I started my arty day by drawing variations of the pattern “Well” deconstructed by Zentangle Inc.. I filmed it for today’s vlog, and you can see it by following this link.
This is one of my favourite patterns (I have many !). It is one I’m familiar with from Early Celtic art, and possibly Anglo-Saxon. Also, it’s not a pattern that I’ve tackled as a pattern exploration. But I have now, in part. I have the feeling there is a lot more I could do!
But not today. I now need to focus on getting today’s coloring template done. Then, inking templates for Adorable Dogs.
Today’s vlog is a little bit different. I had a query about the coloured paper I use for my pattern explorations sketchbook. When I said I coloured it myself with Distress Inks, I was asked if I’d make a video of the process, so I did today.
Here’s a list of the materials I use: * Distress Inks, though you could use any other ink pads * Cut ‘n’ Dry foam and blending/make-up brushes * Stencils * Paper – today I used Canson Imagine mixed media paper, A5 in size * A spray bottle of water if you want to create a bleached, grungy kind of finish.
The video shows, far better than I could put into words, how to colour the paper. And the techniques I show are but a start!
Why do I colour the paper?
White paper is just fine for drawing on, but it can be a tad stark, clinical. I think having a background colour, with some texture to it either from the unevenness of colour or stencils, gives some life to the drawing right from the off. I find it a more visually appealing way to start drawing.
It’s also a fun and fascinating thing to do. You never quite know how it’s going to turn out. Each colour combination gives a different ‘feel’ to the background, as do the stencil patterns that are used, or stamps, or methods to further distress or increase the texture.
The colour from Distress Ink can be subtle or more intense. I prefer the more subtle, mostly. What tool you use to apply the ink can help with this, but it’s all still a bit random, and I like that! Mind you, that randomness may be my way of applying the inks; I’m not interested in a perfectly even application – I want the variation!
I do find it easier to get a more subtle effect with the blending brushes. They pick up less ink than the cut ‘n’ dry foam. The cut ‘n’ dry foam is useful for adding ink around the paper edges to create a darker border.
Do I have to use Distress Inks? What about other media?
No, of course not! There are many other ink pads available. I personally prefer the dye-based inks for paper I’m going to draw on.
The only pigment inks I’ve used are Distress Oxides and the powdery nature of the pigment particles clogs my pens up quite quickly. I’ve not used other pigment inks to know whether this happens with them. I know pigment inks can take a goodly while to dry, though you can speed this up using a heat tool specifically for craft work, though the heat can warp the paper.
Other media? Of course! You can colour the paper with whatever media you have in your stash or that appeal to you. Watercolours or watercolour pencils would work brilliantly! I would, however, consider the paper you use for this. You’d need one that wouldn’t be damaged by the quantity of water you’re planning on using.
There’s many other media that could be used, I’m sure. The supplies available to both mixed media artists, card makers, paper crafters as well as artists are multitudinous!
I stick to Distress Ink, with the occasional very controlled spritz of water, because I don’t like working messily. I like the color palette available and the more grungy, aged, vintage, distressed effects that can be achieved with them.
Does it affect other media used later?
Yes, and no. It all depends on the coloured media you’re using and also how much ink you’ve used to colour the paper.
If you use watersoluble media, the Distress Ink is likely to dissolve in the water. That means you may get a blended colour, particularly if there’s a lot of Distress Ink on the paper or it’s one of the darker colours. This isn’t a problem for me, generally.
If you’re using dry media or alcohol markers then the Distress Ink isn’t affected. However, as alcohol markers are transparent, there will be some visual colour mixing.
Are Distress Inks Archival?
Distress Inks are acid-free, so they don’t affect the paper. However, they are not light fast and will fade/discolour in time when left in bright light. This doesn’t worry me as this is for sketchbook work, kept out of the light in book form. Even when I use this kind of paper for other artwork it’s fine as I tend to scan the artwork to use in a digital format.
In yesterday’s vlog, as I was drawing the last part of this week’s template, I commented that the leaves in the top right reminded me of trees. That was followed up with a statement that it’s an idea I need to explore more.
And so I am! I spent sometime messing around with quick pen drawings to figure some things out. Then, I drew the best of the mini-forest to create a small copse in my A5 pattern explorations sketchbook. Which I filmed.
Of course, as it’s a sketchbook, I can try out variations as I go. Some of these worked, some didn’t. And others I got totally confused on.
Adding shadow with matt graphite pencils, then colour with Ecoline Watercolour Inks, helped to give volume and some life to these trees. I still think I should’ve done one pink and purple! Maybe the next seedlings in my copse will be such colours.
And yes, I’ve already been doing more variants in my larger, A4 sketchbook. That has surprised me as I got so frustrated with the A4 size when I started this long term project of pattern and motif explorations.
Behind with work!
I’m so late doing anything today. I woke with a migraine-y headache. The result of yesterday’s anxiety-provoking/stress-inducing trip to the pharmacy and then a small supermarket. So, headache tablets taken, a return to sleep when the pain began to wear off meant I didn’t wake up until gone 11am UK time.
I wasn’t going to risk starting a headache up again by working on digital inking of the Adorable Dogs templates straight away. So, I filmed a drawing session instead. That gave me time to drink tea, let some of the fuzzy-head, drifty-floaty feeling subside. So, once I’ve finished all of this I can settle to work for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.
