Finishing up a Zentangle Greetings Card ‘Mistletoe’ and Winter Solstice 2021 Mandala

Link to today’s video on YouTube.

This card is now almost finished. I have learned some things from yesterday’s debacle. Mainly that I’d make a much wider border for the embossed background.

I did add Speckled Egg Distress ink to this embossed background, but it’s such a lovely, subtle colour the camera hasn’t picked it up well.

The embossed layer is so tactile! I used some Micro Glaze to seal it so that being touched won’t affect the distress ink.

Actually, I used Micro Glaze on the top layer too!

I could only find cream coloured card blanks and envelopes, and these layers really didn’t look too good on them. So, hopefully I’ll remember where my card blank stash is, or I’ll make a blank and envelope.

In the video I try embossing an envelope – a case of ‘envelope art’. I’m glad I did. The embossing works well. However, the areas where the flaps are glued together on the back of the envelope make indents in the front. Distress Ink brings these out so much. So, I’ll be sure to emboss the front of the envelope, and colour with Distress Ink, before I glue it all together!

All in all, I’m much happier with this card. Mind you, I do have ideas for others! Probably too late for Christmas now, but … there’s always lots of other reasons for sending greetings cards, including ‘just because I can’.

Winter solstice 2021 Mandala

Winter Solstice Greetings and Wishes to you all to the north of the equator! Summer Solstice Greetings and Wishes to you all south of the equator!

Some sunshine on a chilly, dull Winter Solstice day here in the Valleys of South Wales, UK.

Finishing Up a Zentangle Greetings Card

Link to today’s video/vlog on YouTube.

Actually, the title should be ‘How Not to finish up…’. I had a bit of an accident. More about that in a minute.

This morning, I decided to work on finishing up one card design. I knew I wanted to add another layer beneath the panel already finished before gluing it to the cream-coloured card blank.

I dug out some scrapbook paper from my stash. Nothing felt right. The colours were just ‘off’. That’s when I realised I needed to use Distress Inks to colour the lower panel.

I could have used them to colour the panel, then use pens (black, fineliner or metallic) to draw a pattern on it. Instead, I decided to try to emboss the pattern into the paper using a dotting tool / parchment craft ball tool / embossing tool.

Before I did this, I experimented on some scrap paper to see how I could colour the paper (more on this in today’s video).

I decided to emboss the paper first, then add Distress Ink (pine needles) with the black side of a piece of Cut ‘n Dry foam. That kept the embossing white. I found that if I used a blending brush (aka make-up brush!) more ink settled in the embossing. That is also a lovely look, but not what I wanted.

Inside this border, I added some gold ink to create a gold border around the upper panel.

That looked fine and dandy. The horror story came with the next step…

I added some foam tape to the back of the upper panel to add some dimension to the card, along with some glue so I had some wiggle time to make sure I got the panel centred.

The glue was the mistake I think. I had the panel nicely centred until I turned it over to add some pressure to get it to stick firmly. It must have wiggled and become de-centralised.

And when I noticed it was very firmly stuck.

I was so annoyed with myself as I know this is something that nearly always goes wrong when I try to make cards.

The only way I can ‘fix’ things is to cut out that central panel and re-make the embossed border and reassemble the card once again. This time I’d consider having the embossed pattern going under the central pattern so that if it is a little off it won’t be quite so noticeable.

I’m not, however, going to do that. This time, I’m going to make notes in the card about what I did, the media used, what I like, what I don’t like, and what I need to be very, very mindful of the next time I make a card.

Reflecting on the card creation

I know I’m fairly happy with the design. I like the central motif of holly leaves. The sutble pattern in the border around it is nice too, as is the embossed border.

I do wish I’d not used chalk pastels to add colour to this panel. There’s something dusty and muted about it that I’m not at all sure of. I think that keeping things mostly monochrome on a coloured background works best for me, with touches of gold and white, with some shading perhaps.

It’s that thing again. I love colour, but making use of it always has me feeling that it’s where I mess things up, unless I keep the colours really simple. Simple as in black, white, the background colour, and a shadow colour, and maybe touches of metallics for some sparkle and shine.

I do better with colour when I work digitally, but in traditional media I always feel like I struggle.

It’s always a learning experience, more so when things don’t go as planned or when I’m not entirely happy with what I produce. My problem is I try the same kind of thing over and over and expect it all to improve. I think I’m hoping that I’ll work out how to make the various media work for me at some point.

I say, often, I’m going to stick to monochrome, and then go and try working with colour, often with the same kind of feeling at the end. The feeling I like the pen drawing, but the colour/media isn’t what I’m looking for.

Perhaps time for me to make use of this colour printer and add colour digitally and print it out!

Zentangle Greetings Cards

Click this link to see today’s video on YouTube.

I was awake way too early this morning, but just couldn’t get back to sleep. So, what am I going to do? Art of course, after a while of tossing and turning that is.

Completing the holly design.

I spent some time yesterday adding colour with various chalk pastels. I finished off the last few areas with fineliner pens. Then, I added another layer of gold to the stars and inked around their outlines again.

To finish the holly design, I wanted to seal the surface. I’d done some experiments to see how a multi-media gloss finish and micro-glaze would work. With both, there was very little shift of any of the media I’d used on my test pieces – chalk pastels, graphite pencil, tinted charcoal, and Ecoline watercolour inks. The only difference was the gloss medium was a bit glossy, while the micro glaze lacked any brush strokes.

I decided on the microglaze. It helped to bring out the colours, as well as stop them being rubbed off. There’s also less chance of me making a total mess of things too.

All in all, I’m fairly happy with this panel for a card. Despite all my doubt and misgivings during the process of drawing the design, it’s turned out quite OK.

