Coloring ‘Serendipity’

I’ve spent much of the day so far adding colour to my ‘Serendipity’ drawing that I completed yesterday. The whole process of drawing has been videoed and is available on my YouTube channel.

I thought it would be an idea to try to record a timelapse of my process in Clip Studio Paint Pro, which has a tool that does it for you. This just didn’t work, it caused everything to freeze up.

So, I thought I’d try the record screen tool in the Movavi Video Suite. It didn’t let me use my digital pen on the screen. So, I’m going to have to spelunk through the settings to see if I can resolve that issue, and the one with Clip Studio Paint Pro. A couple of things to sort out along with how to add a voice-over to a video!

So, after getting another mug of tea, I settled to starting colouring the image digitally. I wanted to use the rich colour palette I’d used for this week’s ‘Template Thursday’ design.

I’ve only got part of the design done. It’s taking me a little longer to add colour in CSPP (Clip Studio Paint Pro) than in Sketchbook as I’m not familiar with the tool layout yet.

Again, I’m taking this as an opportunity to learn more about CSPP, in very tiny, tiny steps. I seem to have found a watercolour brush I like that adds an interesting texture to the colour. Usually, my work is characterised by rather smooth colour gradients. To have such a textured finish is unusual for me, but I quite like it.

I have a lot more of this particular drawing to do, and as I’m working digitally I can always try a different colour palette or way of working.

I think I’m going to take some time away from the computer now, and return to ‘analog’ forms of art. If you’ve watched my video, I gave a short look at one of my collections of patterns and motifs. That notebook is almost full, so I had a new Leuchtturm1917 A5 notebook delivered yesterday. It turns out I’d managed to order a square grid rather than a dot grid. No problem. If anything it may work out better.

I’m not going to transfer the entirety of the nearly full notebook to this new one, just the motifs/patterns I use the most, and start to add others. They really are books full of inspiration, mostly images but sometimes words/notes too.

Video Friday

This week, I finish this particular drawing, apart from a few bits and bobs.

Partway through the video, the microphone just stopped recording. I have no idea why. So, for the last part of the video, I’ve sped my drawing up 5x and just put some music to go with it.

Guess I’m going to have to learn to do voice-overs as well as learning the new digital art stuff!

I’d appreciate likes for this video, as well as new subscriptions to my channel.

Template Thursday

It’s Template Thursday once again. This week’s template is an entangled sampler kind of thing. Sometimes, the whole image is overwhelming, or perhaps there’s just not enough time to do a large area. These kinds of samplers have lots of smaller designs within them. Choose one of a size you can manage or for the time you have. Complete it one motif at a time, just as a stitcher would complete a sampler one stitch or motif at a time.

If you’d like to access this template, for free, then you need to be a member of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. The group is free to join and the members are lovely. There’s a monthly color palette challenge and I’m trying to get my head around time zones to organise some get togethers on zoom.

The template was drawn with pen on paper. I’ve added colour digitally.

Monday Mandala

My first mandala created in Clip Studio Paint Pro! It was a different yet similar experience to that I’d get in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. In fact everything is similar, but different. It’s going to take me a while to work out how it all works.

I enjoyed the process, and the challenges it presented me weren’t huge. They were more opportunities to learn than to be frustrated.

One thing I really do need to look into are the settings on the symmetry tools. They didn’t work the way I expected them to, hence the rather unusual way the patterns are repeated around the centre. The fact that they work this way means that there’s a wider range of possibilities for such designs going forward. That is exciting!

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how I’ve been dissatisfied at times with my artistic expression. It felt stale, samey, and just not working. Every now and again I have a need to explore new things, to shake it up a little. This is turning out to be one of those perfect confluences of frustration, opportunity and freshness.

It has to be said, though, that there are times when I return to what is more familiar, comfortable too. But when I do return to them, I do so with the lessons and outlooks gained from these fresh experiences. And so, my artwork develops, which is a good thing indeed.

So frustrating!

It’s been a frustrating few hours. I scanned these two drawings in, went to edit and colour in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, only to find that Autodesk has cancelled the pro, subscribed version and the only one available is the free version.

