Mushrooms! A Watercolour WIP

Two versions of a video of this artwork are available:
Full, 45 minute video with chat
Speeded up 10 minute version with music

This morning, I continued with a watercolour painting of mushrooms. This is very much a work in progress. It is inspired by an illustration in a book by Danielle Donaldson called ” The Art of Creative Watercolour: Inspiration and Techniques for Imaginative Drawing and Painting.”

As I am continuing to explore watercolour, I am dipping into books in my stash to absorb more ideas and information and try various exercises out.

In this video, I talk about how I think there are no right or wrong ways of being creative, as what is ‘right’ for one person may not be the way for another. We’re all unique people, creatives, and how we express ourselves, the techniques , media and styles is a very personal kind of expression. We can all learn valuable lessons by watching other artists work, taking courses, reading books, doing exercises. The most important lessons learned are those that show us who we are by helping us work out who we are not.

And this will change throughout our lives as we experience new things that change us too. And that is no bad thing at all. It’s all part of the rich tapestry of our lives.

I think that as long as your joy and passion and personality shows through in your art, then that is the most important thing of all. It makes your art uniquely yours, and that is, as far as I’m concerned, a wonderful thing. It may not be my thing, or to my taste, but then my art isn’t to everybody’s tastes either.

And, that is all fine and well and good. It doesn’t mean one is bad the other
good. It just means we are different, and that is what makes life so wonderful. It would be so boring if we were all clones of each other, wouldn’t it?

This chatter was inspired by a video I watched this morning by The Art of Watercolour, and you can see it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFMlh3EP1MA

I also chat about how I’m trying to work out how watercolour works best for me. The biggest challenge is that I partly have to learn to accept that wet watercolour has a mind of its own when you add more colour to it. It’s not easy for me to be out of control of the effects achieved, so I really think it’s a good thing for me to explore and learn to work with.

Entangled Art WIP

Today, I finished drawing this entangled, zentangle inspired kind of floral/botanical design. I did start this yesterday afternoon, but continued it this morning before I settled back to sleep. I’ve had a poor night’s sleep thanks to yet another upset stomach, so after my Wednesday delivery from Abel & Cole, I drew and then settled back to sleep.

I’m still feeling very tired, my digestive system is still uncomfortable, delicate, upset. But I have to run an errand today. I’ll get to that soon enough and then I’ll see how I feel and how that dictates how I look after myself for the rest of the day. I suspect more sleep will be needed.

Anyways, this drawing is on an A5 piece of Canson Imagine mixed media paper. I used a 0.3 Unipin pen to draw the design, and I’m now adding colour using a fairly limited palette of Zig Clean Colour Real Brush pens:
*green gray
*pale dawn gray
*olive green
*deep green
*ochre
*bright yellow
*pale rose
*lilac
*english lavender

I’m considering adding a couple of browns to this palette, as well as using some olive green over the grays.

These pens do move easily with a barely damp brush on this paper making it so easy to get a colour gradient. It’s also easy to add more colour to intensify the dark area.

I have recorded my morning art session as vlog.

In the vlog I talk about how the pressures of being constantly productive turned me into a workaholic when I was a teacher, and then fed negatively into my self-image which ultimately led to my burn-outs/breakdowns. I have learned that taking time for myself, to just be, to relax, to do things I enjoy, to look at ‘goals’ in a realistic kind of way to limit the pressure I put on myself.

I no longer have the external pressures of my career as a teacher, and one of the many hard lessons I’ve had to learn as part of my healing is how to value self-care time, and how that time can change from day to day. It’s so important for me, otherwise life’s own stresses and strains can take their toll on me and leads to physical, emotional and/or mental exhaustion or even ill-health.

Taking time to rest, to relax, is being ‘productive’, but in an important way. The productivity is investing time in one’s self and one’s own well being. And that is so very important.