Notes on the mistletoe design

For this design, I decided to create a separate centre panel. I also painted a square of gold beneath where this panel would go.

I used Ecoline watercolour ink to add colour to the drawing on the Distress Ink coloured panel. Then I attached it to the base ’tile’.

Next, it was time to decide what to do with that big border around the mistletoe. I went with the tangle pattern Diva Dance Rock and Roll.

I knew this tangle pattern would add a lot of black to the border, but I think I wanted that to be the case. The black helps the central panel to stand out, I think.

I still have some work to do on this panel, but I to focus on inking in more of the last couple of templates for Adorable Dogs.

“Holly” Zentangle Greeting Card

This morning, I thought it was time I made a start on this year’s batch of cards. You can see the video by following this link.

I know, I know, I’m really late, but … so much else seems to have got in the way this year. Still, I thought I’d share the drawing process of one design today.

I just started with the idea of having a small focal area on the 4″ square ’tile’. I also had decided that holly would be the motif I’d use. The rest was really not thought about, until I started working.

In the video I share not only how to draw the card, but my thoughts and reflections. I start with a plain piece of paper and end up with this design.

This isn’t finished yet. Colour, shadow, highlight, and, perhaps, more gold need to be added to really lift the design. That’s for another arty session.

For now I need to work on the last few templates for ‘Adorable Dogs’ and get them nailed before the weekend is out!

Pattern Explorations #1 | Day 3

Day 3 and the first page of my Pattern Exploration sketchbook is about half full.

I’ve used Carbothello pastel pencils with both a water-brush and tortillon to add colour to some of the elements on this page.

Thoughts, ideas about how to embellish the individual motifs on the page are starting to wander through my head.

Of course, I filmed this mornings half-hour of art and here’s the video on YouTube:

Inktober Tangles 2021 | Day 29 “Tree Leaf” by Debbie New CZT

Tree Leaf is a lovely tangle pattern by Debbie New CZT . It is, to me, an unusual way of drawing a branch of leaves, but it works out. I have to say that I fell into my way of drawing branches where I use the gaps to attach the leaves. Either way seems to work just fine and dandy for sure.

The branch I kept fairly consistent in my drawing today. However the leaves…it was fun to use my favourite shapes of leaves, and a few others. A couple of berries and acorns have sneaked their way in as well.

This tangle pattern makes it really easy to layer leaves; very useful for me in my work creating coloring books!

To add colour to the leaves (and berries), I’ve used a whole host of media – Pitt graphite matt pencil, Graphitint pencils, Graphitint paints, Inktense blocks used like watercolours, and Sakura metallic, starlight and moonlight gelly roll pens. I also used white Gelly Roll and Posca pens to add the higlights.

I’ve not done much in the way of shading. There comes a point when I really need to take a break from the work. I’ve reached that point with this page. I may return to add shadow and more highlight, I may not. Regardless, this page is a great reference for me going forward. In fact, I have an idea to incorporate it into one of my other drawings I’m working on at the moment.

Tomorrow, I’ll film my thoughts and reflections as I look back on my week in art. But for today, I have filmed a video of the drawing and colouring of the small branch in the top left.

Inktober Tangles 2021 | Day 27 “Trelina” by Eni Oken

I came across this tangle a goodly while ago. I tried to draw it, but without much success, like Fengle.

However, watching a video by Zen Linea, as well as having cracked Fengle meant I think I’ve successfully drawing Trelina, with some variations as well.

I realised, soon enough, that I wanted to keep the basic structure of Trelina, but focus on ‘channels’ that could be used to house other patterns. Indeed, the very first Trelina I drew was the one in the top left and I wanted a wider ‘channel’ to put a pattern in.

The bottom right version has a big nod towards Fengle. After all, if I’d not worked out how to draw Fengle, I doubt I would have managed to draw Trelina.

Inktober Tangles 2021 Day 25 “Round Square”

Round Square, by Karin Guzzetta CZT, has turned out to be an interesting pattern to try variations out on.

At first sight it seems a rather, well, boring pattern. However, with just a little creativity, it’s become fascinating rather than boring. From adding ‘auras’ and patterns, to threading laces through the pattern, to inverting the dark and light areas, and even changing the shape from square-ish to triangular, this has become a pattern full of possibility.

I’ve just realised that I didn’t try adding white (or coloured) patterns to the darker borders in some of the patterns.

Will it make it’s way into my artwork? I don’t know. I can see some interesting optical illusions going on in places. A bit more forward planning with the ‘laces’ running through the pattern could have a really interesting effect, maybe.

However, these will have to be shelved for now as I do need to turn to other work for the day.

Inktober Tangles 2021 Day 23 and Sketchbook Saturday

Inktober Tangles 2021 Day 23 “Ple-A” by Apple Lim CZT

This was a new tangle to me, but not any more!

It took a while for me to understand it’s basic structure. Then, it was experimenting with it to fill (mostly) a page of my A5 sketchbook with just a few possibilities.

I did start adding shadow and highlight, but went on to focus on patterns in both black and colour. I may return to add those shadows and highlights to increase the illusion of volume.

Sketchbook Saturday – My week in art

It took nearly an hour for me to look back on my week in art. I didn’t think I’d done this much as I’d been unwell for a few days and needed to sleep a lot.

In the video, I share with you my observations, reflections and lessons from all of this work.

It’s Template Thursday!

Here is this week’s template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

I’m in need of cute whimsy at the moment, so a Doodleworlds style design is just what my emotions needed.

Drawn with a Uniball Eye micro pen. Coloured digitally in Clip Studio Paint.