This sketchbook page is now complete! I had so much fun doing this one for sure. There’s a whole host of plants to populate any number of whimsical worlds. There’s a third video tutorial showing how to draw, step by step, the last row as simple line art as well as the start of adding colour and pattern.
Some of the motifs look a bit ‘flatter’ than I like them to, and a couple I’m not quite happy with in terms of pattern/texture. But still, it’s a page full of inspiration and possibility, something I can look back on for inspiration.
Finally, the page is as full as I’d like it to be of oyster shells! I did some hand-lettering before filming the video. I just wanted to add a quote about oyster shells and practice hand lettering.
I really enjoyed drawing all of these shells. The last one, a more whimsical one than the others, is my least favourite. It did, however, give me the chance to do something a little different when adding textures.
I really didn’t think out the layout of the hand-lettering. Maybe I’ll work that out, eventually. Maybe!
Overall, I now have a great reference page in my sketchbook as far as oyster shells are concerned.
I may do some further work on this page. Part of me wants to add words/quotes/facts as a background to at least one shell. I’ll see how I think about that after a little break from it.
In the process of drawing this page over the past five videos, I’ve gained some insights and understanding about my motivation to start a YouTube channel. I didn’t seem to have any clear purpose for making the videos, but with time and working on it all I think the pennies have finally dropped. That’s a good thing, maybe. All I have to do is to keep this purpose in mind (and remember it!). Fortunately, I’ve recorded my ah-ha moments in a journal, just in case I need to refer to them.
Now all I need to do is work out the next motif to focus on!
In part 4 of this video series, I draw a couple of oyster shells, one of which I add colour, shadow, highlight and pattern to. The other I’ve left until my next video.
I really enjoyed drawing these oyster shells. The one I’ve completed has used a kind of variation of the Diva Dance tangle pattern to construct it.
I’m really quite happy with how this one has turned out. I actually think I’ve done a fairly good job on adding colour – so unusual for me! Alcohol markers really do seem to be working well for me. Something to seriously consider going forward, that’s for sure.
I like how the areas of dense black add a lot of contrast. But I like how I’ve added white dots to soften the harshness of them and make them feel they belong in the pattern.
As I was wittering and musing during filming, I realised how much I enjoy creating line art. I enjoy the elegance of simplicity, focusing on the key elements that make the drawing instantly recognisable. This hearkens back to my time studying science and then the 28 years I spent as a science teacher. In science, observational drawings have to focus on the essence of what you see, making sure you get the essential identifying features correct. I was always a bit of a maverick going a little further than the bare essentials and even adding some colour! I got a tad chastised for that, but it didn’t stop me.
Now, this love of focusing on the essentials, the basic line art, shows in my artwork so much. In fact, it’s essential for me to do this otherwise I try to incorporate everything I can see into the drawing. Then, the drawing ends up so detailed it’s not really recognisable!
There seems to be a lot of sudden realisations and connections being made with my relationship to art and my particular style lately. Signs, I hope, that I’m finally settling into what is ‘me’ and recognising where my artistic roots lie and what I really enjoy doing.
Speaking my thoughts and reasoning out loud for the videos brings this process into awareness. I’ve often written about how I don’t think in words, but in feelings or abstractions. I have to be forced to put them into words by being given the opportunities to speak them out loud to people, or sometimes to write them in journals or blogs.
I hope that by sharing these thoughts and processes with others it will help them to find ways to discover and become comfortable with their own artistic style, as well as gaining some confidence in expressing themselves artistically just for the pleasure of creating art.
The other thing that working with the bare essentials line art style is that there are plenty of spaces for me to get creative with pattern and texture! I’ve learned over time how not to become overly ornate. What I like about today’s artwork is how I didn’t try to fill every section in with intense and intricate pattern. Oh, there’s plenty of white highlight dots scattered around, but the tangle pattern style of textures are thoughtfully placed and not too many of them.
This is something I’m still developing – not to overwhelm the drawing with pattern/texture. How much to use, and how much ’empty’ space to leave.
This week’s colouring page / colouring template for Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group is full of whimsy.
I think the birds are busy using balloons to populate the twilight sky with stars and some hearts. I’m not quite sure what the tentacles are doing there, or what they may be attached to. But they may just be a reminder that Hallowe’en will be back, sooner than we think no doubt. Are those fish part of a fishy totem shoal? Or are they just floating/flying past and the pole is just a perch for the bird?
