Illustrated Journal – 2 Feb 2023

Illustrated Journaling

For a long while, I’ve been playing around with hand lettering, using my writing in art, and the idea of marrying together writing and drawing. Today, I started a new sketchbook dedicated to this idea and exploration. I woke up this morning with the concept clear in my head, and so I did!

A sketchbook is a perfect place to experiment and try things out. I’ve already got various notes on this page reflecting on what is working and what isn’t. And there’s some reflective journaling too. My handwriting is a mess. That Distress Ink-ed dot grid paper looks really grubby. The Inktense pencils and the use of a water brush may not have been a good idea on the sketchbook paper. However, it is a sketchbook. It’s not meant to be anything other than a place to explore, experiment, and unearth hidden thoughts and ideas.

The last paragraph had a lot of negatives in it. I do like the border, and this is something I’ll continue to do. The idea of collating notes onto a page intrigues me; even adding pockets and other things from junk journaling could be an idea. Places to store notes about ingredients and so on. I enjoy researching all kinds of things, including foods, ingredients, spices and condiments.

Food illustrations

What is new is me drawing food! I don’t know if I’ll ever draw a plate or bowl of food, but the ingredients or various elements interest me. So I’ve written a note to myself to see if I can make patterns or motifs for my more abstract, non-representational work from them.

I also must learn that colours can be imperfect; close enough is good enough! The ginger jam (more correctly, ginger preserve) was troublesome. But it’s good enough for now.

Soothing fraught emotions and thoughts

I’ve been relatively open with my mental and emotional health challenges, to a degree at least. And I thought it would be an excellent idea to combine that with food, and maybe more.

Art and food are two ways I can soothe and comfort myself. On good days, I’ll be adventurous with cooking. It may be a takeaway delivery or something quick and easy on bad days. On the in-between days, comforting food is the go-to, often more traditional recipes.

Cooking is always a challenge as a singleton. However, the motivation to cook and feed me wholesome and healthy food can be a considerable challenge, especially on my fraught and frazzled days.

Where will this lead?

I don’t know. I know it’s a personal project, but a friend and I have talked about collaborating on a project about cooking. So this may be a way of kicking the project off, even though I am still determining where it will go. If nothing else, it will give me a way to draw new and different things, explore various techniques, both in art and cooking, and reflect on all kinds of things. I’ll get to practice my handwriting and hand lettering as well. And perhaps work out how to create a pleasing layout!

This will, I trust, encourage me to take more care of myself in terms of nutrition. In addition, adding daily entries for at least one meal will hold me accountable.

A variety of meals/dishes will be required too and so will stop me from eating the same old things again and again! That’s a rut I can get stuck in. Also, if I find something I enjoy, I will eat it again and again, day after day, until I become sickened by it! That is not good either!

Am I overloading myself with projects?

I have a book to do for Creative Haven by the end of June. There are some self-published colouring books that I’d like to do too. Then there’s my creepy-cute monsters project. YouTube. Writing. And more!

I often can’t see the wood for the trees. Being able to prioritise has never been a strong skill of mine. However, I do need variety and options of what to work on. Otherwise, the work can become stale and uninspiring to me. And I can so easily get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, or tasks, to be done. And then there’s the fear of failure, of not being good enough, that results in procrastination.

Also, I know that at the moment, my emotions and, thus, my mental state isn’t the best; new challenges in life outside of art and creativity. But that means that art and creativity are more important to me to help me calm, relax, get in the flow and give my mind and emotions a break!

I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I’m not one for schedules of work day by day and hour by hour. That may be something I need to look into.

But not now. Now I need a mega-big mug of good strong tea! I’m British (Welsh), and we think tea will solve everything!

With a little help from a friend…

What’s going on here, then? Some of my cuties caught in action… Sometimes we all need the help of a friend to dispel the emotional storm clouds that gather. This little, cute, pink critter seems to be spreading lots of love and a helping hand and I’m sure he’d be happy if he made you smile too!

Tradigital art – drawn with a ‘hard’ Tombow Fudenosuke pen on SeaWhite of Brighton All Media paper and colour added digitally in Clip Studio Paint.

