The calendar page turns over and we’re into a new month.
August always heralds the end of summer and start of autumn, my favourite season. It is the last full month of summer here in the Valleys of South Wales. The evenings come noticeably earlier, always a sign that the year is continuing on its endless cycle of seasons.
We have a grey, damp and blustery start to the first day of the month. There are shafts of sunlight finding their way through gaps in the clouds, but there’s a deliciously refreshing snap to the cool and fresh air after the night-time rain.
I thought I’d create a really simple mandala design for the start of this month, one that is full of warm colours, but that hint of autumnal tones in the background.
I kept things simply stylised in the design. If nothing else, working on it made me smile, inwardly as well as on my lips.
I woke early-ish today and did some work on one of the typographic portraits I’ve been doing. Then, in my rush to get to the shower, I clicked the wrong button and lost my work. Thankfully, it’ll be easy enough to do it again. I also think that with the version I’m working on, I’m finding my way with the process. I have a lot of the portrait left to do, but I feel less frustrated with it and have a clearer idea of what I’d like to achieve now I’ve taken a few days break from this kind of work.
Before I settle back to the typography, I am going to take a walk in the fresh air of the morning. Well, after I’ve done my social media posts!
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!
Tonight, at 10:43 BST, the Sun appears to enter Cancer, as viewed from the Earth. Of course, it’s the Earth that is moving around the Sun. Today, marks the official start of summer, but it also marks the time when we have the days of most light here in the Northern Hemisphere, and we’ll soon notice there’s not quite so much daylight at the end of our days.
This year, English Heritage are live-streaming the solstice sunrise tomorrow morning on their facebook page. You’ll have to be up early (or just not go to bed!) as they start streaming from 04:07BST, with sunrise at 04:52BST. I’m certainly going to do my best to watch it. This is one of the good things to come out of the pandemic. The live stream hasn’t been done before. I would never go to Stonehenge on either Solstice as there would be too many people and far too much noise and bustle for me, but this is a nice way to see it as it happens, not recorded and shown after the fact.
I’ve always felt an affinity with the cycle of the seasons and marking the solstices and equinoxes has felt far more natural to me than any religious celebrations. The scientist in me appreciates the facts around these dates in the calendar, my heart and soul appreciate them in different ways that are personal to me.
I found this quote about the solstices, and it sums up a little bit about how I feel about them.
The artwork shows a lot more about how I’m feeling today – not quite with it, spaced out, emotional and well out of sorts. I had an idea in mind, but I just couldn’t execute it to my satisfaction today. It looks like I need another self-care day. Which is fine. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to go slow in order to go fast. By taking time out from commitments, I return to them in a better frame of mind and emotional state and I’m more able to fulfil them to my satisfaction for sure.
If you’d like to download and print the template to colour, then all you need to do is pop over to the group and join! It’s free!
I’m flagging at the moment. I didn’t sleep much last night; I’ve picked up some kind of stomach bug and so was back and forth the bathroom. My tummy is still not well today. I was, however, determined to get a seasonal greeting out to one and all.
Drawn with Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens. Typography and colouring done digitally.
I’ve been awake since way before dawn drawing this mandala to celebrate the Winter Solstice. I’m looking forward to the increased hours of daylight, though it will be a couple of weeks, or so, before there’s any noticeable difference in the length of day.
It’s been a lovely way to spend the hours as night gradually gives way to the sun. Not that I can see the Sun itself; grey skies and patches of rain obscure the golden wonder of that glowing ball of nuclear fusion.
I created the mandala using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
Yesterday was a crazy busy day with no time for art, let alone blogging!
This morning, I finally had some time to myself. As it’s Friday I wanted to do a dangle design, and I ended up doing four!
I cut the card into the wrong dimensions to create a card, so I thought I’d just make use of the pieces I had and make some custom card blanks and envelopes for them another time.
I coloured the pieces of card with Distress Inks in shades of blue and green. I used Chipped Sapphire, Tumbled Glass, Broken China, Evergreen Bough, Cracked Pistachio and Salty Ocean in various combinations.
These colours gave the card a frosty kind of feel, so I went with some snowy, icy, wintry designs.
I drew the designs and completed the hand lettering with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens, which are waterproof.
Plain black lines on the coloured background did look a tad lacking. So, I added some shimmer and colour using Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints.
I’m not so fussed on the ‘Let it snow’ design. However, I am quite pleased with the others.
I am going to mount them as greeting or note cards. However, the designs would look charming in a BuJo, journal, planner, diary or scrapbook. They could easily be adapted to make bookmarks too, or place cards for a special meal.
