Drawing and Watercolor Practice

Yesterday turned out to be a funny old day. Funny as in not what I’d planned.

I got most of my recent experiments into watercolour added to the journal I’m making/working on, with brief notes. That journal is now getting a partly open ‘crocodile mouth’ look, which is fine by me. Before adding the experiments to the journal, I needed to colour some pages with Distress Ink.

As I was adding the little pieces of art to the journal, I realised that the background colours tied in rather nicely with the artwork placed on them – all completely by chance.

After that, I had some tasks around the house to do, and had phone calls that disrupted my flow of work somewhat. In the evening, though, I decided to continue with the Mattias Adophsson Domestika course, and the drawing/painting above was the result.

I’d already done some sketches of the anthropomorphic items in my sketchbook, and I re-drew the character drawing of myself, again. I made myself too thin by far! Ho hum. More practice is required for sure.

Anyways, after drawing the characters, I used flat, controlled watercolour washes followed by glazes to colour them in. This I felt more confident with – and more controlled about.

I can see how the kitty needs some shading, both on it’s body and on my top. I also need to add a line to the hand holding the balloons to make it more like a closed hand.

I’ll be following Mattias’ course, well parts of it. People and characters aren’t quite my thing. I don’t have the imagination it seems, or maybe I just don’t have the need to draw them. However, it’s nice to explore other ways of artistic expression. Those explorations are never wasted as it may just be that I find out that a particular style isn’t for me, no matter how much I admire it! Also, there’s always new things to learn that can be incorporated into my own art going forward.

More Watercolour Practice!

Over the past couple of days I’ve been playing around with watercolours. Apart from fun, it’s trying to work out how I can get them to work for me, and here you can see some of my experiments.

As well as continuing with the Domestika course, I found a book on my Kindle called “The Art of Creating Watercolor : Inspiration & Techniques for Imaginative Drawing and Painting” by Danielle Donaldson.

I’d forgotten I’d bought this, but on rediscovering it and looking at it I found it inspired me, particularly when it comes to drawing people.

What was reassuring, is that Danielle Donaldson is someone else who likes to work on a small scale! She also uses a very fin (0.3mm) pencil to draw with, but also to add line and pattern to her drawings instead of pen. I wanted to try that out.

I also really like the whimsical nature of her art, and her people inspired me to have a go. The three people in the collection of images above are inspired by her work, one more than the others. The one that is most directly like Danielle’s work is the person to the right of the trio. I used a pencil to draw the design as well as outline it after it was painted.

With the other two, I used a very fine Pitt Artist pen to outline them once the paint was dry.

Looking at them all together, I quite like the softer quality of the pencil line.

Oh, these trio are also my way of developing a version of myself. Unfortunately I look pregnant in the middle one (I’m not!), though I rather like my hair in this one – I wish my own hair was as thick and long! I really need to work on feet and foot positions.

Watercolours have vexed me, and continue to do so though I will persevere with them. Drawing people has vexed me for longer!

I started a course on Domestika – The Art of Sketching: Transform Your Doodles into Art by Mattias Adolfsson, Illustrator. But kind of let it fall by the wayside when the practice exercise was about drawing people, particularly myself. I baulked, big time. Perhaps I’ll now continue with the course, now I’ve found a style that makes sense to me, and I can work on developing my own.

I’m not entirely sure that watercolour will be the best medium for me to use…I’ll try others, including digital, to see what I can get to work for me and is in my style.

I also spent sometime experimenting with monograms and botanical themes. I really like the blue foliage, and the cute tree too.

Yesterday my art and other stuff was put on hold for much of the day; I woke with a migraine and couldn’t do much until painkillers had kicked in and I could sleep away the remnants of it. Once I woke, that’s when I found the book and did some art inspired by it.

I slept quite well last night, and woke just fine and dandy today.

All these bits of art will find my way into the journal I’m making, including notes and reflections on them.

Watercolour Practice

Yesterday was another day where I got lost in watercolour practice – unintentionally! I had planned to do some editing of drawings for ‘Entangled Gardens’. However, time ran away with me.

Panel 1

The first panel I completed was the one with leaves on. They do have plenty of gold metallic/iridescent watercolour paint along with traditional paint, though it doesn’t show up in the photo.

