Butterflies

Butterfly 3 patterned_AngelaPorter_16June2017Butterfly 8 patterned_AngelaPorter_16June2017

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book along with my Surface Pen to add patterns and shading to two of the butterfly outline designs I drew yesterday.  I’m happy with the results.

Today I’ve also created two more dot mandalas, each around 5″ in diameter.  I added some gems to those, as well as to the small dot mandalas I created over the last couple of days.  The sparkle really adds something special to them, and helps to emphasise the circularity of mandala designs.

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Artistic journeys…

Mixed media

IMG_0650My previous blog post about a mixed media work in progress is still on hold, although I have added a crackle paint to it in places, which has added some texture to it.  I’m pleased with the result, but I still am not sure what else to do to complete it.

I have completed a very textured background for some mixed media work; you can see it above.  What I’m going to do with it I’m not quite sure, but I’m sure it will all come together at the right time.

Abstract Line Art

I’ve been drawing more ‘Doodle Worlds’ images from time to time and now need to gather them together to see if there’s enough for another ‘book’ for the Colorist app.

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I also turned my attention to colour and pattern and the two images above are the results of around three to four days work.

I used A4 300g/m² smooth watercolour paper and applied distress inks to create the coloured areas.  I wanted to create the illusion of shadow and light in these areas.  Next, I used various drawing pens to add the patterns.  On the green piece, I’ve added copper and gold coloured metallic highlights.  The pink one isn’t quite finished yet.

Sketchbooks and my artistic journey

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As the days are becoming lighter and warmer, my thoughts are going to getting out to visit places and to do some sketching/drawing (intense anxiety and intense self-consciousness allowing).

With this in mind, I’ve prepared pages in an A5 and an A4 sketchbook.  I’ve used Distress and Distress Oxide Inks.

The image above shows the first page in my A4 sketchbook, a page full of daisies, worked using different media, trying out different styles and degrees of detail.

I like to work on a coloured background, I don’t know why, I just do.  I think it may be that I like to add shadows and highlights to create and image from the colour on the page.

I’ve not done much in the way of sketchbook work for a long while, but the need to revisit and to continue to explore different ways of expressing myself artistically has surfaced.  I think this is a much over-due response to the surfeit of work on colouring books in the past three or so years, as well as the struggle I’ve had with my mental health.

My energy, when mentally able, has been focused on completing the work I was contracted for with various publishers.  I enjoyed the work, the subject matter pushed my boundaries in the subjects I tackled.  I’m so grateful for that work as well as it allowed me to make changes in my working life that helps me to take care of my mental health.  It was/is also an activity that helps me manage my mood.  I lose myself in drawing/creating, finding myself ‘in the flow’ where my mind stills, or, rather, where I no longer pay attention to the inner critic.

However, the colouring book work was the focus of my artistic energies for much of that time, and I had little energy left to explore other areas of artistic expression.  I didn’t mind that at all, as I’ve said, I enjoyed all the work I did, and I will continue to create templates.  However, that is not all I want to do or to create.

I now have time to revisit ways of artistic expression I put to one side in my focus on the work for publishers, and I have the chance to see how my skills and expression have developed/changed.  I also get the chance to explore and discover new ways of expressing myself, using new media.

In this way I can continue to discover, practice and refine my artistic voice and vocabulary.  I still feel like a toddler in the world of art.  I wonder if I’ll ever progress from that state.

The biggest obstacle to me doing this is the lack of belief and confidence I have in myself and my artistic abilities.  I also have a problem in deciding on what to draw.  Then, there’s also the issue of finding themes/styles/media to explore that will challenge me just enough that I feel I can make a good attempt at them and gain confidence in them, but not so much that it overwhelms me and I fail before even trying.

The most important thing for me, however, is to enjoy my artistic journey, no matter where it leads me.  The pleasure and peace I get from creating will be something that will serve me extremely well throughout the rest of my days on this planet.

 

Poppy capsules mixed media

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I’ve decided to do my best to be brave and confident and use my own drawings and designs in my mixed media work.  The poppy seed heads and the ‘zentangle’ patterns are drawn by myself.

The inchie with the quote on – creative journey – is milky as the Glossy Accents on the tile hasn’t dried yet, but it will dry clear and glossy.

