Dot Mandala Cards, Butterflies and Fungi

Digital drawings

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Over the past couple of days I’ve continued working on my Microsoft Surface Book using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create digital images for used in card making and mixed media projects.  IFungi and butterflies have been my chosen subjects, and you can see some of them in the images above.  They’ve also been digitally coloured, though I’ve still got dots and lines to add to them to give more depth and dimension to them.

They’re all now cut out and sitting waiting to be used in various projects.  There’s still more drawings carefully filed away on the Surface Book for future uses…

Dot Mandala Cards

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I’ve also have a bit of fun creating some teeny-tiny dot mandalas.  Each card base is just 3″ x 3″ (approx. 7.5cm x 7.5cm).  The black card I used as the substrate is 2½” square (approx. 6.25cm).

The acrylic paints I used are either metallic or pearlescent, so they do catch the light rather nicely.

Mixed media cards – shells and fish

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Over the past few days I’ve been drawing shells, flowers, fish and fungi and sorting them out to be digi-stamps, work all done on my Microsoft Surface Book.  Some have been printed, coloured using my Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops pens, cut out and mounted on mixed media backgrounds.  The photos above show the fruits of my labours.

Apart from the Chameleon markers, the media I have used are:

  • Distress and Distress Oxide inks
  • Iridescent and metallic paints from Liquitex and Pebeo.
  • Perfect pearls sprays
  • Stencils
  • Stamps
  • Black Archival Ink
  • Inktense pencils
  • 3D Crystal Lacquer
  • Alchemy Wax

I think that’s the complete list of media.  I used mixed media paper for the backgrounds, and the paper was cut out using rectangular dies.  Behind the backgrounds, I used silver mirriboard as a mat.

I’m quite pleased with them.  No so sure about the kraft card bases (which are 5¾” x 4″ in size), but they were what I had.

Now, all I have to do is work out a price for them and pop them into my Etsy shop, though I think I will have to take better photos for that!

Mixed media index cards – 5 June 2017; my own library of digital drawings

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Mixed media index cards

Two index cards worked on over the last day or two.  The focal points are shells I drew, first on paper, then the image was worked on on my Surface book with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and my Surface Pen,

I had to use scissors to cut out the shells (not my favourite task as I’m not good with scissors) after I’d coloured them using the Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops marker pens.  I’m really pleased with the colouring.

Lots of different techniques/media were used on the index cards – stamping, stenciling, inktense pencils, distress inks and distress oxide inks, pebeo dyna paints, perfect pearls sprays, gesso, clear holographic embossing powder from WOW!

I’m happy with them, though I’m not sure they’re quite finished, especially the little one.

Digital drawing library

I’m beginning to build up a library of my own digital drawings – fungi, flowers, shells at the moment, oh and one angler fish skeleton that I’ve not used yet (but that’s an idea for later or tomorrow maybe).

I have to decide if I put these images together as packs of ‘digi-stamps’ for sale…I’m really pleased with my shells here, but the fungi have worked out fine too.  With my limited scissor skills, I’m keeping it in mind I need to keep the outlines relatively simple, but the inside of the design can be rather detailed, which is fun.

Mixed media index cards – 3 June 2016

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Two more index card done!

I drew the fungi then coloured them with the Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops pens.  Cogs have appeared in the background once again – gotta have a lil bit of steampunkishness!

I’ve used 3D Crystal Lacquer on the fungi caps and on the stars in the background.

I’m liking the slightly bigger format of the index cards compared to ATCs.

Today’s mixed media ACEOs/ATCs

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Today’s ACEOs/ATCs

Today I’ve created a set of six ACEO/ATC cards using dragonflies and butterflies as focal images.

The photograph doesn’t do them much justice; the backgrounds are shiny purple and silver with some stenciled patterns created using modelling paste.  Peeking through in places are patterns from some reprints of first series Ordnance Survey maps as well as some torn text from an old mathematics text book.

I couldn’t work out how to use my cogs and gears on these, but remembered all the patterned paper I have, so I had a bit of a furtle through  and found some paper that looked nice against the busy background, which also the focal images looked good on.  Indeed, they look like mounted specimens.

I got the focal images from my stash, already painted.  However, I did put some painted and embossed papers behind the wings of two of the dragonflies, which looks quite nice.  I did add a wash of iridescent medium to all the focal images (can’t avoid adding some sparkle).

On returning from an appointment, I decided I would cover the dragonflies with 3D Crystal Lacquer, which has worked out really well I think (difficult to photograph though).

I’m really quite pleased with these ACEOs/ATCs; they’re simple, yet they just work and satisfy my need for ornate, sparkle and shine.  I’m glad I used the patterned paper to crated a calmer centre to mount the focal images on.

I don’t think I’m going to add any words/quotes to these, though a few gems or similar may be in order once the crystal lacquer has fully dried.

Drawing focal images

One thing I thought of as I was using the die cuts for focal images, is that I do need to find the confidence/courage to draw my own.  I have done some fungi, flowers and ammonites, but haven’t printed them out at the right size, yet.

Also, it may be that using the surface to do drawings for this may not be the best way for me to work; my drawings do tend to turn out a little too ‘perfect’ for my liking in some ways.  I’m still doing my best to work out how I can get my Surface Book to work for me as I’d like it too.  However, if I don’t use the smoothing tools in the software, the pen wobble just is totally annoying (it’s also something that is inherent in the Surface Pen/Surface book, which I really hope Microsoft will do something about sooner rather than later.

It’s really easy to use dies to cut out images for use, but to create my own…well…but we’ll see if I manage to use my own drawings in the next batch of ACEOs/ATCs.

So, my job this evening (apart from going out to do some food shopping) is to do some drawings, on watercolour paper I think, to cut out and use as focal images.