The free version doesn’t allow me to alter contrast, or work at different dpi, and it is a tad unstable it seems.

Also, there was no warning of this and I had no chance to save all my own custom brushes.

To say I’m gutted is an understatement. Sketchbook Pro has been my pathway into digital art and I absolutely love its intuitive interface.

So, I’m now looking into other software I have on my ‘puter. I learned to edit and colour and add texture layers, background and text using Clip Studio Paint.

It works well, but the interface isn’t so intuitive, it’s so much like the Adobe products, with menu after menu after menu. I can see that it’s more powerful.

Trying to look on the bright side, maybe I’d become way too comfortable with Sketchbook Pro and it’s now time for me to learn new digital skills and extend the ones I already have. So this may be a blessing in disguise.

All I know is that it’s going to be darn frustrating for a while until I get to grips with this new software.

I’m tempted to have a look at Corel Paint, but I suspect it’s user interface is as confusing and not intuitive either.

I still have access to the free version of Autodesk Sketchbook. But it is missing some of the features I loved so much about the subscription version.

Anyways, I discovered the watercolour brushes in Clip Studio and used them to add colour to the top design, and I like these ones very much. I’ll see how I get along with it, but first I need breakfast. Yes, It’s nearly 2:30pm and I’ve not had breakfast yet! So I’m going to eat and then it’ll be onwards and upwards digitally, I trust.

Now I’ve had my moan, here’s some info about the drawings:

14.5cm x 14.5cm Bristol board
Faber-Castell fineliner pen
Colours and textures added digitally using Clip Studio Paint

Serendipity Part 3 – a video

Friday is YouTube video day for me. Before I’d even had breakfast, I was filming the next part of this video series. I did get myself a mug of mocha first, in an insulated mug so it stayed nice and hot throughout the filming.

I changed the pen I used today. I’d bought a couple of Faber-Castell Grip 2010 fineliner pens to see what they’re like. I like them. They’re refillable and the ink is document safe but not waterproof I will use them for art that I’m planning to scan in. Oh, I’m not being paid or sponsored in anyway to mention this pen.

Anyway, the video is nearly an hour long and I chat away as I draw, particularly about Romanesque architecture/sculpture and it’s influence on me, along with mentions of La Tene/Iron Age/Celtic art and others.

Mandala Tile

As I was coming around from yesterday’s headache, I plopped yesterday’s drawing into Repper to see what geometric patterns and tiles I could create.

Repper is a browser app that is great fun to play around with and makes the creation of tiling patterns from my artwork so simple.

Rather than save the patterns, I saved the tiles as so many of them looked like perfect inspiration for mandalas.

So, I chose one design, popped it into Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, and used it to inspire this particular pattern.

I chose a colour palette of soft pinks and greens, colours that are related to self-love, self-care, balance and harmony. Perfect for how I was feeling yesterday!

Today, I’m still feeling somewhat tired and fragile. That’s mainly due to a really poor night’s sleep. Emotionally, however, I feel a lot better than I have the past few days. There was an emotional storm brewing and it the headache was the torrential downpour that was needed to clear the skies by forcing me to take care and shelter myself.

So, the rest of today is going to be a quiet. nurturing kind of time to shake off the lingering wisps of stormy clouds.

Tuesday – time for self-care

Well, I pushed on yesterday and finished this particular drawing. Lots of texture/patterning has been added. I’ve also temporarily added a pale grey-blue background until I decide how I want to add shadow/highlight/colour to this particular drawing.

I won’t be doing that today, however. I’m still feeling all out of sorts and I really don’t trust myself with colour, shadow and highlight. I’ll get frustrated and irritated with myself. I also woke with a headache that isn’t clearing up anytime soon it seems.

So, today is likely to be another day of binge watching stuff. Yesterday it was The Killing on Disney+. A dark tale of murder and the crazy awful ways humans tangle their lives with others it seems.

It’s an American version of a Danish noir murder/mystery series. I started watching the Danish version, with subtitles, quite a few years ago, but mislaid the DVDs. It’s full of twists and turns in the story line, and a surprising ending to the first story line – the murder of Rosie Larsen. And it’s nice to be surprised by such a tale for a change.

