Entangled Pen Drawing | Part 1

Link to Today’s Vlog on YouTube

This morning was a time to draw. A familiar and comforting style of art – entangled – in pen. I filmed the process and uploaded it to YouTube as a timelapse with vlog voiceover.

This first part of the drawing took me just over an hour. There’s more to do, but for tomorrow I think.

Thankfully, my mood seems to be improving. Yesterday, I was feeling physically under the weather with it. Hmm, I refer to emotional weather, and the term ‘under the weather’ seems quite apt! Emotional weather does have an impact on one’s physical health (weather) too. I know this from past experiences.

So, today I feel better physically and emotionally.

Over the past few days, I’ve turned to drawing entangled art, mostly. It’s something I do when I’m experiencing a bout of the emotional storms. This type of art is familiar to me. It doesn’t provoke serious bouts of self-doubt or frustration, something I get when I’m pushing my boundaries with art style or media.

Artistically, it’s like enfolding myself in a comforting, weighted blanket. It soothes and reassures me.

Days like these are not days to be challenging myself artistically or otherwise. Times like these are when the inner critic starts to bare it’s fangs at me. I’ve found that doing familiar, comforting art is the best way to disempower that inner critic. I know I do good enough art when it’s an entangled pen drawing, and that means that I don’t doubt myself or beat myself up – all of which are just food for the critical monster.

When my resilience is at it’s full level again, then I can challenge myself artistically. Until then, I carefully choose what art to do as the last clouds of my gloomy, stormy mood move along.

Friday Flip-through

Friday seems the perfect day to have a look back on the week’s sketchbook art. A vlog seems the perfect way to do that.

I also start to add colour to the latest drawing using a limited colour palette of Ecoline brush pen colours – gold ochre, burnt sienna, indigo and prussian blue. Another colour (or two) may be added to the limited palette. I’ll see how I get along.

This particular drawing is being used as a place to test out ideas concerning adding shadow and highlight, simple colour washes, and anything else that springs to mind. It may never been completed, but that’s not the point! Experimentation and experience are the points of this particular exercise.

More Abstract Art…

Vlog on YouTube

Please note that I am not sponsored, paid or have products gifted to me in return for a review or promotion. I mention the products I use in case you’re interested, and my opinions are my own.

Yesterday, I finished adding colour to the abstract artwork I’ve been working on for a couple of days. I’ve spent between 5 and 6 hours on it. The paper is approx 6″ square, so that gives you an idea of the size. I do have a thing for creating small artworks!

I’m not sure if I am finished with it, however. I have a yearning to add metallic dots and patterns, but not sure I should. I’ll let it be for a while. If I do decide to do this, then it will be no big problem if I don’t like the outcome. This is something experimental for me, to try things out and to learn from.

This morning, before I turn my attention to inking in some coloring templates, I decided to use this first painting to abstract a pattern from for a new artwork.

This time I’m using a 16cm x 8cm piece of Canson Moulin du Roy 100% hot pressed watercolour paper. And it is a joy to use in comparison to the Aquafine. I’m sure there’s nowt wrong with the Aquafine, it just doesn’t suit my way of working. Which is fine. We’re all different.

After drawing the design in pencil, I started to add watercolour. I’m using my Mijello Mission Gold Class set of colours along with a Caran d’Ache water brush.

I had some hiccups with the waterbrush and working with a different paper. All part of the experimenting, exploring and learning process!

I did a little test of the Inktense pencils and the watercolours on the back of the paper. The Inktense pencils worked so much better on this paper. That is a lesson for me for sure. Time to add Moulin du Roy paper to my shopping list!

Buggy Sketchbook

Time Lapse Video

Drawing

Today is a lazy, artsy day, Sunday. It’s raining, on and off, so I’m disinclined to wander out anywhere.

I started the morning drawing some half insects. Why half? Well, the plan is to scan the sketches in (which I’ve done), ink them in digitally (done too!) and then add colour (started!). Digitally, I can use the symmetry tools to complete the other half of the insect.

Of course, I could create mutant hybrids … but that doesn’t appeal to me much, that’s for sure.

I did film me drawing and wittering about my sketching and other arty stuff. I haven’t published the full-length video; I was very wittery and disjointed. My attention was focused on the process of observing and drawing. It seems that my ability to speak coherently vanishes as my concentration increases!

