Template Thursday…on a Wednesday | Sneak Peek!

It’s been a busy, arty day.

I focused on inking in templates for “Adorable Dogs”. I have two weeks to get them all done, and that is entirely do-able! But I have to focus!

So, when I’d got my quota inked in for today, I turned my attention to this week’s coloring page/template for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group.

I started this template yesterday evening, sat in bed and beginning to settle down towards sleep. In today’s video, I carried on adding to the template. It’s not finished yet and I think this will be my task this evening.

The image shows the part I’ve done, along with some colour added. Colour always makes such a difference!

I’ve chosen wintry colours, along with bilious drunken party skulls.

Here’s today’s video:

Draw With Me… Saturday 27 Nov ’21

This page is now full of various seed pods! From arum lily style spathes, Banskia inspired, to pure imagination, there’s a host of variations here!

I’m sure, as I add colour, some more seed pods will be added, to break up the larger expanses of space. Spaces that are just ripe not only for colour, but for some subtle pattern, perhaps.

Seed pods, along with botanicals and rather architectural patterns/motifs are my favourite things to draw. It’s also a lot of fun, and totally fascinating, to start with a simple shape or two and see where that goes as line and pattern are added.

The way that graphite shadows adds more volume to the line drawings, then the way that colour breathes life into the designs is endlessly enchanting.

There are some strange creations on this page, others that nearly work, and some that I really am happy with.

Finally being able to allow myself to explore, experiment instead of feeling the pressure to always complete a polished drawing is quite…liberating. It’s also kind of exciting too. I never know what will result during my sketchbook times. I usually do start with an idea of a basic shape or pattern; today’s was a circle on the inner edge of a larger circle. And thirteen designs appeared!

Even though very little on the page is completed, there is still a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, joy and even some wonder.

And I’ve just remembered what the largest seed pods remind me of – horsetails (the plant, not the animal!). Duh! They’re not exactly horsetails, but I can see the inspiration that welled up from my unconscious image library. One of the smaller ones – to the right – reminds me of a trilobite (one of my favourite kinds of fossils).

I love these sudden flashes of insight I get from time to time! I think my drawing may be more intuitive than I realise.

Seed Pods and Other Motifs | Session 3

Today is the third session of work on this drawing. I’ve added some more ornate seed pods, based on the same simple form as the original ones, and some foliage. Here’s the link to today’s video.

I wanted to see how Graphitint pencils worked with the Albrecht Durer water colour pencils. Mainly, I wanted to see how the graphite in the Graphitint would add shadow to the colour. I did this on a couple of the new flowers at the bottom left. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but it’s something for me to experiment with more.

I had a ‘ta-da!’ moment as I was talking about where to place the next collection of motifs. I realised that I do think about this, very quickly and not in words. There’s some kind of analysis that goes on that I don’t quite catch, probably because it is in symbols/abstractions rather than words. Having to put words to the thoughts and decisions I was making had two effects. One, my thoughts were slowed down. Two, the words let me realise that I do think!

I’ve mentioned this before, but there seem to be two styles of inner monologue – one is in words, the other rather abstract. Apart from my inner critic, my thoughts tend to be of the abstract kind it seems.

“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.”


I certainly have to consciously verbalise my thoughts, either by writing or by having to speak them out loud. The weird thing is, I’m often not aware of any opinion or idea or thoughts I have until I do verbalise them. That means I constantly surprise myself!

Anyway, by making YouTube videos, I’m having to vocalise my decisions and thought processes as I draw and that means I’m becoming more aware of what is going on in my head, well in terms of putting words to it. So, this ‘ta-da!’ moment is one of many I’ve had whilst being an arty vlogger. That is a very valuable experience for me.

So, this drawing is coming along quite nicely I think. I’m really enjoying these times to experiment and try stuff out without being invested in a finished, polished artwork. I’ve finally found a way to give myself permission to try things out when I think of them, without worrying about whether they work or not, whether I spoil an artwork or not. It’s a very freeing experience for the hyper-perfectionist part of me.

Pattern Exploration No.3 “Eet” | Day 1

Pattern Exploration No.2 is now done, for now. The page is more or less full.

I enjoyed creating all the drawings on the page, but I learned most from altering the background in different ways, trying out different kinds of media. I talk through this in today’s video (link below).

So, it was time to start the next pattern, No.3. I really must find a better way to label these! I wonder if there’s a random name/word generator I could use…

The answer to that musing is yes! Many in fact. I went to the first one – Random Word Generator – and the word that came up was artisan! Fairly appropriate. Maybe I’ll play with the spelling of it to name pattern no3. Artyzan? The next word that comes up with eat, appropriate for No.3 as everything is looking very seed-poddy. Eet? I like Eet.

So, that’s decided! No.3 is now called Eet.

With this exploration, I’m starting with a teardrop kind of shape and seeing where that leads me. Some of the variations are familiar ones. Others not quite so. I’d like to break away from the familiar and try something different with this shape.

Here’s today’s video:

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


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.


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.”


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.