Illustrated Journal Page and Lettering Practice

Sunday morning (and Saturday evening, which was when this page was started) is the perfect time to practice my lettering, a quirky kind of illustrated journal page, and digital art practice.

I had intended to use just three, maybe four, basic colours for this page, but the vegetables threw me a tad!

I drew the page on paper with a fine Zig Mangaka Flexible pen. The Colour was added digitally after scanning the page. And I had a lot of fun as ideas clicked into place to add colour to the lettering.

Admittedly, some of the inking work is a tad clunky, but that could be fixed if I wanted to. It is a sketchbook page, and so perfection isn’t required. Giving myself permission to work with what I deem as less than perfect is an important lesson I’m trying to learn. Expressing myself in this wobbly, wonky, imperfect, quirky, eccentric, whimsical kind of way is a work in progress.

Oh, I’ll still draw detailed, intricate black and white pen designs. But I suspect I’ll do much more of this style of art. I have much to learn about it, using colour with no black lines, for instance. But I know it’s all a process, and I’ll get to where I need to be. I know that I’m really enjoying the combination of traditional ink drawing with digital colour – tradigital?

I’m not sure my Doodleworlds critters belong, but I just couldn’t resist popping them in to fill an awkward space!

Lettering practice, 23 July 2022

I’ve had a funny couple of days, not necessarily in the funny ha-ha way, though!

I had a migraine yesterday, so no video nor post was possible. I’m feeling better today, just still very, very tired.

Today, I had plans. I was awake around 5am, again, and so did some pencil lettering ‘sketches’; the finished result of one is in the photo.

I thought I’d start to digitally ink the lettering in and add colour before turning my attention to a YouTube video. And the phone rang, and it was a friend. So, during the over two-hour-long chat, I managed to mostly get this done! Yup, I can ink in a sketch and so on while chatting. I just can’t chat and sketch, generally.

My plans to record a video this afternoon were then scuppered as I couldn’t keep my eyes open! So, on waking, I completed this particular piece of lettering and doodling.

It really is practice for me. I’m not only practising my lettering skills, but I’m also trying out new brushes and tools and so on in Clip Studio Paint. That is a constant practice for me. I tend to learn how to do something when I need to do that something!

This one is probably as good as it’s going to get. Time to move along to the next mini-lettering project and learn and practice more!

#DrawWithMe | Patterned letters – “h”

I’ve finished inking all the templates for ‘Fanciful Birds’! So how to I celebrate? I hand letter a lower case h! And video the process too.

I added the ‘g’ early this morning. I woke way too early and did some drawing until I was ready to go back to sleep.

#DrawWithMe | Patterned Letters

Phew, what a day! First, I focused on getting some of the final templates for “Fanciful Birds” done. I have just two left to do tomorrow.

After several hours working at a computer screen, I needed some time working with pen and paper. So, I continued with this page from my hand-lettering sketchbook.

I started this page yesterday and completed the ‘e’ and ‘f’ in today’s YouTube video.

The ‘e’ is completed in a dusty blue Chameleon fineliner pen. For the ‘f’ I used a rusty brown Staedtler Triplus fineliner.

I’m not at all fussed on the lilac ‘e’ on the top line. I much prefer either black or the more vintage, muted tones. That seems to be a bit of a theme with a lot of my art.

It was lovely and relaxing to just draw for the pleasure of drawing, and it was really comforting to return to this kind of intricate, abstract, patterned kind of art too.

Start of a new page in my lettering sketchbook

Again, I woke before 5am today, even though I didn’t go to sleep until nearly midnight. This is getting ridiculous!

What else to do until I’m either ready to sleep again or give up on sleep and start my day proper? Oh, art of course!

So, I decided to divide a page up in my lettering sketchbook. Then, I coloured the vertical sections with distress inks. The colour themes from left to right are blue, pink and green, with bits of crossover.

Next step? Collage some papers to create areas for hand lettering to go. That squared paper needs to be toned back a bit – white gesso will be just the ticket!

Then, I did some hand lettering and added some patterns. I thought I’d use some fineliners – Inktonic Pens from Arteza to be exact. the collaged paper does like to soak the ink up when just the edge of the pen nib touches it.

Fineliners are not my favourite pens to colour in with. But, they usually have water-soluble ink in them. So, on the lower panel, I used a damp brush to move the ink around to even out the colour.

