At the start of March, we launched the first month-long colour palette challenge for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group. I also posted a template that could be used for those who have access to a printer (or any template from any of my books if not).
Here is my coloured version of the template.
I like working with limited palettes. I don’t find limited choices confining or a challenge. Instead I find myself liberated from the choice of colours to use when completing an artwork. I end up with a more coherent/cohesive artwork than if I’m allowed to play in the sweetie-shop of the limitless colours of the digital realms. The limited palette makes me focus on the work in a different way, usually on shadow and highlight, as shades of these colours are always allowed!
In hindsight, these colours wouldn’t be a natural choice for me to use. I chose colours that reminded me of spring-time flowers and leaves and the lovely clear blue skies we ca get. Black and white are there, of course, for various shades, shadows and highlights.
So, tomorrow there’ll not only be a new template, but a new color palette challenge. I already have the template drawn and good to go, I just have to choose the colours to use.
At the start of March, along with the weekly template, I set a color palette challenge for members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book fans. I asked for all of you who took part to hold off sharing your wonderful colorations until the last Wednesday of the month, which happens to be tomorrow!
I’ve finished colour the template using the rather spring-like colour palette, and here is a fragment, a snippet of my completed template.
What isn’t typical is, perhaps, the colour palette. I chose the colours rather intuitively, letting my emotions guide me. I started with cool, calming blues and greens in the centre. All the colours are quite soft and gentle, until I got to the outside border where I used brighter yellows and oranges and complementary blues and purples. The brighter colours appeared as my anxiety ebbed and the clouds parted to let some sunshine through.
I had a weird night’s sleep with both hot flashes and disturbing dreams. I often feel out of sorts for a long while after such dreams and they may be the source of my anxiety. I’m feeling calmer now though. Art has worked it’s magic, and the intermittent sunshine is helping.
I think it’s forecast to be cloudy with sunny breaks for the rest of the daylight hours, so I may very well get myself out for a walk in a short while.
This has been drawn with a Sakura Micron 05 pen on smooth, heavyweight cartridge paper (acid-free of course). I’ve added the background and colour digitally, keeping to a wintry, night-time kind of theme. Of course, this will work for any season at all, and any time of day.
As always, I look forward to seeing all the amazing, colourful interpretations of this template.
Taking a big of a break
I may not be as active on social media over the next few days. Christmas and New Year are difficult times of year for me emotionally and mentally and I know taking myself off into a largely Christmas-free bubble helps me drift through this time, as well as deal with anything that may creep in and cause some upset in me.
I know I’m not the only person who has difficulties with their emotional and mental health this year. Given all that has happened in the world this year, the huge number of people who have passed away during the pandemic and measures taken for people to keep themselves and their families free of Covid at this time, many more than usual will be struggling.
Being by myself at this time of year is not new to me, nor is withdrawing from the world at this time. I find it exhausting to keep up a mask of seasonal jollity when I feel anything but that. I find it easier to deal with whatever finds its way into my safe-bubble. It’s easier to deal with being alone if I do my best to carry on as normal.
I’m aware of what things I can do to self-care and self-soothe. Art. Music. Books, Films. TV. Naps. Nice food. Meditation.
Do you have a list? Have you learned to give yourself permission to take care of yourself, give yourself time and space to self-soothe?
Learning to give yourself permission to look after yourself, even if it means saying ‘no’ or setting limits, is one of the hardest things to do. And it takes a lot of practice. But it is one of the most important things we can learn to do.
I remind myself this is for just a few days a year, and that soon after the celebrations are done, life returns to ‘normal’, whatever that is in these pandemic times.
This week, the design has one big focal point motif of a zentangle-inspired Christmas Tree. It’s cute and whimsical, and is surrounded by holly, mistletoe, gifts, stars and baubles. Of course there’s some hearts there too.
Although the drawing is quite detailed, it’s split into smaller sections. This is great if you only have a bit of time or feel overwhelmed by the whole image. This way you can do one section at a time.
There’s a couple of reasons I usually only colour part of the template. One is a question of time when I have other things that have to be done. The other is that it shows the difference colour makes to the drawing, how it brings it to life.
I love to see how colourists bring my drawings to life with colour and how unique each person’s approach to colouring is. Every time I see one coloured it brings a smile to my face. I have so many colouring books published, so many templates drawn that I don’t have time to colour them all myself.
But when I see a template I wasn’t happy with all coloured in and how wonderful it looks, it not only makes me smile, but it gives me a little confidence boost that my drawings may be just good enough after all.
Yes, I suffer with imposter syndrome and a lack of self-confidence still.