This is why I take time nearly every day to create art just for myself, for the pleasure of creating, of exploring and experimenting, with no pressure on myself to create a completed work of art or for commercial gain. Just for the simple joy it brings.

Admittedly, I can fixate on art and forget about doing other things I enjoy, such as playing my flute, or learning to play my harp or tongue drum, or reading, or journalling, or even getting out for a walk, or combining my walk with sketching.

I know this is something I do need to work on for sure. But, like everything else, it comes together in it’s own way, in it’s own time, when I am ready to do so.

Exploring media and papers

Today’s vlog is all about me trying out various media on different papers, particularly the Zig Clean Colour brush pens on Fabriano Toned paper.

Exploring different ways of working is important to me; it’s how I learn and work out what works for me. Often, I’ll return to media and techniques I may have tried in the past that didn’t work for me then, but now I can see how they could work for me, particularly in the context of a sketchbook.

In my disc-bound sketchbook, I’ve assembled various kinds of paper, mostly toned. Now, I’m working out what media would be good to have in a pencil case for sketching while out and about (when I finally become comfortable with out and about again!).

The Zig brushes and Tombow markers work really nicely on the Fabriano paper.

Watercolour Experiments

Firstly, let me apologise for the poor photo. I’ve tried a couple of times to take a photo of the artwork, but I just can’t seem to get it in focus across the paper. I did video all but one of these experiments, and a timelapse video is available on my YouTube channel.

I had a delivery yesterday of Canson Imagine mixed media paper. I mistakenly ordered A4 instead of A4, but no problem, it can be used in my disc bound sketchbook.

I wanted to see how various media would work on the paper so, I used
*Derwent Inktense Pencils
*Mijello Mission Gold Class watercolours
*Kuretake Zig Clean Colour brush pens
*Tombow Dual Brush Pens

In each case I used a barely damp brush; I’d already found out that using rather wet colours left edges of colour rather than the smooth colour I like.

I didn’t draw the designs with pen, just an 0.3mm, 2H mechanical pencil.

The inktense are Ok. The colours spread a little patchily as the pigment/ink grabs onto the paper very strongly quite quickly. As they dry permanent, it’s easy to add a glaze of colour to adjust the patchiness. The colours aren’t as bright as I would’ve expected from Inktense. Maybe the off-white colour affected them, or maybe the pigments/dyes sank into the paper more as they dried.

A dry brush technique is needed for the Mijello paints, and they move too easily on the paper with water. The paper doesn’t really grab them, which is surprising as it’s not watercolour paper. I didn’t really enjoy working with them on this paper. Also, the colours are so dull… the colour of the paper, or perhaps the colours sink into it?

I loved using the Zig Clean Colour pens! The ink moved so easily with the barely damp brush. Getting a gradient was so easy. Also, adding a bit more colour to the still damp area helped with this too. I also tried blending one colour into another, and that worked really well. The colours are so vibrant, I loved working with them. My only regret is I forgot to press record for them! However, I’m sure you’ll see more of them in future videos.

The Tombows aren’t my favourite pens to work with. But, in this instance I really did enjoy working with them. The colour grabbed onto the paper more than the Zigs. This made both blending out to a gradient and blending colours more difficult. The colours though are really vibrant.

I did write notes next to each little experiment with a 0.3 Unipin pen. It was a pleasure to write on this paper, and I think I’ll enjoy drawing on the paper too, so it will definitely be a good addition to the disc bound sketchbook.

New Watercolours, & arty lessons learned

New Watercolours

Late yesterday evening, my new set of watercolours arrived. I’m now the proud owner of a set of 36 tubes of Mijello Mission Gold Class watercolour paints, and a pretty neat palette too.

It was too late last night for me to think about adding the paints to the palette and setting up some colour swatches,. So I set to that this morning with a big mug of tea and a headache.

I used them to continue adding colour to this drawing, and I can easily tell the difference between the Mission Gold and Cotman Watercolours, not just because I know where I added each colour, but from the intensity and vibrance of the colours.