I tried different ways of adding details to the leaves – Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (F) and metallic watercolour and brush. I find the black pen either too black or I used too thick a point. The metallics in a red-copper, gold and grey-black were more sympathetic to the colours of the leaves, in my opinion.

Panel 2

The next panel I created is the one at middle bottom. I made circles of watercolour and let them touch while wet so there was some flow of colour from one to another. After they’d dried I used a fine brush and both watercolours and metallic watercolours to add line and pattern to it.

I enjoyed making this one very much. I used some quite earthy colours that are unusual for me. The line and pattern added a lot of interest, though I did wonder if I’d covered up too much of the underlying watercolours.

Looking at this with fresh eyes today, I think it shows through just fine. I want to try using metallic paints that are complementary to the main colours in the watercolour to see how that works out.

Panel 3

This is the one at the middle top. I created ovals of watercolour, again using unusually muted, earthy tones.

Once they’d dried I used some Caran D’Ache Luminance coloured pencils, well sharpened, to add patterns to each oval. I used the variation in colour/tone to help me add the patterns, as well as to choose the colours of pencils I used on each oval.

Finally, I used a yellow-green metallic/iridescent watercolour paint to fill in some of the patterned areas.

I enjoyed making this panel too. Again, I thought when I finished it that the pencil lines were a bit thick. However, after a night’s sleep and with fresh eyes I can see that it’s worked out well. I think that using coloured fineliner pens may work out better than coloured pencils – something I’ll try another time.

Panel 4

The last panel I created yesterday was the fourth panel. I used a different kind of watercolour paper, by Tim Holtz. The paint just dried so quickly on it I couldn’t really drop colours in, though the paints would re-wet and I could blend colours that way. I didn’t really enjoy using this paper.

Anyway, I thought I’d make a typically ‘Angela’ entangled style painting. I did use a raw umber Caran D’Ache Luminance pencil to draw the design on the paper. This was such a pale colour it disappeared into the watercolour sections. Again, I used uncharacteristically earthy, muted colours.

The final panel was nice enough, however, it was lacking in pattern and interest. So, I decided to use it to experiment with different ways of adding outlines and pattern to the various sections. I also noted on the panel what method I’d used next to each one.

The metallic paints and pens worked nicely and were practically or totally opaque. I prefer using a pen rather than a brush, though I’d not be averse to adding line and pattern using a fine brush and watercolour.

The gold and silver Uniball Signo glitter pens worked really nicely, and because the glitter is suspended in a transparent ink, there’s interesting effect where the watercolour shows through. I actually really like this a lot.

I couldn’t find a gold Sakura Gelly Roll pen, so I used a silver one instead. This, surprisingly, wasn’t as shiny as the Signo silver pen, but it worked just as well in terms of opacity.

I tried two white gel pens – a Uniball Signo and Sakura Gelly Roll. Both seemed to be fairly opaque, the Sakura being very slightly more so.

Finally, I dug out some really fine black pens – 005 and 01 OHTO Graphic Liners and a 01 Sakura Pigma Micron. These worked much nicer than the thicker pen I’d used on the leaf panel.

Of course, I left some areas of the panel without any lines added for comparison.

Of all the pens I tried, I like the metallic and glitter gel pens the best for this.

On reflection…

I’ve found I really like to work on a smaller scale. I feel like I’m creating small ‘treasures’ full of interest and fascination. I’m happier working smaller and more detailed than I am working on a larger scale.

I want to try coloured fineliner pens to draw patterns on watercolours.

Another experiment will be for me to use metallic and plain acrylic and other inks to draw with. I do have a glass pen that will work nicely with indian ink and writing ink. I’ll have to dig some dip-nib pens out to try with the metallic acrylic paints as well as a brush. I think that ball tools could be used to dot spots of ink onto the work rather than a brush; something else to try.

I also need to find a way of leaving a border on the page! When I draw a colouring template or other piece of lineart, I start by drawing a pencil line to demarcate the area I want to draw in, leaving a border around the line. I need to do the same for watercolour panels, either using a pencil or masking or washi tape.

Something else I’ve worked out is that I tend to use too much water when I paint, and I need to experiment with using less and trying dropping colours in when the area is at different levels of dryness.