I enjoyed the half hour or so of quick sketches. I was focusing on creating simplified, stylised drawings, rather than detailed realistic ones.

Thoughts

Some connections were made as I wittered on. One was that when I draw in a stylistic way, I have no problem with using non-representational colours. It’s when I’m drawing more realistically that colours vex me. This is a problem that occurs with traditional media in particular.

I had a memory of falling in love with the work of Kandinsky, Juan Gris, and similar artists while doing my A Level art two decades ago. I particularly love the use of colour to communicate inner emotions, relationships with the art, and symbolism and metaphor.

I found this an interesting connection to make, even though I’m not entirely sure what that means yet. Other than that I’ve always found non-representational colour and stylised, abstract art something I’ve enjoyed doing. Indeed, as I write I remember that in front of me are three oil paintings I did for one of my art exams. They are abstract patterns from locomotive parts and Romanesque sculpture. Fiery reds, oranges, yellows and magentas were used for the locomotive parts. The painting based on Romanesque sculpture was in cool, calming blues. My focus for all the paintings was on pattern and contrast to get a feeling of volume/dimension.

Last summer, I was playing with watercolours and patterns abstracted from rock strata and nature. I used colours that appealed to me in these paintings.

I keep circling around this style of art. I return to it from time to time, enjoying the process of creating such art, often on a small scale too.

Where art comes from is a mystery. It comes unannounced. It has the quality of gift. The source from where it comes is hidden from us. Like all creativity, it stands us in possibility. It comes from impulse and dream, from raiding the inarticulate, from going below the floor of consciousness. To do this we must break free of the confines of the known and fixed. As artists we do this with our materials—with our hands. And in this confluence of mind and matter abstraction is not only relevant, it is essential. —Timothy Hawkesworth

Working from my creative subconscious is something I do…a lot. All my entangled art that just flows onto the page. Mandalas. Using observations of pattern and texture to create something that is non-representational, just, to my mind, pretty, pleasing.

I do the representational for coloring books, but my personal art … well … that can be anything I want it to be. I can use any colours I wish to use for it, and accepting that isn’t an easy thing.

The Inner Critic

I do my best to let colorists know that there are no rules for colour, that if they want purple trees and green people, that’s fine! And I’m able to do this in my coloring template style work. The stylised nature of these drawings allows that freedom. There really are no rules other than the ones we impose on ourselves.. I love to see the different ways people use colour, and the unexpected ways especially.

Yet, I am just realising that I’m very critical of myself when it comes to representational colors.

My problems start when I’m trying to create work that is representational of what I see with my eyes, such as succulents, or plants or anything else.

I can draw these things fairly well. Sketching and line art isn’t a problem, though it could be improved no doubt. But that improvement comes through practice.

My problems come when I start to add colour. If I can work with something that is non-representative then it works out OK, if often full of quite bright colours. Monochrome or limited color palettes really work well for me and produce a coloured piece of art that is cohesive.

It’s when I have a representational drawing that I want to add colour, that’s when my inner coloring critic comes knocking.

This inner critic took up residence most probably in my earliest school days when I was five or six. Well meaning teachers making sure you coloured inside the lines, that the sky was blue, the grass green and so on. If you deviated from these rules, well … trouble followed.

Trying to stay safe by using representational colours, and keeping this inner critic happy isn’t working at all. It’s time to sort this limiting inner voice out.

Moving along

Making observations, creating stylised, imaginative versions of what I see, using patterns and textures I collect and not worrying about realistic colours is my way forward.

As Yoda said, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

I thought I’d done that, I didn’t realise I was subject to the attentions of the inner coloring critic. Not until I started talking and writing about this as starting to dip into a book full of exercises for creating abstract art.

Time to invoke my inner art jedi master and deal with the self-criticism that is limiting me! “This is Jedi business, go back to your drinks.”

Entangled art and my artistic style

Link to real time video of drawing and chatting
Link to time lapse drawing video.

Today, I started my arty day with some entangled drawing and a chat based around some interesting questions posed to me by various people on social media yesterday. The questions got me thinking and talking about my particular drawing and art style.