For the rest of the day I really do need to get on with my Christmas card design for this year and get the moonpig ones sorted out and sent off.
This week’s template is a combination of dangle designs and little pictures. Not one large and often intricate image to colour this week, but a series of little ones so that the template can be coloured in one little bit at a time. This is great for people who get overwhelmed by large, overly-complex colouring pages.
Just as a note, my book “A Dangle A Day” is available. It’s a tutorial book showing how you too can create your own cute and whimsical dangle designs. The dangle designs in the book are a lot smaller than this template!
This design was drawn on Rhodia Dot grid paper using a “F” Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen and then cleaned up digitally. I then added a wintry background and added some colour to some of the motifs.
I always love to see the many different and unique ways colorists bring my designs to life. Colour really does make all the difference to the templates.
I create templates for the members of the group as my way of saying ‘thank you’ for supporting my work. I am thankful that I am able to bring some joy and peace into others’ lives through my colouring books and my art.
If you’d like to download and print the template for personal use, head on over to the facebook group. Some simple terms and conditions of use apply.
I’ve chosen warm, autumn colours for my version of the template. How would you bring yours to life with colour? I love to see how people colour my templates, and I can be tagged on twitter and instagram as @artwyrd.
Today in South Wales
It’s a beautiful late autumn day. A hard frost this morning has now melted. The dragons-breath mist flowing down the valley has dissipated leaving the air filled with a silvery mist that diffuses the bright sunlight beaming from the pale blue sky. Trails of smoke and steam trickle through the fairly still atmosphere, making a statement that the colder months are now upon us.
Once I’ve completed all my social media posts, I’m going to put some sunblock and boots on, wrap up warm, and go for a much needed and long-put off walk. It’s time for me to face some of the social anxiety that has built up in me during another lockdown.
Then, it’ll be settling down to ink in some coloring templates for Entangled Starry Skies. I was going to do some yesterday. Unfortunately, I was overcome by the intense fatigue that plagues me from time to time, which hasn’t been helped by a few insomniac nights. I slept lots yesterday, and fairly well last night, so feel better today than I have done for a while.
Over the past couple of days I’ve been drawing small designs in pen, including plenty of line detail to add volume and shadow.
Today, I scanned the drawings in and printed them out (after cleaning them up a tad digitally) so I could try colouring them.
I wanted to print them on mixed media paper, which I know my printer will take. However, even with clean scans, the prints were really messy. However, when printed on ordinary paper, the prints were pristine.
I wasn’t happy as I wanted to use a paper with a bit more ‘tooth’ so I could make use of the Derwent Colorsoft pencils. But, I persevered and the results are above.
The first I coloured is in the top middle. My colour sense isn’t always wonderful. Lots of colours, but it just doesn’t feel coherent in any kind of way.
So, I moved on to the next design. This time, I thought I’d use analogous colours (colours next to each other on the colour wheel), with a touch of a complementary colour to add brightness. Complementary colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel.
I like this second one much more. It feels cohesive, like everything belongs together. And the little bursts of yellow/orange just lift it all.
The third design I’ve been colouring is only partly done. I’ve veered away from entirely analogous colours, but I am trying to keep the colour palette simple and with, perhaps, an autumnal feel to it.
As I was working on printer paper, I needed to use some way to blend the colours. I remembered I had some ‘Zest-It’ blending solution and some paper torchons. They worked well. The big frustration was that I couldn’t lay down intense colour. However, as these are prints, I’m not too worried. I do need to find some toothy paper which will go in the main paper drawer of my printer. I do have some cartridge paper here somewhere which should go through it.
Of course, scanning the drawings in means I can also work on adding colour digitally. It means I can try things out until I’m happy with the results.
I never have much luck with printers. Inkjet printers die on my quickly, even the more expensive professional ones. I thought I’d try a laser printer, but I seem to have problems with this one now not giving clean prints when I use the sheet feeder for specialist papers.
I don’t print much out, to be honest, but it’s frustrating when I want to print artwork out on specialist paper.
A note to self about colour.
What I have learned is that I like to watercolour the designs, but then the addition of coloured pencils to intensify the colours and add shadows works really well for me. I like the intense contrasts that I can get with coloured pencils that I just can’t seem to achieve with watercolours.
Of course, I can always colour digitally, which lets me play with colours, change them, until I get something I really like.
Today, I’ve had a reminder that limited palettes, particularly of analogous colours, seem to be working rather well for me, especially with those accents of complementary colours.
I really do need to put a big ‘note to self’ where I can see it to remind me of this. I can get carried away with colours
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!