I’m not so behind, really. It’s just that I prefer to work in the morning and early afternoon, then I can relax with other projects, like my vlogs.
Today was just one of those days where other things happened. That is life! I know, from past experience, there will be other days where it’s easy to work and a lot more gets done.
I finished drawing this Entangled-Doodleworlds template this morning (and videoed the process too).
It’s full of whimsy and cuteness, patterns and critters, plants and other items. I always enjoy drawing templates like this, ones that have little stories in them (or so I discovered yesterday while videoing!).
The nicest thing, however, is that there are lots of areas, so it’s easy to choose one place, one arch, one motif to colour if you don’t have much time or are just overwhelmed by the overall task. This way, you get the satisfaction of completing one part of the design – whether it be a tiny heart, or one of the little worlds under the arches.
I enjoyed adding colour to just a few sections today. It’s always a good thing for me to work with Clip Studio Paint regularly so I can become familiar with the tools, and to learn new ways of working with it.
I always look forward to seeing how people use colour to bring my templates to life.
Here’s today’s video. It’s over an hour long … just a little warning!
This page is getting fuller by the day! What started off as semi-circular botanical motifs has taken a direction of it’s own. Oh, the starting shape is basically the same – an arch. But some of my arches are now tall and thin!
They’re not all botanical anymore either. Some feel distinctly mechanical, others more coral-like. The more semi-circular ones look like fancy fish scales. The tall and thin ones look a bit like feathers.
Hence the name change. However, what is the same is the idea of exploring patterns/basic shapes and seeing where that leads. What happens is the page becomes filled with lots of variations on a theme. Like here.
I enjoy these more abstract motifs, lots. They’re fun to do and the only limits are your imagaination and/or creativity.
I didn’t film all of the new motifs being drawn, but here’s today’s vlog.
At the top of the photo is the almost completed sketchbook page for the recent seed pod pattern explorations.
I’ve gone a bit wild with colour! I wanted to see how using graphite under-shadowing worked with Ecoline Watercolour Inks, and to see how that ‘stained glass’, fragmented background would work.
I think, going forward, I need to think more about using different sets of colours for the background and motifs. I don’t know though for sure. I do like this kind of background though.
I’ve not added pattern to any of these background sections…yet. Maybe I’ll look at that in the coming days.
At the bottom of the photo are the motifs I drew in today’s vlog. These are all based on circular/semi-circular kinds of pods, capsules, designs. Some are quite architectural in feel, but also work as botanicals.
Yesterday’s realisation that the bigger seed pods reminded me of the photos taken of horsetail plants by Karl Blossfeldt. He believed that “the plant must be valued as a totally artistic and architectural structure.”
I tend to agree with him! I often describe winter as the season where nature shows off the underlying architecture of the natural world. we can see the support structure of trees and other woody plants. Land that was hidden by foliage and flower is revealed, showing how the swathes of trees follow the contours of the land, it’s streams and rivers and so on.
I don’t like the cold of winter, nor the short days. The limited sunlight tends to lower my mood a lot, and a sunlight therapy lamp is needed on may days to stave off creeping depression and despair at my abilities. But I do like being able to see that architecture, the way the patterns in the world are so different. That makes up for the short days!
It’s hard not to see how architects of the past must have been influenced by nature. The soaring columns with arched ceilings in gothic churches and cathedrals look so much like stone trees.
It’s no wonder, when I think about how much I enjoyed exploring Blossfeldt’s work, amongst others, when I started my artistic journey around two decades ago, that I can see their influence in my work.
I woke up this morning thinking that I really need to capitalise on my early morning energy and creativity and focus on the coloring templates for ‘Adorable Dogs’. When I’ve achieved my quota of sketches for the day (at least the quota), I can then turn my attention to my personal projects, such as my pattern explorations, and all my social media posting.
That’s why my posts may be later than is usual.
The explorations for pattern No.2 are just about done. I will spend the rest of this afternoon working on the page to complete it, well as much as I want to complete it at this time. Leaving some space for future additions is something that I think will be beneficial. It will encourage me to revisit and add to each pattern, something I’ve not done in the past.
Today, I wanted to try adding Zentangle patterns to the bands in the flowers. Rather than try just one pattern on each flower, I added different patterns to the bands, just to see what would happen! That’s exactly what the pages are for in this sketchbook (and any future pattern explorations ones too) – trying things out to see what happens!
Talking of trying things out. To the left and middle bottom, I’ve added some background patterns and colours. I wanted this to be something rather subtle. I think I’ve achieved that in the top left. In all cases, I used Derwent SoftColour pencils to draw the pattern. As they’d be resistant to water, I added a wash of colour over them achieve shadows, some areas more successfully than others.
I did, of course, film and talk through my thoughts and observations as I added to this page. And here it is:
More variations of stems as well as the view of the flower itself today. In today’s video, I talk through how to draw the flower and to add colour to enhance the sense of volume to the bloom.
It’s been so heart-warming to receive such kind, supportive and encouraging messages about my YouTube videos. It’s a really nice feeling, a warmth in my heart and soul, to hear that people are enjoying creating along with me, or being inspired to draw and create.
Here’s today’s video, in case you’d like to join me in drawing some pretty flowers too.