I know I got more vibrance from the Cotman colours when I was adding colour to this by adding water to the pans and letting them sit for a while to soften the pigments. But, it was so much easier with the Mission Gold to do this. Indeed, I had to be careful that I didn’t use colour that was too intense!

Some insight into watercolour and me

It was, and will continue to be, an absolute joy and pleasure to use watercolour paint tubes. I’m so glad I splurged out on them after I had a memory of using tube watercolours years and years ago.

They were such a pleasure to use, both to create the swatches and in adding colour to this drawing. Bear in mind that this drawing wasn’t done on watercolour paper, but on creamy coloured Arteza mixed media paper! Also, I created the swatches on SeaWhite all media cartridge paper, which is a lovely bright white colour.

Now, I realise that a lot of my frustration with pan watercolours is with getting colours intense enough for my taste. That won’t be a problem with the Mission Gold set I’m sure.

I also feel that exploring and learning more about watercolour and colour mixing is something that I’d like to do now, and that I may not be quite so frustrated as I have in the past.

Coloring Template doubts and frustrations

Yesterday, I got a couple more templates drawn and edited, so I now have ten out of the thirty-one I need completed, editorial team’s feedback allowing that is.

However, I was really doubting whether what I’d done would work, was good enough. So, I thought I’d try colouring the template I was least happy with to see if that made a difference to how I viewed it, and hopefully the others.

That really did the trick! Just by adding a background colour/texture first, I started to feel better about it. Once I’d added colour and the line-art started to come to life, I started to feel even more confident.

This is something I need to remember going forward, when I doubt my ability to create colouring templates. All I need to do is see if they work with colour!

A bonus was that I really enjoyed adding colour.

Vlogging along …

I touch on all these things in today’s vlog, as well as showing the swatches and adding colour to the drawing.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to mostly keep my vlogs to no more than around 20 minutes, whether that’s real time or a time lapse version. I think they may work the best, though I may still record longer ones if there’s a need to do so.

Template Thursday and Good News!

This week’s coloring template

Here’s a partly coloured version of this week’s coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This one contains some zentangle patterns, some of my typically entangled designs, and some cute and whimsical elements that are reminiscent of Doodleworlds.

I posted some videos yesterday showing me drawing this coloring template, or colouring page.

Good News!

The good news bit is that Lacy Mucklow, the art therapist I worked with for the Color Me books, alerted me to the fact that our “Be Stress Free and Color” book is one of the best adult colouring books listed by The Independent, a UK newspaper. The book contains illustrations and text from the original books in the Color Me series.

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Template Thursday…On a Wednesday?

It’s Wednesday, so one of my main tasks is to create a colouring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. And as I drew this for my morning warm up art, I recorded it.

It took me over 1 hour and 20 minutes to draw the template and the full length video is here.

The time lapse version, which is about 15 minutes or so long, can be found via this link.

Yesterday, I wasn’t at all well. The usual upset stomach followed by a headache that needed sleeping off. The upset tummy had kept me up most of Monday night. What had caused it this time, I dunno. All I know is I slept a bit better last night, though I’ve been awake since 4:15 am and I’m beginning to feel rather tired again and my digestive system is still a bit tender. I’m sure I’ll be tickettyboo once again tomorrow.

It was lovely to spend some time this morning drawing just for pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy drawing for my publishers, but it’s different as there’s a lot more pressure on me to create templates that fit into a particular theme and their guidelines.

My weekly templates have no of those limits on them, so it’s a different kind of enjoyment.

There’s a lot of whimsical and cute elements to this weeks design, and I think that’s something I need to lift me up as I’m feeling a bit under the weather.

It was also a great pleasure to draw with pen on paper, and I think I’m going to have to do that with the templates for the book I’m working on. I get a much better sense of scale and overview of the design. Even when I scan a sketch in, I’m not all that happy with the digitally drawn version of it, usually.