On the upper panel, I splattered some water on it and used a paper towel to lift the water up. That created a nice splatter pattern. Then I had a thought, “What would happen if I sprayed water on it, lightly and used a paper towel to pick the water up?” I lost the pretty water-bleached spatter patterns. But, some of that ink really bled into the edge of the collaged paper. That was unexpected and rather interesting.

So, some more interesting experiments with this idea I’m working with.

Oh, the letters of lacuna had colour added with a deep indigo Inktense pencil, brush and water.

Oh, I did use a pencil to write out the letters and position them, and I still made a pig’s ear of the ‘And still I rise”. Sheesh! Perhaps I’m being way too critical of my own lettering and what is there. I focus on all the imperfections I perceive, rather than taking a step back and trying to see what I’ve drawn and lettered through someone else’s eyes.

Time for tea and breakfast it is, I think.

Lettering Practice WIP

Lettering WIP

I woke before 5am today and so I did what I do until I’m ready to go back to sleep – letter and/or draw.

Today, this quote from the wonderful Maya Angelou appeared on my Facebook newsfeed. So, it deserved to be used in some way.

This lettering thing is still vexing me. Today I thought I’d try using some vintage, grungy lined paper from a digital download from WhichCraft Do You Do.

Yes, lined paper. Because, why not! Not that it’s made much of a difference to me feeling a bit better about my lettering. But, you gotta keep trying things out until you find what just sits right, yes?

Next step, after gluing the quote in what seems a suitable space on my sketchbook page, was to add patterns to the background. I started with the border of the Zentangle pattern Crescent Moon around the quote. Then, I added the river of Diva Dance upon which the quote floats. The tangle pattern at the bottom is Crazy ‘Nzeppel.

It seem that looking at and creating some work inspired by Rebbeca Blair has influenced me here. Instead of splitting the background up into smaller sections, like a quilt, I’ve worked in layers that look a bit like torn paper. Now that is an idea to explore further.

I’ve started to add colour with Inktense pencils – Red Oxide and Deep Indigo so far, but I will use some Mustard too. I also intend to add some gold to design, probably in the narrow channels either side of the rusty red section and a few ‘Nzeppel ‘pebbles’.

I think I prefer the torn paper edge of the quote panel, though I may re-try this with straight cut edges.

Digital Downloads

Using digital downloads is a bit new to me. Well, in this fashion at least. I have used digital backgrounds a lot in my digital art, and still do. But printing them out is something I’ve not considered before.

I do think I could make my own papers, going forward, to use in this way. All I need to do is remember to scan them in before using the paper! Easier said than done though. We’ll see.

Having some papers already in my digital stash is a worthwhile start to experiment and see where this leads me.

Draw With Me – A pattern and motif sampler.

Link to today’s video on YouTube.

This seems to be the natural progression of my work earlier this week where I put motifs in boxes and added background colour only.

When looking at Rebecca Blair’s artwork, which I absolutely love, I got inspired to create the first ‘sampler’ on the left. I say sampler because splitting space up in this way reminds me of needlework samplers created to practice different stitches.

This is a lovely way for me to indulge my love of hand-lettering, patterns, stylised motifs, colour, shadow, texture and boxes split into boxes!

Colour continues to vex me. I think my favourite is the centre example in a monochrome colour scheme. No chance of any weird colour combinations with that one!

I keep saying this about me and colour, don’t I? But I really need a huge sign that lights up and flashes to remind me to stick to monochrome colours, possibly analogous, and with tiny flashes of a complementary colour. Actually, I need the sign to detect when I reach for colour and shout this advice at me!

Of course, I wanted to share my experiments with the world; well, a few hundred people may be, who may find this an interesting idea to try. If you’d like to see the video then click on this link!

It’s been a quiet day for me. My digestive system is playing up, and self-care is the order of the day. That means not doing anything that has to be the best I can do. I know today that it’ll be harder for me to get things done because I’m under the weather. Fingers crossed, I’ll be fine and dandy again tomorrow.

Draw With Me… Hand-lettering and Zentangle Inspired Patterns

I had a request from one of my subscribers on YouTube asking how I create this kind of art. Well, a nice request has to be met with a response, in this case, a YouTube video.

I’d tried out this way of working a week or so ago. I’m trying out different ways of combining hand-lettering with my kind of entangled kind of abstract art. In fact, I’m trying to work out my hand-lettering artistic voice. It’s very much a work in progress.

I’m really rather pleasantly surprised with this page. It’s not finished but is a melange of different ideas and pen types. There are a lot of ideas to take away from this and a lot to think upon.

I particularly like how I eventually worked out I could have patterns weaving in and out of the letters, again messing around with volume/dimension/space. I’ve yet to work out how this could work, but I’ve made a start.

