filled with lots of variations on a theme. Like here.

I enjoy these more abstract motifs, lots. They’re fun to do and the only limits are your imagaination and/or creativity.

I didn’t film all of the new motifs being drawn, but here’s today’s vlog.

Botanical designs, or fancy fish scales?

After spending a few hours working on Adorable Dogs templates this morning, I needed a bit of a break. So, I added some more motifs to this sketchbook page.

I started off with them being kind of botanical in nature, but the shape and arrangement has reminded me of fancy fish scales! Yes, it’s only just struck me that this is the case; I can be rather slow!

Either way, they are fun to draw, even the ones that don’t quite work. It’s all part of experimenting and learning, as well as drawing practice and relaxation. After all, this is a sketchbook page.

Here’s today’s video:

Sketchbook, Draw With Me… 28 Nov 21

Link to today’s vlog.

At the top of the photo is the almost completed sketchbook page for the recent seed pod pattern explorations.

I’ve gone a bit wild with colour! I wanted to see how using graphite under-shadowing worked with Ecoline Watercolour Inks, and to see how that ‘stained glass’, fragmented background would work.

I think, going forward, I need to think more about using different sets of colours for the background and motifs. I don’t know though for sure. I do like this kind of background though.

I’ve not added pattern to any of these background sections…yet. Maybe I’ll look at that in the coming days.

At the bottom of the photo are the motifs I drew in today’s vlog. These are all based on circular/semi-circular kinds of pods, capsules, designs. Some are quite architectural in feel, but also work as botanicals.

Yesterday’s realisation that the bigger seed pods reminded me of the photos taken of horsetail plants by Karl Blossfeldt. He believed that “the plant must be valued as a totally artistic and architectural structure.”

I tend to agree with him! I often describe winter as the season where nature shows off the underlying architecture of the natural world. we can see the support structure of trees and other woody plants. Land that was hidden by foliage and flower is revealed, showing how the swathes of trees follow the contours of the land, it’s streams and rivers and so on.

I don’t like the cold of winter, nor the short days. The limited sunlight tends to lower my mood a lot, and a sunlight therapy lamp is needed on may days to stave off creeping depression and despair at my abilities. But I do like being able to see that architecture, the way the patterns in the world are so different. That makes up for the short days!

It’s hard not to see how architects of the past must have been influenced by nature. The soaring columns with arched ceilings in gothic churches and cathedrals look so much like stone trees.

It’s no wonder, when I think about how much I enjoyed exploring Blossfeldt’s work, amongst others, when I started my artistic journey around two decades ago, that I can see their influence in my work.

More seed pods … draw with me

I took a break from drawing Adorable Dogs coloring templates (nearly all done, at least in sketch form…) to do some art just for fun. And that means, at this moment in time, seed pods. The three to the top right are today’s creations.

I couldn’t remember what plant they reminded me of. I thought mullein, but that’s not right. The closest I could figure out is Banskia seed pods, and these may be a very stylised interpretation of them. But not the stems. Weird stems are my own imagination in overdrive.

Of course, the drawings need shadow, colour and highlight to bring them to some kind of life. So, as I’m enjoying using graphite pencils for shading and watercolour pencils to add colour so much, that’s what I did.

I also tried adding some black line patterns to intensify the contrast and add interest to some of the shapes that make up the pods. That was just to see what happens. After all, this page is part of a sketchbook full of pattern explorations. It’s about giving myself permission to experiment, not to have to finish anything. The end result, I hope, will be something I dip into for inspiration at times when I don’t seem to have much of it.

And I share this process via a YouTube video.

Template Thursday, Thanksgiving and a Draw with me video!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the USA and around the world who celebrate.

I’ve created a mandala with a thanksgiving theme for the members of Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

In the spirit of the day, I’m so grateful for everyone who supports me in my artistic journey, who so kindly communicates with me, who brings my drawings alive in so many, different, wonderful ways. Thank you once and all!

There are so many other people in my life I’m grateful for too. And, there’s so much else I have to be grateful for.

Draw with me … Seed Pods

My day started with, unsurprisingly, some drawing. This time of some seedpods that turned out rather ornate and fancy-schmancy! Of course, I created a video showing how I did these.

Even though I’m feeling totally overwhelmed by Adorable Dogs at the moment, I still think it’s important I take the time to do art that is entirely for me. Making these videos, sharing my thoughts, materials, methods is part of that practice now it seems. I’m so grateful to all who watch, comment, subscribe, like and/or share these videos.

Draw with me … adding shadow, colour and highlights to floral motifs | 24 Nov ’21

Oh, I had a lot of fun bringing the simple line drawings from yesterday to life with shadow, colour and highlight. Here’s the link to today’s video if you’d like to try this along with me.

The humble 2B and 6B graphite pencils (the Pitt Graphite Matt versions) were used to create the shadows, the illusion of folds and curls, curves and edges. It took me a while to remember how to do this, to work out the effects I wanted to create. This is, however, like riding a bike – once learned you may be rusty, but you never forget!

There is a simple pleasure in using just the grey of graphite to give more form to these designs. Adding colour over the graphite added to this. I really am enjoying the way the careful shadowing with graphite works with transparent watercolour. Then, there’s the use of white charcoal and/or white ink to bring out the highlights.

If I use ink, I much prefer to use dots white, rather than a solid line or shape. I enjoy the subtle texture it gives as well as that brightness too. I find the white charcoal tends to bleach the colour out way too much, it feels not quite right. I will eventually work out how to do this in a better manner I think. Perhaps trying other colours of chalk pastel pencils maybe, or really making sure that the colour is barely there in the highlights. It’s a work in progress for me, that’s for sure! I may just stick to white ink dots, perhaps trying other colours that work with the colour of the motif.

Using various grades of graphite helps me to get that intensity of shadow that I like, without struggling with watercolour. I can vary the intensity of one colour (and I even tried two colours in one motif!), and let the graphite do the work of darkening the shade of colour.

The metallic looking result I find quite pleasing, now that it’s becoming familiar to me. I find I like the effect far more than adding graphite on top of the colour. The pigments in the watercolour pencil seem to sit over the graphite when they’re activated with water, tinting the graphite in a way that is pleasing to me.

I do love the Graphitint pencils very much, but this method gives me a way of getting more vibrant colours, which are pleasingly toned down by the under-shadowing of graphite.