Happy New Year! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

A mandala full of radiating light to wish each and every person, living thing and the Earth itself a better future with the changing of the calendar. May love and compassion, peace and understanding, tolerance and acceptance increase with each and every day, and may there be a huge increase in basic human decency towards humanity, our fellow animals, and the plants and other living things we share this planet with. And let’s not forget the Earth too, the only place we know of in the vastness of the Universe where we can exist.

Entangled and Zentangle Inspired Art | Drawing Practice

Pen drawing. Alcohol markers, white gel pen and Emott everfine pens.

I am still healing from the damaged intercostal muscles, but I’m so much better. Not quite at 100%, but noticeably better for sure.

I’m able to draw for quite a while, when sat in my comfy chair, which isn’t at my desk/computer. But I’m keeping my hand-eye coordination well practiced and my creativity flowing somewhat too.

This was a design I wasn’t sure about at first, but the colours I really like and they bring the design to life. I never would’ve thought I’d use colours that remind me of old china – blue, white and antiqued ‘gold’. Yet I have and I really love the colours, and that has surprised me, greatly!

In today’s YouTube video I show this and some other pieces of art I’ve worked on over the last couple of weeks and talk through them for 15 mins. Then, I start drawing an entangled art kind of design that you can, hopefully/ follow along with.

Entangled Drawing Practice

I’ve been slowly working on this drawing over several days. Little by little, it’s been finished and brought to life with colour.

I’m not quite finished yet; I’m still adding white dots as highlights! That’ll take me a goodly amount of time, no doubt.

Slowly is the correct description of my ability to work, slowly and a little at a time with breaks in between. This muscle healing process is very slow and I’m really learning I can’t push myself too hard. But I really do feel I’m making some kind of progress, which is all that matters.

Draw With Me | Stylised, whimsical, imaginative seashell No.3

Click on this link to view the YouTube tutorial video.

Day 3, shell 3. This time a little more complicated, or so it seems. I took some imaginative liberties with this one, and that’s fine! I’m not trying to accurately draw these shells, just get the essences that make the shell identifiable. Then, I want to add my own ideas of patterns and colours and alter things a tad.

Making those imaginative changes was an enjoyable thing to do. I hadn’t realised how much I do this in my art generally. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to have that kind of insight – this one took about 20 years!

I’m also really chuffed that my YouTube channel has hit 750 subscribers! I was amazed and humbled when I achieved one subscriber. 750 is beyond what I imagined. I’m both amazed and humbled by this. So a huge thank you to all who have subscribed.

Draw With Me | A sketchbook page of oyster shells – Part 3

Click on this link to view the video tutorial for drawing the fourth oyster shell on YouTube

I’m about halfway through filling this slightly smaller than A5 sketchbook page with different kinds of oyster shells. Today’s even has a pearl in it!

I’m using the same peachy-pink and warm grey alcohol markers, but with the addition of a pale dusky kind of mauve colour for the shadow inside the shell.

I never claim to be an expert at colouring. However, using a very limited colour palette works in my favour, that’s for sure! The end result is good enough, which is what I always aim toward these days. Perfection is something that is unattainable. So good enough is just great!

I’ve been wintering on, both in speech and typing, about the purpose of my YouTube channel. Synchronicity struck today as two quotes about art appeared on my Facebook newsfeed today:

“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

Kurt Vonnegut

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So, write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.”

Neil Gaiman

These two quotes eloquently sum up what I think I want to bring to YouTube, my social media, and to you.

Confidence to create art just for the pleasure of it and in your own way too.

Building self-confidence is the first step, and sometimes that needs help, instruction, step by step methods, and suggestions for variations and making it your own.

We all can draw. We just have to unlearn that drawing isn’t always about photographic representations. It’s about self-expression, and each of us expresses ourselves differently. Maybe in a similar way to others, but uniquely our own.

To have a bit of confidence to do this, in a sketchbook, where no one else has to see until you’re ready to share in a supportive environment, is all that is needed. I wasn’t lucky enough to have a supportive environment for creating art until I was in my 40s. If I can provide a supportive environment here, around social media, on YouTube, and perhaps in a closed Facebook group or some such place, then I will.

It’s nice to find a purpose, don’t you think? I do, and I’m glad I’ve found that purpose for YouTube at the very least.

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.