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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
This is another piece of abstract art I’ve been working on over the past few days. I think most of the line work is now done, so I’ve started adding colour, shadow and highlight to it.
It’s taken a good two or three hours to colour the little bit done. I was tweaking digital brushes and effects layers to get the ‘feel’ I wanted, along with setting up a limited palette of browns and greens.
It’s working out OK.
Other arty stuff
I’ve been taking time for some ‘comfort art’ as well. Indulging myself in drawing Zentangle patterns in my sketchbook and adding colour with graphite, charcoal and pastel pencils. It’s been a lot of fun, and some of this has spilled over into my art, which is no bad thing at all.
I still have no idea why faces are appearing in my artwork at this time. They’re stylised for sure, but I always shy away from human figures, faces especially.
I did do life drawing many years ago. I enjoyed it too. But hands, feet and faces vexed me. I realised that I saw architectural forms in the shadows and highlights of the human body, and as interesting as that was, it wasn’t as interesting as my love of architecture, patterns, nature and so on. So, I stopped going. I don’t feel the urge to take it up again either.
But faces appearing in my artwork … weird. Still, I’ll roll with it as there may be very good reason why.
It may be to do with me wanting to get back to typographic portrait drawing at some point. I know my mind is working out how I can do this in my own way, but it’s not quite ready yet divulge it’s secrets to me so I can put them into action. Perhaps these faces are part of the process of reassuring me that I can ‘do’ faces, in my own way.
As always, time will tell.
For now I really need a mug of tea and to prepare myself a meal. No doubt I’ll be doing some more comfort art before it’s time for bed.
Today’s image is a drawing I started this morning. I’m using a .35 Rotring Rapdiograph pen on Claire Fontaine PaintON paper. After scanning the drawing in, I’ve added colour and backgrounds digitally, just for fun.
After several days where the focus has been on digital art and editing, it’s a pleasure to use pen and paper, just as a change. I’ve said it before – I do love working digitally, but drawing on paper is something I also very much love. Combining the two is my ideal way of working, mostly. Mandalas are most probably the exception – I do like the way digital tools speed up the drawing process.
I have, two final edits being approved, completed all the templates for Entangled Starry Skies. I did them while I was awake in the wee small hours of the morning and stayed up until my Abel & Cole delivery had been made. Then, I was ready to return to bed, after breakfast!
Since I woke, I immersed myself in drawing, and I’ll be returning to it in a while as tomorrow is Template Thursday and I have a template to create!
This is very much a work in progress. I’m using one of the abstracted drawings of an ammonite to create some typographic art. I’m not entirely sure if this is going to work out, but I will persevere with it. If nothing else, it will give me plenty of practice with hand-drawn typography!
I started this yesterday, but I wasn’t feeling well, so parked it for the day as I took some self-care time.
This morning I woke feeling brighter, without a much of a headache so I wanted to return to this.
My first step was to create a kind of stylised ink density map from my drawing. I don’t know how else to describe it. Then, I started work on the areas where the lettering needs to have the greatest ink density – thick, black, bold shapes. I’ve got a fair bit of this done. and I’ve sketched in lettering for some of the remaining darkest areas.
I thought it would be cute to use stylised ammonites as spacers for the words. I like what I’ve done on the right of the artwork : black boxes with white ammonite drawings. I may very well go back and repeat this for the other sections. I may need to adjust the lettering to make enough space for me to do this. As I’m working digitally, this is easy enough to do.
My lettering style has changed too. I’m going to let it be for now. I’m still trying to work out what style my hand-drawn typography will take for work such as this.
I’m also going to have to repeat some words related to ammonites, but that’s no bad thing I think.
I must remember to use different layers for different weights of letters (that’s the term I was looking for, not ink density, duh!). That way, if I decide to colour the typography in different tones I can do so easily.
Ammonites and trilobites are top of the list of my favourite fossils. What else would I draw for my first offering for Paleotober!
I chose to draw small, abstract sections of ammonities, and one little trilobite. I wanted to practice my linework. So in the image at the top left that is all that is there – just pen.
As I scanned my drawings in, I decided to digitally add shadow (top right) to help with some contrast.
And then, I thought I’d like to add a kraft paper background and add white and darker brown to the drawing to really bring out contrast.
I like the kraft paper ones the best. They really do bring out the contrast betwixt light and dark.
I found it quite challenging to do the line-work on these drawings. To begin with, I was trying to be as realistic as I could. But as I continued to work, more stylised artwork manifested, and I was much happier with them.
All of this takes me back to my AS and A Level art years, around 15 or so years ago now. I used to love to pick out a small area of a subject of interest and work with the lines, patterns, highlights and shadows. I’d then use these patterns to create artworks, sometimes using imaginative colours, but always bringing out the highlights and shadows.
Some things never change, and that love of playing with light and shadow in my artwork, along with intricate details, is still very much with me and part of my artistic heart-song.
This morning, I wanted to start a new entangled drawing. But what to draw? I wasn’t in the mood to do another monogram, especially as there are some ideas on the periphery of my conscious mind about monograms. I thought about drawing a skull, something I find interesting, but that didn’t feel right either. But the idea of a moth flittered into my mind, so that’s what I went with.
I drew the moth digitally, in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, simply because I wasn’t quite sure how my pen work would work on a moth, and I also like to use the symmetry tool. I’m fairly happy with the results. I started to add my entangled style motifs around the moth, and came up against two issues.
The first issue was that I would lose the detail around the head and antennae and I needed to come up with a way to preserve that. I came up with the idea of a simple circular border below the moth. This will also give me the option of adding colour to the central circle when I’ve finished the artwork.
The second was more of a problem – the sense of proportion. I have no idea why it’s so hard for me to work digitally on entangled drawings like this with a proper sense of proportion compared to the main motif or the printed size.
It has to do, I think, with the ability to zoom in to draw small details, which results in me adding too much detail. The only solution was for me to print the moth and circular border out and then for me to draw on that.
The only thing I wasn’t happy about in doing this is that I have a laser printer. That affects the surface of the paper in a way that my Unipin pens don’t like it. Also, I can’t print on marker paper.
So, I’ve started to add entangled artwork to the design. I can now see that leaving edges of the upper wings white would help them to stand out. That is something I can adjust digitally when the design is finished.
I feel so much happier working on the printed image. I do need to consider changing my printer, however. Though the laser printer is quick and economical, the print quality of line art isn’t the best. There’s also the issue of the way the surface of the paper is changed once it’s been printed on. I shall think on this in the coming weeks and before the toner needs replacing.
This week I chose to create a mandala, which I’ve partly coloured in fiery autumnal colours. Looking at it now, I can see where I’ve used colours that are too similar so that the layers are a little lost. But the warm colours warmed my heart and soul this morning.
The background to the mandala is really unusual for me; I’m not sure where it came from, but there it is. It has just a bit of an Art Deco feel – do you agree? I’m looking forward to seeing how people add colour to it.