Wednesday Wisdom | Paleotober | Drawtober

Wednesday is a day when I’m up extra early for an organic food delivery. I usually spend the time awaiting the knock at the door drawing. Today was no different.

I had an idea to try to work in layers of patterns and to add a quote to one side. The first layer contained some ammonite-style shells, surrounded by little bubbles that could represent the sediment.

The next layer has seed pods, but the pattern they create reminds me of the fossilised stems of plants found in the carboniferous coal of the South Wales coalfield.

The third layer reminds me of the limestone beds exposed on the Glamorganshire Heritage Coast, particularly Southerndown and Nash Point.

The fourth layer reminds me of some kind of fossils or sea plants, the name of which I just can’t bring to mind.

I thought a quote about fossils would finish this off nicely.

Drawn with 05 Pentel Energel and 0.38 Uni-ball Signo DX pens on marker paper. Background, shadows and quote added digitally.

Tuesday Typography for Paleotober

I had to take a totally different approach to completing this piece of typographic art – pencil drawing the design and letter outlines on paper before inking and scanning into the computer.

Once scanned in, I could clean the image up, fill the shapes with black. I learned how I could use some of the tools in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to do this. However, in black and white the artwork looked just so flat and dull.

So, I added a chalkboard background in a lovely sea blue (ammonites were denizens of the oceans after all!), and added a colour gradient to the typography.

It then looked a bit better. But I thought I’d try adding highlights and some shadows. And that just did the trick and I was finally happy with what I’d produced. It was good enough for another step on my typographic art apprenticeship.

That doesn’t mean there are things I wouldn’t do differently the next time I try something like this. My hand lettering needs a lot of work on, as does my attention to the letter weights too. I’ve just realised that I meant to draw tiny ammonites in the dark blocks between words as spacers. Also, I could’ve spent a lot of time tidying up the lettering digitally.

I also learned that working on paper gives me a much better overall view of the design and how things sit together. For some reason I struggle with this when working digitally. It may be that digitally I can zoom in and out and often work unaware of what is around the design. With paper, that overall perspective is ever present.

Digital art is something I love to work with, but I’m realising that I do need to work on paper too, even if it’s a sketch or drawing that can then be enhanced, edited and completed digitally.