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.

Template Thursday

Another week of the Coronavirus Pandemic has passed us by, so it’s time for another colouring template/page for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week it’s a mandala. A more traditional kind of mandala at that.

Mandala’s are incredibly calming and soothing to draw and to colour.

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.

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!

Template Thursday

It’s Thursday, so that means it’s time for a new coloring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

One of the members suggested a Christmas in July template, so that’s what I did. A page full of iconic Christmas motifs, admittedly not all of them, but a fair selection.

If you fancy printing this template off, all you need to do is join the group! It’s completely free, as are all the templates I design for the group. All I ask is that you follow the terms and condtions of use.

I drew these little designs on Rhodia dot grid paper with a Tombow Fudenosuke (hard) pen. I cleaned the drawing up in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, then digitally added colour. Some are in the more traditional Christmas colours, others are less so. No rules for colouring! Whatever makes you happy or peaceful is fine! The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy what you do.

As for me, today I’m taking a break from the typographic portrait of Nye Bevan that I shared yesterday. My artistic intuition needs some time to work out what to do with it, both to complete the blank areas and to edit places that aren’t working.

I need to pop out for a walk too. I’ve been sat down, focused on art too much over the past couple of days. It’s overcast and there’s a stiff breeze, so it’s perfect for me!

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.

Watercolour practice

Good news – the headache has gone! Yay! The sun is shining, I have uplifting music playing, and I’ve spent some of the morning practicing watercolour skills and working out how to subtly draw/paint on top with white.

The little tiles at the bottom have designs painted on them with white gouache. There’s a lot more variability in line width with these.

The book marks have had the designs drawn using a white Soufflé pen by Sakura. The ink goes on clear but dries a matt and opaque white.

I used som Molin du Roy watercolour paper from Canson for these. The tiles are approx 2″ x 2″, the book marks are approx 2″ x 7″.

I may mount the tiles on greeting card blanks. The bookmarks need a hole punching in the top and then some string/ribbon threaded through.

I did try out the Sakura Quickie Glue pen and embossing powder yesterday, but really wasn’t happy with it. I also tried using a variety of Sakura pens to draw the outlines before watercolouring – black Glaze, metallic siver Gelly Roll and silver Stardust. They were waterproof, but just didn’t give me the borders for the patterns that I wanted. The black was very bold and gave a rather stained-glass feel to the tile. But, white turns out to be my favourite.

It’s been nice to spend quite a few hours working with watercolours and trying out ideas without any pressure to create anything that is finished. Sometimes making art for the fun of making art is enough and much needed to soothe some rather battered emotions.