Lots of things to try and consider.

Doodling? Really?

I see a lot of people calling the addition of line, texture and pattern as part of an artwork ‘doodling’. I don’t like doodling being used in that way.

Here are the definitions for ‘doodle’ from Dictionary.com

verb (used with or without object), doo·dled, doo·dling.
*to draw or scribble idly:
He doodled during the whole lecture.
*to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity.
noun
*a design, figure, or the like, made by idle scribbling.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/doodling

When I add line or pattern to my drawing, it’s not an idle or unconscious activity. I deliberately choose what patterns and textures I want to use and where to place them. The process of adding the lines, patterns and textures may be a more mindful process if the pattern is familiar to me.

The lines, textures and patterns are used to add interest to elements of the overall design. But they are not meaningless, as implied in the words scribble and doodle, and they are anything but idle or mindless scribbles. There is purpose in them, and this is why the use of the word ‘doodle’ irks me!

What am I going to do with the panels?

The leafy panel I created to add to a tag to put in my journal. The other panels will also live in my journal, even the one with annotations, possibly with a pocket behind it for my notes and reflections!

Coloring Template

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

Another lock-down week has passed us by, so it’s time for another coloring template for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. Here’s my partly coloured version. I’ve gone for rather soft yet glowing colours for this one.

As always, if you’d like to print and colour it, then pop over to the facebook group and join up. It’s free, it’s a lovely community of people who love my artwork and share their amazing colorations with each other. You’d be made most welcome.

I used one of the dragonfly designs from yesterday’s posting as the focal point for this design. Mandalas are something I love, so to place one behind the dragonfly felt the natural thing to do. I’ve used my signature style of entangled art to fill the space around the mandala.

This is digital art, drawn and coloured using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, along with Microsoft’s Surface Studio and Surface Slim Pen.

Dragonfly Designs

©Angela Porter | Artwyrd

One of my ideas is to create a digital library of designs of things that interest me and that may be useful in my journal making, card making, or just other kinds of art.

For some reason, I decided on dragonflies. So, I sketched out some ideas and then inked the drawings in digitally. I also added details and patterns ot the designs that weren’t present in the sketches. The dragonflies are in my signature entangled style for sure.

I still have a few sketches to work on, and some alternatives of the wing shapes and body designs. I also want to do them as silhouettes. I like silhouettes on coloured backgrounds, like the one I’ve used today.

I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to ink in the designs. I also used it to add the background, shadows and typography.

The background is one of my own made using Distress Oxide inks and water. I love that I can recolour the image digitally; the original was in shades of pink and purple, but I thought that blues and greens would suit the dragonflies much more.

I’ve left the dragonflies uncoloured, for now, though adding colour will bring the designs to life and add some dimension to them.

I don’t have a colour printer anymore, just a black and white laser printer. I may consider getting a colour printer in the future, however, as I think being able to print my own digital art would be useful, especially for using in journal making. An inkjet printer would be the most useful; it would allow me to print on many different kinds of paper and lightweight card.

I’m also thinking of putting together digital collections of backgrounds and ephemera and/or digi stamps for sale via my Etsy shop. Let me know if you think that’s a good idea by dropping a comment.

Journal – pages 4 to 7

Over the past day or so, I’ve done some work on my journal and have pages 4 to 7 mostly complete. I’ve included lots of pockets to slip paper or artwork or other surprises into. I’ve also used some artwork I created as ephemera and embellishments.

Page 4 – top left.

This page has three pockets. One made by adhering two pages together, with a thumb notch punched out. Another is made from a sheet of tracing paper. The third is behind one of my signature entangled drawings; it’s a fairly secret pocket, unless I add something that peeks out from it.

I coloured the reverse of the drawing with Distress Inks as I didn’t know how they’d react with the pen drawing. Then, I adhered the tracing paper to some old book paper, and then adhered this to the tracing paper pocket, applying glue along three sides to create the pocket.

Once the glue was dry, I added some zentangle style patterns to the tissue paper pocket, just for fun. I used one of the Chameleon Fineliner pens to do this, using a colour that went well with the colours I’d used to ink the paper.

Page 5 – bottom left.