My fingers are itching to get to work on something similar to this. I am, however, feeling totally exhausted. I didn’t sleep well last night, and my eyes are constantly on the point of closing as I fall I asleep where I sit.

I have a delivery due soon, I hope. And after that, I’m going to crash and have a nap. Then, I’ll see what happens this evening, as far as art goes!

Looks like yesterday and today are my ‘weekend’ this week. I do know, from past experience, that if I try to do some serious work while falling asleep, I’ll just mess up and have to repeat it again. So, time for self-care for sure.

Slow stitching, mixed media, hand-lettering and a Tangle Pattern!

Link to today’s video that accompanies this blog.

I’ve seen a bit about slow stitching recently. It kept on catching my attention, so time to take a look at it a bit more.

Permission is given!

I lost my way with textile art many years ago – my attention went to other things. I still have a sizeable stash of threads and beads and sequins and so on. I got a couple of Slow Stitching books on my Kindle, had a quick read/flick through and had a realisation. Slow stitching gives me permission to create with stitches with a similar mindset to my more abstract art – to lose myself in the flow of creating, of just letting things happen and going with it and enjoying the process!

Being given permission – that is such a powerful thing! So often many ‘rules’ seem to be set about how you ‘should’ use a particular medium, or how you ‘should’ draw or create. It’s so refreshing when someone gives you permission to just do want you want, whatever brings you relaxation and pleasure (talking about stitching here!).

The stitching doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to look like anything. It’s just creating pattern and texture with colour and so on in a way that is pleasurable to you, to me.

It’s taken me a long time to give myself permission to draw the whimsical art I draw, or the more abstract stuff I do. But sometimes it really does take someone else to give that permission, either overtly or tacitly.

So, last night I dug out some felt and embroidery threads and needles and just started to stitch – cross stitch, seed stitch, running stitch and French knots. I’ve never been able to do French knots before!

Fond stitchy memories

As I stitched I had fond memories of Friday afternoons in primary school, I must’ve been 9 or 10, and being able to take out a sturdy cardboard box that stored my sewing project. Everyone in the class had one of these – boys and girls. A rectangle of navy blue Aida fabric, with the holes forming fairly large grids. A blunt needle was carefully stored in the fabric, and there was a selection of embroidery silks on the teacher’s desk to choose from.

Each week, we added another border or row to this fabric, learning different kinds of decorative stitches as we went. The Aida fabric made it easy to do, the only tricky things were not pulling the thread too tight and getting twisted, tangled and knotted thread!

Eventually, a panel was completed and the entire project was turned into a kind of pouch for pens and pencils. I had to add a linking – bright red – and stitch everything together by hand.

I remember being really proud of what I’d made and I treasured that pouch for years, even when black ink stained it, in one corner. I don’t know what happened to it. It just seemed to disappear at some point never to be found again by me. I remember being a bit upset at it going missing.

When I was in University, studying Chemistry and Environmental Pollution Science, I often used to get acid splashes on my jeans. So, rather than throwing them out, it seemed sensible that I use simple stitches to turn the holes into flowers and extend that pattern beyond the holes.

Over the years I’ve dabbled with cross-stitch and stitched tapestry and patchwork, but nothing really grabbed my attention until I did a lot of textile work during my A-Level art in my early 40s. Yet, that went by the by as other art took over, particularly when I started to work for publishers. I even won an art competition with one textile piece.

Slow Stitching

Returning from a little trip down memory lane, I wanted to take a look at this slow stitching. It feels right that I revisit stitching with the aim of incorporating it into my drawing and hand-lettering work. It may take me a while to work out how I’m going to do that, but unless I make a start it may never happen.

Felt is OK to work on, and I may return to needle-felting beautiful fibres onto black felt and then using slow stitching and beads to embellish the work. First, I have to get some black felt! I have loads of the rest of the stuff in my stash!

I also want to explore stitching on paper, using the stitches as a way to collage papers and so on. Like in the photo above.

Working on paper also gives me the opportunity to draw and/or paint patterns or textures alongside the stitches; giving me the opportunity to find different ways to combine my favourite things!

It may not be everyone’s cuppa, but my first attempt is making me smile and there’s a small sense of achievement.

I have no idea where this will take me, nor how persistent I’ll be with the stitching thing. It is, however, one more technique to add to my toolbox of arty techniques to choose from. And another one that is both relaxing and pleasurable, especially now it’s ok for me to do what I want when it comes to stitching!