So, I think I’ll spend a fair amount of today finishing watching season 3 and making a start on season 4, the final season.

Once the headache clears, I may turn my attention to some arty stuff. I’ll see how it goes. Self-care is important, not just physically but emotionally too. I know from bitter past experiences that if I push myself to do things when I’m not up to it, whatever I do usually ends up disastrously. I still feel the guilt of giving myself time and space to return back to a point of balance, but I know that when I do return to that point the guilt will fade away and be replaced with relief and a sense of gratitude that I didn’t give into to the guilt. There’ll also be a touch of pride that I’m strong enough, now, to recognise when I need this time to just lose myself in fiction, do nothing else, and let whatever is the cause of the imbalance work itself through.

I suspect the headache is an expression of that imbalance and is the way my mind, body and soul have of telling me, “Woah there Angela! You have to stop and take a break from this, now! You’ve pushed yourself too far, so I’m going to get you to stop and do other things for a while.”

I am learning to listen to what I need, rather than what I think I should be doing. So, today, I will listen to them.

Monday meanderings

Frustration

This is my current drawing. I’m adding tiny patterns to various areas of the ‘skeleton’ of the design. That’s making me feel a little happier about it, but I’m still not all that satisfied with this drawing.

It just feels disjointed, incoherent. Just a tumble of bits and pieces that just happened to fall together. I started with the monogram “a”, thinking I’d do a series of drawings with little monograms like this kind of hidden in the design. But I don’t think this has worked out at all.

I think this drawing is a snapshot of that shows I’m feeling out of sorts with my art at the moment, and that is a reflection of me feeling out of sorts with myself.

I know I can be hard on myself when it comes to art, or anything actually, and I’m sure others will view this differently to how I do. Maybe there’s even a story in the drawing of how my emotional weather has shown itself in how I’ve put together the patterns and motifs.

This happens from time to time – I get into a funk with my art. Eventually, however, I find my way again, often a slightly new way, and off I go again! So I’m not worried about this. I just know I need to be kind to myself and perhaps take a little break from arty stuff, though with what I don’t know. Whatever I’m trying at the moment is irritating me, even digital art.

“This, too, shall pass,” shall be my mantra until it does pass.

Bread making

One thing that’s not frustrating me is my foray into baking with a bread machine. I’ve had success with a delcious spelt flour loaf. At first I thought it was a disaster as it was flat on the top. But, it’s absolutely fine when cut – pleasantly moist, as airy as proper wholemeal bread can be, and nutty in flavour.

I’ve also just baked a spiced fruit loaf, the second I’ve done, and I know how delicious it will be! My home is filled with the delicious and heart-warming smells of sweet spices and yeasty goodness.

That’s all the baking I’ll need to do for a couple of days, however. There’s only so much bread I can eat! And I really don’t want either to go to waste.

Experiment in Entangled art

Today, an unfinished experiment into ‘tranzending’ layers.

I dug out a piece of natural mixed media paper that had been coloured with some Distress Inks. My aim was to see if the white under pattern would work with such a piece of paper.

It did. You can see the underlying pattern coming through the more darkly coloured areas. Also, the Zig clean colour real brush pens (what a mouthful of a name!) worked beautifully on the background. I was careful to choose colours that would work sympathetically with the Distress Ink background. Distress Inks are water-reactive so any wet media will reactivate them

I haven’t finished colour this one; it was just an experiment. The final part of the experiment was to add a layer of Distress Micro-glaze. This seals in the art, making it waterproof and just about impossible to work on again. Why did I do this? Well, the micro glaze is a bit like a gloss varnish and it enhances the colours, making them more vibrant and more transparent too. I wanted to see if the glaze would move the black ink and/or the posca pen. It didn’t. Sure, there was some black pigment on the paper towel I used to polish the surface, but not much.

The microglaze is likely to be handy should I choose to decorate envelopes in the future. It may be useful in other ways.

There’s a constant spiralling round of techniques and media with me. And I usually end up returning to digital art in one way or another. What is interesting to me, though, is how these experiments give me ideas for things to try out digitally. My mind is ticking over those ideas at the moment and I’m likely to go and them out in a short while.