Page 5 is a little bit bigger than half the width of a page. I folded up the bottom of the page and adhered it along the edges to make a tuck-in. I punched out the thumb notch with a circle paper punch.

I decorated the tuck in with flower art at that I created myself. I also added some zentangle style patterns in between the flowers. I used Chameleon Fineliner pens, this time using a red and orange to get a gradient.

Page 6 – top right.

Again, a page that is a little more than half the width.

The drawing was done in gold ink on tracing paper. I used Distress Oxide inks to colour the reverse of the tracing paper before adhering it to some old book paper. The text and diagrams on the book page shows through faintly, as it does with the drawing on page 5.

Page 7 – bottom right.

This page just has a flower painting I created along with old book paper that have been collaged onto the journal page.

You can see the thumb notch on the edge of the page, showing I created a pocket by adhering two pages in the journal together.

Next steps…

None of the pages are fully completed. I’d like to add quotes or meaningful words or phrases. Some pages have gaps where I can add ephemera or pockets and so on. There’s certainly many spaces on the pages where I can draw patterns and designs.

I’m going to let the pages rest for a while as I turn my attention to other things today.

I’ve been feeling a bit ‘off’ or ‘meh’ in the last couple or so days. I’m finding it hard to settle to work of any kind. That I’ve been able to focus on getting some little bits and bobs done for the journal shows I’m feeling a bit more focused than of late.

Journal Ephemera

This morning, I woke early-ish and thought I’d spend a little time on my journal.

On page 2 I’ve added one of my silhouette irises backed onto some pearlescent card that i coloured with Chameleon Color Top marker pens. I’ll be adding a quote beside the flower, when I find the perfect quote to go there!

Above the flower you can see a little tag with a semi-circular bottom that has a little pocket in it. The tag will flip up so I can hide some journaling or quote or something pretty and surprising behind it.

On both pages you can see paperclips that have inchies embellishing them. This is a fab way for me to use my inchies in a practical way.

Finally, you can see three mini paintings – two floral, one abstract – that I can use in future pages.

Unusually for me I started by painting the basic shapes of flowers and leaves. Then, I added stems and details using various colours of fineliner pens as well as a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. I added some sparkly dot details with Sakura Stardust and Uniball Signo glitter gel pens.

For the abstract pattern, I painted arcs on the watercolour paper and when they were dried I added curved lines using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen and a gold glitter Uniball Signo pen.

I’m not at all sure how I’ll use these, other than the colours of the three cards go really well together so they’ll help me with the colour scheme for another pair of pages further on in the journal, as well as making other ephemera and so on for it.

I do like relatively straight edges, neatly regimented bits and bobs in my journal. I’m not one for lace and frills and frothy additions. It’s not completely clean and simple; I do like old book paper that’s been torn. It’s like I need to control shapes and positions and arrange things ‘just so’, neat and tidy like. That may very well be my way with journal creation, which is in juxtaposition with those I see on youtube.

Being confident with something new, like making my own journal, is something that takes time, perseverance and patience – the patience mostly being with myself until I gain enough confidence.

It’s also the confidence that doing something different to others is perfectly fine.

Yesterday

I was missing in action yesterday. I was unsettled, dissatisfied with anything I tried to do, and needing a lot of sleep it seems. I kept away from the ‘puter and social media. So, no art was done (other than a couple of templates for Entangled Gardens) and no blog post was written (nor any other social media).

One lesson I have learned from my time in counselling/therapy was the importance of knowing when to exercise self-care. I try my best to do this, though sometimes it’s difficult as I know there are expectations and pressures I place on myself.

However, I have learned that if I try to push myself to do things when I’m just not in the right place to do them, I just get more and more frustrated and fed up. If I give myself the time and space to do what I need to do to take care of my emotional and mental health, when I settle down to work, the work flows more easily and I’m more satisfied with what I create.

Although I did draw two templates yesterday, I started three or four others and just threw them as I really wasn’t at all happy with them, and they really were nonredeemable.

Once those two were complete, I felt better about my deadline for the book, a bit more settled in myself. However, any other artistic things I tried I was just frustrated with. So, a complete break away was needed. So, it was crochet while binge watching American Gods on Amazon Prime Video.

I don’t know if I’m feeling any better today as far as art goes, I do know I need breakfast before I consider doing any!