Abstract – WIP

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.

More insomniac art…

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.

Template Thursday!

It’s the first Thursday of 2021 and so it’s time for a template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

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.

I’ve been creating one template a month for the group since it was started. Since the first lockdown here in the UK (March 2020), I’ve created one template a week for the group. Coloring is an activity that can help alleviate stress and anxiety, induce relaxation, and gives the mind a break from overthinking. It’s been shown in scientific studies to affect the brain in much the same way that mindfulness meditation does.

Sketchbook flip-through

I’ve been busy indulging myself in comfort art over the past couple of weeks. So, I thought I’d share some of the pages in one of my A4 sketchbooks that relate to zentangle.

I’m no photographer, just saying!

I used a whole host of different media to complete the drawings
-pens, including Pigma Micron, Unipin, Uni Emott, Chameleon Fineliners, Pitt Artist Pens, Staedtler Triplus fineliners, Tombow Fudenosuke and a Zebra fudenosuke
-a range of pencils including Prisma Ebony graphite, Daler-Rowney sketching pencils, white graphite pencil, Derwent coloured drawing pencils and ordinary drawing pencils and a ruler to give guidelines for dividing the pages up
– tortillons and paper stumps, along with sandpaper to clean the tips!
– Inktense, Tombow Dualbrush pens, Faber Castell Pitt artist pens and a waterbrush for the more intensely coloured patterns

Some of the work has been done on days where I just needed to lose myself in something familiar, comforting. The rest of it during my nights of broken sleep.

The newest stuff are the pages of ’embedded’ letters – the monograms. Definitely a tad on the weird side as I’ve not found my way with this idea. But I will persevere over time.

Sketchbook Page – First of 2021

About the sketchbook page

My sketchbooks have been the focus of my attention during the waning days of 2020 and the start of 2021. I’ve done pages of zentangle-type patterns, borders and ‘fragments. I’ve been trying out monograms, and I’ve been drawing in more of my signature style, as above.

This page shows some experiment with colour and texture in the sketchbook. I used fineliner pens for the textures and Pitt Artist Brush Pens, both ‘neat’ and with a waterbrush.

I had to work hard with myself to do this. I didn’t want to mess up the drawing, which I quite like, with colour and so on. But then I told myself I can always re-draw it, along with losing the elements I’m not keen on. I really like the bird-like design at the top of this coloured image.

The others were drawings done for the sheer joy and comfort of drawing. All intuitive, though I did pay attention to a reference photo of a meso-American pot for the face in the right-hand drawing.

All drawings were done with an 05 Unipin pen in my A4 Artway Enviro sketchbook. The 05 pen nib has become worn, and usually I’d bin it, but I’m working with it and seeing how I can vary the width and intensity of line. I’m trying to allow myself to embrace the perfectly imperfect quality of the line and the character it brings to my drawings. I find that I like it, which surprises me. Now, all I need to do is to work to replicate this digitally; maybe not a perfect replication but something that is similar enough.

Sketchbooks

I have three sketchbooks on the go at the moment.

The A4 and A5 Enviros are for drawings and designs, as above. Fairly polished and starting points for further work. I can try different things out – such as colour and texture – knowing that I can either scan the drawings in before I try these experiments out, or I can always re-draw the design, altering the parts I’m not happy with.

The third is an A4 SeaWhite all-media sketchbook. Although I have done some drawings in there, it’s been repurposed into a zentangle/pattern experimentation and record book. I use colour and shading with the drawings as they are purely for reference and the pleasure of drawing them. Not surprisingly, many of the pages are aesthetically pleasing in the way that needlework or cross-stitch samplers are. You can look at the page again and again and still find designs or sections of designs that surprise you.

Comfort Art

The past few days I’ve needed to find an activity that comforts me. I find this time of year emotionally difficult as I’m triggered by Christmas and New Year and all the hoo-haa around it. The short days and lack of sunshine doesn’t help much. My daylight therapy lamp helps somewhat, but it isn’t as good as working at my desk or taking a walk bathed in winter sunlight. I also find myself bone-weary a lot. Mind you, not sleeping properly at night isn’t helping me either.

As an introvert, I tend to retreat into a world of my own at these times, or to immerse myself in other worlds through films and books. And of course art. I limit my social media activity to the absolute necessary. This way, the societal pressures I feel fade away, and before long the world is back to the way it is for the vast majority of the year.

This year, my main haven of peace and contentment has been in my sketchbooks. I’ve found particular comfort and delight indulging myself in zentangle patterns. The patterns are familiar, but working on them to create unique variations that are my own has been something new and different for me. As has allowing myself to draw them in my own way.

As well as comforting me, I’ve discovered that I find it hard to be uniquely me in my artistic expression. Accepting that the way I draw something is just fine as long as I’m happy with it. The videos from the Zentangle family have been incredibly useful in helping me see this, as well as making me determined to change it too. Not just with zentangle type stuff, but with my art in general. Also, I realised that I do this for other people, but never for myself. Time to change that, methinks!