So, that’s what I’m going to settle down to do for the rest of the day, once all my social media posts are done. Pen on paper, without the frustration I can feel when drawing digitally. Simple tools to focus on drawing ‘life size’ coloring templates.

And lots of tea is called for today, I think. Lots of good tea.

Entangled Frame | Part 2

My morning warm up drawing was to do some more work on the entangled, abstract frame I started yesterday.

With fresh eyes, I could see I wanted to make the width of the design more consistent around the frame. So, my first job was to do a little bit more pen drawing.

Then, I could carry on with adding colour with Inktense pencils, the same colour palette as I used yesterday.

As is becoming my daily…habit? practice?…I also filmed the process and chattered away as I did so. And my chattering, rather, my thinking out loud actually helped me make some connections between my experiences of art from childhood through to the present day. And that helped me understand my perceived problems with using colour in drawings from real life.

I will need to spend some time with these memories and insights and journal later on. I can then work with them to help, hopefully, to overcome some blocks and difficulties in how I feel about my artistic expression. And then, hopefully I can become accepting of and comfortable with the way that I work.

I’ve been following a few courses on Domestika, and one of the common themes in the introduction by each artist is what has influenced them. Many go back to their childhood passions and how they have influenced their artistic voices.

That, I have discovered today, is so true!

Perhaps I’ll condense my words from today’s video at some point, once I’ve processed them myself. However, if you’d like to hear my thinking out loud while drawing/colouring today, then here’s the link to the video.

Entangled Frame WIP

Having a bit of a break from the weird fish today. Instead, I drew this abstract, entangled frame and started to add some colour to it.

I’m working on A5 Arteza mixed media paper which has been coloured with Aged Mahogany and Rusty Hinge Distress Inks. The pen drawing was completed with a 0.38 Uniball Signo DX pen, which is both a consistent, fine line and is waterproof. I’m adding colour with Inktense pencils ( Red Oxide, Baked Earth, Crimson, Deep Blue and Sienna Gold).

I may add some more pen work as I work out if I’m happy with the inner space; I hope to add quotes to that space once the design is finished.

As far as the weird fish go, I have scanned them in and re-drawn them digitally using the vector drawing option in Clip Studio Paint. I’ve been experimenting with adding the shadows and highlights first then using different layer to add colour to the sections. I’m bumbling around with this at the moment, but I expect I work out how to get it to work in a way I like.

Yes, I know there are going to be tutorials out there that will show me how it can be done, and lots of ways of doing the same thing. However, by me bumbling and bimbling around the software, I’m learning more about it on my own terms.

Oh, I also filmed my drawing and adding colour this morning and the video is below. If you do choose to watch the video, then please choose to view it in YouTube as your view then counts to the channel stats, along with thumbs-ups! Cheers!

Weird Fish – Part 2

I’ve spent some time drawing a third weird fish and intensifying colour on the two original ones.

For the top fish, I used Derwent Colorsoft pencils to increase the colour. The watercolour underneath does add to the colour in a subtle way.

I used Derwent Inktense pencils and a damp brush to add colour to the central fish.

Finally, I’ve been adding colour to the bottom fish with Inktense pencils too.

As pretty as the watercolours were, they were a tad too subtle for my liking with not enough contrast. So, I used them as the underpainting and then added layers of more intense colour over them. It seemed to work out just fine and well.

I’ve kept the color palettes pretty similar for each of the fish.

Also, I’ve re-drawn them digitally as vectors and I’ve just started colouring one of them.

No matter how I add colour – digitally or using traditional media – it takes me a long time. I fuss around until I get things looking as I like.

This is very much a fun project, and I have no idea where it will lead, if anywhere. The important thing, however, is that I’m enjoying working with traditional media and I’m doing something a bit different too that I can learn from.

Here’s the video of today’s art. I’d appreciate it if you open it in youtube as then your views get counted.