Here’s a list of the media I used:

  • Papers – 300gsm watercolour paper, cream paper for pencil and pastel work, marker paper, kraft card, mixed media paper
  • Paints – Paperartsy Fresco paints, Liquitex copper paint, Cosmic Shimmer copper iridescent watercolour paint
  • Pens and pencils – Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens, Derwent Inktense
  • Leafy and flower stencils
  • Sizzix Big Shot and dies for cutting some of the gears and an embossing folder to add texture to one of the background papers
  • Metal gears and keys
  • Glossy Accents
  • Cosmic Shimmer acrylic glue
  • Archival Ink in black and sepia
  • Distress inks
  • Spray bottles – one filled with plain water, the other filled with water and copper Perfect Pearl
  • Gems
  • Wow Holographic Sparkle embossing powder and a Versamark pen
  • Cut and dry foam
  • Various brushes

Spectrum Noir Illustrator pens – Review

Today, I popped into my local craft shop – Dandie Crafts (Dandie Crafts Facebook Page)- in their new premises in Caerphilly.

The shop is larger, smells fresh and new, has more space for stock and much more space for classes and demos.  The warm welcome was very much the same.

I had gone there to stock up on paper for my printer; I like their own range of acid-free heavy-weight paper (usually 160g/m²) and found the Spectrum Noir Illustrator  twin-tip alcohol markers in stock.

I bought the six packs of pens, which cost £12.99, so the pens work out a little over £2 each, which is about half the price of a Copic Sketch marker, Promarkers you can get for a little over £1 each at the moment.

Debbie, the lovely lady in charge today, told me they’re supposed to be a new formulation of ink that blends more easily with quality Japanese nibs.  One of the nibs is a bullet nib, the other a brush nib.

On the Illustrator marker packaging it says:

For smooth, natural linework and detailed colouring.  Fully blendable, streak-free coverage.  Perfect for drawing and illustration.

So, I just had to buy and try them out!

I drew the design using the True Black marker and the bullet tip.

The bullet tip isn’t as fine as I thought it would be.  The tip is softer than the bullet tips found on the Promarker pens.  Personally, I’d prefer the bullet nibs to be firmer.

The pen drew nicely with plenty of ink in the new pen (something that hasn’t always happened with my experience of Spectrum Noir pens in the past).  Also, the ink seems jucier in a different way that I can’t describe.  It does seem to be a different formulation.

The black lines are thicker than I’d usually draw, but I’m hoping they’ll give a stained-glass kind of feel to the art.

Once I’d inked out the design on 160gsm smooth white card, I started to colour in the design using just two colour blending.  That was going to be a bit of a challenge as I have eight of the six pen sets which aren’t the full range of colours in the Illustrator pens.

What I did notice is that the colours do blend much more easily than the original Spectrum Noir markers, and also the Promarkers and the Copics!  The ink in the Illustrator pens is definitely different to the others.

Also, where I coloured fairly large areas with one colour, there was no streaking!  Admittedly I didn’t colour a huge area, but so far so good.  The lack of streaks was the case with both the bullet nib and the brush nib.

For the green leaves, I also used a tip-to-tip method to transfer a little of the darker colour on to the lighter colour to help blending with two quite different shades of green. That worked well.

The brush nib is made up of fibres that do spread out – more like the Chameleon pen nibs than Copics.  I don’t now how that will affect their ability to get into small nooks and crannies as they are used over time.

I also noticed that the inks are a lot more vibrant and ‘cleaner’ in colour than the original Spectrum Noir pens, which is a huge plus for them.

The only downside is that as I was colouring, the inks would blend out the black ink, so some of the lines have bled where I don’t want them to bleed.

I do need to test them out with the usual pens I use for drawing and also with the Epson Ultra-brite ink I favour, which hasn’t been affected by alcohol markers previously.

Overall, I’m happy with the pens.  I most probably will get the full set of 96 and will use them along with my other alcohol markers as I’m sure they’ll work well with them.

 

 

 

It’s been a while…

Untitled 8 March 2014 by Angela Porter

 

It has been a while since I last made a post to my blog.

I have been struggling with vagueness and lack of focus with the medication I’m taking, and this one I’m on now doesn’t suit either. As well as the vagueness, I’m constantly on edge and fidgety, and the medication is supposed to treat that not cause it.  Have to give it a couple more weeks before it’ll be changed though.  I’m still away from work as a result.

In spite of all of this I’ve still been busy with art, though the focus for the projects I’m involved in has been lacking at times, but just ‘doodling’ with no constraints or requirements does help me settle a little and also is something I can do that doesn’t need that focus.

In the summer I signed contracts to do the artwork for two books linked to art therapy.  In the last week I was approached by another company to do one book for them in the first instance, and if it goes well then there could be a whole series of them.   My hope is that I’ll have enough contracts and work lined up that I can go kind of part time at work.  That won’t be for a while and I need to get myself better first, but the part time may be a way of helping me remain ‘better’ in the future.  Time will tell.