I’m still in ‘comfort art’ mode for the next couple of days. I’m still not ‘right’ emotionally, and I’d like to be before I turn my attention to the example coloured templates for Entangled Starry Skies and sketches for the cover of the next colouring book.

Happy 2021 to you all!

Happy new year to each and every one of you. May the year ahead be filled with peace, compassion, good health, the opportunities to create good memories and all that you need in life.

I had created a scheduled post for midnight, but WordPress seems to have disapparated it! Ho hum.

This is the coloring template that I created for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group, all coloured in now.

Insomniac Art

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.

Drawing Practice

Every time I draw it’s practice, even if the result is a finished and fairly polished artwork.

This page from my new A5 landscape Enviro sketchbook from Artway, is definitely practice. Practice of pen drawing, geometric pattern creation, colour and using pencils and a tortillon to add shadow.

It was also a chance for me to practice creating iterations of a square ‘fragment’ used to create the surface patterns and border patterns.

This isn’t something I’ve done often when delving into the Zentangle realms. I’ve never really taken the time to try out different permutations to do with rotating and mirroring the unit square. Nor have I really spent time altering the unit square ways that it’s the same but different.

Using a different colour to add interest and depth to the patterns is also something I’ve not really done, but I found it interesting to do.

How did this come about? Well, I’ve been watching lots of Zentangle videos on YouTube while cwtched up all snug and warm.

The idea to work with the basic pattern unit, or ‘fragment’ as the Zentangle creators term it, and try all these different things out.

It becomes addictive, especially as it seems almost impossible to do something truly horrible! But if something doesn’t work, it’s learning about why it doesn’t, and can you make it work.

I’ve ended up with a page filled with variations on a ‘fragment’ that I can refer to for inspiration as I need to.

I also have ended up surprised at how much I like this page. It’s not my usual kind of thing, and while working on it I had many moments of ‘What the feck am I doing? This really isn’t going to work out nicely at all’. I persevered and am quite happy with the end result. It may not be my usual style of art, but it gave my pen skills a nice work out!

Zentangle is a particular method of drawing abstract patterns, step by step, with a focus on meditation and gratitude. It is something anyone can do with the most basic of equipment – pen, pencil and paper. There are lots of fab videos on Youtube from the Zentangle creators, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, along with others. They also have a website – Zentangle.com – full of resources. Another great online resource is TanglePatterns.com, run by Linda Farmer, a Certified Zentangle Teacher.

These kinds of patterns and abstraction have been a feature of my art long before Zentangle was a thing. It’s nice, however, to dip into the Zentangle resources from time to time for new inspiration and challenges, or just to practice my drawing skills.

Template Thursday (on a Tuesday!)

We’re rapidly approaching the end of 2020 and it’s my custom to create a coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group to mark the calendar changeover day.

In the past few years, there’s been a flurry of coloured templates appearing on the page throughout New Year’s Day, always something beautiful and wonderful to behold. Many members post their templates close to midnight when the year changes.

I’ve not coloured the template yet. I hope my focus continues over the next couple of days so I can get it done to join in.

I had a right ‘mare of a time getting the image above done. I think I tried four times in total, with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro crashing before I could save it. Sketchbook pro has always been very, very stable, so I guess the gremlins of 2020 got to it today. But I finally got it done. That could be a very perfect metaphor for 2020, perhaps.

Drawn with a fine Uniball Eye pen on acid-free cartdridge paper. Backgrounds added digitally.

Abstract 28 Dec 2020

Drawn with 01 and 03 Uniball Unipin pens on acid-free cartridge paper. Approx. 16cm x 17cm in size.

Just something I drew last night whilst watching/listening to stuff on the TV. I digitally added colour quickly as I want to return to drawing and so on.

I wanted to play around with hand-drawn borders, letting my mind tick over possibilities as I do so. I’d spent much of the day doing ‘comfort art’, which meant exploring Zentangle patterns, shading and monochrome colour. I find the repetitive action of such pattern drawing meditative, relaxing and soothing.

Of course, once I was happy with the borders, I had to add something in the middle! As I have scanned the image in, if I ever wish to use the border for something else, it’ll be easy enough for me to remove the inner drawing.

I suspect much of my day will be spent in comfort art. I didn’t sleep well last night (hot flashes again) and I’m tired. I was practically falling asleep as I was adding colour to this artwork – which is why it’s simple flood-fills of colour.

The colors I’ve chosen are rather soft and muted, which is pretty uncharacteristic for me. That, too, is probably a reflection of how I’m feeling at the moment.

I can also say I’m really grateful for the spell-checking thingy too. It seems the tireder I am, the more I lose my ability to spell! I typed spell-chicken above, which is fairly humourous, but seriously wrong! The second time I tried to type spell-checking, it came out as sleep-chickpen. I think it’s time I went back to sleep!