What I’m realising is, I’ve never really be provoked into thinking about/talking about my art style and where it has come from! For me talking and thinking are the same thing – there are two styles of inner monologue. One is where you hear thoughts in sentences throughout the

The topic of inner speech has caused a stir on Twitter after the user KylePlantEmoji  put out his own observation on the matter. “Fun fact: some people have an internal narrative and some don’t,” he tweeted. “As in, some people’s thoughts are like sentences they ‘hear’, and some people just have abstract non-verbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them. And most people aren’t aware of the other type of person.”

https://mymodernmet.com/inner-monologue/

I have a mix of them. My inner monologue is one that ruminates on the past, is self-critical and so on. But I also have abstract, non-verbal thoughts that I need to verbalise to be aware of them. So, if someone asks me a question about, say, my artistic style and where it comes from, then I have to verbalise thoughts about it. Until I’m forced in some way to verbalise these kinds of thoughts, I have no idea what they are. Same if I’m, say, sitting in nature, observing the world around me. My thoughts won’t be on what I’m experiencing. Often, there are no thoughts, unless I’m stuck in a ruminating, worrying and self-critical mode, which doesn’t happen all too often.

Until I read this, and other articles, I thought there was something wrong with me, because so many others seemed to think in their heads about lessons, or experiences, or the news. But I never seem to do so. Now, I know and understand why that is. I think in an abstract way that I’m not particularly aware of as such. It just happens.

So, creating these daily (almost) vlogs is forcing me to talk about my artistic style, choices, process, lessons and so on. And such it is making me more aware of myself as an artist.

Most importantly, however, it is helping me to understand the value of all these things validating my art to me.

Yes, I do have a bit of ‘imposter syndrome‘ going on when it comes to my accomplishments in life. But, talking about my artistic journey, and how far back it started and where the observational skills and so on started is helping me see it’s been an almost life-long journey. It’s also helping me to accept and understand my artistic voice(s), style(s) as being an expression of my experiences in life where art and observation are concerned.

There’s plenty about this (though not the inner monologue and imposter syndrome stuff) in today’s real-time vlog. It is around 53 minutes long, so I have created a time lapse version with music as well.

Inky Butterflies!

A sketchbook page full of inky butterflies! This is how I started my day – over an hour and a half of sketching, inking, erasing pencil lines and then adding some colour to one butterfly. Of course, I filmed this whole process and have created a YouTube video of the hour and a half of arty fun into less than 20 minutes.

I used a ‘hard’ Tombow Fudenosuke pen to ink the quick drawings in. Then, I used Inktense pencils to add colour to one butterfly. The colours I used were red-violet, mallard green, sienna gold, golden yellow, peacock blue and ink black. Finally, I added some dots using a white Posca pen.

Maybe not the best drawings I’ve done, but they’re sketches, ideas to use in further work I think. And, like with the inky insects from yesterday, they are only the start of designs!

A nice way to start the day, and hopefully a nice way for you to spend 20 minutes sharing in my creative experience should you choose to view the video.

Template Thursday

It’s Thursday and so that means a new coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week, it’s a rather abstract floral design. I’ve chosen some rather soft and muted colours for my palette today. I think that goes with my mood. I’m feeling rather … calm, content but tired. Having said that, more muted colours seem to be increasingly my colour choice.

I filmed my drawing of this template as my morning drawing vlog :

I’m now definitely going to take some time out of the day for some self-care. I think it’s stopped raining for a while. I didn’t get out for a walk yesterday, but perhaps I will in a while today.

Mandala Monday WIP

Mandala Monday

Monday is definitely mandala day! I’ve been working on this mandala for the past week, on and off. It’s taken me lots of attempts to get the colours and brushes to work the way I’d like. I’m quite happy with it now.

I like the combination of warm and cool violets and teal-ish greens. They’re close enough together on the colour wheel to work harmoniously together.

I’m just adding colour at the moment. I will think about adding patterns to the various areas once the colour is all complete.

Although the black lines are quite bold in this design, the colour seems to make them almost disappear. They seem to become, almost, the darkest shadows that separate the different colour areas, deep cuts that delineate the different sections. I’ve never really noticed that before, and I think it’s a nice observation.

I’ve been enjoying, as always, adding shadow and highlight to give that sense of volume and layers to the design. It’s always fascinating to me how such simple use of colour can add so much interest.

Vlogging

I’ve worked out that all the youtube videos I’ve been creating are really vlogs. I can be incredibly dense at times about such things. I do talk about different things in them than I do on this blog. My thoughts are different when I write and when I talk it seems. Or perhaps the process of writing slows my thoughts down in a way speaking out loud doesn’t.