I hope you’ll give drawing these designs a go, or use them as inspiration for your own projects. I’d love to see what you create – please tag me on social media so I don’t miss them!
If you’d like to know more about dangle designs and have some guidance and inspiration for them, then my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ is a good place to start.
It’s been nice to have a couple of hours to indulge myself in art. The past four weeks or so have been crazy busy with other projects being quite demanding of my time, mind and energy. However, they will soon be over and my focus can return, properly, to art.
Of course, December brings Christmas and the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Familiar motifs are stars, hearts, holly, fir trees, gifts, sweet treats, poinsettias, Santa hats, baubles. I’ve included these in this month’s coloring template, though there are many more motifs to consider – ivy, bells, angels, hot chocolate, socks, gloves, scarves, hats, ice skates, sleighs, reindeer, pine cones, fairy lights, to name but a few.
If you’d like to download and print this template then pop along to the facebook group. It’s free to join and free to download the template. All I ask is that you follow the terms and conditions of use and don’t share the uncoloured template. A mention of myself as the artist would be most welcome when you share your gloriously coloured version.
A few, simple terms and conditions apply. All I ask is that you follow them and mention myself and the facebook group when you share the coloured template on social media. Tag me in your posts and I’ll definitely get to see them!
Autumn is well established here in the UK, so I wanted to combine leaves, berries and some acorns in a mandala.
I used an autumnal colour palette to bring the template to life. I think mine looks like a rich, decorative rug. However, I love to see how creative you people are with your colour schemes, particularly those of you who are heading into Spring or who don’t really experience Autumn in your part of the world.
I did draw and colour this mandala digitally, using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with my Microsoft Surface pen and the paper that is the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio.
Hello to November, and farewell Inktober. My blog post today looks a bit bare compared to my Inktober creations. However, I have neglected my dangle designs during October, so now’s the time to get back on track with them
Today, I’ve created a simple and elegant dangle design with an autumn colour scheme that could be used in so many different ways. I’ve also put together a step by step set of instructions how you too can create this design (and hoping that it’s not so simple that I come across as patronising).
This is my first time posting a set of instructions – post a comment to let me know what you think of them and if you’d like to see more of them in the future.
I’ve put the dangle design on one side of a slip of paper that would make a perfect compliment slip or a note to slip in with a gift, or just as a short letter to a friend. It would also be perfect for a coordinating piece of envelope art!
This dangle design would be absolutely charming as an embellishment in a BuJo, planner, scrapbook or art journal. It would also make a darling bookmark.
It would be easy to turn this design into a greeting card as well.
So many possible uses for such a simple design.
I do hope that you will give drawing dangles a go – no matter whether you think you’re good at drawing or not! This design is made out of just simple shapes; it’s the colour that brings it to life and masks all kinds of imperfections.
If you’d like more ideas for dangle designs, then please take a look at my book ‘A Dangle A Day’ – it’s filled with examples of dangle designs with step by step instructions and helpful and encouraging words of advice.
One step at a time to a dangle design.
Step 1 Draw a square in the top left corner of a piece of paper. I used a piece of paper measuring approx 8.25″ x 3.5″. I used a Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen to draw the box, and outline it. I deliberately made the squares less than perfect to give that human touch as well as a uniquely ‘me’ way of drawing boxes. The Fudenosuke pen allows me to draw lines of variable width quite easily, which adds to the charm of the box. The ink in the pen is also alcohol marker friendly. Letting your drawings be less than perfect is what makes them uniquely yours.
Step 2 I used Chameleon marker pens (BR3 “Cinnamon” and YO3 “Warm Sunset”) to colour the inner box. Autumn is definitely here in the UK, and the combination of these colours reminded me of the leaves. However, you could use any colour combination you like and any medium you prefer to use. Chameleon pens make it so easy to create a colour gradient – I prefer them to other alcohol marker pens, even Copics.
Step 3 I added a simple leaf pattern to the coloured box using a Sakura Pigma Sensei 04 pen.
Step 4 Add the dangle! For this dangle I used the same kind of leaves as in the box for a consistent design. I added some round beads as ‘spacers’. Finally, I added my ‘symbol’ to the end of the dangle. Also, I did draw a faint pencil line with a ruler to help me keep my dangle hanging straight, more or less!
Step 5 I coloured the beads and leaves in using the same colours of Chameleon Markers. I then decided I needed to add some shimmer and shine; I used a Uniball Signo gold glitter gel pen to colour in the border of the box and to add some dot highlights here and there. The Chameleons caused the Sakura Pigma Micron ink to smear a little – I always forget that happens! I should’ve used the Tombow pen again. Oh well, you live and learn, eventually!