I always need some whimsy in my days, especially as the news of the world outside my inner world is always rather grim at the moment, or that’s how it seems. I think this is why so many of my drawings are whimsical these days. Partly. I think there’s something in me that has recognised that this is, perhaps, my main artistic voice, certainly when it comes to colouring pages. And perhaps my other forms of art too.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that at all. Fanciful and fun. Whimsical and witty. With a sprinkle of magic thrown in for good measure.
Here’s this week’s template, full of whimsy and smiles. I’ve combined some of my favourite things to draw – flowers, foliage, fish and fungi! This time, I have sky-fish swimming in a sky filled with happy bubbles above a garden. And why not? This is my world of whimsy after all.
Sky-fish. Who would’ve thought it? Well, apparently I did, and no doubt many, many others too.
The flowers are all rather whimsical and stylised, but that’s no bad thing. I’ll never stop thinking that we need some more whimsy in this turbulent world (and that’s putting it mildly!). If I can create a little world of beauty and whimsy with pen on paper, then I think that’s a good thing. And it’s even better if others can use colour to bring the worlds to vibrant life, or can learn how to draw their own whimsical worlds too.
I was a science teacher for 28 years, until I left to focus on my mental and emotional well being as well as art. My desire to help others gain confidence and inspire them to learn new skills, to find enjoyment in this process, then that’s a good thing too.
I felt the need to spend some time adding more pattern and texture to some of these abstract, stylised circular (ish) motifs. First, however, I added some colour to most of them. I used Ecoline Brush Pens which contain Ecoline watercolour ink. The colours are very intense and vibrant and so I use a water brush to add them to my drawings. I listened to Andy Serkis’ reading of Lord of the Rings while colouring before starting to video.
Water-based media do vex me somewhat. However, I’m beginning to see how the textures that can be achieved with them make interesting backgrounds behind the patterns/textures drawn in pen.
It was fun to experiment with dropping colours and/or water into the first layer of watercolour ink and watch them spread and mix. It’s a kind of magic and is totally mesmerising. The paper I’m using, Canson Imagine mixed media paper, isn’t the best for this, but it’s adequate. Time to dig out the watercolour paper again for sketchbook exercises like this I think.
It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours this Saturday morning. I don’t know when I’ll add more pattern/texture with pens, or possibly metallic inks or paints with fine brushes, to the remaining motifs. What I do know is it will be both explorative and intriguing and mesmerising and magical, and I’ll work out my relationship with all these mediums a little bit more.
And, perhaps, have a better relationship with colour!
This is one of the important functions of sketchbooks. Yes, I often do complete, polished, finished drawings in them. But finally working out that I can also practice, experiment and ‘art’ just for enjoyment in them is a bit of a revelation. One that I’m enthusiastic to share!
It’s also lovely that, through the medium of YouTube, I can ‘teach’ and encourage others to do the same. Hopefully, I make things clear and simple. And increasing someone’s confidence, the willingness to give it a go and see what happens without judgement, just learning from the experience. Sometimes the lesson to be learned is that it’s a relaxing process, a break from the outer world that can bear down on us. Other times it is trying out media or colour schemes or just practising.
I’m sure I’ve not given a comprehensive list! One of the most important things is that, just like a diary, no one ever has to look inside your sketchbook, unless you choose to share.
Creativity is part of being human. Working out the ways to express that creativity, what expresses a part of the inner self, is part of who we are. Art is one way to do that, and the only person we need to compare ourselves to is ourselves! As we journey and try things out we find out who we are by discovering who we are not. And it’s a journey that never ceases!
Today felt like the right day to start jazzing up these simple circle motifs with some texture and pattern before adding colour.
I kept the methods of adding pattern/texture really simple – just lines and circles combined in different ways. It’s amazing how just small, simple patterns can make a difference to the motifs, making them look a lot more intricate than they are.
It’s sketchbook work, so this is a pretty messy page, but that’s fine. I’m learning that getting ideas down quickly as a reference/resource for future work is a good thing. And if they’re messy, then that’s fine! Even with the messy bits, the ideas are clearly seen.
Colour is still the thing that vexes me, and the sketchbook is where I can explore colours and, perhaps, find my confidence in them.