Oh, using scissors is a bit of an issue for me.  Despite me being right handed with pens and so on, I use scissors in my left hand.  In fact, there are quite a few things I can do with either hand, and many things I’m equally as bad at with either hand, such as using a badminton racquet or golf club!  Don’t ask.  Anyway, back to the scissors.  I’ve always struggled using scissors well, and I’m worse with left-handed scissors than I am with right-handed scissors.  Craft knives and me tend to be a slightly dangerous pairing – for me, not for anyone else!  I’m ok if I’m using a rule to cut straight lines, but anything else, well …

So, I will persevere, and perhaps the mistakes I make won’t be as noticeable to myself…

Mixed Media ACEOs/ATCs of today

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This morning, I woke way too early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to do some more ACEOs/ATCs – two sets of four this time!

Mixed Media ACEOs, and updates

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Mixed Media ACEOs/ATCs

I’ve spent the last four or five hours creating this set of four ACEO/ATC cards.  It’s been a while since I did any mixed media work, but I felt the need to get a bit messy.

Each card measures 2½” x 3½” (approx. 6.5 cm x 9 cm) with the substrate being some fairly thick Kraft card.

I started by using some yellow Frog Tape to hold the cards together so I could make the background at the same time.

I started by applying PaperArtsy Fresco Paints to the kraft card until I had a finish I liked.  The colours I used were Cheesecake, Rose and Sherbet.

The next step was to add some Windsor and Newton Modelling Paste through a couple of stencils (one was the dot fade stencil by Tim Holtz, the other a mini dragonfly stencil by Creative Expressions).

Once the modelling paste was dried, which I hurried along using a Tim Holtz Heat Tool from Ranger, I watered down some Alchemy Waxes from Imagination Crafts  (white gold, tulip and apple green)and used a paintbrush to colour the dragonflies.  I then used the wax and a piece of Cut and Dry Foam from Ranger to apply some of the waxes over the dot patterns.

Once I’d finished applying the wax, I wasn’t happy with the result on the dragonflies, so I used Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint in Rich Gold to re-colour them. I was much happer with the results, especially the dragonflies that I’d coloured pink/red.

The next step was to have a furtle through various coloured diecuts I have in my stash.  Every now and again, I spend a day cutting out various die cuts (mainly cogs, flowers and foliage, but sometimes other things too) and then colouring them to add to my stash.  It saves on time when I have the urge to do some mixed media work. It also makes use of my rare urges to do die cutting, which I find a very tedious process.

After a good furtle, I found some cogs that would work on two ACEOs that had just the dots on the background. I couldn’t find anything I’d want to add to the dragonflies; I was just happy with them as they were.

The die cuts were applied with Cosmic Shimmer Acrylic Glue from Creative Expressions, then some Vintage Photo Distress Oxide Ink with a wet brush was used to add shadows.

I used a Quickie Glue pen from Sakura and Gold Superfine Embossing Powder from WOW to add some gold dots and to areas where there was no embossing paste.  Following this, I edged the cards using a piece of Cut and Dry foam and black Archival Ink from Ranger.

 

I then chose some words from the Tim Holtz Chit Chat stickers and glued them down with the Cosmic Shimmer Acrylic glue, and used a damp brush and a China Black Inktense pencil from Derwent to add shadows around the stickers.

The very final step was to add some sparkly gems, and they were done!  Once all is dry, I can add my information to the back and so on, and I have some ACEO cards to use on other mixed media projects or in my art journal.

Other arty news

Over the past week I’ve been keeping myself artfully busy learning a bit more about Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and how it works for me; you could say I’m building up a relationship with it.

For now, I’ve been drawing LOTS of mandalas!  I’m keeping them back from t’internet as I hope to publish them (some are already spoken for by the Colorist app), and other people asked if I was going to make some available for purchase.  So, I’m building up a collection of them for that purpose – either with a publisher, or I’ll self-publish if necessary.  I’ve also done a couple more small mandalas that work nicely as designs to be coloured and made into greetings cards, kind of like digital stamps.

Talking of digital stamps (digi stamps), there are some ideas rattling around my noggin that I’d like to try out, so there’ll be more news on this later on no doubt.

It looks like I’m going to be doing a colouring book of spooky templates in the near future, so if anyone has any ideas for ‘spooky’ or ‘eerie’ then feel free to share!

I also have a few ideas for written books rumbling around my noggin; however, it’s really hard for me to do something with them as I doubt myself so much, think they’re silly ideas, and so on.  The ideas aren’t wholly in my noggin, I do have notes on them on the ‘puter which need tidying up…but I’m finding it difficult to do this because of all my self-doubt and self-criticism. I just need to keep saying to myself, ‘But you have recorded these ideas so they are there for you, so you have made progress).

Other things going on in my life

A week ago, I finally had the hedge at the front of the house removed, as well as the back garden completely cleared.  My garden is tiny, but it’s amazing how much space was hidden by the cotoneaster and forsythia!  I do have some clean up to do, but there’s no great rush on that.  I also need to consider what to do with the back garden.

The process of getting this done has caused me great anxiety, but there was an ah-ha moment when I realised that some voile panels in the windows in my front room would help me to feel ‘safer’ and more ‘private’ while letting in daylight.  For a long time I’ve hid behind curtains; well, I still am, but at least I can see out through the voiles even if people outside can’t see in!  Why I didn’t think of this a long while ago, I don’t know, but thank goodness I did!

I’ve done a couple of anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales, and I’m seriously wondering if I’m really making any difference as my story is so bland and ordinary … after all it’s not a dramatic tale to tell, and I really don’t think it’s anything people haven’t heard/seen on TV on the soaps and so on…so I’m really feeling quite downhearted about that at the moment.

I know it may very well pass, but at the moment … it’s difficult….my therapy?  Art of course!