Anyway, I’m enjoying creating the vlogs. As I draw every morning just for fun and to warm up my muscles, joints and creative mind and heart, it’s nice to share that process with others. I hope people gain inspiration and insight from the vlogs.

It’s been heart-warming and humbling for the lovely comments people have left there. I really appreciate every like and new subscriber.

In today’s vlog, I draw on vellum, and then paper when the vellum curls too much to be easy to hold down.

Zoom get togethers

Saturday I hosted a Zoom get together for any members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group who’d like to join in. Last night, I was chatting to Brett, one of the founders of the group and the person who keeps everything running smoothly there. She often has trouble getting onto Zoom, and so we decided to give it a go and we worked out the best way for her to join in.

So, after a short chat, we both suggested about the same time that we could open the meeting up to the group. One member joined us and we chatted until just past midnight for me.

I’ve also set up a meeting for Tuesday tea-time, UK time and the details will be posted in the group for members to join in.

Anyway, I didn’t really settle down to sleep until around 2 am, and I’m really feeling the lack of a good night’s sleep now. I suspect another nap will be on the cards sooner rather than later. However, I do want to get out for a walk again today. I’ll be trying to time it to dodge the heavy rain showers we seem to have.

Entangled Experiment

This was a fun little bit of art to do. I was inspired by a YouTube video by Zen Linea about the Tranzending technique developed by ZentangleHQ.

It involves drawing a background pattern with a white pen – I used a white Posca pen. Next, the black design is drawn over it. At the moment I’m enjoying using Uniball Eye pens – they’re waterproof when fully dry and their nibs last a lot longer on rough paper like the mixed media paper I used for this sample. I used the natural version of the ClaireFontaine Paint-On mixed media paper as the white would show up well.

Finally, I used applied colour using zig clean colour real brush pens where I wanted the darkest part of each section. Then, I used a damp brush to create a colour gradient. I prefer a traditional paintbrush to do this as I can control how damp it is. I find the waterbrushes that have a reservoir filled with water are a lot more difficult to control how damp the brush is.

Adding shadow around the whole design was the next step and I thought I’d messed it up. However, I like the uneven, grungy look that has resulted. I’m going to learn to embrace the unexpected!

Finally, I added some white dots with the Posca pen.

The background pattern subtly shows through the colours, adding a layer of interest and an intriguing one at that. It was fascinating to watch it happen.

I did try this technique on white paper and it doesn’t work anywhere near as well, so it’s something I’ll reserve for toned papers.

An unexpected surprise for me was how much I like the way the Zig brush pens work on the toned paper, and how easy it was for me to create gradations in colour to get the shadow and highlight.

So, an interesting time with art, and explorations I’ll continue with for sure. It is really fascinating!

Template Thursday

It seems like both an age and no time at all since last week’s coloring page / coloring template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

This week’s offering is a mandala. I always find mandalas soothing to draw and colour. The circular form and repetitive nature are beguiling, relaxing, soothing and magical in some way.

This week’s is quite simple, as colouring templates need to be. It’s also quite botanical in nature. The colour palette I’ve chosen is full of sunshine, growth, peace, harmony and self-care. I haven’t quite finished colouring it, but that’s fine. It did what it needed to do for me.

I’m well out of sorts today. I really didn’t want to get out of bed. But I did, and showered.

I know what’s causing my emotional and mental turmoil at the moment. I just can’t seem to actually act to bring that to an end. Guilt, grief, and other emotions are causing me problems. I know I’ll act when I’m ready to do so, but it’s so difficult to let go. But I need to do so for my own emotional and mental well being.

Talking of emotional and mental well being, today is Time to Talk Day. It’s a day where Time to Talk Wales, along with sister organisations, encourage everyone to have a conversation about mental and emotional health. All to help to end the stigma and discrimination that exists around mental health.

This year’s theme is ‘Small things’. I’ve written on facebook about three small conversations I had that have led to me healing from complex post traumatic stress disorder. Not completely. I’m not sure you can completely heal as part of surviving complex trauma is hiding that trauma deep inside. I am, however, healed enough. I’m just waiting for the lockdown to end so I can start pushing my boundaries a bit.

Anyway, I’m going to finish all the social media stuff now and then I’ll be returning to arty pursuits. Maybe a nap too as I’m feeling so tired today. Emotional turmoil exhausts me. Also, sleep is one of my coping strategies when I’m stressed out in some way.